Facial hair removal: the pros and cons of popular methods

Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of popular facial hair removal methods. Here's how to choose one that's right for you. Getty Images

Methods of removing facial hair have been around for decades, and with the surge of new tools and technologies, beauty experts say it’s even easier to get rid of fuzz.

While shaving may not have been recommended in the past, some beauty bloggers have encouraged more women to use this option. Kristen Ma, co-owner of Pure + Simple Beauty and author of Beauty, Pure and Simple, says there has been a shift in how women in particular treat hair.

“What’s really great is some people are starting to embrace themselves and their ‘imperfections’ and [they] love the skin they’re in,” she tells Global News, adding for many, especially women who have dealt with an excess amount of body hair and facial hair, it may have been seen as embarrassing in the past.

READ MORE: 6 mistakes people make when they wash their face

And although women may get judged for letting their upper lip hair, side-burns or eyebrows grow out, Ma says there is also a movement of clients who are more alert. “They are hyper-aware of every single hair,” she continues. “We have so many more tools and machines in this industry in the last 20 years, [and] many medical advancements in beauty … and clients are demanding more standards for their skin.”
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Dermaplaning has also gained popularity in the last few years. Ma (who doesn’t offer the service at her business), says dermaplaning involves using a scalpel to remove dead skin and peach fuzz.

Avenue Skin Care, a clinic that performs the procedure in Toronto, adds dermaplaning removes outer layers of dead skin and leaves the skin looking smooth. The clinic adds the procedure doesn’t hurt (think of a tool scraping the skin) and hair doesn’t grow back coarse.

“The purpose is for rejuvenation because of increased blood circulation and collagen,” Ma says.

And while this may be considered a “newer” way to remove facial hair, experts below break down the pros and cons of some of the more popular methods.


PROS: Jessie Frampton, co-founder of Fuzz Wax Bar, says waxing is not only one the more popular methods for facial hair removal, but it’s quick and removes hair from the root. Cream-based waxes pull out the hair, rather than the skin, almost like a suction, she says.

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Frampton adds waxing will also delay hair growth (for up to four weeks for some) and hair will grow back finer.

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CONS: Ma adds while it can be painful for some, others can react to hot wax. This can lead to burning, irritation or even ingrown hairs.


PROS: Ma says shaving is the easy alternative for facial hair removal because it’s cheap, accessible and takes very little time.

CONS: However, she says shaving can lead to irritation, ingrown hairs or coarse stubble-like hair along the jawline. Madeleine Chalhoub of La Lune Medi Spa in Toronto tells Global News we should avoid shaving our face.

READ MORE: Long list of violations at Edmonton waxing salons

“Shaving your face, or any area of your body for that matter, causes more hair to grow back, and when it does it is usually more coarse. I do not recommend it,” Chalhoub  says.

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PROS: “There is nothing applied to the face or skin, so if you have sensitive skin then this is the best option for you,” Chalhoub adds. Threading can be inexpensive and leave eyebrows, for example, looking very polished and precise, Ma adds.

CONS: But Ma says threading, especially if you are threading your face, can take longer than waxing or shaving. And for many, it is a painful process.

Laser hair removal

PROS: Chalhoub says the biggest pro for laser hair removal is how long the results last. Ma says if you are thinking about laser, you should also consider possible hormone fluctuations before committing to a treatment — hair tends to grow back when women are pregnant, for example.

CONS: “Skin type is a huge factor in seeing if you are a candidate for laser and it doesn’t work for everyone. Also, if experiencing any hormonal imbalances, this can effect hair growth. Your health is a huge factor in the effectiveness of this treatment,” Chalhoub says.

READ MORE: Woman stops shaving to embrace ‘natural beauty,’ but body hair is still taboo

On top of being an expensive and ritual type of procedure (it can take weeks for the change to kick in), Ma says it also doesn’t always work well on women with dark skin tones and dark hair.

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“When you have a dark skin tone is absorbs that light much more, increasing the risk of getting burned.” She says if you have dark skin and dark hair, seek a specialist who an expert in this area. You may also need to have more sessions to see results.


PROS: It’s inexpensive, quick and painless, Ma says, but she doesn’t recommend this method for the face, and definitely not for someone with sensitive skin.

CONS: “Removal creams although are an efficient way of removing hair, can sometimes cause a skin reaction including itchiness, burning, and sometimes hives,” Chalhoub says, adding these products are also made with chemicals that are used to dissolve hair.

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