Whether it’s a patch of peach fuzz or a rogue (ack!) chin hair, here’s a cheat sheet for getting riding of it with pluck.
PROS: It removes a lot of hairs at once, and you can easily (but not painlessly) do it yourself. “It’s quick, plus it works on all hair colors and textures,” says Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in New York City.
CONS: Hair needs to be a quarter of an inch in length, so you have to be patient while the stubble grows out. Waxing can cause mild discomfort, redness, and bumps. To reduce irritation, apply a hydrating gel, like Aromatica Damask Rose Soothing Gel ($18, peachandlily.com), and skip waxing if you’re using a benzoyl peroxide acne medication or a retinoid.
BEST FOR: Larger areas, like sideburns.
TRY: Bliss Poetic Waxing Wax Strips Face ($25, amazon.com), which don’t need heating.
PROS: This ancient technique, performed in salons, uses a piece of thread to roll across the skin, trapping and pulling hairs. It’s fast, and unlike waxing, there’s no risk of double-dipping, which can lead to infections. When it’s done properly, the hairs are plucked from the roots.
CONS: It is painful and somewhat costly and can be performed only by a professional. “Avoid threading when you have your period, as your skin is more sensitive then,” says Fusco.
BEST FOR: Shaping eyebrows (and nixing unibrows) or removing upper-lip fuzz, because it’s so precise—almost like plucking, but en masse and much faster.
PROS: Lasers deactivate the hair bulbs, so eventually hair stops growing. However, some women need yearly touch-ups.
CONS: It’s expensive, and it can be done only in a professional’s office. “It requires about eight treatments, spaced a few weeks apart, and it doesn’t work on white, blond, or fine hair, because the laser targets pigment in the follicles,” says Fusco. It’s mildly uncomfortable (like snaps of a rubber band), and when not done properly, there’s a risk of thermal burn.
BEST FOR: Any hair on the face (upper lip, cheeks, chin, neck), except very close to the eyes.
PROS: It’s easy, you can do it almost anywhere, and there are new specialty razors made to target small areas. It also takes off dead skin, so it doubles as an exfoliating treatment. FYI: “The hair won’t grow back thicker,” says Fusco.
CONS: The hair does grow back quickly, however. Make sure to use a clean razor (not the one you use on your legs). With a regular razor, prep your skin with a foaming face wash. If you have a facial razor, use it on dry skin (or follow the package directions).
BEST FOR: Fuzz on the chin and the upper lip, and shaping brows. Great if you have a low pain tolerance or sensitive skin.
TRY: Tinkle by Fromm Eyebrow Razor, $6, sallybeauty.com.
PROS: The most targeted treatment. It’s easy, and you can do it yourself. “Anecdotally, we’ve found that hair grows back finer or not at all due to the trauma,” says Fusco.
CONS: It’s time-consuming, and if you don’t pluck correctly, hairs can break and become ingrown. To avoid this, pull each hair in the direction it’s growing. Skip plucking close to the eyes and the nose, which contains bacteria and is prone to infections.
TRY: Tweezerman Slant Tweezer, $23, tweezerman.com. Mail it back to the company for free sharpening.
BEST FOR: Stubborn chin hairs that seem to sprout in the same places.