From genetics to hormonal imbalance, there can be lots of reasons behind the growth of unwanted facial hair. Similarly, the methods that can be used for removing ugly facial hair are also many. Though you can always opt for the salon service to get your eyebrows or upper lip done, girls usually prefer tweezing these at home. But is tweezing truly effective in removing undesirable hair? How can it affect your skin? Does the process make hair grow back thicker and darker or is it just a myth? Let us find out everything about tweezing in this article.
What is Tweezing?
Tweezing is an effective hair removal technique in which hairs on small areas of the skin are taken out manually and individually. It is used worldwide by women and few men to shape their eyebrows and remove unwanted stray hairs from the face (upper lip, chin, etc.). When compared to other hair removal techniques, it is considered as an inexpensive and harmless procedure. In this simple grooming habit, a pair of tweezers are used to pull the hair from the root. This makes sure that the entire hair strand is plucked out from its follicle, keeping it from growing back for 3 to 8 weeks. (1)
Steps in Tweezing
Following are the steps involved in the process of tweezing:
- Start by disinfecting your pair of tweezers with some rubbing alcohol so that you do not end up getting any infection.
- Also, wipe your face with a warm washcloth to make sure that the hair and follicles become soft and relaxed.
- With the tips of the tweezer, isolate one hair strand that you want to remove.
- Hold the skin of the surrounding area taut in one hand and clamp down on the hair strand firmly with the tweezer in another hand.
- Now, pluck the hair out of its root gently by pulling it in the direction of its growth.
- Disinfect your tweezers once again with the rubbing alcohol and you are done.
While tweezing causes slight discomfort, you should not feel pain during the process. However, if you find it really painful, rub an ice cube over the area immediately. This will prevent redness and inflammation too. Application of a numbing cream beforehand may also lessen your pain by desensitizing the skin.
Advantages of Tweezing
If you are considering tweezing your unwanted facial hair, these reasons can be enough for you to start:
- Tweezing offers a very precise approach to hair removal, which is extremely helpful in shaping eyebrows or removing stray hair.
- It does not need any preparation work or application of special products, which makes it a very quick and convenient process.
- It offers complete control and excellent accuracy for achieving the right results so that the process does not become tricky or risky.
- The process offers long-lasting outcomes and sometimes it can even damage the hair follicles completely to stop them from growing back.
- Tweezing is an inexpensive method that needs only a quality pair of tweezer rather than too many replenishing products.
Disadvantages of Tweezing
However, tweezing is not all things good either. Here are the cons of the procedure that you need to keep in mind:
- Tweezing is a tedious process and removing hair from a large area in this way can be highly time-consuming.
- As the method is pretty slow and you need to pluck hair one at a time, it may turn out to be painful.
- If the pair of tweezers is not good enough, it may be difficult for you to reach short hairs. It often slides or breaks the hair without plucking it away.
- If you are not skilled at tweezing, you may end up getting scrapes, scabs, or scars by digging the tweezers into your skin for reaching the hair strands.
- Improper uses of tweezers can give you ingrown hairs too.
Other Ways to Remove Unwanted Hair
So, before busting the myth whether tweezing makes hair grow back thicker and darker, let us take a quick look at all those other methods that can help you get rid of undesirable hair growth on your body:
1. Shaving: It is the fastest and easiest way in which a disposable razor or an electric shaver is used to lift and cut hair at the skin’s surface. You can shave hair safely from your legs, arms, armpits, bikini area, and even face. However, the hair may grow back in 1 to 3 days after shaving and you may experience side effects like cuts, scrapes, and ingrown hairs.
2. Epilation: In this method, epilators of different shapes and sizes are used to remove multiple hairs from their roots all at a time. It is a quick and hassle-free process that is perfect for larger areas like legs and the hair usually grows back softer, finer, and less noticeable after 3-4 weeks. Some common side effects of epilation include discomfort, pain, tenderness, swelling, inflammation, and ingrown hairs.
3. Waxing: This technique will help you remove all the hair in an area effectively. Soft wax is usually used for facial hair removal while hard wax is designed for legs and bikini area. But no matter which one you choose, you will get smooth, hair-free skin for long. Waxing can also cause adverse effects like burns, infections, allergic reactions, acne, ingrown hairs, etc.
4. Laser Therapy: If you want a lasting solution for hair removal, try laser therapy. As a pulsating beam of laser damages hair follicles in this method, you get rid of unwanted hair for up to 6 months or even permanently. You can use laser on the entire body including the face. It can also be done in a convenient and cost-effective way by investing in an at-home laser hair removal kit. A few potential adverse effects of this method are discomfort, redness, tenderness, etc.
