The GREAT BIG facial hair removal update

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 18 - 2011

How’s that for a post title you don’t want to see on a Monday morning?  Woke you up a bit though right?

I’ve been receiving queries as to how the hair removal thing is going and I thought that it was high time for another update.  Have you had your first, second and third coffees of the day yet?  I’m not really sure where to begin…

It was 3 days after Christmas when I found myself in the changing rooms at House of Fraser.  I thought I saw a spot developing along my jaw line so peered into the mirror for a closer look and got more than I bargained for when I noticed 4 long, dark but fine hairs sprouting from my neck near my ear lobe.

Gutted doesn’t really begin to describe it.  I left the changing rooms feeling deflated, ugly and most of all ashamed that I hadn’t noticed them before now… floods of insecurity washing over me as I wondered how many people might have noticed them without telling me.

Mr. L tried to assure me that he hadn’t seen them before and perhaps they’d regrown overnight (bless him).  I’d done the best I could to prepare myself for this outcome, I’d even told myself that it was practically inevitable but it still didn’t help dampen the overwhelming disappointment that I was facing the possibility of hitting a snake instead of a ladder and finding myself back at square one.

Ironically, one of the reasons we were battling the House of Fraser New Year sales was to get Mr. L a snazzy new electric shaver and that night… he let me use it first.  I was frustrated to be shaving properly again only 2 months after finishing my SK:N laser hair removal sessions but on the plus side, I can totally recommend this shaver for women with facial hair… every silver cloud and all that…

So where does that leave me now?  And what about the iPulse Smooth Skin?

4 months on from Christmas and I’m nowhere near ‘square one’ as feared.  Infact, it’s barely any worse than when I first noticed the regrowth.  I shave every 4 days now and it takes me about 40 seconds to run the rotary shaver over the outer edges of my top lip, neck and jawline.

It’s fine, dark and pliable… not as coarse as stubble but neither is it downy.  I began to write that I felt I had experienced about a 60-65% improvement than before my treatment until Mr. L reminded me that I used to have a freaking beard by tea-time.  True ‘dat.  I’ll upgrade it to a 75-85% improvement.

How about the at-home device?  The iPulse Smooth Skin (use discount code: BSKN55 for £50 off purchase price) that I was supposed to be using every week to maintain my smooth hair-free state?

Well… I just couldn’t keep the routine going… It was an epic chore to use on my face and had me cursing everytime I pulled it out of the box.  Here’s why:

~ The device would get hot quickly and needed frequent cool-down periods during use.
~ It’s very difficult to get all 4 contact points lined up on the skin simultaneously on hard facial angles like jawlines.
~ When you’re working on your face, you need a mirror… which means that all movements are in reverse.
~ You need to pencil over your lipline with a white eyeliner before use.

Add the above up and it was taking me over an hour to do my lower face.

But do I think the iPulse Smooth Skin worked?

Yes, I think it helped.  I still don’t notice any regrowth on the ‘flatter’ areas of my chin/jaw/neck which would be the areas that I was able to ensure were treated by the iPulse.  Can I be sure?  No… but I am sure that the device was a total pain in the backside to use.  I think it’s probably great for people with either limitless patience or lovely, flat, easy-to-reach areas to treat whilst distracting themselves with Eastenders.  But until it remains cooler for longer, it’s not great to use on your face when it’s such a tricky area to treat anyway.

And the SK:N clinic laser sessions? Well… I wouldn’t have enjoyed a hair free Summer last year or still be enjoying an average 80% reduction in facial hair without those sessions, painful though I found them.

I’ve just taken a photo of my chin/neck showing 2 days worth of hair growth, which can be directly compared to last year’s photo from before I commenced treatment.  I really don’t think I have too much to be sad about.

I’m about to take the next step in my quest for that elusive pot of hair-free gold.

I’ve purchased a block of 5 IPL sessions at a local salon (this is a different type to the laser treatment I received at SK:N last year) and I’m looking forward to hopefully commencing them later in the month.  I WILL be hairfree again this Summer and if I’m not?  I’m gonna let it grow and dye it purple.


If you want to read back through my experiences of laser hair removal, click here to read through my “adventures in laser hair removal” which naturally, makes it sound far more glamourous than it is!

* The iPulse Smooth Skin was a press sample and I was a guest of my local SKN laser clinic

** The iPulse Smooth Skin can currently be purchased for £281.90 online at Boots using £50 off code: BSKN55 at checkout

41 Responses to “The GREAT BIG facial hair removal update”

  1. Lady Hirons says:

    You have my sympathies Char. I’ve shaved my tash every day since I was about 13?
    Jim forgot to bring my razor to the hospital when I had our eldest and I looked like Hitler. Attractive…

    • I packed 7 bic razors in my hospital bag and have a pact with my cousin (hairy mary like me) that if either of us find ourselves in a coma, we’ll sort the other out with regular shaving visits!

