Saturday 18 November 2017

Smooth operator

Aisling Keenan

Women can work the masculine look almost as well as men: the bow-tie, the boyfriend jeans and a cropped hairdo. But one thing that should never cross the gender boundaries? Facial hair. Stubble, stray hairs and unkempt eyebrows are strictly to be left to the male of the species.

As we get older, and hormones take hold, our faces start sprouting little unwanted hairs in the most unlikely of places. No matter how fair-haired you are (I could easily sport a little upper-lip growth if I left it unattended), there are places on your face that naturally grow thicker and darker hairs than the rest.

Luckily, for those of us who don't relish the idea of a moustache, there are lots of methods and potions for thinning or removing unwanted fuzz from our faces.

The first thing you need is reliable tweezers, great for plucking strays from anywhere. When tweezing, don’t pull and tug your skin too harshly, particularly around the eye area. Good tweezers needn’t cost the earth, either. Avon Precision Tweezers, €7.50 (to contact your nearest Avon representative, call 01-870 6450 or visit

If your upper lip is a problem area, but you don’t want to wax it, you could bleach the dark hairs so they aren’t as noticeable. Veet Hair Lightener (from €7.22, selected pharmacies and department stores) combines bleach and an accelerating cream to give the fine facial hairs a 10-minute lightening treatment.

If you’re feeling brave and have a thicker or particularly dark area of hair on your face, waxing might be best. Waxing pulls the hair out at the follicle, making it grow back thinner and lighter. You can get wax strips specifically made for your face, and wax can work miracles. Try Veet Wax Strips (20 pack, from €5.88, select pharmacies and department stores).

Another great option for facial hair removal is threading. It’s most commonly performed on eyebrows, using thread to gently but quickly pull hairs from the face but it’s suitable for the lip and the rest of the face, too. The ‘Weekend’ editor swears by Deepti at Ultimate Hair and Beauty GPO Arcade, Dublin 1, 01 8732825

If you’re after a more permanent effect and have the cash, there are home laser treatments that permanently reduce hair growth. Boots Smooth Skin Permanent Hair Reduction System (€319.69, only in Boots in Jervis Street, Liffey Valley, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Maynooth) targets the pigment in your hair and, using a laser, damages the hair follicle, resulting in little or no regrowth. It won’t work if you have really dark skin, and there are various guidelines to adhere to when using. Overall, the machine is relatively pain free. Like all laser treatments, it takes a few sessions to achieve the desired hairless effect.

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