5. Depilation: It is all about using a commercial depilatory product for breaking down hair proteins in order to dissolve them and wash them away. These products are available in the forms of cream, gel, or lotion and usually contain certain chemical compounds like sodium, titanium dioxide, and barium sulfide. Depilation suits any part of the body and lasts longer than shaving. However, it may cause allergic reactions, redness, bumps, and itchiness.
6. Threading: When it comes to facial hair removal, threading is a simple yet effective way. In this procedure, a thread is used to pull and twist unwanted hair in order to remove it fully from its follicle. However, it requires skill and may even lead to side effects like discomfort, minor pain, and bumps.
Read Also – 10 Best Hair Removal Creams
How is Tweezing Different from Others?
From the working procedures to the longevity of results, tweezing is no way similar with epilation, depilation, and laser therapy. While it may resemble other three methods i.e. threading, shaving, and waxing to some extent, the differences are still quite prominent. Here is what you need to know about it:
- In both tweezing and threading, hair is pulled out completely from the root. However, tweezing selects individual hair strands and stimulates their follicles, which may not necessarily be in a phase of fresh growth. Conversely, threading pulls out multiple hairs at a time.
- In tweezing, the hair shaft, which is basically a part of the hair follicle, is removed. The underlying matrix, which happens to be the mechanism for hair growth, remains intact throughout the procedure. On the other hand, shaving just takes the superficial hair out.
- Hair is removed from their roots in both tweezing and waxing. But tweezing focuses on individual hair strands and plucks them out one by one while waxing makes a large area hair-free instantly by eliminating lots of hair altogether.
Does Tweezing Really Make Hair Grow Thicker and Darker?
Tweezing is not likely to cause any kind of changes in the texture of the hair. At least, there are no scientific theories to support it. When the hair grows back after tweezing, the new growth feels thicker because it sticks straight out and straight edges just like a post-shaving fresh growth feels. Repeated plucking from the same follicle could distort it, making the hair grow at an odd angle. This tends to make the new hair more noticeable. If the hair is growing thicker for real, then the reason is not tweezing. It could be because of hormonal variations and genetic issues. In such cases, it is advised that you consult a dermatologist for the same. (2)
Safety Precautions to Follow During Tweezing
While planning to pluck out unwanted hair from your skin, it is important to proceed with caution. Taking care of the following points will help you steer clear of the complications associated with tweezing:
- Always go for tweezing after taking a warm bath or simply applying a warm compress. This will open up the pores on your skin and allow a smooth tweezing.
- Whenever you tweeze, hold the surrounding skin tightly. This will help you tweeze out the hair much closer to the roots without pulling the skin.
- The grip is very important while you tweeze. Make sure that you hold the tweezers tightly and pull the hair out gently every time.
- You should tweeze in the direction of natural hair growth only. Otherwise, your skin may suffer from scarring, hyperpigmentation, and even dark spots (3).
- Avoid tweezing during your menstrual period as this can be more painful as compared to other times.
- Do not tweeze your nipples, moles, acne, breakouts, and ingrown hairs in order to avoid inflammation, infections, and scarring (4).
Tweezing is a simple, inexpensive, and effective hair removal method in which a pair of tweezer is used to pluck unwanted hair completely out of its root. It is similar to other hair removal methods like threading, shaving, and waxing to some extent but there are differences in required time, longevity of results, etc. Tweezing makes hair grow thicker and darker is basically a myth and there is no scientific evidence for it. However, it is important to follow some precautions in order to make the most of the procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Tweezing Bad?
Frequent tweezing usually damage hair follicles which is more good than bad as it makes the new growth finer and sometimes even stops the growth totally.
How Long Does Tweezing Last?
The effects of tweezing last for almost 3 to 8 weeks depending on the density of hair.
Can Plucking Stop Hair Growth?
If you keep plucking your hair continuously, the follicles will be killed. Hence, there is a chance that the hair may never grow back again.
Does Tweezing Cause Dark Spots?
Tweezing does not cause dark spots when it is done correctly. However, improper use of tweezers, plucking out hair from acne, etc. can lead to hyperpigmenttion or dark spots on the skin.
Should I Pluck Chin Hairs?
If there are only one or two hair sprouting from your chin, you can tweeze them easily. But if the number of hair is more than this, do visit a doctor to find out the root cause of the problem and get treated for it.
- “How to Remove Facial Hair“, Healthline.com
- “Does Tweezing Make Hair Grow Back Thicker? A Pro Weighs in“, HuffingtonPost.in
- “How Tweezing Unwanted Hair Can Affect Your Skin?“, SkinCare.com
- “5 Places You Should Think Twice About Tweezing“, WomensHealthMag.com