How to Banish Facial Hair

Q: I tweeze my facial hairs now, but is there an easier way to get rid of the hair for good?

A: What's best for you depends on your budget, skin and personal preference. But there are several effective options -- both temporary and permanent. Here's a guide to help you find your way to smoother skin.

- Waxing is quick and inexpensive; you can have it done at a spa/salon or you can do it at home. Either way, you'll stay hair-free for four to eight weeks. At home, try Nad's Facial Wand no-heat wax ($10; at drugstores) or opt for pre-waxed strips, which are easy to use. Just rub the strips between your palms to warm the wax, then press onto clean skin. Pull skin taut and quickly remove the strip, tugging downward. A good product to try: One Touch Facial Strip Wax ($3.85; at drugstores). To soothe post-removal redness and bumps, apply a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream (available at drugstores) which is an anti-inflammatory, explains Soren White, M.D., a New York City dermatologist.

- Topical creams minimize the problem but don't get rid of hair completely, so you'll need to supplement with other methods (although less frequently over time). The prescription cream Vaniqa (visit for information) slows hair growth, while over-the-counter Bioré© Beyond Smooth Daily Facial Moisturizer ($6; at drugstores) and Aveeno Positively Smooth Facial Moisturizer ($14; at drugstores) make hair finer and less visible. If you discontinue use of any of these, however, hair grows back at its normal rate and thickness.

- Lasers heat up the pigment in hair, disabling the follicle from which the hair grows (the sensation is comparable to having a rubber band snapped against your skin). You'll need four to six treatments (at $150Ââ€"$300 each) spaced about four to six weeks apart. Though many doctors consider the treatment permanent, officially it's a permanent reduction of hair because there's no data yet on long-term effectiveness, says White.

- Electrology is a permanent removal treatment (electrolysis is one form) that destroys hair follicles one by one with an electric current, which can feel like a static shock. The hair must be visible (why you shouldn't wax beforehand), however, and you'll need about 15 15- to 30-minute treatments over the course of several months priced at about $30 each. Visit for more information.

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