Question: Removing Facial Hair

A reader asks…

Even freshly shaved, it’s obvious that I have the ability to grow facial hair. And with that comes being called “he” and “sir”. Any Tips for shaving the face?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on June 24th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 17 comments »

17 Responses to “Question: Removing Facial Hair”

  1. Jen Lillie

    I’m sorry to say, but probably only electrolysis or laser is the only viable option. You just can’t get a close enough shave with a razor. Makeup helps but even still..


  2. gem

    i lasered for 8 years and had minimal results. i’ve been electrolysising for the past 5 months with fantastic results. everyone is different though.


  3. Mym

    I have quite dark brown hair and am pale to the point of translucency; before I got my face lasered I always had 5 o’clock shadow, because my follicles would show right through my skin.

    There’s a kind of makeup you can get called ‘beard cover’ (Ben Nye’s Five O’ Sharp, for example) which is basically a concealer that’s tinted to counteract your shadow. Generally you’d use it under your foundation… but that ends up with more makeup than I like to deal with. Permanent hair removal is the long-term solution, and I’m *so happy* with how it’s worked for me.


  4. RedRightAnkle

    I’m not really sure there’s anything special you can do shaving-wise. I used to have the same problem back when I used to shave my body hair, I have very dark hair and very light skin and no matter how close the shave, none of the tips and tricks (cold water, trying different blades, special gels, shaving with or against the grain, before or after showering, moisturizing) ever worked for me. Even when I was completely smooth you could always see the hair under the surface ready to grow back. Short of waxing or electrolysis I’m not sure there’s much to do about it.

    BUT, when it comes to facial hair, if you’re not opposed to makeup and have the money, invest in some good concealer and foundation. If the regular drug store stuff isn’t cutting it for you, check out Kryolan’s TV Paint Stick, it’s the stuff makeup artists in the entertainment industry use to cover up tattoos and the like, and is something my friends in drag rave about when it comes to the facial hair department. It gives you a smooth even base to apply makeup to. It’s not the cheapest, but it comes in 100+ shades and you can get it online for around $15-20.


  5. gk

    If you aren’t looking for something permanent, then perhaps hair-removal cream?


  6. Samantha

    Beyond permanent removal with electrolysis or short term removal by waxing or something like that (could be very painful and bloody as I found out when I attempted to use an epilator on my face), the only solution is to cover it up with makeup. I’ve have been doing this a bit and for my level of beard shadow, using a lot of concealer (drug store kind so a higher quality one would do better) manages to mask the individual hair roots but leaves the whole area where my beard is noticeably darker even after I go over my face with foundation and powder after that.

    This isn’t so bad except that right at the boundary of where one grows their beard, there is a transition from light to dark that is quite visible and makes it obvious one has a beard shadow. I just recently found a trick that removes that line and makes an even transition so that the darkening is much harder to notice and much easier to attribute to normal gradients in pigmentation. I use two concealers. One is matched to my skin color and my foundation and all the other stuff. The other one is a redder version of the same one. I use the redder one over my beard shadow putting it only where the beard shadow is. Then, I blended it across the boundary a ways making sure the amount deposited decreased slowly and smoothly going further away from the beard shadow. Then, I took the normal concealer (one matched to my skin) and applied it surrounding the beard shadow a bit past where the redder concealer was put but not on the redder concealer. Then, I blended it the same way but towards the beard shadow making sure to blend it a bit past the beard boundary line.

    Once covered up with foundation and powder, the line was not noticeable at all and the darkening was very gradual and not noticeable. The darker the beard shadow, the more red the redder concealer has to be. If one can’t find one red enough to do the job, then more advanced methods would have to be used.


  7. Nicholas

    If you’re anything like me, you’ll use makeup, decide you’re not the kind of person who wants to be remembered for wearing heavy makeup, transition to light makeup (concealer and mineral makeup? yes!), and parade into the women’s bathroom with radiant skin. I’m proud of my skin, and covering it up with makeup seems more wrong than having people see my beard up close. I’m sure people think of me as an unfortunate case of a bearded woman anyway. :)


  8. Leslie

    I have a full ‘stache and super sensitive skin. I shave very, very closely (it takes some practice and time) but still end up with a bright red, irritated mark. I’ve found in this case that even though there will be a little more texture around my mouth, if you moisturize, moisturize, moisturize (be generous!) your skin will smooth out a bit.

