How do I get rid of my lady 'stache?
December 2, 2016 11:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm a menopausal lady with a dark mustache. Bleaching it is no longer cutting it, as it's growing long and thick, and I now look like a blonde Magnum P.I. Tell me about electrolysis or lasers or whatever is best? And recommendations in L.A.?

My skin is pale, and my 'stache is naturally dark, dark brown, though since I'm always bleaching it, it's blonde. I also have a handful of thick, dark beard hairs (currently plucking those) and a fine layer of lighter hair just generally all over my jawline. How do I make this all go away?

What types of procedures are there? What do I need to know about them? What do I need to watch out for?

One thing I really worry about: if it's a multi-step process, what do I do in between? Do I keep bleaching, or is that a no-no? If I've had one step in the treatment, will it be obvious to observers? Will my skin be red or...?

I'm in the San Fernando Valley of L.A., so if you have a recommendation of a specific place, I'd love to know it.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Pale skin and dark hair is the perfect combination for lasering it all off. With each visit a bunch doesn't come back or comes in finer. You don't want to bleach it while having laser treatments as it's the darkness of the hair that attracts the laser. Shaving is what's advised as it leaves the root for the laser. I recall some redness for an hour or so, but otherwise you couldn't tell. Do ask about numbing cream you can apply prior to the procedures. The upper lip is super sensitive and the laser zaps can be painful.
posted by cecic at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2016 [6 favorites]

I had mine waxed off several years ago on a regular basis. Now I use an electric shaver. Many men do this on a daily basis. I'm okay with doing it as needed. Cheap, doesn't take long, works fine for me.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:10 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

The frustrating thing about laser is that it's not complete permanent removal, and it is expensive.

The problem with electrolysis is that you need to let the hair grow in for some time before it can be done. I have never been able to figure out how one would handle that, short of holing up in a belltower for the duration.

Have you tried Vaniqa? It's a prescription cream meant to be used in combination with another removal method (tweezing, waxing, etc.) but, if it works for you (and it can take two to three months to figure out if it does), it can dramatically slow hair regrowth.
posted by praemunire at 12:12 PM on December 2, 2016

The problem with electrolysis is that you need to let the hair grow in for some time before it can be done.

Only for a day or two. When I was doing facial electrolysis I'd skip a day of shaving before sessions.

I'd still recommend trying laser first. Electro is cheaper per session but generally takes more sessions, and so it comes out more expensive overall. Dark hair and light skin, as cecic says, makes you a perfect candidate for laser.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:24 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use Nair for facial hair remover. The last time I had my Stache waxed the young woman asked what I wanted to do about the rest of my face. I was a little taken aback. The rest of my facial hair is blonde and I can't see it so I pretend that others can't either.

I use the cream. It works well. It's cheap. If I had the resources I would have the laser done.
posted by cairnoflore at 12:32 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I do waxing. It's not perfect but I personally have just shied away from the more permanent methods. (Also my hair is crazy stubborn, like me, so I figure it will be the one that grows back.)
posted by warriorqueen at 12:49 PM on December 2, 2016

i just wax mine, but if i had menopausal skin (thinner, more sensitive) i would get it threaded off instead.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2016

Watching this thread with interest. I've had mine sugared off once and ended up with horrible little clogged pores/whiteheads all over--almost like a rash. They cleared up after a few weeks. (I have light mustache hair but it's slowly getting darker and thicker, enough that I'm self conscious about it.)

In order to wax or sugar, your hair has to be a certain length, so I don't see how this would work great for really dark hair. I don't do well with waxing and sugaring rarely gives me any problems, but it gave me problems on my face. I wouldn't do it again. (I went to a lady who is great at it and she said that sometimes this happens for people with sensitive skin.)
posted by purple_bird at 1:22 PM on December 2, 2016

Don't bleach. Much better to remove.

If waxing suffices, then Sally Hansen facial wax strips are much, much easier than heating up a pot of wax. Couple of strips, tweeze the strays, good to go in minutes.

If waxing does not suffice, I'd laser it off. Laser is expensive, and it really hurts, but it works. I lasered my hairline a few years ago, they told me to expect 5 sessions but 2 turned out to be enough. It was crazy painful but 100% worth it. (Edit: to find laser services try checking your yelp for "medical spa" or "medi-spa.")
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:31 PM on December 2, 2016

If you are sensitive to chemicals, tweezing is an option. It is not fun to try to remove a huge swath of hair at once. You might try waxing instead for the initial round. But less grows back over time and maintenance is totally under your control, including stopping when it hurts too much and picking it up another day.

It is also super cheap. You just need a good pair of tweezers. They can easily run as much as $7, but you can also find good ones sometimes for a lot less than that.

A good pair will make it vastly easier to clamp onto a specific hair and make sure it gets pulled out the first try. If tweezing is not going well for you, consider buying better tweezers. They should be firm metal with a slanted tip. You also need to keep them clean in order for them to keep working well. So, if you have pulled some hairs and suddenly it is not working anymore, clean them before continuing.

Pulling them out properly (first try with a good set of tweezers) also seems to increase the odds that the entire root comes out. This makes it less likely they will grow back and seems to also make ingrown hairs less likely. You know you have the entire root when there is a round bulb at the bottom of the hair and it is surrounded by tissue. If you just have a hair and no tissue, you didn't get the root.

