Wax, aka Pain with Payoff
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In the time it takes to say "yowza," you can remove a lot of hair and buy yourself about a month of fuzz-free skin. Waxing is especially effective for upper-lip hair. (If you can't bring yourself to DIY, it's a relatively affordable salon service that costs $10-$15.)
Waxing stings and can leave skin red. "And you have to stop using retinoids or glycolic acid a week beforehand," says Anne Chapas, MD, a New York City dermatologist.
Sally Hansen Hair Remover Wax Strip Kit for Face, $6, which doesn't require heating or muslin strips.
Tweeze, aka The Quickie
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Pull out the random couple of hairs on your upper lip and chin and it's like they never even existed—well, at least for a week or two.
You may need a magnifying mirror to help. Tweezing isn't practical for tackling more than a few hairs, plus aggressive plucking can trigger ingrown hairs, breakouts, and scarring on darker skin tones.
Angle-tip tweezers grasp hair without breaking it or poking your skin. We like the Tweezerman Point Tweezer, $23.
Shave, aka The Guy Approach
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A simple solution for getting rid of larger areas of facial hair (and a surprisingly popular one, says Dr. Chapas).
If your hair grows quickly, you'll be a slave to daily upkeep. And it might be a tad embarrassing if you cut yourself shaving.
Dr. Chapas recommends a single-blade razor to her patients. Try the Sephora Touch-Up Razor Kit, $15.
Depilatory, aka The Smelly One
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Depilatories are quite simple to use: Apply a cream or lotion and your hair chemically dissolves in minutes.
The chemicals used in depilatories are stinky and potentially irritating. "Do a patch test to make sure you aren't allergic," says Dr. Chapas.
The Super Smoothers
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If you've got more facial hair than you can handle, you may want to consider one of these heavy-duty treatments.
Vaniqua: An FDA-approved prescription face cream that prevents unwanted fuzz by blocking an enzyme necessary for hair growth. It takes about eight weeks to work. Apply twice a day, continue to remove hair in the meantime and keep using it to prevent regrowth.
Cost: $95 for a tube (not usually covered by insurance), available at Walgreens
Laser hair removal: A procedure that reduces hair production by 40 to 70 percent after multiple treatments. It works by damaging the hair follicle with beams of concentrated light. Lasers work best on fair skin and coarse, dark hair since they target melanin, though it's possible to treat darker skin tones.
Cost: $1,500 for four treatments
Electrolysis: This is the only permanent hair removal method for all hair colors. It's painstaking—an electrical current is inserted into one hair follicle at a time to destroy the hair bulb—and comes with higher risks of scarring and hyperpigmentation.
Cost: $115 per hour (total time depends on hair coarseness and thickness)