Awful facial hair shaving habit!

I have been shaving my facial hair since I was in high school out of sheer embarrassment of course. I tried the bleaching thing and it was just too thick. You know those emotional teenage years for us girls… Well it’s a habit I began and seriously regret after 13 years. The facial hair is now very dark (pretty much black- but all my body hair has always been, even though my head of hair is rather light, thanks to genetics!) and terribly coarse. I tried growing it out so I could wax it, but the waiting was just too painful to go through. I let it grow for several days, and even if I bleached it, it was so obviously there. It’s really mortifying.

It’s fine as a very temporary solution…but I end up having a shadow at least 8 hours later. It’s really awful. I’m thinking of trying Vaniqa and staying with my shaving method. I honestly can not imagine dealing with the embarrassment of making my hair grow long enough for waxing or electrolysis.

If only I’d have listen to my mom and sisters when they told me not to do it. It is my most embarrassing habit and one I never admit to anyone…although I’m sure people notice when the shadow comes in.

Anyone else a slave to this habit? Or does anyone have any advice? Thank you.


Been there, done that! I know exactly what you mean. I never use ANY hair removal method that requires the hair to grow first because I also have it on my face … so I too went through the shaving period. Yours lasts 8 hours? You’re lucky! When I did it, it lasted about 4!! :smile:

I know Andrea’s gonna have a great response for you, so listen to her - not me. :smile: But here are my first thoughts. Andrea, please correct me! But here goes:

  1. I believe it’s a myth that shaving made your hair darker. I hope it makes you feel better to know that! I don’t think you actually caused any permanent bad effects from shaving it all these years. I think it’s just darker because that’s how it is - it would’ve gotten that way anyhow.

  2. This is just me, OK? But … I wouldn’t let it grow out for waxing. The reason? Because first of all, you have to let it grow out, which is ridiculous on the face. And then my personal exprerience … waxing didn’t even get all the hair! Not even close! So it was a lot of horrible waiting, for nothing.

  3. I BELIEVE (Andrea should correct me!) But I BELIEVE you do NOT have to let the hair grow for electrolysis. I believe all they need to do is stick the probe in the follicle, and that the hair length makes no difference. So I think that might be a good idea! I’m trying the do-it-at-home electrolysis right now. But it’s really hard, so if you can afford it - go for the pro!!!

  4. If you can’t afford electrolysis, this might be advice I shouldn’t be giving, but … I honestly found that the best transition away from shaving was to buy those cheap “friction gloves” that you rub in circles to remove hair. Some of them say “don’t use on face”, which is why I maybe shouldn’t be giving this advice. :smile: But I used them VERY VERY GENTLY on my face, and while it’s not a long-term or permanent method, it’s a good way to get out of the shaving habit, or at least it was for me, because it wipes up STUBBLE. And it’s easy, and it’s thorough, and it’s cheap. You can look under “friction” in the hair removal forums to learn more, I think.

That would be my advice! I’m no kind of professional anything though. But I think we have similar problems! Try friction.

Anonymous beat me to the great answer!

The only things I’d add:

You have to let the hair grow a little before electrolysis. They need to see the direction the hair grows in order to make a good insertion. The woman I went to can find the direction if it’s long enough that you can feel it above the skin (which isn’t very long).

Most hair removal mitts recommend not using it on the face. Anonymous and others have had some luck with this, but I would not do it unless you have a lot of experience using these mitts on other parts of your body without problems. If done with too much force, these mitts can cause abrasions that look like rash, rugburn or worse. You definitely don’t want that on your face!

I don’t recommend doing friction mitts on your face, but if you decide to try it, take your time and be gentle! Err on the side of caution and gradually work your way up with more pressure.

i get those annoying shadows too but it wasnt very bad before in fact, in wasnt even that noticeable, but i started shaving it because i started using the biore moisturizer stuff and it said that it worked better on recurring hair. but now i have a really bad shadow there that looks worse than it did before. what can i do? how bout that brush on hair removal…does that work?

chicchic133, depilatories like the brush-on you mentioned won’t solve the problem of shadow, which is caused by dark hair just under the skin.

