January 7, 2009

Disguising the Fur: Plucking and Trimming

Since some of you may have made a resolve to try something new this year, I'm going to start going over some of the hair removal methods I've tried. The usefulness may be limited, however, because every woman has different kinds of skin, different kinds of hair, different rates of growth, different sensitivities. (For my entries on laser hair removal, see here and here.) I just hope that in some small way, it will help some of you make an informed decision on what to try next--or what to stick with.

I always like to try new things. Feeling like I'm doing something about my unwanted hair gives me a rush of positivity, even if it does all end in disappointment. After the early years of panic as the onset of hair on my body increased and darkened, I've learned to be prepared for things to work out less perfectly than I'd hope. And when that happens, it's important to see the progress made and the possibilities ahead.


The only equipment you need for this is a good old fashioned pair of tweezers you can find in any drugstore. It took me some practice to find the most grippy spot that would grasp hairs the most readily--and I had to relearn it when the tweezers had to be replaced. Be patient; it's a learned skill. This was the first type of hair removal I tried as the hair on my chin began to get dark.

The little twinge as I pulled out each hair was discouraging at first--not a big fan of pain, me--but I quickly got used to it. Soaking your skin for a few minutes with warm water really does help with the sensation and the ease of plucking. So removing any discomfort from the equation, the cons I found with plucking were:
  • It was time consuming. As I began to have to remove hair from all along my jaw, I would have to set aside more than half an hour every morning to sit in front of the mirror and pluck like mad. I used to get such cramps in my neck, too.
  • Depending on the speed at which your hair grows, you may always have new hair cycling in that you have to pluck each morning.
  • Having to stretch my skin taut at times to get at all the little shafts of hair, it often led to breakouts where I put my fingers. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide couldn't fight it all.
  • If the lighting is uneven or otherwise not great, I'm likely to miss some hairs.
  • Plucking other parts of your body may yield different results than your face. While ingrown hairs were not a big problem from me along my jaw, I invariably get them in huge volumes if I pluck any hairs on my chest.

Other than that, however, it is still one of my preferred methods and I often wish I had the time to go back to it. This is because it is precise, gives less irritation than shaving, and completely removes the hair shaft, so you don't have to worry about five o'clock shadow.


My mother bought a hair trimmer for me when I was a teenager tired of tweezing. She'd found it at a liquidation place for a very low price--I can hardly recall now, but it must have been under $10. It was very similar to this one here: Cricket Micro Hair Trimmer

I think she expected this to provide a trim so close that it would virtually remove any hair from the surface. I did not find that to be true. Grazing the trimmer over any coarse dark hair left visible stubble on the surface. However, I still have it and use it regularly on lighter, vellous hair. You may be able to feel the cut edge of the hair as a tiny pit prickly, but it reduces its presence considerably. I'll use it sometimes on my knuckles or the very light hair on my lip when I decide that it bothers me.

So the cons for this method I found were:

  • It did not completely erase the visible presence of any dark hair.
  • It has a very small head, which would make it time consuming to use on larger areas like arms or legs.
  • If you're big on secrecy, keep in mind that the one I have sounds very much like an electric toothbrush. No one's ever asked me about it if they've heard it, but the little motor does make a soft noise if that's a concern for you.

But as I mentioned, it works nicely and quickly on lighter, thinner hair. And it's completely painless and easy to use. I've stuck it up my nose with no problems. I've even bought one for a friend. Remember to clean it with the brush after use!

More next week. And hey, if anyone feels like sharing a plucking or trimming story or a product or method you've found that works for you, I'd love it, and I'm sure any other readers would, as well.

No comments: