Friday, January 8, 2016

Hair Removal Options: Tweezing

Please first read Thoughts about Hair Removal Options for some important preliminary information.

For women, tweezing is probably the most common method used to remove unwanted hair from the face, namely the eyebrows and chin. Using tweezers, the hair is grabbed and the entire shaft is pulled out. Because tweezing pulls out the whole hair shaft, it will take anywhere from two to four weeks for the hair to reappear.

Good tweezers are a must if you use this technique. Otherwise you will tear up your skin. Tweezerman®, available at most stores where makeup is sold, makes the best tweezers around and is the brand I use in my salon. Tweezerman tweezers get the hair easily, and they hold up well compared to other brands. Most professionals, including myself, recommend buying tweezers that have a slant, not a flat or squared end.

Never use tweezers with a sharp point. They can really cause serious damage to your skin and are unwise to use for a few reasons:
  • First, because the ends are so sharp, they tend to break the hair off before you have a chance to pull it out.
  • Then what will most likely happen is you will become frustrated and dig with these knife-like edges.
  • Finally, you will have a wound where you were tweezing and probably a hair still within the follicle. So nothing gained and a lot lost.
Actually, even with quality tweezers, if you have the same inclination as a “picker” (a person who relentlessly picks at their blemishes), you could still cause damage. Because you refuse to be satisfied until you have gotten the stray hair, you will attempt, high-quality tweezers or not, to nab the hair, but you may just make a mess of your skin. Because tweezers can sometimes cut the hair off at the surface before you are able to fully pull it out, you may go in and try to get that darn hair. The result will most likely be a small tear in the skin, which leads to a tiny scab. This can make your skin look red and irritated for several days, at the very least. Restraint is a necessary factor for keeping the skin in the tweezed area looking healthy.

Please note that trying to tweeze the coarse, dark chin hairs you may have can be an exercise in futility. They are very strong and firmly planted inside the hair follicle, and if you have ever tried to use tweezers to pull these stubborn hairs out, I’m sure you have found it to be somewhat of a disaster. This is where I see most of my clients tearing up their skin. Not only are these chin hairs coarse, dark, and stubborn, they can sometimes cause irritation, which equals redness and sensitivity.

My best suggestion is to look into electrolysis or laser hair removal to get rid of these unwanted chin hairs. These particular techniques can be permanent and are performed by professionals who won’t leave the kind of marks you, the amateur, might leave on your skin from overzealous or ineffective tweezing.

Shaping brows is somewhat of an art form. Ask anyone who didn’t have an “artist” shape their brows. If you aren’t artistically inclined, you might want to find a professional to do this work for you, especially if you are shaping your brows for the first time. As with any profession, you want a qualified individual to perform this job. Remember, you will be wearing your newly shaped eyebrows for a long time. In other words, if you or someone else does a bad job of shaping your brows, it is still you who has to face the world afterwards.

A word of caution: Overtweezing is a common problem for the eyebrows. Although you may feel good about removing your unibrow, sometimes the hairs won’t all grow back. As we age, the eyebrows may become less dense than they were in our youth. So be careful with overambitious tweezing—otherwise you may be faced with having to paint on your brows.

Another cautionary note: I have a client who said that plucking her chin hairs caused pigmentation spots. This was no doubt post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which means that the injured area caused a pigmentation reaction when exposed to ultraviolet (sun) light. Be aware that this can happen and be careful when you tweeze.

In conclusion, tweezing is a quick and easy way to remove unwanted hair from your eyebrows, which is really the only place I would recommend using tweezers. For a stray chin hair here and there, no worries, but for anything more substantial, choose a different technique.

HOT TIP: The best time to tweeze and shape your eyebrows is right after a shower. Your skin will be softened by the steam heat, and your eyebrow hair will be easier to remove.

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