I just posted a longer list of your options here.

[ July 11, 2002, 07:33 AM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

Hi all,i just found this site and after reading some of the messages im so pleased i found it.
I have had the problem of having facial hair for around 8 years now.I have pcos,but my problem started with just a few stray hairs on my neck,so i thought hey ill just pluck them out,but then i kept getting spots there,so like an idiot i shaved it as i thought it would be quick and easy :frowning: well now 8 years on i have to shave everyday around the bottom of my jaw line,and down my neck at the sides,i have to do this everyday now and doing this and having this problem had completely changed my life.I dont go out,i hate to be around others incase they notice my shadows,it has stopped me from doing so many things.My husband is very supportive but if he tries to put his hands on my face or kiss my face or neck i push him away.I dont know what to do,id love to have the money to have laser but i just cant affird that treatment.Having this has made me depressed and suicidel at times,i feel ashamed.Does anyone else feel this way?
Josie x

Dear josie-- I’m so glad you found the forum, too!

I know how it feels to be embarrassed about unwanted facial hair, but there are millions of women with the same issue! Each of us has different issues and ways to deal with it.

You mentioned that money is an issue. Since shaving is the most temporary of all the methods, and it doesn’t help with dark hair just below the skin’s surface, I suggest epilating, or removing hair root and all.

You have several temporary options like plucking, rotary epilators, and waxing. As you note, these can cause skin problems, so you might want to take a look at some of the tips here and on hairfacts for more info.

You might talk with your doctor about antiandrogens and the prescription drug Vaniqa, both of which can sometimes help women with PCOS. I don’t know if you’re on Metformin, but perhaps a change in that can help. Other women have had significant improvement from weight loss (not always easy wioth PCOS).

If you want a permanent option, there’s laser and electrolsyis, which as you note can be expensive. If you do get the money, go to someone recommended by a consumer who’s done and happy.

Another option is home electrolysis. I do not recommend this, but for some who are short on money, they feel it is their best option. Even though I don’t recommend it, especially for tough face hair caused by PCOS, you should read up on it and see what you think.

Finally, I always get upset when readers say that they get depressed or suicidal over unwanted hair. I have been there myself, and I can tell you there are solutions. It may take longer for some of us than others to find the method that’s right for us, but now that my facial hair is under control, I am definitely more confident and happier. I know that sounds silly, but it really did affect me, even though I’ve had a lot of success in my life in many areas.

If you ever feel that upset, the worst thing you can do is turn inward, rather than reaching out to those who can help you. Your husband sounds like a wonderful man. Maybe if you let him know how this makes you feel, you can work together to budget for treatments. At the very least, you can always post here, and lots of folks will be happy to offer whatever advice and support we can.

Again, I’m so glad you found us here on our fuzzy corner of the web, and let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help! :smile:

Hi thanks so much for the reply and for getting back to me so soon.I want to try and get the laser done although i know it will be quiet awhile before i can have the money for it.
Yes it gets me down so much and i panic about it and think silly things like,say my child gets sick in the night and i have to go to the hospital,what do i do,go with a beard and die of embbarassment or shave before i go.God it is such a horrible thing to have to live with thats for sure.
Thankyou for youre help and i look forward to chatting to others with the same problem,kind regards josie (by the way im in england)

Josie, have just read your comments and felt like i was looking into a mirror. I know exactly how you feel, i get so depressed i know i always have a shadow which i hate so very much. My husband is great and knows how sensitive i am about it, but still kindly tells me ‘to do my face’ Am doing it every day now, it gets red and sore and some moisture creams just make it worse. I do pull away from him as i feel so embarrassed and ashamed, i canfeel the prickly bits even a hour or so after shaving.
Have tried other methods but either far to expensive or just dont work. Tried lazer but the pain was terrible although meant to be pain free.
All i can say is perserve with good shaving gel and buy sensitive razors,have found that best so far but open to suggestions.
PS know what you mean about having to go anyway in an emergency, ihad to go into hospital recently and knew i would be ok for one day if i did face in morning before i went, but made husband promise he would do it for me when he visited that night, even packed a small ‘kit’ he could bring with him and do with curtains round bed so no one would see.

