Beauty demystified: Everything you need to know about upper lip hair removal
Can we start off by saying that there’s nada wrong with facial hair, we all have it – and honestly, who cares if your face is kinda furry? We certainly don't.
That being said, if you are a little paranoid about peach fuzz there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to remove it and if you do; there are a ton of options to choose from. Depending on what you opt for, the results can be long-lasting and super-effective.
For those pain-phobic among us (no shame, girl) you might want to opt from a hair removal cream or a cream bleach. Or if you want to zap the hairs away more permanently a treatment course of laser could be the best option for you.
Whatever your upper lip sitch, we have you covered with removal options below, so here's what you need to know...
Hair removal cream
This is definitely a swift, easy method, no doubt. The pros are that it's quick, painless and gets rid of every last hair. But annoyingly, we've found that hair does grow back slightly darker and it's something you have to keep on top of, making sure you slap a bit of cream on every fortnight or so. If your skin is quite sensitive too (raises hand) using it sometimes leaves it looking slightly red, so make sure you always keep a tube of aloe vera gel on hand to soothe it.
Blade devises like the Philips SatinCompact Women's Precision Trimmer are perfect if you're in a hurry. This quickly gets rid of any and all hair in a totally painless way, leaving no marks whatsoever. However, I did find that about 24 hours after using it I had stubble. Not actual, visible stubble – it was only me that could feel it – but that's beside the point. Using the blade is a bit like shaving your armpits in that it pretty much becomes a daily chore.
If you've ever had your eyebrows threaded then that's the kind of pain level to expect, i.e. slightly uncomfortable but not totally unbearable. Out of all the methods of hair removal threading probably gives the best results for the time it takes and the cost – it leaves the same, smooth, month-long result as using hair removal cream except the hairs are (obviously) pulled out from the root so the results last longer.
It's good to remember that you have to walk around in public with a red upper lip after a treatment so it's probably advisable to go somewhere as close to home as you can and ask your therapist to apply a soothing gel afterwards. To avoid any ingrown hairs in the couple of weeks following a treatment gently exfoliate your skin as you normally would and it shouldn't be a problem.
Afraid of stubbly regrowth from removal? Bleaching any upper lip hair will instantly minimise its appearance on light skin tones. This method is super-effective in 10 mins flat; however, it isn’t for everyone. "I have read that that is definitely a possible complication with hair bleaching. The chemicals are too harsh and irritate some people to the point where they get PIH (post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation)," says dermatologist Dr Tom Mammone. If you have Black or Asian skin tones which are more prone to pigmentation concerns, it’s best to opt for an alternative method.
Epilators designed specifically for small areas of the skin, like the Braun Facial Epilator and Cleansing Brush are good at capturing short and fine hairs. While it smarts a little bit on stubborn eyebrow hairs being a more sensitive area, it's pretty painless to use on the upper lip and it's very easy to manoeuvre. The smooth results last around a month – so, the same as threading and waxing – but using this discrete device at home is a major pro. Also the Braun FaceSpa Pro, which Keeks also recommends for facial hair removal, comes with a few different head attachments so you can treat yourself to a little face treatment massage afterwards with the skin toning head.
It’s key to say off the top, waxing is best done by a professional, it's not worth risking burns or causing scabs doing it at home, and salons can select the most safe and gentle formulas for the face. Depending on your pain threshold it can be pretty unpleasant or you might just feel a wincy tug, but either way waxing provides clean hair removal for up to a month. Acting Beauty Director, Keeks waxes lyrical (ahem) about using Veet Face Cold Wax Strips for Sensitive Skin. Yes, it’s not pleasant but you get every hair and hairs grow back fine. The best way to make your waxing experience less painful is to do it regularly so you can target the different stages of hair growth.
At-home IPL and laser
Once a salon-only solution, laser and IPL (intense pulsed light) devices are now available in compact designs intended to target small areas like the upper lip. They can grant effective semi-permanent hair removal, but the results aren't instant – they need to be used over a period of 3-6 months to zap hair growth in its various stages, then merely for maintenance thereafter. At £399.99 for the Philips Lumea IPL, it's quite an investment but a lot cheaper than seeing a professional for treatments, however, if you have a dark skin tone IPL isn’t recommended becuase devices aren’t easily able to tell the difference between the hair and skin.
An option that more people are trying out nowadays is sugaring a method you can only get done by a pro. It’s kind of along the same wavelengths as waxing but some say it’s less painful and yields better results.
"Sugaring paste is 100% natural and vegan," says Tanja Westendorff, Founder/ CEO of Sugaring London. "Sugaring is hair removal and gentle skin exfoliation that results in hair-reduction and skin optimisation." Sounds ideal, but we need to know, does it hurt? "Everyone has a different pain threshold but our clients say sugaring hurts less than waxing. Moreover, our sugaring paste is applied at body temperate hence and unlike waxing, our paste can never burn you. The paste only removes your unwanted hair and dead skin cells and unlike traditional waxing, leaves your live skin cells alone. Hence sugaring is far less abrasive." There are a few instances where sugaring isn’t recommended though according to Tanja:
• You are on Acutane or Roacutane.
• If you currently use Retinol in your skincare- as they thin the skin.
• If you recently had a chemical peel.
Find out more about sugaring on Treatwell here.
At-home devices are great but sometimes you do just want a professional touch, and that’s understandable, especially when it comes to you face. Getting a course of laser for stubborn upper lip hair is a more long-term solution, but it is the priciest option and isn’t always permanent (although hair will always grow back finer). If you want less upkeep though, it’s probably your best option. "Laser upper-lip hair removal is so effective that most clients see hair reduction after four sessions," says Lucy Dawe, senior consultant at Pulse Light Clinic. But she does advise that for some, quarterly top-ups may be required.
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