Facial hair is something we all have and shouldn’t be ashamed of, so with many of us having an ongoing battle in this area we are always on the look out for a good quality facial hair removal tool or product. Some of us have particularly sensitive skin, so tend to opt for a device to remove hair, while others prefer to use a cream to remove any unwanted fuzz.
Humans typically have around five million hair follicles on their body. For most people, these are fine, fair vellus hairs (peach fuzz). For some people, particularly those who suffer with hirsutism (the excessive growth of dark, thick and course hair typically in a male pattern), facial hair growth is an issue that impacts their self esteem and wellbeing.
“Facial hair on men and women is completely normal and has a function,” explains Dr Zainab Laftah, Consultant Dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation. “It contributes to sensation and helps regulate body temperature. Hair growth varies with age, race, genetics, certain medications and body weight.”
From eco-friendly products, to affordable products that are gentle on the skin, read on for our guide to buying the best facial hair removal products and devices available on the market.
Different types of hair removal products for women
Bleaching: Great for disguising hair, rather than removing it, especially if you have sensitive skin. The bleach used is mild, so it shouldn’t hurt and you won’t have to contend with stubbly regrowth, spots or ingrown hairs. It’s suitable to use on your arms and legs, too. If you have a darker skin tone, there’s a chance that the hair will become more noticeable if it’s bleached lighter.
Waxing: Mess-free and easy to master, giving you quick results and a smooth finish. Waxing can cause irritation and although any redness should subside within a few hours, we wouldn’t recommend waxing sensitive skin.
Hair removal cream: These are pain free and easy to apply. No skin prep is required (apart from removing make-up) and because depilatory creams dissolve the hair down to the hair follicle, the risk of ingrown hairs is low. Even those formulated for sensitive skin can be irritating and not suitable for very reactive skin.
Hair trimmer: Painless and convenient and it can be done daily if needed and won’t leave the skin red or sore. It’s best to use an electronic or battery-operated facial hair trimmer, rather than a normal razor. As most of these devices are designed to to last a long time, it's a good eco-friendly option.
Facial hair razors: An inexpensive option and the razors are designed especially for facial hair removal for women. However, depending on how fast your hair grows you may need to repeat the process regularly. Shaving using razors also doesn't remove the hairs from the root. It removes what is visible so you may notice hair appearing again faster than you would with other facial hair removal techniques such as waxing.
Dermaplaning: Not the same as shaving, this is an exfoliation method that will also remove hair and leave the skin smoother and brighter. As with shaving, the hair removal benefits of dermaplaning are short-lived and you’ll likely only need to repeat it once or twice monthly. Not recommended if you suffer with rosacea.
Electrolysis: Electrolysis, IPL or electric pulse light, is a more expensive treatment, but can provide long-lasting results. The device emits lights to penetrate down to the second layer of your skin which is then converted into heat. In turn, this destroys the hair follicle to prevent it from growing again. It shouldn't be confused with laser hair removal, as they are not the same.
Hair epilator: Offers a long-term hair removal solution that, if used both regularly and correctly, can last up to four weeks – a lot longer than shaving or waxing.
Other things to consider before using facial hair removal products
• Prepare your skin: Make sure your skin is clean and that you exfoliate 24 hours beforehand– this will help to prevent ingrown hairs. Applying moisturiser after removing facial hair can help to reduce irritation and redness, although make sure it is suitable for sensitive skin. You could also try some hair removal products alongside eco-friendly moisturisers.
• How to remove facial hair safely: When using a product for the first time, always undertake a patch test before going ahead with the treatment. Even if you've used similar products in the past or have used that exact product previously, ingredients can differ, and so can your skin. If you see any irritation or redness, do not use the product.
• Menopause and facial hair: “During menopause there is a dramatic drop in the female hormone oestrogen,” Dr Zainab explains. “It can cause an imbalance of male hormones leading to the growth of coarse hair on the chin, jawline and upper lip.” This is why we’re more prone to the odd whisker or two as we get older.
Best facial hair removal: our verdict
Ultimately, the best way to remove facial hair is a personal choice depending on the sensitivity of your skin, how fast your hair grows and how dark or thick your hair grows. If you need something long-lasting then IPL or epilation may be for you. If you have sensitive skin then you may find shaving works best.
Taking into account the options listed above we think that the best way to get rid of facial hair is waxing. There are now multiple options for facial waxing kits that are easy to use at home, they're inexpensive and the results last longer than shaving or using hair removal cream. If you have some spare time on your hands and love being creative, you could always try making your very own facial hair removal scrub following this YouTube tutorial.
The best facial hair bleach product
Try this: Jolen Mild Cream Bleach
A convenient and comfortable way to deal with unwanted hair, you can lighten hair on your face and body in the comfort of your own home. Plus, the no-drip application makes the process as easy as can be.
Review: "Apart from being a bit of a faff to mix together, this did the job well without any issues. It took longer than the packaging suggested, but the results lasted a few weeks and reappearance was subtle." Pain level rating: 0 Results last for: 4-6 weeks.
