By Jess Beech
According to the NHS, nearly 75 percent of women experience increased facial hair as they age, especially after menopause.
But with so many filtered images clogging up our social media feeds, it’s becoming more difficult to know what is considered ‘normal’ when it comes to body hair and chin hairs and just another beauty myth.
And while there are so many elements of beauty that we love – like testing out luxe new palettes for less thanks to the best Black Friday beauty deals or sifting through the magical scents of the Jo Malone sale – body hair is one of those less glamorous aspects that's seldom discussed.
Body hair – what is normal?
The easy answer is, there is no ‘normal.’ Whether you have an exceptionally hairy bikini line or a bald one, chances are it's completely normal. The same goes for your chin; no hairs or some hair, both are normal.
‘Everyone is unique, and the same goes for body hair, explains Sofia, co-owner of waxing brand The Naked Hare Group, a Treatwell salon partner. ‘The rate your hair grows, the texture, whether you’re prone to ingrowing hairs – it all varies from person to person.’
Black Friday deals to make plucking easy
Black Friday deals on other forms of facial hair removal – no plucking, no problem!
Why do some women have more body hair than others?
‘The amount of hair your body produces is down to your hormones and geneticmakeup. Thewomen who came before you in the family set the standard for you! Whether you have lots of hair or none at all, it's all very normal,’ adds Sofia.
Is plucking hair bad?
If you’re only grappling with one or two rogue hairs in one area, like your chin, experts advise plucking over threading or waxing, as this will cause the least amount of damage to your skin.
‘With any hair removal procedure, it is imperative there are pre and post-care to safely remove the hair and ensure your skin is protected,’ explains Sofia. ‘Plucking your hair is not bad for you if you look after your skin.’
‘One thing to remember is it is more time-consuming than a wax, so the discomfort is prolonged, and the area may become irritated. I would only advise plucking a small surface area. Your brows for example, if that works best for you! Otherwise, stick to waxing or threading.’
What happens when you pluck a hair?
‘Plucking can remove the entire hair from the follicle if done correctly,’ says Sofia. ‘It isn't permanent, but it will take longer for the hair to grow back as opposed to shaving.’
‘If you continually remove the hair from the follicle with plucking or waxing over time, there may be a reduction in the amount of hair produced in that area.'
Proceed with caution, and a really good pair of tweezers (we've recommended some below), as unsuccessful attempts can damage the skin.
‘If your tweezers are not sharp enough, or you have to go over the same area multiple times, it can result in scraping and gauging the skin,’ explains Sofia. ‘This damage can lead to scabs and possible scarring.’
Which hairs should you pluck?
While we’d recommend leaving a re-shape or an eyebrow tint to the professionals, maintaining your brows at home is easy.
For best results, only tweeze a couple of hairs a day. This will stop you from removing too much, and reduce the chances of mismatched brows.
As a general rule, only remove hairs from beneath and in-between the brows, never above.
For more expert tips on plucking your eyebrows at home, read our article on maintaining bushy brows.
Plucking chin hair
Chin hairs, one of our biggest beauty bugbears, are usually a sign of low oestrogen (which along with weight gain can be a result of menopause). But dermatologists believe that genetics play a part too – so if your mother has chin hair, then you most likely will too.
If you have just a few chin hairs then plucking is recommended above threading or waxing. If you want to go ahead and pluck your chin hairs, prep the area by washing with warm water first. This will not only ensure the skin is clean, but relax the hair follicle and prevent tugging. To reduce the risk of spots or infection, wash your tweezers with soapy water and store them in a dry place after every use.
But what if I am plucking my chin hair everyday?
Plucking is best used for small areas of hair, so if you’re experiencing a large amount of regrowth, you may want to re-consider your hair removal process or try a less time-consuming technique.
‘Plucking the hair successfully from the follicle would mean you shouldn't have to remove the hair everyday,’ says Sofia.
But if you are, waxing, threading and sugaring, a process by which hair is drawn out from the root in using a gel made from sugar and water, are all great alternatives.
One of the main benefits of sugaring is that it removes hair in the direction of growth, meaning fewer broken hairs.
‘Often hair gets broken when plucking andinstead of being extracted from the root, as sugaring hair-removal does, regrowth appears fast, explains Tanja, owner of Sugaring London, a Treatwell salon partner.
‘Broken hair, which has not been properly plucked, can lead to ingrown hair.’
Why do you get ingrown hairs on your chin?
According to Tanja, there is a wide range of reasons why ingrown hairs develop…
- Hair is lying parallel to the skin instead of growing upwards. A lack of proper care causes this. For hair to easily break through the skin, you need to gently exfoliate the skin once or twice a week.
- Hair is twisted in a ring. There are several reasons for that: curly hair, hairs growing in different directions, removal against the hair growth. Plucking, waxing, or shaving hair against the natural direction of growth causes the hair to be cut at a sharper angle, making it more likely to grow back under the skin and cause ingrown hair.
- Lack of proper aftercare post-hair-removal. Ingrown hairs are often the result of sweat and dead skin blocking the follicle, trapping air beneath the surface, so it grows back in on itself.