  2. Meeka says:

    That is definitely a massive improvement but I can understand the desire to be completely hair free. I’m glad to see it’s worked even if not as much as you’d hoped. Thanks again for sharing, it’s hard to put yourself out there on the web like that and I admire you for doing so :) Your honesty and realness are some of of the things that keep me reading!

  3. Phoebs says:

    Wow, congratualations! You have made so much progress- I xouldn’t imagine what an effect that would have on my everyday moods. YOu are an inspirational woman to keep going as chirpy as you are ^^

  4. Rachel says:

    This is a really good update. Im doing IPL at the moment and teaming it up with the pill as mine is down to hormonal imbalance. Slightly painful but I’m hoping worth it!

  5. Jacie says:

    I’ve been getting laser for a few months (you actually inspired me to do it) and I’ve noticed a big difference. Where I spent most evenings plucking my moustache, I now don’t get a shadow for weeks on end. Best money I’ve ever spent.

  6. Debbie says:

    My heart went out to you reading those first paras, obviously I don’t know you (in real life!) but think of you as a friend and was hurting for you. I am so glad things aren’t as bad as you first feared and certainly the before and after photos show the dramatic improvement. You are a total all out champ for putting this out there, and you know that there will be women reading this who dont blog and wont comment but will be spurred on by your honesty, its a much greater thing that you are doing than you realise. Massive hugs hun. xx

  7. Claire says:

    The after looks much much better! So brave of you to post this. Great post :) xxx

  8. Lauren says:

    Charlotte, you rule! What an inspiration you are. Hundreds of women out there will be reading this going ‘It’s not just me, thank god!’. Huge respect for your honesty and brass-neck bottle. Keep going girl! xxx

  9. Elsie Barley says:

    It’s a dreadful thing that we women are supposed to be totally hair-free these days and are totally paranoid that we, too, may look in the mirror and find hairs growing where we didn’t expect. It is mortifying to think that others may have noticed them. And you are so courageous to detail and photograph your own battle with the beard. I hate to be the bringer of bad tidings but the beard comes back when the menopause strikes and, what’s worse, the eyesight isn’t as sharp as it was to spot the lurkers!
    What happened to feminism and the right to be real, grown-up, hairy women? We have regressed to being infantile Barbies and willingly subject ourselves to the tyranny of perfection. Well, that’s enough of my rant for today. Well done you for your courage and honesty and your brilliant, compelling, witty writing.

    • It’s an interesting issue and I find that none judge me harsher than my fellow sex. Men are usually far more tolerant of the issue! Whoulda thunk it?

      I’ve found myself sat on the train, wondering why the hell the woman opposite me hasn’t taken a BIC to her ‘tache… and if anyone should be more understanding…

      Conditioning has a lot to answer for..

      And thank you btw xx

  10. Emmy says:

    massive difference! and thank you for sharing, you are a real inspiration!

  11. Lauren says:

    Well done you! Seems to be going well. I think we’ve all battled with unwanted hair at some point. I too get the odd stray hair on my neck, which surfaces every few months but is very long! I tweeze them out and pray they don’t come back…they do! Don’t get too down about it. Fingers crossed this new course helps out!xx

    • Yeah, I find it too easy to take my progress for granted… looking at the big picture, it’s a huge improvement. But I want that perhaps unnatainable absolute normality.

      Hate tweezers, instruments of torture!

  12. Aishah says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I’ve just recently learned about you having PCOS. I too, have excessive hair, and its not just on my face – its all over my body. I get so embarrassed when people look at me and I tend to look away. I really hate that. It makes me feel like they are staring at all the hairs on my face. Especially when practically everyone around me has smooth, hair-free skin. I’m 21 and I think I may have PCOS too. I haven’t had myself tested for it, but I’m pretty sure I have it. I don’t know how to open up to my family and tell them that I might be having this syndrome. I’m not a really talkative person and I’m very shy, so I just can’t find the courage to go ahead and open up to people, even if they are my own family. How do you suggest I go about telling my family, my mom especially that I might have this condition and that I might need to get it checked?

    • Is there anyone other than your Mum that you would feel comfortable sharing it with? Perhaps after you’ve talked about it for first time, it will become easier and then you can tell your family?

      There’s absolutely no shame in it, not ever. xx

  13. Leah says:

    You are so brave to bring this all out into the open to help other people – and that’s just what you do. I hope you have another hair free summer. The paragraph where you talked about feeling ashamed and ugly made me want to cry for you.

