Should I shave my face?
August 21, 2017 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to the wonders of aging, I (female) have grown numerous noticeably long white hairs on my chin and upper lip. I've been plucking, but am wondering if shaving is the way to go. The internet seems mixed on this. Are you a female-presenting person who shaves, and does it work well for you?

The facial hairs in question are so fine and white that it's difficult to hunt and pluck with a tweezer.
I'm not really interested in paying for expensive laser treatments at this point in the game. Is shaving a safe route to go? I'm fearful of razor burn on my face, and worried that once I start the hair growth will be even more noticeable if I should stop for some reason.

Are there better options than shaving? Should I try waxing?

I'm interested in hearing if shaving has been working for you long term, or if you tried it and found it to be a bad experience. Any suggestions on how to do it would also be great (though this thread is helpful in that regard).

posted by whistle pig to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I do. I like the Eos raspberry vanilla shaving cream, which is what I use in the shower (preferred) and for a sink shave (runs down my chest; dislike). I also have a wet-dry electric shaver I keep in my home office and use on non-shower days or if I'm about to run out the door - it's not perfect, but I have dark stubble along my chin (especially just before my period) and it knocks it back. I don't shave the sides of my face yet, do jawline and neck routinely, lip every so often as needed.

I just kinda figured it out (I use men's disposable razors, triple blade, and one of them will last me a month), but I saw this video a while back and she covers all the basics.

I have tried threading and waxing and they are awful, for me. I have no choice for my eyebrows but I'm swollen for a couple of days after. This is no-fuss for me.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I wax, and I'm very happy with the results. Sometimes I'll get a couple of those crazy, long ones, and I just pluck. But for general maintenance I wax my chin and my brows about every 3 months. It's quick, relatively cheap, and doesn't really hurt much at all, and the hairs grow back much softer, without that sharp, shaven point.
posted by primate moon at 10:00 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I get blonde peach fuzz on my upper lip, and I hate the way it look so I shave it off. I just use the same razor I use elsewhere on my body, in the shower. I've never gotten razor burn there (and I am *very* prone to it elsewhere).
posted by schroedingersgirl at 10:04 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

once I start the hair growth will be even more noticeable if I should stop for some reason

It basically works precisely the same as your legs: It's a bit more noticeable because the shorter hairs are more blunt on the ends and generally more obvious, but you COULD grow it back out again. Waxing and plucking were giving me really awful ingrown hairs, so I switched, and it's really been surprisingly uneventful. It'd be noticeable if I skipped a day, probably, but also noticeable if I skipped brushing my teeth, and shaving that little area takes less time than tooth-brushing. I use the Dollar Shave Club mid-range razors and their shave butter, but that's the same as I do for my legs.
posted by Sequence at 10:07 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another shaver here, thanks to the joys of aging. I too, thought that my hair would grow in darker/more noticeably, but thankfully that has not been the case, in the last few years I've been shaving my 'stache. My hair is blonde, but thick and shaving seems to keep it down to a manageable level in the easiest fashion. Have not had any razor burn, though I do shave with a coat of oil - jojoba or almond oil, whatever's on hand in the medicine cabinet. For my chin hair, I keep a pair of tweezers in the car and pluck surreptitiously at stoplights.
posted by sarajane at 10:09 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I shave in conjunction with laser treatments about every six weeks, so I'm hoping that I'll be shaving less. I am African American so any other method of hair removal would result in painful and unsightly ingrown hairs for me. I use the Bic Sensitive Skin, single-blade razor.

For the record, I go to a very reasonably priced laser treatment place where I live. Because of the proliferation of spas around the country, laser treatments aren't nearly as expensive as they used to be. I will need about a year's worth of treatments and each time I go, I get my upper lip, chin and jawline done for about $100 plus a little extra for tipping. This is true even though I have to use the NdYag laser, which is the only one FDA approved for dark skin.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 10:11 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you have light, fine hair, then you don't have to shave very close. That means much less need to worry about razor burn or ingrown hairs.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:19 AM on August 21, 2017

Shaving doesn't cause the hair to grow back in darker or coarser--that's a myth.

If you can afford it (it's not on most formularies), you can try Vaniqa, a prescription cream that slows regrowth. Doesn't work for everyone, but, if it does, can really cut down on the time you spend removing hair.
posted by praemunire at 10:20 AM on August 21, 2017

I shave facial peach fuzz (and darker/thicker mustache hairs) dry, with eyebrow trimmers, per YouTube. Works great, hasn't yet caused any skin trauma, hair doesn't grow back any differently.

