Dark, thick upper-lip hair can be embarrassing and unsightly, but a hairless upper lip is easier to come by than you might think. A variety of options exist to remove stubborn upper-lip hair -- everything from waxing and strong creams to laser treatment and threading can do the job nicely. But not all hair-removal products are created equal: If you go the depilatory route, make sure the product states that it can take care of coarse or thick hair. If you see a professional for laser or electrolysis, it's important to find out how many visits are needed to wipe out a stubborn 'stache. The key is finding the right method for your budget, time and pain tolerance.
Seek Professional Help
Electrolysis is a permanent hair-removal option performed by a licensed technician who inserts a metal probe into the base of hair follicles and zaps them with an electrical current. Electrolysis is successful at permanently removing dark, thick upper-lip hair after several sessions, but it varies depending on hair thickness, hereditary factors and stress levels. Another option is having a board-certified dermatologist use a laser to vaporize the hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the process takes only a few minutes, but two to six treatments may be necessary. Any hair that grows back is generally lighter and finer.
Work the Wax
Waxing -- whether done with an at-home kit or by a board-certified cosmetologist -- temporarily pulls the hair out by the roots and generally lasts anywhere from two to four weeks. The wax is applied to the upper lip with an applicator in the direction of hair growth. After the skin is held taut, the strip is pulled off in the opposite direction. Try Parissa Strip Free Hot Wax or Nair Naturally Smooth Peach Melon Wax. In addition, it's a good idea to apply a hair-growth inhibitor, such as Completely Bare's Completely Smooth, before you wax to soften thick, coarse hair.
Think About Threading
Threading is a great option for small areas like the upper lip and eyebrows. A quick trip to your local threader can prove to be a great way to remove upper lip hair. Threading doesn't involve any chemicals, it's relatively inexpensive and you don't have to wait until your lip hair reaches a certain length before you make an appointment. This ancient Eastern technique is performed by twisting two cotton thread strands together and then catching each upper-lip hair in the thread. When this happens, it's then pulled or "threaded" out from the roots. The downside is that it isn't ouch-free like a depilatory and the results only last about two to three weeks.
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A board-certified dermatologist can prescribe a topical treatment featuring eflornithine, a cream that minimizes hair growth by blocking the hair-production enzyme. When used regularly, eflornithine can stop upper-lip hair growth from happening. The most common side effects include acne, ingrown hairs and itching. You can also dissolve upper-lip hair at the skin's surface with over-the-counter depilatories such as Nair Cream for Coarse Hair, Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo for Coarse Hair or Hair No More Advanced Hair Vanishing Creme. All promise to be suitable for thick, dark lip hair.
- Elle: Beauty Chat: Dr. Anna Bar on Getting Rid of Facial Hair for Good
- TheHairFacts.com: Hair Removal by Elecrolysis FAQS
- MedlinePlus: Eflornithine
- American Academy of Dermatology: Is Laser Hair Removal the Right Choice for You?
- Totalbeauty.com: The Dos and Don'ts of At-Home Waxing
- Sameera: Eyebrow Threading
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.