- Not enough hydration in the skin. Body hair struggles to pop through if the skin is dry. The better moisturized the skin, the easier it is for the hair to come through.
How to deal with an ingrown hair on your chin
Exfoliating your skin a couple of times a week and moisturizing regularly should be enough to keep ingrown hairs at bay. Not over-plucking your facial hairs will help too. Avoid getting tweezer-happy and instead leave at least three weeks between sessions.
If you have been unlucky enough to end up with ingrown hair, resist the urge to play with the area. Most inflammation will go away on its own once the hair makes its way through the skin. If it’s not easy to remove, squeezing or digging at the hair will only make it worse. But, if the top of the hair is peeking out, you can carefully remove it with a clean pair of tweezers. If you’re worried about persistent or particularly problematic ingrowing hair, seek the advice of your GP.
Which hairs should you not pluck
Plucking armpit hair
We’re not sure why you’d want to pluck your armpit hairs overusing a less labor-intensive method like shaving, waxing, or laser removals, and the experts agree.
‘I wouldn't advise anyone to pluck the hair from their armpit,’ says Sofia. ‘Not only is the area really sensitive, but the angle is awkward.’
‘It is much more effective to pluck the hairs out when the skin is pulled tightly, which would be very difficult in this position and would mean prolonged pain from repetitive plucking and probable ingrown hairs.’ Ouch!
Plucking chest hair on women
Similar to plucking armpit hair, if you have a large number of chest hairs you’d like to remove, go for a method that will eradicate more hairs at once.
‘Plucking is not only time-consuming but can easily damage the skin if not done correctly,’ advises Sofia.
‘However, if you just have a couple of stray hairs around your nipple (as many women do!), then a simple tweeze may be preferred. Just make sure you are careful.’
Plucking belly button hair
Belly buttons can be a super-sensitive part of your body, so to avoid irritation, it’s best not to pluck the hairs here.
If you’re feeling sensitive about stray hairs in this area and it’s knocking your confidence – don’t despair. Just visit a salon to have the area treated by a professional.
Plucking out grey hair
Plucking lone grey hairs doesn’t actually invite two to grow back in their place (as many people think), but it can permanently damage the follicle, resulting in bald patches. The choice is yours, but we don't recommend this as part of your grey hair routine.
Plucking nose hair
Our nose hairs filter out the bad germs we breathe in every day. As well as making your eyes water, plucking stray nose hairs can enable bacteria to enter the ‘danger triangle’ – the area between our mouth and nose that crosses blood flow headed to the brain.
Plucking hairs on moles
Contrary to old wives’ tales, there is no evidence that plucking hair from a mole can cause it to turn into a cancerous mole.
But it can cause the mole to become infected and result in inflammation and bleeding – which will draw more attention than a small fine hair.
How can I pluck hairs without causing damage?
For pain and fuss-free plucking, follow Sofia’s top tips…
- Firstly invest in a good pair of tweezers – it’s an absolute game changer! There's nothing worse for your skin than being picked and prodded at. An efficient pair will mean it's safer for your skin and more effective.
- Try tweezing after a bath/shower, the heat will open the pores, and it may be easier to remove the hair.
- Ensure the area is clean and pat dry.
- Disinfect your tweezers using warm water and soap.
- Pull the surrounding area tightly so the skin is taut, and ensure you get a good grip on the hair with your tweezers. This will reduce the chances of ripping the hair.
- Pluck in the direction the hair grows and always be extremely gentle and extra cautious not to catch your skin, it helps if the hair is at least 2mm to get a good grip.
- Follow up by applying an aloe vera gel to calm your skin.
- Avoid using products that contain AHAs or BHAs, sun exposure, or hot baths for 24 hours after plucking.
Everything you need to pluck hairs at home
You'll need some brilliant tweezers and a magnifying mirror for a successful plucking session at home. If you struggle to pluck the desired hair first time currently, it's time to upgrade to one of these:
Tweezers with great reviews
Originally crafted for watchmakers in need of precise tools, these are great for swiftly plucking strays. The tapered point is especially handy for removing splinters and teasing out ingrowing hairs without causing damage to the skin.
No need to worry about riffling through your bathroom cabinet to find your tweezers, this handy desk stand keeps them all in one place - holding up to three pairs at once. Everything you need for groomed brows, it comes with a slant tweezer for general use, point tweezers for trickier areas, and a brow razor for trimming.
A double-duty must-have for maintaining your brows between appointments. The diamond-dust coated tip gives superior grip, making plucking even fine hairs easy. Use the brush to coax unruly brows into place.
Small but perfectly formed, these tiny tweezers are great for travel. Keep them in their plastic carry case and pop them in your make-up bag to remove strays on the go.
Magnifying mirrors with great reviews
16 LED bulbs to mimic natural daylight, as well as magnifying your reflection by more than 10 times, this lets you see even fine hairs in minute detail. Cordless and portable, it works well for travel too.
Use one side of this illuminated mirror to see your face normally, or rotate for 5 times magnification. Light too bright? Adjust the dimmer switch to set it exactly how you want it. Ideal for plucking your brows at any time of day.
Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC.
She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!
Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress.
The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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