Dealing with the Unwanted Burden of Facial Hair

Hair on My Face - Seriously!

I will never forget sitting before my keyboard in my freshman computer class when Willie Harrington, one of our school’s most promising football players, exclaimed for the entire class to hear, "Oh my God! You’ve got a mustache!" Immediately, I felt warmth flood to my face as my cheeks gave way to a humiliating hue of rosy pink. I could not have been more thankful that this was my last class of the day.

Since that day, I’ve done my best to maintain a hairless face, while blaming genetics, God, and hormones for this constant struggle. It wasn’t until post-high school, when girls seem to be a bit more inclined to show a little vulnerability and talk about such issues, that I had the pleasure of learning that I was not the only female fighting this battle. Twenty-two percent of American women have unwanted facial hair (although I personally believe this number is higher). For the 22% of my sisters who share this curse, the marketing industry is full of methods for dealing with those unsightly whiskers. You will find below the pros and cons of the various "treatment" options:

Bleaching: This was my mother’s suggestion when I came to her with my problem after surviving an embarrassing hour of computer class. I realize my mother meant well, but I am a blonde. So, lightening the shade of the hair over my lip did not accomplish much. For a brunette, however, I can see how this might be a viable option. Keep in mind, that sunlight will still glisten over those hairs revealing your secret. Costs for bleaching products range from around $6.00 to $20.00.

Tweezing: For as little as $1.00 you can find a pair of tweezers at any local drug store, making this the least expensive option. However, if you have ever sat in front of a mirror pulling out each tiny strand from its follicle, you know that tweezing is time consuming. Tweezing can also cause damage to your skin. I had a close friend who had a patch of unwanted hair on her chin. Every night she would pluck each hair out with a pair of tweezers. Eventually, the constant irritation to that area caused discoloration on her chin, which she now tries to conceal with makeup.

Shaving: Please do not shave. We all know that razors are not that expensive and it can be extremely tempting to take the same tool you use to shave your legs and bring it on up to your face. However, this is not a lasting or esthetically pleasing solution to the problem. Not only will the hair come back in darker and coarser, the more you shave, the more often you will need to shave. Businessmen have that famous five-o’clock-shadow for a reason and that look is just not quite as sexy on us, ladies.

Waxing: You can find at-home waxing kits for around $5.00 to $25.00, depending on brand. Let me say this about facial wax: more expensive does not always mean better. While flipping channels one night, I was drawn in to an infomercial featuring a grown man smiling while the sweet, little sales-girls stripped generous portions of dense hair off his back. The product promised that it was easy-to-use and virtually painless. I dialed the number, paid the ridiculously expensive fee, and waited not-so-patiently for my wax to come via delivery service. When it arrived, I eagerly opened the box and heated it up. I followed the instructions step-by-step and did not hesitate when it came time to yank the strip of wax off my lip. "Ouch!" I screamed as tears stung my eyes. I stared back into the mirror at my reddened, tender lip. "So much for virtually painless," I uttered under my breath to no one in particular. Learn from my mistake – just because a product promises something, does not mean it will deliver.

Creams: Some people swear by the use of creams for removal of facial hair because of their commitment to smooth and radiant skin. These items can be purchased over-the-counter for as little as $7.00 or can be obtained through prescription for around $90.00. I personally have not had much luck with the use of creams. I do not like how most smell and, since I have sensitive skin, some products have left me with redness, irritation, and itching. However, for those who have skin with a tougher disposition, this might just be the answer for you.

Electrolysis: Kits for do-it-yourself electrolysis are flying around the internet for $40.00 to $500.00. I have not been brave enough to try them. But, I have checked with a local dermatology and electrolysis office who said most of their patients have experienced permanent to semi-permeant hair removal in three treatments, which cost around $350.00 a session. This seems a bit pricy, but might be worth the budgeting sacrifice in order to be done with this nuisance for good... or at least for a good while.

Threading: Threading hair removal is new to me, but has evidentially been around in the Eastern part of the world for centuries. With threading, hair is removed from the roots with the use of a cotton thread. Threading can now be found in shops, malls and storefronts, which is where this unique method first caught my attention. I still have not taken the time to step in for a treatment myself, but it appears to be a very quick and seemingly pain-free way to effectively remove unwanted hair. Pencil forms of the same concept are available for individual use for around $20.00.

For now, I am still going to my local stylist for my hair-removal needs. At the same time as my regularly scheduled haircut, she chats with me and calms my nerves while sneaking wax onto my lip and eyebrows. I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to try at-home waxing again since my last traumatic endeavor. At $14.00 a pop, I have a feeling I am paying more for the service than I should, but my hair removal needs are taken care of swiftly and on-schedule. For me, it is worth the price to avoid the humiliation of sporting the mustache of a fourteen-year-old boy.

Happy hair removing, sisters!