Josie and Erica I sympathize with you. I am an electrologist and I see your situations all the time. I have a guy right now who’s having his back done that has no self esteem at all. He is getting better tho. I told him hold your head up high. Most people look thru the hair and see the real you. However,there is help for you. If you know of an electrolysis school near by they will give you discounted prices with students working on you. And check out some of the electrolysis establishments I have found out that people think it is way way out of their budget but once they have realized it is anywhere from $40 an hour (for pemanent hair removal with electrolysis) and up (depending on where you live)they feel they really can set aside that amount and do something for themselves. Another case history I had a lady coming to me with a full mans beard who came in every 2 weeks as she could afford. After 3 months she held her head high and walked out of my office with pride. When she started she hid behind a scarf. My point is PLEASE PLEASE check out having electrolysis done. You will feel good about yourself and be proud!! I also feel it important to check out the electrologist you do find and Andrea has some good pointers here on this web site. Look for the C.P.E. Associations the person belongs to. Ask for references. Hope I have helped you a little bit. Good Luck!

Another facial hair person here – living with it for 25 years.

  1. Always carry a razor – sneak off to the ladies room in the middle of the day, and secretly, behind closed doors, do a dry shave (ouch) but it keeps the shadow down. Put a little more make-up on, and whala, ready for the second half of the day. I’m happy I started shaving because it gave me some control. Before that I didn’t have much control.

  2. Every Saturday morning I would pluck every dark hair I could find – which also kept the shadow down, but very time consuming (an hour) and always screwed up my weekend. I used a mirror with 7X’s magnification, with a very bright light pointed at my face. I would sneak down to the basement and pluck away. I never wanted my husband to know – although I’m sure he knew, but was the perfect gentleman and never mentioned it.

  3. I had my first laser treatment ($300.00) with GentleLase (sp?) and I can honestly say I am very, very happy after 4 weeks – very little stubble - only a dozen or so hairs left. It worked that well, and I can’t believe it. I would estimate that about 80% of the DARK hair is gone (I don’t care about the light hair – to me, light hair is normal). If I could only afford 1 treatment, I would still do it and be happy to have it. I was the skeptic – assuming I was just another lab rat. BUT, I can touch my face and it feels sooo smooth – like I just plucked it. I shave every two or three days right now, but it’s still relatively smooth when I shave (old habit?). I’m always touching my face and smiling, no more touching it and running to the ladies room. I was very unhappy with the hundreds of hairs, and the black stubble that was constantly haunting me. I’m one lucky, and very happy lab rat… at this point anyway. I’ll let you know in 6 months if I’m still this happy – could still grow back – I’m still the skeptic :smile:

  4. I KNOW when MY hair is actively growing – right before I ovulate (hormones must trigger my growth). If you pluck every Saturday for years, you know when your hair is most active. I planned my first laser treatment to be performed during this time (a week before ovulation). I believe (so it’s a case study, not empirical evidence) that my timing may have contributed to my unusual success. Also, I knew that my hormones were/are in the normal range – lots of expensive tests confirmed that (insurance pays). Plus, I have light skin (type II on the scale that the CME gave me) and dark hair on my face. I’m lucky in that respect too, but very happy to be lucky, and very happy to be almost hair free (on my face anyway).

  5. I am experiencing a pigment change on my skin, they look like little freckles, but it looks just fine. It doesn’t bother me at all. Freckles look normal to me – black hair doesn’t. If freckles (pigment changes) are the trade-off for smooth skin, I’ll take it in a heart beat and never look back with an ounce of regret. I’m sick of embarassing black hair that sends me to the ladies room with a razor, and to the basement with tweezers.

