There comes a point in almost every woman's life when it's time to remove upper lip hair. Hair removal methods, even for the face, range from those that can be done at home to those that should be (or at least can be) performed by a professional.
Wax at home or leave it to the professionals. Letting a pro do it will cost more and take a bit more planning, but it may not hurt as much and could be more effective because they won't be afraid to work quickly and with confidence. It really boils down to personal preference and whether you feel comfortable trying it at home.
If you do want to experiment in your own bathroom before trying a salon, you can try an at-home kit like:
The BLISS Poetic Waxing Kit (under $25.00). This is for a set with three large spatulas, three small spatulas, an ingrown eliminating pad sample, a wax-filled cup, skin cleanser, and pre- and- post-waxing oil.
By contrast, each visit to a salon to have your upper lip waxed could cost between $10.00 and $20.00.
Tweezing is good if you have limited tools, don't want to leave the house, have skin that's too sensitive for waxing or depilatory creams, or don't have a lot of hair that needs to be removed. You can use this method at home with a pair of tweezers with slanted tips and a magnifying mirror.
Be sure to find a place with plenty of natural lighting so you can see all of the hairs. If you have a lot of hair to remove, you'll only want to resort to this method if none of the other ones are available because it could be a slow, painful process.
There's another at-home product that works like tweezing, but faster: The Tweezerman Smooth Finish Facial Hair Remover (around $20.00 at Ulta). Keep your skin taut and hold a handle of the remover with each hand with the flexible part arching up. Twist your wrists to roll the coil along the surface of your skin. This will grab several hairs at one time and have your upper lip (or whole face, if you choose) hair-free in no time.
Threading can be done at home, but you'll need to have patience with yourself as you learn (it could be a painful process). Many YouTube beauty experts like Lure by Luxie and Nisha Davdra (below) have excellent step-by-step videos on threading your own upper lip. If you prefer, you can always go to a salon that offers threading. Expect to pay between $5.00 and $20.00 per visit.
One of the best parts is the lack of irritation you're likely to experience. The thread doesn't pull on the skin the way wax can, so you're less likely to have as much swelling and redness. If you go the threading route regularly, it will hurt less and less each time.
Laser Hair Removal or Electrolysis
Here's another case where you have the choice between going to a pro and trying the DIY route. Whether you choose to have laser hair removal or electrolysis done in a spa, or you purchase a laser hair removal tool for at-home use, this is not an inexpensive option (though it can be permanent, so it may be worth it in the long run). Laser hair removal will work best on those with light skin and dark hair, but electrolysis can work on any hair and skin color combination.
Cost and Time Commitment
Not only are these a financial commitment, but they take time, too. Laser removal is faster than electrolysis but less likely to be permanent, and you'll need multiple sessions. You could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and need several sessions to ensure all of the hair is gone, depending on which treatment is best for you. One doctor weighed in at DermaNetwork.org and said that with a skilled practitioner, you should have 70 to 95 percent of upper lip and chin hair gone for good after about eight treatments, though some patients need more and others need fewer.
Most hair removal centers will allow you to go in for a consultation to determine which method is right for you and come up with a plan of attack, so there's no harm in checking it out if you're curious. It may be something you add to your "one day" list due to time and cost, but at least you'll know what your options are.
Is laser hair removal possible at home? Maybe. The Silk'n SensEpil Hair Removal Device (about $650.00) is an FDA approved at-home laser hair removal device. Again, this will be best for ladies with a big contrast between their skin and hair color. Ladies with dark skin could get burns or blisters from these devices, unfortunately.
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Want something easier on the skin than waxing, less complicated than threading it yourself, and faster than tweezers? An epilator could be your best method. Smaller styles, like the Emjoi EpiSlim+ E18 Women's Compact Electric Epilator (under $40.00 at Target) are designed for areas of the face. This model is like having 18 sets of tweezers at once (yes, it hurts like tweezing, but it doesn't take long).
When epilating, you'll have to let the hair get long enough for the tweezers to grab. You'll also have to do several sessions to get all of the hair since it all grows at different rates. Be sure to hold your skin taut as you work.
You may be thinking, "Shaving? My face?" but it's not as horrifying as it sounds. This is one of the quickest, easiest, and painless methods of hair removal. However, it's also one of the most short-lived since it's simply cutting the hair off at the surface of the skin instead of pulling it out at the root or damaging the follicle. If you choose to go this route, use a facial razor like the FT Shiseido brand (about $6.00 for three). If you're in a hurry or just don't feel like spending a lot of time on hair removal, this is perfect.
Hair removal creams designed for use on the face are another method you could use, though those with the most sensitive skin may wish to shy away from this one (or at least proceed with caution). Products like the Sally Hansen Creme Hair Remover Kit (less than $6.00) are designed to remove hair while protecting the skin from irritation. The whole process takes less than 20 minutes in the privacy of your own home.
Even if you don't have sensitive skin, don't jump right into it. Always do a test patch on your forearm first to check for allergies or other skin reactions. The test needs to be done 48 hours before you apply the cream to your upper lip.
Choosing the Right Method
Choosing the right method boils down to whether you want the convenience of an at-home product or prefer to let someone else do it, how much you can spend, how many sessions you want to endure, how long you want the hair removal to last, and skin sensitivity. Weigh the pros and cons of each method to narrow it down, then try a few different ones to decide which one you'd like to use regularly.