Advice: Length of Hair for Electrolysis Session

I would like to hear from others on what would be the right length of hair in order to properly treat.

I am currently shaving my face for electrolysis, but I prefer not to let the hair grow too long before a session. What would be the right amount of growth to properly treat in your opinion? Last week, I stop shaving 36 hours before (trust me, it grows pretty fast). The growth was about 1/10th to 1/8th of an inch; the hair slightly varies in size, depending on the area. But, as I explained in my other post, the substitute electrologist did not want to treat some areas, especially my chin, because she found the hair to be too short. Overall, she did an awful job, and I had a lot of scabbing, but they have healed for the most part.

Any thoughts?

Thank you in advance.

If your hairs lie more parallel to the skin, more length would be helpful. This would help avoid the need to lift the hairs from the skin - which could be more irritating. If they grow vertically out of the skin, then 1/8 of an inch would be plenty.

I do tell daily shavers that in the beginning, 24 hours of growth is usually enough. As we go on, it might be that 36 or more hours is needed.

I believe that the better magnification and lighting the electrologist has, the better to see you with, my dear.

…please do forgive my lame attempt at humor…


When I first started having work done on my face, I found out that I needed to stop shaving the treatment areas at least 36 hour in advance. Now this is closer to 48 hours on my upper lip. The hair I have left is finer and the regrowth that I am getting is also finer and slower growing.

Generally speaking, if the hair shaft is at least a 1/16" of an inch from the surface I can usually get them to come out with no problem. However, especially on the upper lip, I have seen some hairs that act like a gopher popping back into it’s hole when I treat them. This usually involves less than 1/32 of an inch of retraction so I am still able to get to them, especially if I use the Oc type of tweezers.

That seems to be the only concern that I have in this area. If your hairs are at least 1/16 of an inch, your electrologist is using good magnification and adequate lighting and has a good pair of tweezers, there really shouldn’t be much in the way of problems.


If you can feel the hairs, they can be worked on. All we need is to be able to grasp the hair with our forceps. This shouldn’t even be a challenge for a skilled electrologist with good tools.

Have you gone for many consultations or sample treatments?

I remember one case where a female client of mine would shave her chin in the morning before work and by the time she saw me around 4pm that same day, there was just enough growth for a a professional pair of forceps to grasp the slightest amount of hair poking out. As the other professionals have said, one can shave and a practitioner using quality magnification can still see and grasp the growing hair well before 3 days of growth. If a practitioner does not have good seeing tools, the hair may have to be longer (1/8" - 1/4") for one to see and treat. Perhaps you had a lot of scabbing because she was guessing at where to insert the probe??? The substitute electrologist probably was having difficulty seeing if she didn’t treat your chin.

Do you recall what kind of magnification apparatus she used?
A circle lamp? Glasses that looks like what surgeons wear? Both?

If your hair grows very fast, shaving 36 hours before is not needed. Twenty-four hours would be okay, only if the electrologist can see well.


Thank you for your responses.

Barbara - I was actually thinking about the direction of the hair growth, parallel or vertical, and adequate treatment. The hair on my chin grows for the most part vertically. I thought a reason for her difficulty to treat my chin was that it grows straight out. I thought that it would be easier to treat parallel hairs because it would be easier to determine the position of the follicle. I was mistaken <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

Arlene - I recently bought a 5 hour package. I felt comfortable with the initial electrologist that worked on my face. I am going to my 4th treatment on Wednesday. The last time I went I had to reschedule, but the electrologist took the day off. So I opt to go with the other electrologist on duty. But, never again. I will stay with my initial electrologist.

dfahey - I recall her using only the circle lamp and nothing else.

Thanks again for your replies!