    Also, I agree with Nicholas — the lighter the makeup, the better. I use just a dab of concealer blended through with my foundation. Also, a bit of blush will draw the eyes up the face and away from the jaw line (a plus if you have a very square jaw and need to soften it).

    I’ve found that the more I look like I’m hiding something, the more noticeable it becomes. So I just focus on highlighting my femaleness and fewer people will notice the maleness.


  9. Samantha

    Nicholas and Leslie, thank you for the comments. They have given me some ideas. My makeup is obviously very heavy and I’ve been trying reduce it (I don’t like having to wear heavy makeup – it consumes a lot of time, makes it impossible to present as the tomboy I am, I don’t like having stuff on my face, etc.) but have been very afraid to do it/not sure how to do it. It is reassuring to know that it can be reduced and there are ways to still make the beard not too noticeable and/or make people see me as a bearded woman (I wouldn’t mind my beard as much if it didn’t lead to being misgendered, but I would still want to get rid of it).


    Leslie replied:

    You’re welcome! RE: lightening your makeup regimen, I’ve found that a tinted moisturizer instead of a heavy foundation does wonders. Pair that with a dab of concealer, a little powder blush (esp. in winter) and some mascara, and you’re good to go. Good luck!


    Samantha replied:

    The tinted moisturizer idea sounds like something I might try. The one issue is that I have patches of very oily skin that make for fun times keeping makeup on.

    I also wonder if using a hair remover like nair or something like that on my face would remove my hairs deep enough under the skin that I would only need a light foundation to cover it up, nothing more.


  10. Raien

    I’m wondering if something like Magic Hair Remover would work. I know several men who use it on their genitals, and it’s made for hair on the top of the head, plus the online reviews suggest it works on women’s public hair quite well and is gentle- a possibility?


  11. Anonymous

    I use Moom, a sugaring hair remover. It’s like waxing but easier and better for your skin. For me, it’s thinned out my body hair after relatively few uses. There’s a “for men” version that’s made for male body hair, so you might want to buy that instead of the regular version at first. You have to grow your facial hair until it’s long enough to sugar off, but when you do it grows back finer and slower.


  12. Pamcakes

    Depilatory cream dissolves hair below the surface of the skin, and thus may go a long way towards reducing your immediate shadow.
    You’ll need to find one safe to use on the face, but that’s not hard; plenty are rated for moustaches and such.
    Also, NADS hair remover gel, or wax (both work on the ‘stripping’ principle) will work, but given all the extra nerves in the face, it may not be worth the pain involved – and you might need to deal with angry red bumps for a day or so afterwards. The good news is that over time, due to trauma to the hair follicles, your regrowth will be considerably finer, but the amount of applications required before this effect becomes noticable varies from person to person.
    I understand colour corrective creams can do something towards hiding beardy chin tint; ask at your local cosmetics counter, if you feel able.



  13. Elissa Marcelle

    I would just be very cautious about using any kind of removal cream on your face because if something goes wrong, at best it would look like you got a bad sun burn, at worst you could have permanent scarring. I don’t have any personal experience, but I had it recommended to me by a friend to avoid everything except shaving so that when I would be able to afford electrolysis the follicles would be at their best because things like plucking, waxing, and creams can damage them and make true removal harder.


    Pamcakes replied:

    Yep, and that’s why you get one (a depilatory cream) designed for facial use, and patch test it on the inside of your elbow or back of your knee first.



  14. Anonymous

    There is a large number of videos on youtube that go over traditional “wet shaving” with a single bladed razor. While maybe not all relevant, they usually talk about heating up the face with a towel or shower to open up the pores to allow a closer shave.

    It’s worth taking a look at these for how-to’s and just a run-down on the kind of shaving materials you can find outside the grocery store.

    I’m a fan of the diddy that goes along with this shaving video:


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