For anything that needs plucking, if I'm feeling lazy or my eyes are tired, i just take my epilator to them. That probably sounds psychotic, but it doesn't hurt.
posted by jessicapierce at 10:20 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

You wouldn't have any bad effects from shaving as long as the blade is sharp and is allowed to dry completely between shaves. If you decide you don't like it, just stop and everything will be normal. I recently did several weeks of shaving to let all the whiskers grow out before a laser treatment, and it was okay but inconvenient.

Waxing is better in that it takes weeks for the hair to grow back. You'll wax less often in the beginning if you let the tweezed hairs grow back first. Or just do it once a week. I prefer Nads strips--- they work great on fine hairs and you don't need to heat anything or spread wax onto skin or cloth.

Laser won't help with white hairs.
posted by wryly at 10:22 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have super sensitive skin, so getting my eyebrows waxed means two or three days of looking like I got punched in the face within the last five minutes. I only continue to do it because the waxer is better at shaping than I am. I've never even considered waxing the peach fuzz on my upper lip. Been shaving it for 25 years, no problems to speak of. No razor burn, no cuts, nothing.
posted by xyzzy at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Waxing makes my upper lip break out and I don't want a pimple mustache to replace the hairs. So, I shave my upper lip with face soap and a Venus razor every couple of weeks. I pluck the chin hairs out as they grow on a weird timetable, but I have given my chin and cheeks a good shave swipe now and then (getting rid of those little hairs makes make-up sit on my face much better).
posted by quince at 10:27 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Shaver here. Used eyebrow razors until I discovered this baby.

It manages to avoid saying it's a razor, but it's a razor. It works great. I can have one in my purse and one on my makeup counter. I use it once or twice a week depending on what my crazy hormones are doing. No more nicks & cuts. Cuts the hair nice & close to the skin so it feels nice & smooth.

There is also hair minimizing cream, which I've started using combined with shaving. It takes a while to kick in so people think it doesn't work, but it depends a lot on your facial hair growing cycles, I'm on my second month & only now seeing a good result. It doesn't stop the hair growth so much as slows it way down & the hairs that grow back are finer, my black chin hairs are growing back much thinner & less obvious and I used to have to shave/pluck my chin daily and now I'm down to once or twice a week so I'll take that as a win. Any of them should work I use an Avon one I think is discontinued, this is the brand I intend on trying when my Avon stash runs out.

As a regular shaver, the hair growth is slightly more noticeable the first day or 2, mainly because you have a flat end to the hair from shaving, and you will probably notice it more than anyone looking at you because it will feel slightly rougher so worry you more than any visual problems, but if you didn't like the effect after that it looks the same as before.
posted by wwax at 10:36 AM on August 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have an Emjoi epilator that I use on my legs that also does a great job on the chin whiskers.
posted by pantarei70 at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Japanese facial razor. You don't need to wet your face or lather, and it's a smoother shave that's great at getting that downy peach fuzz. Game-changing! Also, $3.
posted by fritillary at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I shave. In recent years I've gotten a few long black hairs mixed in with my fine blonde peach fuzz chin and moustache hair, and these wire-wrapped flat blades do the trick just fine. I'm averaging about every five days, and I do it dry, right after my shower.
posted by minervous at 10:49 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

A beard trimmer without the guard works well for this kind of hair, with much less risk of cuts or ingrown hairs than shaving, plus it's a lot faster. Same goes for pretty much any area of the body where those might be problems.
posted by asperity at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have quite a lot of relatively coarse dark facial hair and I've been shaving it for maybe ten years now (late teens to late 20s).

It needs doing every day now, which it didn't when I started, but I think that's because there's more hair now rather than because it's coarser.

I'm not especially careful, don't use shaving foam, sometimes cut my face a bit etc. (this works as I have an extremely low-maintenance aesthetic and really struggle to care what anyone thinks about how I look) but it's fine. No one has ever said anything to me about it, probably more because of politeness than because of not-noticing, but that works for me.

I read an article about the Japanese face razor the other day, though, and I'm definitely intrigued.
posted by terretu at 11:27 AM on August 21, 2017

I'm a relatively recent convert to shaving, mainly because of earlier AskMe posts on the topic! For years I used to bleach and pluck, and then one day I noticed a woman at work with a thick blond mustache and have never quite recovered. I moved to a cream hair remover (Olay was my favorite) and then realized it was easier to do a 10-second touchup with a trimmer every other day rather than waiting 10 minutes for the cream to work.

