If you're finding yourself frustrated by excess facial hair, take a moment before reaching for that razor or tweezer set that just finished work on your brows. The hair-removal method you choose needs to be selected based on your skin type and facial-hair issues. Removing hair, whether from the root or the surface, will have an effect on how your skin looks and feels. Choose the best hair-removal method to smooth out your cheeks, and your complexion will thank you.
Dissolve with Depilatory Cream
Depilatory creams are the most painless option for facial-hair removal. A thin layer smoothed onto the face will dissolve hair at the surface. You will experience regrowth every one to two weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows, as the hair hasn't been removed from the root. After application, hair can be wiped away in under 10 minutes. Select a depilatory cream formulated for the face, as facial skin is more sensitive than body skin. Test it out on a patch of arm or leg hair before using it on your cheek, and if you experience any pain or discomfort, opt for a different cream. Use the cream on clean, dry skin at night, as skin may be a bit sensitive to cosmetics and the environment for a few hours after use.
Tweeze Them Away
Tweezing targets hair in groups of two and three, best suiting those with minimal hair-removal needs. Positioning yourself in front of a magnifying mirror with good lighting will help to give you a clear view of the root. Try soaking a cloth in warm water and gently patting the area with it to soften the hair. Skin below the hair should be pulled taut with one hand, while hair is removed in the direction of growth using a sharp set of tweezers. Hair can break off at, or just below, the surface of your skin with tweezing. It will need to be repeated once or twice a week depending on how quickly your hair grows.
Wax That Cheek
Waxing provides long-lasting hair removal, while requiring a bit of preparation. Skin should be exfoliated with a scrub the day before you wax to bring hair to the surface. Avoid waxing if you have sensitive skin, or if you use retinoids. Hair needs to be a minimum of 1/4 inch long for effective removal. Waxing can be done in a salon using a pot of wax and strips, but for at-home removal, an easier option is wax strips. Wax strips have wax intact, and need only be smoothed on to dry skin and ripped off in the opposite direction of hair growth. Always apply a soothing moisturizer afterward, using upwards circular motions to calm redness and irritation, and avoid sun exposure for 24 hours following the procedure.
Sugaring Is Softer
Sugaring is an alternative to waxing for those with sensitive skin due it's mild temperature and all-natural formula. A warm paste containing lemon juice, cane sugar and water is smoothed onto the skin and removed with cloth strips in the direction of hair growth. While waxing adheres to the entire top layer of skin, sugaring will only remove dead skin cells, helping to renew the surface in the process. It may require more than one application if you have coarse hair. Any residue can be wiped away with a damp cloth.
Threading removes the entire hair follicle without disturbing your skin. It creates the most long-lasting results and weakens the hair when done regularly, lessening future hair growth. Hair is also removed with precision, leaving fewer strays behind. While not damaging to the skin and suitable for all skin types, threading opens the pores, giving skin a mini facial in the process. If you have acne-prone skin, have the threader sweep a gentle antibacterial like witch hazel or tea tree oil over your cheeks afterward to prevent germs from being absorbed.
Shave and Shimmer
Shaving cuts hair above the surface of the skin, while requiring minimal preparation. It serves as a painless option when done carefully that lasts between one and three days before regrowth. It doesn't soften hair or prevent future growth, so it best suits those willing to shave regularly. Many men prefer shaving as it can be incorporated into their morning routine. Shaving after a shower when your pores are open and hair is softened yields smoother results. Exfoliating before shaving using a gentle scrub in an upward circular motion will remove dead skin cells and ingrown hairs. Always coat your skin in a shaving cream or gel suited to your skin type, and shave in the direction of hair growth to prevent razor burn. Pat a moisturizer containing licorice root or caffeine onto your cheeks afterward to reduce redness and soothe skin.
Celeigh O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, as well as degrees in fashion illustration/design, digital arts and certification in hair and makeup artistry. O'Neil was a frequent contributor to Toronto's "Dialog" newspaper and has worked as an instructional writer, creating lessons in fashion, art and English for students of all ages.