As a woman, having a head full of thick, long, silky hair can be amazing. You take pride in your luxurious mane and compliments are an everyday thing. However, having unwanted bodily or facial hair can be a different story. You constantly worry about wearing your favourite low-cut top in fear that someone notices your chest hairs, and you die a little bit inside when someone points out the hair on your chin.
This excessive growth of bodily or facial hair is called hirsutism. It may be annoying and embarrassing, but often times, it isn’t abnormal. At other times, however, this growth of hair that’s darker, thicker and coarser than your natural body hair can be a sign of something more.
What causes this increased growth of bodily hair?
There are a few conditions that can cause this sudden unwanted hair growth. For example, if you’re overweight or have type 2 diabetes, you may be insulin resistant. This is caused by eating too many sweet or sugary foods that have a high glycemic index. This insulin resistance is a common culprit in the growth of body and facial hair, as high levels of insulin trigger the production of the male hormone, testosterone, causing your body to grow hair in places where men typically have hair (more on this here). This is why the chin, face and chest are extremely common when it comes to this type of hair growth.
Another condition that has this effect is PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. With PCOS, a woman’s ovaries produce large amounts of androgens. This triggers hirsutism by causing the woman to grow body hair in areas such as her chest and face. PCOS is the most common cause of excessive growth of body hair, affecting as much as 10% of all women.
Though some women may be comfortable with this bodily hair growth, and may feel empowered and confident regardless, other women may feel the need or pressure to remove this hair in order to conform to society’s beauty standard and avoid any uninvited stares. Luckily, for these women, there are a number of hair removal options for them to choose from that can ease their worries temporarily for weeks at a time.
How do I remove unwanted hair?
When it comes to removing body hair, there are a number of popular methods that all have their own appeal:
- Shaving – the use of a razor to cleanly cut hair down to skin level to appear temporarily hairless
- Threading – using a twisted cotton thread to pluck out hair
- Waxing – using hard or soft wax and a waxing strip to rip hair out by the follicle
- Tweezing – the use of cosmetic tweezers to pluck one or a few hairs out by the follicle at once
- Laser treatments – using the heat of lasers to permanently destroy the hair follicles over a series of sessions
- Electrolysis – an electric current is used to permanently destroy the hair follicles
Though all of these hair removal treatments may have their perks, most of them also have a few jarring disadvantages. When it comes to maintaining your skin’s beauty, shaving is a definite gamble. You run the risk of razor bumps and ingrown hairs that will be extremely difficult to get rid of and leave dark bumps on the area that you have shaved. Pain is another factor, as waxing and threading can be excruciating based on your pain tolerance levels. They’re also pretty steep in price – a body wax can cost up to $100-$150 based on the salon you go to.
Permanent solutions to hair growth may be tempting as they aren’t too painful and remove all that hair for good, but their price tags aren’t. Laser treatments and electrolysis can cost you a hefty $900 and $600 respectively! If you’re looking for a hair removal method that’s quick, easy, leaves your skin looking smooth and is the cheapest of all, tweezing is for you.
What’s so great about tweezing?
Quite frankly, a lot of things. For one, it’s convenient. You can tweeze anywhere and anytime. Out on a date and feel a stray hair on your chin? Run to the bathroom, pull out your trusty tweezers and take care of it. Whether you’re at work, school or home, tweezing can be done at virtually any time and place. What’s more, tweezing isn’t just for unwanted hair. If you want to shape your eyebrows and don’t necessarily want the hassle of heading to a salon, it’s easy and effective to tweeze them into the shape you’d like. This is another great advantage of tweezing: you can do it yourself. There’s no need to head to a salon or make any appointment – all you need is a steady hand and a mirror, and you’re set!
Unlike waxing and threading that require that hairs reach a certain length before they can be grasped, a good pair of tweezers can reach extremely short hairs easily. With tweezing, skin is left smooth, only experiencing slight redness immediately after tweezing. It does none of the damage that shaving does, and is much more effective at controlling hair growth.
Tweezing does have its cons, though. If you’re tweezing a large area of hair, it can take a while and become tedious. It can also be painful, depending on where you’re tweezing and your pain threshold. The upper lip is usually one of the most painful places to tweeze, whereas eyebrows and the chin are a lot less painful. Lastly, the effects of tweezing are unpredictable. For some people, hairs don’t grow back until up to a month after, but for some, their hairs regrow in as little as two weeks.
However, most people look to tweezers as a solution to a few hairs, not a large area of hair, so these cons are greatly diminished when compared to tweezing’s benefits over other hair removal methods.
Tips for effective and easy tweezing
When it comes to tweezing, a few simple guidelines can make the process much easier, painless and fruitful for you. Here are some tips for effective tweezing:
- use a mirror in a place with good lighting so that you can see stray hairs better
- tie back hair to see face more clearly
- don’t use any slippery moisturizers or creams on your face or body before tweezing – this makes the gripping process a lot more difficult
- don’t yank hairs out; pull gently and firmly
- pluck hairs in the direction of their growth
- pull skin taut when tweezing to reduce pain, or
- you can use a numbing cream on the area to help with pain
If you opt for tweezing as your stray hair control method, there are a few different types of tweezers, so picking the one that’s right for you is important.
Clean tweezers with a rubbing alcohol before and after using them to keep them clean and safe for use. Be sure not to drop your tweezers or use them in any other way that could dull them as well. Dull tweezers are less effective and you’ll have a much harder time plucking hairs out. Try to keep your tweezer’s cap on it when you’re not using it so even if it falls accidentally, the cover will protect the blades and keep them from becoming dull.
All in all, despite its few drawbacks, tweezers are a great choice for an affordable, quick and easy hair removal solution that you can do all by yourself. With the right approach to tweezing, you’ll no longer have to worry about those stray hairs, and you’ll be left with a face or body that’s smooth and beautiful.