It’s never a good moment when, as a woman, you notice those first ‘tache hairs cropping up on your upper lip. If you’re not comfortable with letting them sprout freely and, let’s face it, not many of us are, it can be a pain getting rid of them. Not only is the upper lip a delicate area, if anything goes wrong with your hair removal technique, you’re left with the evidence smack bang in the middle of your face. You may not love your furry upper lip, but a red raw, scarred or scabby upper lip has got to be worse! So how’s best to tackle those unwanted upper lip hairs? Let’s take a look at the options.
Quick, cheap and simple, shaving works for some, but the stubble it leaves means that it’s not a hair removal method I’d turn to for the upper lip. While it is a myth that shaving makes hairs grow back thicker than before (the shaved ends are just more blunt) the thought of giving scratchy kisses doesn’t appeal.
Great for eyebrows, tweezing can be an easy way to whip off the odd pesky hair, though the risk of ingrown hairs and infected hair follicles means that tweezing isn’t generally recommended for banishing those upper lip hairs.
Hair removal creams
Using hair removal cream can be a great way to keep your upper lip silky smooth. Creams are generally pretty effective though, annoyingly, they don’t always manage to get rid of coarser hairs. The chemicals used in these depilatory creams can also irritate sensitive skin, so always do a patch test somewhere a little more discrete before slapping your chosen cream onto your face, to save any potential embarrassment. The results can last a little bit longer than shaving, though you’re probably still going to have to re-apply it fairly regularly to keep those hairs at bay, and re-growth can be a wee bit prickly.
Make sure you choose a hair removal cream that’s been formulated for use on the face and upper lip. Avon’s Skin So Soft Fresh & Smooth Facial Hair Removal Cream has had some great reviews – it’s gentle and works well, though doesn’t win any points for its somewhat unappealing smell.
If you want a longer lasting method for upper lip hair removal, waxing has got to be one of the most popular choices. It’s a quick, very effective and relatively inexpensive way to get rid of those problem hairs. Whether you go to a salon or have a bash at home, it only takes a matter of moments to whip away those upper lip hairs, but remember that waxing can irritate skin so you might want to wax before bed so that any redness has a chance to fade away before you face your adoring public. Your hairs also need to be a certain length for effective waxing, so you will need to give those ‘tache hairs a bit of growing time between waxing sessions.
Home waxing can make this upper lip hair removal method particularly cost effective, just remember to practice somewhere a little less sensitive first if you’re new to waxing, and get your technique right to make sure you capture every last one of those rogue hairs.
Threading is an ancient hair removal technique that pulls hairs from the root and is popular as a gentler alternative to waxing for the upper lip. As with waxing, your upper lip should stay smooth for weeks after each session, making it a fantastic long lasting option.
While you can head to specialist salons to have someone thread your upper lip to perfection, there are now inexpensive ‘threading’ gadgets like the Epicare on the market that claim to work in the same way, allowing you to quickly and easily thread your own upper lip in the comfort of your own home. They’re basically flexible, tight metal coils that you rest on your problem hairy areas. As you gently twist it, the hairs are trapped and plucked out. The Epicare has actually had enough glowing reviews that I’m planning on giving one a go to see how I get on with it. I shall report back!
Electrolysis is the only method that can claim it can give permanent hair removal results, rather than just offering permanent hair reduction. A needle is inserted into each individual hair follicle, and an electric current is then sent down it, zapping and permanently destroying the follicle – brilliant!
Being able to permanently remove hated hairs from your upper lip can be truly fantastic if you’ve been finding hair removal a battle but, as you can imagine, this procedure is invasive, painful and slow. Guess what, it ain’t cheap either! Although its precise nature makes it a great method for removing upper lip hairs, even on such a small area you’ll need a number of electrolysis sessions to zap them all – the exact amount will vary depending on how coarse your hairs are and how thick the growth is.
I know it sounds obvious, but please always make sure you do your research properly and find a qualified and skilled technician before agreeing to treatment. They should draw up a treatment schedule for you so that you know exactly how many sessions will be needed to leave your upper lip gloriously smooth – if you’re still going back trying to beat that ‘tache many months or even years later, it’s time to question exactly what your technician has been doing in those sessions!
Also, do check that they’re going to be using the needle technique – while electric tweezing, where an electric current is sent down the tweezers as they pluck, is sometimes referred to as electrolysis, this method hasn’t been proven to remove hairs permanently.
Laser hair removal
Yes, it’s the (relatively) new kid on the hair removal block – laser hair removal for the upper lip is becoming increasingly popular and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike electrolysis, lasers are able to treat multiple hairs in one go, making it, thankfully, a much quicker procedure. Although it can’t promise to banish the hairs permanently, you should see a permanent reduction in hair in the treated area over time.
How does it work? The laser energy is absorbed by the pigment within the hair, destroying it, but this means that the technique works at its best if you have pale skin and dark hair. Lighter hairs, without as much pigment, don’t absorb as much of the laser energy, so can remain stubbornly attached, while if you’ve got darker skin, the extra pigmentation means that there’s a higher risk of the skin itself absorbing the laser and suffering damage.
While there’s no doubt that upper lip laser hair removal can be effective, you need to be aware of potential side effects like skin discoloration and, in extreme cases, scarring. Making sure you go to a fully qualified technician who knows their stuff and uses the right type of laser for your skin type can go a long way to minimising any risks.
So how much is laser hair removal for the upper lip? Expect to pay around $50 – $100 per treatment, and you may need up to five or so treatments to get the results you’re after. Not cheap, but potentially a worthwhile investment.
With a whole host of upper lip hair removal techniques out there, it’s down to you to experiment to find the one that works best for you. If you can afford it, lasering and electrolysis can give fantastic results, but more cheap and cheerful methods like waxing can still give you a beautifully smooth upper lip for a good few weeks.