I use this groomer I picked up for $10 at Target and don't use shaving cream. (I also keep tweezers in my car, purse, desk, bedroom and bathroom because unfortunately I'm not rational when it comes to facial hair.)

I bought the Japanese razors everyone raves about, but they didn't work well for me.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:18 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for the advice, everyone! I'm glad to know it's no big deal.
posted by whistle pig at 1:03 PM on August 21, 2017

Try the REM facial hair spring. Or an epilator like the Emjoi.
posted by FergieBelle at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2017

I pluck the coarse and/or long and/or dark hairs(I'm white, used to have dark hair). The downy hairs don't bother me. Plucking does eventually keep them from growing back.
posted by theora55 at 2:27 PM on August 21, 2017

If you do it even once, you will get totally addicted to the incredible soft smoothness and continue doing it for ever.

I started out shaving because I didn't have time to pluck one day and then I... got carried away and did my whole face, and now I seriously can't stop.

I use a cheapie two blade pink lady razor that comes in packs of a million and throw them out after about five uses, I find the narrow heads are easier to maneuver around my face than my Venus and hence get a closer shave. (I am afraid of the new, popular ones that are just a blade haha). I just use a splash of water on my face and dampen the razor, the little moisture strip is sufficient for my face.

I used to use Nair/etc on my visible facial hair but found it would burn my skin before it would remove the hair, leaving me all red and owie. I pluck any really coarse ones so I can't feel them when I'm stroking my baby soft visage.

Also it exfoliates your face and makes your products and makeup go on like a dream. Doooo ittttt.
posted by windykites at 8:30 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another vote for one of the small electric facial hair trimmers! Cheap, painless, doesn't irritate my skin at all, and only takes a few seconds to use. I use it on dry skin (moustache) about once a week.
posted by cp311 at 1:14 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

> Are there better options than shaving? Should I try waxing?

I really like the results I get from waxing, but it sounds like my facial hair is darker than yours. I go to a salon and enjoy the whole experience (note: I don't find waxing particularly painful, some people do).
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:12 AM on August 26, 2017

I have a full-on ladybeard (coarse dark hairs) and I go with a dry shave using a basic disposable razor as it seems to be the easiest for cleanup and least hassle. I've also had laser (multiple times - it's great but doesn't stop new hairs from 'turning') and shaving is the simplest thing that's laser-compatible. If you've got stiff beardhairs, the electric trimmers may not be enough (they aren't for me) but if we're talking about finer hairs, those work great. I don't dig waxing on my face except for eyebrows, because everything else hurts too much and I swell up.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 12:47 PM on August 28, 2017

I have darker hairs, getting worse with age and hormonal issues. I have tried everything-- shaving, waxing, plucking, and epilating, and creams. I also tried one of those Japanese wire things where you bend the wire over your lip and it plucks it out. Kinda like threading but with a spring.

The thing that works best for me is waxing. I get premade wax strips for sensitive skin (my fave brand being Veet, before I used these, I found waxing meh). It can break me out occasionally though, so I always have to wipe down with anti-zit stuff like tea tree, and an astringent which works quite well. It's what I use most of the time. I have a higher pain threshold than most though. (I use an epilator straight on my pits, so... Yep).

Shaving; normal shaving I did not like, personally, because of the blunt feeling when it grew back. What I did like was the Japanese straight razor someone mentioned. You can get them at a good price online, or if you have Daiso in your area, they often have great ones for cheap. So nthing this. It didn't give me that blunt/coarse feeling.

Epilating: (Emjoi was the best brand I used, also). It worked well for me on my lip, but if you get very fine short hairs, then the effectiveness is lessened as the head has difficulty grabbing the weaker, shorter hairs, and just snaps them, if it grabs them at all. Again, this tended to break me out, a lot more than waxing (I assume because the head has more bacteria). I do disinfect the head, but it didn't make much difference, so I seldom use this on my face.

Tweezing: Like you, hit and miss. Literally. I only used this for those troublesome coarse hairs that I miss, otherwise it takes forever and I miss whole patches. That said, I tweeze for eyebrows.

Cream: It didn't work well for me (I am a darker person though) and stunk so bad, that it wasn't worth it in my opinion. If you have light fine hair, (and non sensitive skin) it should work well. My mother used to use this all the time, but switched to wax strips, also.

Personally, you should just try them all and see what works for you. That's honestly the only thing that helped me with it.

Hope that helps. Happy depilating. I guess? Hrm.
posted by Dimes at 10:51 AM on August 31, 2017

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