The best waxing product
Try this: Nair Apricot Facial Wax Strips
If you want to wax at home, these wax strips are enriched with softening apricot milk, are perfume-free and easy to use. Simply remove the transparent strip, apply it to your chosen area in the direction of the hair growth, hold the skin taut and pull it in the opposite direction. The strip can be used several times, until the wax no longer adheres to the skin, and can be cut to shape for eyebrows or smaller patches. Always remember to do a patch test at least 24 hours before.
Review: "These strips don't need heating or rubbing before use. The results were good, although they did leave behind some finer hairs. Cutting the strips down made them easier to use on the upper lip, so fewer strips were used. Our tester has pretty robust skin, which was left a little red afterwards (but no more than a wax normally would)." Pain level rating: 2-6 - if you're a first time waxer it will feel painful at first, but as you get used to pulling the skin taut it's much less painful over time and becomes very routine. Results last for: 3-4 weeks - depending on hair type.
The best facial hair removal cream
Try this: Superdrug Sensitive Facial Hair Removal Cream
This ready-to-use facial hair removal cream is infused with shea butter and rosehip oil to quickly remove hair and moisturise skin. Results should last up to seven days, although this does depend on your hair type.
Review: "If you've ever tried the versions with a brush in the lid, you'll understand what a pain they are to apply! This one is far easier with a squeezy tube and precision nozzle. It removed almost all the hair, just leaving behind a few stragglers that were easily tweezered out." Pain level rating: 3 Results last for: 7 days.
The best shaving product: facial hair trimmer
Try this: JML Finishing Touch Flawless Hair Remover
This best-selling facial trimmer has an 18 karat gold-plated hypo-allergenic head, and is discreet, so you can use it anywhere. The built-in light is a welcome addition, for a precision trim.
Review: "Discreet and easy-to-use, this gadget gives as close a trim as a razor, without pain or redness. It can be used on the upper lip, cheek and chin areas and easily removes fine hairs and peach fuzz. The downside is, it's battery powered and not rechargeable." Pain level rating: 1 Results last for: a few days, but it can be used everyday.
Check out this video for more information on how to use it:
The best shaving product: facial hair razor
ILLUVA Eyebrow Razors Facial Hair
This six pack of razors are especially designed to use on the face. Using a facial hair removal razor is milder than pulling, waxing or threading, meaning less pain and redness while hair is removed in a safe, gentle, and effective way. The safety eyebrow shavers are made from stainless steel blades with grooves which help to protect delicate skin and have a long-lasting sharpness. This facial hair remover can be used beyond the eyebrows, to remove body hair and peach fuzz, exfoliate the skin, do dermaplaning, and exfoliate the skin. Review: "These have improved my confidence so much! I suffer with PCOS and have black hairs on my chin. These keep my face as smooth as can be between IPL treatments. I use a light face oil before using these as my skin is sensitive. Iu2019ve had no irritation from using these. The hair does not grow back any thicker or darker." Pain level rating: 0 Results last for: 3-5 days depending on hair type.
The best dermaplaning facial hair removal tool
Try this: Veet Dermaplaning Sensitive Precision Face Kit
As well as removing hair, this dermaplaning tool kit gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells, leaving it feeling fresh and brightened. Veet recommends using the kit twice a month for best results, although results will differ from person to person. Review: "Despite its price, our tester was impressed with this tool. It's simple to use and left the skin feeling silky smooth without any razor burn or nicks. When the hair grew back it didn't feel stubbly, either." Pain level rating: 2-3 Results last for: about 2 weeks.
The best electrolysis facial hair removal device (IPL)
Try this: Philips Lumea Advanced IPL Hair Removal Device
Philips is the leading brand when it comes to IPL devices, and the Lumea comes with great reviews. IPL isn't permanent - you will need to treat the regrowth every so often, but the Lumea claims it can give you three months of hair-free silkiness when you follow the treatment schedule. Philips Lumea cannot be used to treat white/grey, light blonde or red hair and is not suitable for very dark skin. This is due to the high contrast required between the pigment in hair colour and pigment in the skin tone. Review: "It does take some time commitment depending on the area you're working on. Even though slow at first, after following the recommended treatment plan, the hair is reduced and in some areas growth has completely slowed/stopped. It is pricey, but compared to the amount spent on waxing over a lifetime, it's a good trade off." Pain level rating: 2-3 Results last for: a few months, and even longer if you are consistent with the application. It can take up to three months with repeated use for your hair follicles to start to die back.
Best facial hair epilator
Braun FaceSpa Face Epilator and Cleansing Brush System
Braun Face Spa facial epilator lets you enjoy three face treatments with one device - by simply switching the attachments. Precisely remove facial hair by the root with the facial epilator, and cleanse skin pore deep with the face brush - proven to be 6x more effective than a manual face wash. Review: "For years I have been painstakingly tweezing my chin and upper lip every day. I would constantly stress on the hair I cannot get out with the tweezer. But now, all I do is apply this epilator over my chin and upper lip twice a week, it's amazing and leaves my skin feeling smooth - something I couldn't achieve with tweezing. Highly recommend this product." Pain level rating: 2-8 - it depends where on the face you're using it, and if you've used an epilator before. Results last for: 4 weeks, sometimes longer.