If you are concerned about public appearance during the interim stage, you might try starting this project on Friday evening (or the night before having a couple of days off or so) and expecting to continue it the following morning if you just can't complete it in one sitting. My recollection is that it took me at least two or three sessions to get the entire mustache off the first time. I would just get physically tired and hit my limit on how much pain I could take and stop until I felt like coming back to it. But, after that, maintenance is much less of a hassle.

You could probably mitigate the pain with ice packs or something.
posted by Michele in California at 2:00 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I use a little battery powered beauty trimmer, its quick and painless. It doesn't last as long as waxing/lasering/electrolysis but you know - quick, painless and cheap
posted by missmagenta at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2016

You might also find it helpful to add flaxseed to your diet. Flaxseed has natural plant estrogens that cause the hairs to get smaller and lighter. Flax is also supposedly good for smoothing skin from wrinkling. It's been very helpful for me to reduce the lip and chin hairs. Your results may vary. Trader Joe's carries the toasted seeds, and I have about a tablespoon a day in my diet.
posted by effluvia at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Menopausal blonde lady here. I just shave it off once a week or so with a regular razor, just like a guy would. This method was recommended by my dark-haired, light-skinned Italian aunt.
posted by sarajane at 2:53 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, yeah, those little wax strips. Zip, zip, done.
posted by sageleaf at 3:06 PM on December 2, 2016

I had laser for the 'stache seven years ago. It lasted for 5 years or so, and for the last 2 years a few hairs appear now and then. The hair now is finer and sparser than it was originally. Laser is expensive, and you have to make sure to go to a reputable place to get it done. Don't pay up front for five treatments; wait and see whether the first session goes well and causes hair to fall out. You can probably get the place to give you the discounted price if you pay for 4 more treatments. To get the most bang for your buck, let the hair return if you've been waxing it. Then wax it off, and wait about 8-10 weeks before you get your first laser treatment. This way, all the hairs will be in active growth and more likely to get zapped most effectively. Every hair goes dormant after a while, and zapping dormant hairs doesn't keep new hairs from growing back. Get your second treatment 8-10 weeks after the first one, and so on.
posted by wryly at 3:23 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wax and pluck. I use those little strips for my top lip, and that's fast and gets everything. I started laser treatment, and I was very happy with the results, altho I'm sorry to say I just don't remember if I needed to keep waxing my lip after it or not, but it certainly caught all the dark hair on my face very well, and I was really happy with it.
posted by glitter at 3:31 PM on December 2, 2016

Electrolysis is the only method of permanent hair removal, but is technique dependent, and risks scarring if not done by someone competent, so it would be worth getting a referral from someone you know, and/or researching practitioners. I would never even consider putting a laser near my face, because of the possibility of paradoxical hypertrichosis. On SkinCareAddiction, some people have talked about shaving (even the whole face - "dermaplaning" - as it is also a way of exfoliating). Nair is chemically burning your skin (but if you're already bleaching, maybe it won't feel terrible for you). Tweezing's handy if you can do that.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:56 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

No one has mentioned the rem spring! On my phone, can't really hyperlink, but:

I bought mine on Amazon.
posted by kellyblah at 4:39 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am fair skinned with dark hair, and have done laser and electrolysis to remove facial hair. I like electrolysis much better.

It permanently removed my lil baby mustache. I get hairs springing up here and there on my neck/chin which I gather are related to hormonal changes, and get them zapped by electrolysis every now and again. Sometimes if I just can't get it together to get to my practitioner I will shave for a while.

Electrolysis is mostly effective in any given session but it's not 100%, so multiple treatments are in order. When hair grows in after electrolysis, it's got a fine tip, kind of like what happens after waxing (and different than the sharp cut surface with shaving). The recommendation is to come back once every 2-3 weeks. The hair that comes back isn't too bad in the meantime. You can of course bleach it as it comes in if it's dark. The technologist will still be able to see it and zap it. When I go in she'll also zap the hairs that are just newly starting to thicken up, before they ever get dark.

Last thing I like about electrolysis--I have a mild propensity to get milia and the electrologist can take them out, too.
posted by Sublimity at 4:54 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been shaving for about six months and am astonished by how 1) easy and 2) fast and 3) painless it is compared my previous forays into waxing and lasers. Instruction . (NB: Cheap disposable wire-wrapped blades from my local CVS have worked just fine.)
posted by minervous at 5:28 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yep shaving. Fast effective painless easy cheap. I just do it in the shower while washing my face.
posted by bleep at 5:38 PM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Shaving or electrolysis [the quality of the technician makes a huge difference, shop around].
posted by fritillary at 7:07 PM on December 2, 2016

Threading! Not permanent, and not painless, but it is cheap, quick, and has no side effects other than a few minutes of redness. Look for an Indian or Chinese beauty salon (or nail salon, even). Eventually you can learn to do it to yourself!
posted by leslievictoria at 7:29 PM on December 2, 2016

Shaving. I pick up face razors similar to these at the Japanese market. (Marukai and Mitsuwa for sure but probably any Japanese market.) They run about $3-4 for three, you won't cut yourself, and you can toss them in a purse or glove compartment. You don't even need a mirror!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:35 PM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have dark hair and light skin, and I get my upper lip waxed (along with eyebrows) every 2-3 weeks. I've noticed that hair becomes lighter and sparser after a few months of regular treatment. I've also tried threading, but it took longer and my skin was red for about an hour after (versus a few minutes for waxing).
posted by Leslie Knope at 8:04 AM on December 3, 2016

Believe it or not, many laser places offer steep discounts on Groupon.
posted by MuppetNavy at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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