According to research from Bristol-Myers, about 20 million American women remove facial hair at least once a week. Hormonal changes are responsible for common increases after the age of 40, but it’s hereditary too—if your mom or dad had a lot of facial hair, you may as well.
In some cases, conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), adrenal gland tumors, or even medications can also lead to facial hair growth.
Whatever the cause, facial hair is annoying. And removal techniques like shaving, plucking, bleaching, and waxing can all cause skin irritation, rashes, and bumps. Often our removal techniques make the area more visible than it was to begin with!
What to do?
Turns out there are several natural ways to reduce facial hair. They won’t give you the immediate results that conventional methods do—some of them require several applications before you start seeing results—so you may need to continue with your other methods as needed, or alternate them with these methods until you find the process that works best for you.
Let us know your results—we’d love to hear!
7 Natural Ways to Remove Facial Hair
Sugar and yogurt scrub
Mix a teaspoon of raw honey in with a tablespoon of full-fat Greek yogurt. Apply to clean skin and leave on for at least 15 minutes. Scoop some regular sugar into your fingers and use to scrub off the mask (and the hair). Scrub gently to avoid irritating the skin. Rinse with warm water and immediately apply a calming toner and moisturizer.
Chickpea flour (besan) and turmeric
This is a traditional Indian method used to remove hair from the face. Mix equal amounts besan (chickpea flour) and turmeric and add water to make a paste. Apply to areas where the hair grows and leave on until it dries. Rinse off with warm water.
This is probably the most effective one on this list, once you get the hang of it. Mix one egg white, one tablespoon sugar, and half tablespoon of corn flour and beat to make a paste. Apply where the hair grows, as thick as possible. Leave on until it dries. It should form a mask-like covering. When you pull it off, some hair should come with it—similar to waxing. Apply a calming moisturizer immediately afterward.
Oatmeal is a gentle exfoliating agent, and can help you scrub away the fine hair that grows on your face. Mix ½ a teaspoon of coarsely ground oatmeal with one tablespoon of honey and 6-8 drops of lemon juice until the ingredients form a paste. Apply on the areas where hair grows and leave on for 15-20 minutes. When you go to remove it, scrub for a few minutes first, rubbing your fingers over the area in a circular motion. Finally, rinse off and apply your moisturizer.
Lavender and tea tree oil
An interesting 2013 study found that lavender and tea tree oils could potentially be effective in reducing mild cases of “hirsutism,” which is a condition of unwanted male-pattern hair growth in women. For the study, researchers sprayed the oils on the affected areas two times a day for 3 months in one group of women—the other received a placebo. Results showed a significant decrease in hair in the oil group. Try mixing about 1 teaspoon of lavender with 4-6 drops of tea tree oil and apply to the affected areas 2-3 times a day. Be patient—it may take a couple months to start seeing results.
Wheat and barley scrubs
If you have stubborn facial hair and your skin isn’t too sensitive, you can try these two ingredients to see if you get better results. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of wheat bran with a tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of rosewater to make a paste. Apply, and then start scrubbing right away and keep scrubbing until the paste dries up. Rinse and repeat about 2-3 times a week. (Always follow with moisturizer.) Or, try one tablespoon of barley powder mixed with a tablespoon of lime juice and a tablespoon of milk. Add the paste to your face and leave it for about 30 minutes. Rinse off.
Grind up your fenugreek seeds to make a powder, or use pre-made fenugreek powder. Mix it with water to create a paste, apply to hair areas, and allow it to dry. Gently rub off and the hair should come with it.
Mix sugar with juice from most any citrus fruit and honey to make a paste. (Heat if you need to make it a paste you can work with.) Apply to hairy areas, cover with a cloth or waxing strips, and pull off to remove unwanted hair. This may work better on other areas of the body—it may be too aggressive for your face—but if you have stubborn hair, this will help get rid of it.
Try a natural bleaching action using potatoes! They’re said to naturally lighten the look of hair, and with this mask, you’re also likely to remove some of the hair. Soak some yellow lentils in a bowl overnight, and then remove the water and grind them up to make a paste. Cook your potato and mash it up (without the skin), and extract the juice by pressing. Mix the lentil paste and potato juice with about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey. Apply to areas of facial hair and let sit for about 30 minutes. Rub gently as you’re rinsing to remove hair.
For sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin and these other methods make you a little nervous, use the power of enzymes to your benefit. Papaya is a rich source of natural enzymes that help exfoliate skin and may help break down fine facial hair as well. Cut a raw papaya fruit into pieces, grind to make a paste, then mix about 2 tablespoons with about ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder. Apply to areas that have hair and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Massage into the skin while it’s on, and then let it do its work. Rinse with warm water and apply moisturizer.
Let it grow!
If hair removal just isn't for you, we're all for letting it grow. Body hair is normal, everyone has it, and some of us are comfortable just leaving it. Natural is in!