I am so happy I found this message board. I have been so depressed lately about my facial hair. I look at pictures before I had this problem and I cry. I used to be very confident of myself and I felt pretty. Now I am always on edge that people are looking at my chin. I shave and pluck and my chin looks awful. I have razor bumps, acne and scars on my chin. I have scars and one small nasty scab under my chin that will not go away. The hair seems to grow back faster and faster each time. I am an African American woman, with medium brown skin and with the dark corse hair on my chin and the scars that will not fade away I feel miserable. I have heard that Lasor is not good for darker skin, it causes scarring. Does someone have any ideas? I am a 32 year old wife and mother of 3 small children and this problem consumes alot of my time. I am in Dallas, Texas if anyone knows of a doctor/clinic anything that can help me.

Thanks for the post, LabRat! Keep us updated on your progress! :wink:

Froggy, laser is generally not recommend for darker skin tones. If you do not get keloids, you might consider electrolysis. It will take many sessions and six months or more to see major progress, but if you go to someone really good with experience treating African-American women, you should be fine. plucking is not a good idea for you, since your hairs are probably a but curly and more prone to ingrown. You might also find a product called Tend Skin can help clear up the mess cause by plucking. Many African-Americans find it to be a major face-saver. It’s really expensive, but worth it. I use it myself.

I am always so relieved to hear about other people’s experiences, but also saddened, that others have to go through this…some women complain about the “stray hair that needs plucking” and I want to weep–one stray hair! How lucky! I have been on oral meds for over a year after having my blood examined by an endocrinologist…not really helping–or maybe it is and it would be MUCH worse by now if I was not taking them. I have found some relief from Vanquia, but I am very depressed and sometimes it is too much to do this simple thing twice daily. I am saving for electrolysis, but even that seems like an overwhelming endevor…but I am thankful that there may be some relief. I have been shaving for some time and like the others here don’t want anyone to look at or touch my face. I carry a razor with me wherever I go and am aware of standing in bright light when anyone is too close. I am so thankful for this site, I look at it almost every day for support–who else would understand this??? My worst fear is to end up in the hospital and wake up days or weeks later with a full beard and sideburns…

tess, one thing that heklped me a lot was remembering not to lean into the mirror too much while scrutinizing my face. Most people will be at least two feet away from you at all times, usually more. Look at yourself from that distance-- put your hand flat on the mirror and stretch your arm out. That’s how most people see you when they are talking to you. As you can see, from that distance, it’s hard to see any hairs.

As for your fear about the hospital, we both know it’s a little irrational, but maybe this will help. I can assure you that if you woke up after two weeks, you will be happy to be alive, and facial hair will probably be the least of your worries. You would have just survived something that would put facial hair in a whole new perspective! :smile:

I’m glad you find support here. I know how tough it is to deal with facial hair, and how even if you know your concerns are largely in your own head, they are still real. If you think you spend too much time worrying about it, you might consider talking to someone. A lot of us with body image issues can benefit from a therapist who can help us take a step back and understand when we are getting obsessive. They can also help you take positive steps towards dealing with it and improving your self-esteem. Just a thought, since I found it helpful! :smile:

Another thing that might make you feel better is this – the facial hair all grown in might not be as bad as you imagine.

Those of us who remove facial hair constantly (In my case, sideburns) - feel so overwhelmed by how much hair there is to remove and how bad it looks when it just starts to peek out … how awful and thick it feels under the hands as stubble … that we may actually exaggerate in our minds the amount of hair.

I HONESTLY thought I had a full man’s sideburns. I really did. If you felt the stubble I get there … you might think the same. At that stage, it FEELS REALLY FULL. Close up, in the mirror, all those little dark dots look really full too. I thought for sure I would have a full face of sideburns if I ever let them grow.

But tell the truth :smile:

Finally, I decided to try a method that required me to REALLY let the hair grow out first. And I have to tell you … it was the first time I’d ever allowed that … and it turns out - it’s not a full set of sideburns like a man’s. It’s a lot of hairs - and they look ugly. But if you saw me like that, it turns out, you’d think, “Hmmm. Maybe that woman should remove those hairs. They look bad.” NOT what I thought you’d say which was, “Good god! She’s secretly a MAN!!” :smile:

It just wasn’t as bad as all these years I’d imagined it was.

