I am a hairy woman. It's something I've been self-conscious of since I was a teenager, constantly plucking, waxing, or shaving stubborn chin and sideburn hairs for hours on end.
This obsession worsened by the time I got to college. I would often cover parts of my face with my hands when talking, wear makeup to cover ingrown hair scars, and feel helpless—especially in the heat of the summer—when I didn't want to wear makeup but felt obligated to due to the poor condition of my skin. I continued to harm my skin by using harsh products over the next few years; it felt like a never-ending cycle of frustration.
I know that there is nothing wrong with facial hair. I was never compelled to judge other women for having a little stubble here, a mustache there—if anything, I was envious of their confidence. I could only dream about waking up and not feeling anxious over a few small hairs and being able to feel good about myself.
I then realized that it's not about whether you prefer to be smooth or stubbly, but rather, what makes you feel the most beautiful. While I haven't found a personal comfort zone with my facial hair just yet, I know that my anxious habits surrounding its removal have left me feeling more insecure than ever. There has to be a better way.
I recently enlisted the help of Kristen Rogers, lead wax and laser specialist at hair-removal and eyebrow-shaping mecca Spruce & Bond, to find out ways women can get rid of unwanted facial hair without causing excessive damage to their skin. For more than five years, Rogers and her team at Spruce & Bond have been servicing customers for their stubborn hair needs, safely and (practically) painlessly.
Read our interview with Rogers below to find out the best way to get rid of unwanted hair on a budget, whether or not laser hair removal works for all skin tones, and why sugar scrubs are one of your best bets to combat ingrown hairs.
What sort of facial hair issues do customers commonly present you with?
Being women, we always have to deal with hormones and hormonal changes. These changes affect our hair growth throughout our bodies, especially our faces. A lot of our clients have issues with stubborn coarse hairs on the chin and lip.
How do you know which treatment is best for each customer?
We consult all of our clients before any treatments are performed or purchased. Waxing, laser, and tweezing are all individualized treatments. Different things work for different people.
What are the safest ways to remove hair from one’s face at home? What if facial hair is stubborn and consistently grows back?
A little razor with one blade. You don't want to use your regular razor for shaving your legs on your face! Laser hair removal is best for [long-term] removal of hair on the face though. It's surprisingly the gentlest option, too.
What should people know about how to treat the skin when the weather changes?
With the change from summer to winter, skin gets dryer. In the winter, our showers get hotter which really drains our body of most of its moisture. Hydration, in forms of water and moisturizer, is very good for skin and helps us look and feel healthy from the inside out. Waxing is good all year round! For laser, sun exposure needs to be limited, so waxing is a better option for hair removal in the summer. If you do want laser in the summer, make sure you give yourself a sun-free week before your treatment and a sun-free week after.
What should customers do if they want smooth, hair-free skin if they are on a budget? Are there at-home treatments that you would recommend to someone who is struggling but cannot afford treatments?
As old-school as shaving is, it is the cheapest option. If you do shave, use a sugar scrub as it's an amazing exfoliate and can be used to remove dead skin, which helps to keep the skin clear from ingrown hairs and smooth. Finish off with a good hydrating lotion. Leave [long-term] hair removal to the specialists, though!
What are some things someone should do or know before seeking laser hair removal or waxing treatments?
For waxing, do not shave for about four weeks before coming in. For laser, no antibiotics, no acne medications, and no sun exposure seven days pre- and post-visit.
Do you have services for those with sensitive skin issues? Darker skin? Fairer skin?
Our wax at Spruce & Bond is referred to as ouch-less. It isn't exactly pain-free, but it is, hands down, the least uncomfortable wax you'll ever receive! The only time skin tone matters is during laser to determine your machine. However, the service remains the same.
What should customers do if they want to maintain a good post-hair removal skin environment? What products should one use?
To maintain a clean ingrown-free environment, I always recommend a sugar scrub or a good serum. At Spruce & Bond, we offer Whish Flawless Serum, which is largely aloe and some natural salicylic acid known as willow bark extract. This is a great product to add to your everyday routine for the skin that has been treated.