Wondering how to remove facial hair permanently? If you’re getting tired of constantly plucking chin hairs or using wax strips on your upper lip, you’re not alone. Facial hair removal is a frustrating process, especially if you have to do it frequently. But there are less complicated options. Below, experts explain longer-term facial hair removal methods—to help you say goodbye to your tweezers and depilatory creams once and for all.
Experts agree that hair removal methods with long-lasting to permanent effects are the best options for women who want to get rid of facial hair, because the less you agitate your skin with harsh chemicals or sharp tools, the better.
While plucking, tweezing and waxing are beneficial in the short term, they can turn out to be pricier in the long-term, and of course need to be done regularly in order to maintain results.
More professional treatments, such as at-home laser hair removal, will help you to get results that last, with much less faff.
How to remove facial hair permanently
Shaving, waxing, hair removal creams, and other traditional hair removal techniques are great for larger, less sensitive areas like the legs or underarms. However, using a method that is semi-permanent or permanent is preferable when removing facial hair, so you don’t put the sensitive and delicate skin on your face through harsh procedures on a recurring basis.
According to Dr. Robert Morrell, founder and director of Medical Rejuvenation Centre (opens in new tab) and Di Morelli Skin Care (opens in new tab), the three methods that can remove facial hair long-term are electrolysis, laser hair removal, and intense pulsed light (IPL).
We take a look at these methods and how they work:
“Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method that consists of destroying the reproductive hair cell with heat energy,” explains Suyud Issa, a licensed aesthetician and the co-founder of All Skin Care Talk (opens in new tab). “A fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, which sends a direct current to stop new hair from growing. The hair is then removed with tweezers.”
Electrolysis goes deeper into the skin—getting under the follicle—resulting in a truly permanent solution. However, it does require multiple appointments, and it can be pretty pricey.
Costs vary depending on which part of the body you choose to have the treatment on and how big an area you need done—but a full session for your face will generally set you back at least $300/£300.
2. Laser hair removal
“Laser hair removal consists of emitting a light that penetrates the skin and targets pigment—aka melanin—in the hair follicles,” says Issa. “The hair is effectively destroyed because the light, which is absorbed by the pigment, is converted to heat and damages the hair follicles that produce hairs.”
Laser hair removal can be completed in fewer initial appointments than electrolysis, but it is only semi-permanent. You may need to return for more laser hair removal treatments years down the line. However, it's definitely a better option than more temporary options like hair removal cream, which can be harmful to the skin if not used properly.
“Both laser hair removal and electrolysis are great, viable options for women who want to permanently remove facial hair,” says Dr. Javad Sajan, a plastic surgeon at Allure Esthetic (opens in new tab). They are also one of the best hair removal options for dark skin, too.
This method is generally fairly expensive, and like electrolysis will likely cost around £200/$200 plus for a full course.
3. Intense pulsed light (IPL)
IPL and laser hair removal are very similar, but they have one key difference: laser hair removal uses a beam of highly focused light, whereas IPL utilizes a beam of light made up of wavelengths throughout the light spectrum. This results in a weaker beam, making the procedure slightly less effective, but safer and less harsh. This means its a much better option for more sensitive skin.
One of the perks of IPL is that you could buy a device to perform this procedure yourself at home, saving you money on recurring appointments. However, experts agree that seeing a professional who specializes in IPL hair removal is usually the best and safest course of action.
IPL is also one of the most priciest methods of facial hair removal. One full face session will likely cost somewhere around $200/£150.
Which method offers the best bang for your buck?
There’s more to consider when choosing how to remove facial hair permanently than just results alone.
Cost is undoubtedly a significant factor. Dr. Morrell said, “The prices can vary depending on what type of treatment you're getting, the number of treatments necessary, and where you go."
That being said, there are consistent cost trends. “Electrolysis is more expensive than laser hair removal,” notes Issa. But that’s not the only thing that matters. "With electrolysis, the hair is permanently removed. With laser hair removal, multiple treatments are required to achieve a drastic hair reduction,” she continues.
Determining which procedure is a better value depends entirely on what’s important to you. If you want to be done with the process in as few sessions as possible, it might be worth spending a little more up-front for electrolysis.
However, you can’t go wrong with laser hair removal. “Laser hair removal is nearly painless and safe for all skin types and tones,” says Dr. Sajan. Since it’s more affordable as well, it’s a good choice—though you will have to attend a few sessions.
Should you see a professional to remove facial hair—or can you DIY?
When we asked the experts whether they recommend seeing a professional or trying these hair removal methods at home, they all agreed that seeing a specialist is the best route.
“Laser hair removal by a certified technician or doctor is the safest and most effective way to permanently remove facial hair,” Dr. Morrell states.
At-home laser hair removal is certainly an option, but you have to proceed with extreme caution. The laser is meant to damage the hair follicles to the point where they can no longer grow hair—that means it’s a powerful tool. Be sure to use a product from a certified brand, and seek professional advice if you are unsure about any part of the process, or any after-effects that may appear.
Not only is seeing a professional the safer option, but it’s also more effective. “Home devices can do a minimum removal, but not total removal,” Dr. Morrell adds.
If all you need to do is zap a few pesky chin hairs, you could opt for an at-home method. However, if you’re looking to tackle coarse facial hair, or have plenty to remove, then it's probably better to leave it to the experts.
My Imperfect Life thanks Dr. Robert Morrell of Medical Rejuvenation Centre (opens in new tab) and Di Morelli Skin Care (opens in new tab), Suyud Issa of All Skin Care Talk (opens in new tab), and Dr. Javad Sajan of Allure Esthetic (opens in new tab) for their time and expertise.
Aleesha is deputy editor for My Imperfect Life, where she heads up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was shopping writer for woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing new products, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, learning about different wines, attempting new languages and travelling as much as she can.
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