Beauty + How Tos

Ask the Editor: Removing Facial Hair

The pandemic is a lesson in duality.  I’ve never thought more about my personal appearance.  I’ve also never cared about it less.

Without makeup to cover them, I notice my enlarged pores and dark circles every time I look in the mirror.  With visits to my stylist limited, my grey hairs are just a part of life that I am learning to accept.  But I’m also trying new products, tools and treatments like never before.

I’m torn between wanting to use this time to improve my appearance and using this break from society to become more comfortable in my own (natural) skin.  And I’m not the only one who spends their newly minted free time thinking about new beauty treatments to try.

Hi Abra!

Have you ever used a face shaver? I feel like it’s a good thing to start in quarantine BUT it freaks me out a bit. Like I’ll become dependent on it. Or, I know it’s a myth that if you start shaving it grows back thicker/darker etc but…can’t shake the feeling that it will.

I’ve got very fine blond hair on my cheeks near my ears and above my upper lip. I’ve gone 37 years without doing anything about it (I didn’t notice it until about a year ago) but it is starting to bother me. Please keep me anon if you talk about it!

Thanks. -K

The hair growing back darker and thicker if you shave it myth is pervasive.  Even The Mayo Clinic felt the need to let people know that this common belief isn’t true.  But I understand the concern, no one wants to remove a bit of barely visible upper-lip hair and wind up looking like Groucho Marx.

I don’t wax my facial hair.  I had a bad experience as a teen that could have disfigured me for life, so I’m done putting hot wax on my face.  Instead, I remove my upper lip hair with a Flawless Instant Facial Hair Remover.

This painless electric razor is sized for small areas and makes quick work of unwanted hair.  A couple of quick passes, and my upper lip is fuzz free.  And unlike shaving with a traditional razor, the Flawless device doesn’t clog my pores and give me lip acne.

The Flawless brand also makes a razor with a tapered head to use on your eyebrow area.  I decided to use quarantine to tackle the final stage of regrowing my eyebrows, and this device has kept things looking tidy while preventing me from going overboard with the tweezers.

Several readers over the years have extolled the virtues of a face shaving technique known as Dermaplaning.  The treatment removes all of the fine facial hair and exfoliates the skin.  In a spa, the treatment is sometimes performed with a scalpel and is used not only to remove hair, but also to treat uneven texture and dark spots..  But you can also dermaplane at home  for hair removal without surgical tools.

At-home dermaplaning begins with an ultra-fine razor blade.  Most dermaplaning aficionados swear by these inexpensive Tinkle Razors.  They’re sharp, easy to grip, and disposable.  Others prefer an electric device.  You can find inexpensive ones from brands like Flawless or invest in the gold standard device from Dermaflash.

You can read more about at-home derma planing on Byrdie or watch this video from Caroline Barnes.  But developing a good technique requires some practice.

The results of dermaplaning at home can be subtle or dramatic depending on the person.  I had my face dermaplaned before my wedding last year.  My skin was a bit smoother, and makeup adhered a bit better, but there was no huge change.  Ultimately, I decided not to keep doing it because I was concerned it would make my breakouts worse, since dermaplaning with acne-prone skin gets mixed reviews from dermatologists.

Removing facial and body hair is a very personal choice.  If you don’t mind the hair, don’t add a new personal maintenance chore to your plate.  But if you want to give a new treatment a try, now would be a good time.

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  1. EA says:

    Abra – a few more questions for you on that razor – how often do you use it, does it need to be replaced often so that it’s sharp, and do you exfoliate, or just shave? Thank you!!

    June 29, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I use the razor about once a week. Sometimes, I’ll see a patch and quickly clean it up in between. It does require replacement heads. I’ve had mine three years and replaced the blades once. They stay sharp a pretty lengthy amount of time.

      I just shave, I don’t find it has much value for exfoliation. I still use a charcoal mask for that.

      June 29, 2020/Reply
      • eA says:


        June 29, 2020/Reply
  2. Amy says:

    I also have fine blond hair on my face. I wax my mustache and mutton chops with Sally Hansen wax strips — no hot wax involved. About three random darker thick hairs are mixed in with the mustache and those I tweeze as soon as I can get a grip on them. The mustache wax hurts and I have to brace myself for it using one hand to hold my lip taut while pulling the strip with the other. The jaw/cheeks are nothing and indeed even enjoyable.

    June 29, 2020/Reply
    • MARY says:

      I always used to get breakouts when I would wax at home so I switched to Tinkle razors. I find that the results are just as good, plus there’s zero redness. I also use a retinoid so waxing is off the table anyway!

      June 29, 2020/Reply
  3. SARAH says:

    I have some upper lip hair and use

    It’s really quick and painless and doesn’t result in those bald shiny patches that waxing brings (at least for me). Unfortunately (or fortunately), it doesn’t get all the little tiny hairs, more like the big bristly ones.

    June 29, 2020/Reply
    • TheLOOP says:

      I use this too for upper lip as well as my chin area. Love it as it gets rid of hair that I can feel but not see.

      June 29, 2020/Reply
  4. BN says:

    Thank you! I have been wondering about the Flawless razor and debating buying it for a year now (thanks hormone changes after baby…).

    June 29, 2020/Reply
  5. Jess says:

    Team Tinkle here, probably on a recommendation from here a few years ago. I used to wax my face & lip, but always broke out so badly afterwards. I shave my face approximately every 2 weeks and I love that I can just do it whenever I want and not just when I have an appointment. No skin issues since switching!

    June 30, 2020/Reply
  6. Katel says:

    I’m trying to use the duality to my advantage – take a little more time with skin care and get used to what my own skin looks like. I went to the office for the first time in 3 months with WFH/weekend level makeup – sunscreen, concealer, mascara and cream blush. I will be hard pressed to go back to full foundation.

    June 30, 2020/Reply