    Unwanted hair is something many of us deal with, perhaps not to the extent that you’ve had, but enough to make us feel ‘wrong’, unfeminine or un-sexy, and summer is a bitch as every gossamer hair shows up, let alone the thick black one I have to yank out of my jawline and the spindly ones I pluck out of my chin!! Keep us posted! x x

    • Hell yeah! I always hoped that Summer would bleach the darker ones but it just makes them stand out more!

      Aww thank you lovely, they say that 1 in 10 women have PCOS now, so that’s a lot of unwanted hair! I don’t have much to share that’s actually useful but it’s great if someone read this and it makes them feel less abnormal for even a short while!

  14. Rae says:

    Oh, Charlotte :( I’m sorry to hear that the hair is back! I hope the new kind of removal will work better for you (and last longer), and of course… huge huge huge “thank you!”s for sharing your journey with us.

    Honestly, I hardly notice the hair in your “after” photo (and only do so because you pointed it out), but I definitely understand why it would bother you.

    P.S. We promise to continue adoring you even if you have a giant purple beard! :)

  15. Annalise says:

    You’re amazing for posting about this and judging by the comments all of the woman who read your blog are so supportive and some even going through the same thing! Like Rae said, I could barely notice you even had hair in the after photo. I hope it all works out for you with the IPL sessions and if not, I’d suggest get a blue beard rather than a purple, if only so you can call yourself Bluebeard and pretend you’re a pirate of some sort! 😉 xx

  16. Poppy says:

    Mr L is so sweet! Where I am, a vast majority of men wouldn’t date girls with a faint mustache or arm hairs!

  17. Vijaya says:

    I love that you’re always so open about these things. I’ve learned a lot from when you do these types of posts!

  18. Tass says:

    There’s a marked difference in the before and after photos :) I didn’t know a thing about PCOS before and I’ve learnt SO much thanks to your posts xx

  19. Maryam says:

    Hey girlie, I’ve followed you through your facial hair removal journey and just can’t explain how amazingly wonderful you are and how much I appreciate your honesty, I have just completed my first session of IPL and the results are so much better then I expected, hair growth is slowed down to a ridiculously slow pace and the hairs are as fine as when I get waxed, so much less stubbly then shaving. I know everyones different but I really hope this works out for you but either way you are stunning and nothings gonna change that! xx

  20. Wordbird says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty about this difficult subject. I’m a PCOS bird too; I had to shave every day and had a similar beard to you. Now I’ve had 5 sessions of laser treatment at SK:N and I only shave now for special occasions. The regrowth is really fine and much more like ‘normal’ (hate that word) women’s facial hair.

    I don’t duck my chin in meetings; I don’t get a raspy sound when my chin brushes against my scarf; I’ve met a new man and I don’t feel embarrassed at the idea of staying overnight or giving him stubble rash (though it would make a change); I honestly think this is the best money I’ve ever spent on myself.

    It’s not perfect and it’s not total hair-freeness. But I tell you what, as a fair-skinned dark-haired woman just the first treatment made the most enormous difference to my confidence. Now, I’m flying.
    All down to you, Charlotte. Thank you so much. You changed a life, babe. x

  21. Anitacska says:

    Honestly Charlotte, I could barely see any hairs on your chin until I looked properly closely. While I can see why you feel disappointed, I can assure you that the improvement is definitely more than 75%. And you should not feel ashamed of yourself as you have nothing to be ashamed of! Still I hope the nextt lot of treatments will be more successful and you enjoy a hair free summer. xxx

  22. Leah says:

    Don’t sweat it at all! What you have grown back will be completely unnoticeable to anyone but you (and possibly anyone who catches you in bright sunlight in the car)!!

    I have really dark upper lip hair (PCOS over here too) and I use hair removal cream once a week – when it does grow back I don’t really even notice it anymore – It is normal – it doesn’t make you less of a woman and so long as there is Mascara and Eyeliner on the planet no one is looking at that patch under my nose just above my lips!

  23. Thanks for posting this! I’m trying to find information on Laser Hair Removal and this has definitely helped me in this process.

  24. Lindsey D says:

    Just found this blog/posts, very interesting to read/watch everything! I’ve tried just about everything (I’ve got PCOS and pretty ridiculous hirsutism has been my main symptom since I was 12, so I’ve been dragged around to different clinics/etc. by my mother for 14 years) and while I still think electrolysis is the most bang for buck, it’s always interesting to read reviews of the new laser treatments.

  25. fuzzy says:

    I always like to use an old fashioned straight razor. I’ve kept it for years and serves me well. x x

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