So here’s an idea. If you have a week when you’re gonna be alone and not gonna go to work - let it grow all the way out. Just for curiosity. You THINK you know what this will look like. But I betcha you don’t! I betcha it’s just a tiny bit less bad than you think.

Maybe if you see it - completely grown out - and see that it’s just kinda “not too good-looking” but not FREAKISH and SCARY - maybe you won’t have to worry about the hospital thing anymore :smile: And maybe it’ll help you feel calmer about the whole thing. Maybe! At least, I HOPE that advice will help! I think I feel just a teeny, teeny bit better now that I know what I would really look like if that happened.

ATTENTION!!! All the people that complained about thick facial hair and the resulting shaddow!

Very important!! I am not a doc, but I have a little experience in this. You must see an endocrenologist or at least a gyenocologist soon. What what you are saying, you seem to have a hormonal disorder. The bad part of it is that it could influence other systems and cause many complications like infertility, diabetes and so on. However, the good part is, that there are tretments available to ease the condition and prevent complications. You can even control your facial hair growth. Please, don’t delay and see a doctor! Ask him to test you for PCOS.

As far as removal methods are concerned, try electrolysis. You don’t need to have long hair to go for treatment. But make sure you are dealing with a professional and honest electrologist. They are hard to come by.

The best of luck.
PS. Take my advice regarding the doctor!)

A couple of points from me… for what they may be worth…

If you have your hormones checked, make sure they check the balance of Oestrogen AND testosterone… not just the levels…

Secondly, and maybe more important in the practical everyday scheme of things…

I see people having one LASER session for between $300 and 500… what I don’t understand is that LASER id not proven to be permanent… one session is probably not enough, and for the same money, you could have had 10 or 15 half hour sessions of electrolysis… which would have cleared your problem away totally, and perhaps even banished for good in some cases… you would certainly not be dealing with the shadow or any pigmentation changes from LASER…

When you think about it, electrolysis is not cheap like shaving, but it is the permanent solution, and is cheaper than a few LASER sessions in the long run… Even if your budget can go to $50 per fortnight, then get electrolysis… a bigger budget can get the clearance earlier, but in time, you will not regret having spent the money on a permanent method… and after initial clearance, you don’t need to spend $100’s on each laser session, just a bit on the touch-up electrolysis… much more affordable…



My 10 year old daughter came home yesterday sobbing uncontrollably because the neighbourhood children had been teasing her about her hairy legs. When I arrived home today I found an old razor shoved into our letter box. I hid it from her - not wanting her to be any more upset by this and tried not to pay any attention to the sniggers coming from the road. I remember being her age and being teased. My mother wouldn’t let me shave but by the time I got to 12 years old - I decided to start without her permission - I’m sure this has resulted in my having an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder about hair removal in general. I’m very hairy and obviously have passed this gene onto her. I have to read letters that others have sent to make me feel that life is worth living. I know all to well how awful it feels.

She also suffers from eczema on her legs so I’m not sure if shaving is the answer. What if she just uses a trimmer instead?? I waxed for years and stopped because I just couldn’t cope with all the ingrown hairs and not sure if it would do with the eczema. I so badly want to make things better for her without taking away too much of her youth! She’s so pretty and has so much going for her - I don’t want her life ruined by the fact that she’s hairy.

If you have any advice to give me - it would be much appreciated.

please be gentle with her when you bring up this subject. Its important that you talk to her about it and let her know that she isn’t a freak that kids will just look for anything different to pick on. Im sure you’ve done that I just wanted to say it because offen when we have hair issues its hard to see clearly enough to handle you childs.
having said that- If you and your daughter agree that she wants to do something about her leg hair i would recommend using a clipper to start. It will make the hair seem like much less without having to curse her to a dayly shaving ritual at such a young age. There are several womans brands that offer a clipperlike attachement- find her something in pink so she can still feel girly. Also be prepared for teasing backlash- if they teased her for having hair they will tease her for not having hair.
with your support Im sure she will get through this just fine
good luck