How To Lose Your Hair
Hair is a good thing … in the right places. But when you have too much of it, or when it’s in undesirable locations, that can be a problem.
Let’s have a quick look at ways to rid yourself of wanton and excessive hair. You can remove hair at the surface (depilation), or you can pull out the whole damn thing (epilation). Shaving, friction and creams are forms of depilation. The rest are epilation techniques. Got it? Yeah, right.
1. Shaving. There are a couple ways: electric and non-electric. The downside of either is skin irritation. In-grown hairs can develop, and you sometimes need to dig them out with a needle or pair of tweezers. Ouchy.
If shaving creates problems, as it has for me all my life, experiment with different brands until you find a method that works. For me, non-electric shaving was a nightmare. My face is so sensitive that anytime I used a regular razor, the result was Braille face. Then apply a razor on top of that, and it’s literally a bloody mess.
I moved on to electric razors, but even those irritated me. Here’s the procedure I finally found works best for me, after 30 years of trial and error. Not baby-ass smooth, but passable…
1. Wash your face in the shower before you shave. Use soap. Duh.
2. Examine your face closely and pluck out any in-growns. This may require you to carefully dig the tip of the hair out of the skin using a tiny pair of scissors with fine tips. Then tweeze those bad boys out. Note that some tweezers are better than others, so experiment ‘til you find ones that have bomb grip. To be on the safe side, periodically clean your gear with peroxide, alcohol or warm soapy water.
3. Keeping your skin dry, use the electric shaver. I found Remington worked best for me, but again, go experiment. You may need to drop some moola to get a good shaver. If you get those 20%-off coupons from Bed, Bath and Beyond every week like I do, that should help.
4. When done, wash with cold water, then dry. I used to use warm water, but then realized this was making my skin irritation worse.
5. Apply an over-the-counter 1% steroid cream. Some leave a yucky residue the rest of the day, so again, try out different ones. You can apply this to your face for years without worry. No need for other pre- or after-shave products.
6. For any small red spots left behind, use concealer. You can find something that matches your skin tone in beauty supply stores (near me, it’s Sephora), and don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Yeah, you may feel awkward being the only dude walking around the make-up section. Consider it a social anxiety exercise. It’s no big deal. There are creams and powders, but the creams tend to look better. Dab and blot it in while the steroid cream is still moist, then once things dry you can even it all out so it matches. There ya go, champ!
A downside to non-electric shaving is cutting yourself. That should rarely happen to you with electric shavers. Shaving burns and bumps can result if you get too aggressive, meaning shaving against the hair, too close, too hard, too fast. If you cut a hair too short and it then retracts back under the skin, as it grows it may burrow beneath the skin and not penetrate up to freedom. Voila, Braille face.
2. Plucking. Again, a temporary way to get rid of hair. If you have a few cropping up between your eyes or at the tip of your nose, a little skillful tweezer action can get rid of them for a few weeks or longer. Some places are tough to investigate, like inside the ears. Some places would be too painful to pluck, like up inside your nose (the thought of that just made my scrot retract. Just FYI). To help explore, get a mirror that magnifies your skin, and good lighting.
Shave, pluck and trim away whatever you can find that doesn’t need to be there. If that doesn’t do it, proceed onwards…
3. Waxing. I’ve never personally waxed, but this is another short-term method that can take out large swathes in a hurry, such as your chest and back. The poster boy for male waxing is Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
A bit painful depending on the area, but if you want a quick and dirty solution, this is it. You can go it solo or have a pro esthetician in a salon wax for you.
An alternative gaining popularity is sugaring. Basically the same as waxing but using a sugary paste, it can be less irritating and cleaner, although possibly less effective.
4. Threading. This has been a method long-used all over Asia, and only recently is breaking into the west. It is the same concept as tweezing, though instead of removing one hair at a time, a row of about five hairs are removed with the thread at once. It’s mostly used by chicks wanting to shape their brows, but hey, if you’re curious give it a go yourself and report back.
5. Friction. Just what it sounds like, this technique involves rubbing off hair with a pumice or fine sandpaper. Naturally, if you rub too hard, you remove not only hair but flesh. However with light pressure, it can help exfoliate skin. It is useful for taking out fine hairs of the arms and legs, mainly as a form of maintenance along with other more effective methods.
6. Creams. These are called depilatories, and work by messing with the proteins of the hair. They are easy to find on drug store shelves and are inexpensive although temporary. Some people can develop irritation, burns or rashes from them, so use with caution. Make sure that you use the product where it’s intended to go; that is, if it’s intended for your arms, don’t spread it around your crotch. Please.
A popular product is Nair, which made immortal the brilliant jingle, “Who wears short shorts??” I may be dating myself here…
7. Rotary epilators. Imagine a device that is made up of mechanical tweezers on a revolving head, quickly plucking out bunches of hair, and you have what’s called a rotary epilator. You may remember the Epilady, first marketed in Israel in the 1980s.
Sound painful? Yup.
Use these puppies on less sensitive areas like arms and legs, if you dare. As with standard tweezing, its effects last only weeks.
8. Electrolysis. I must admit, dear readers, I was born with a unibrow. Since I had empathetic parents, it was handled in my teens with electrolysis. This procedure wasn’t particularly uncomfortable to have done, but it is time-consuming and may require a lot of visits. It has been around since the late 1800s, so purdy well-established.
A licensed electrologist sends a bit of current to the root of each hair follicle until it gives up and stops making hair. Good for places like around the eyes, where lasers don’t belong. I found it to be (eventually) permanent after maybe a dozen or so sessions, though some hairs were reluctant and kept coming back. The FDA only allows us to say electrolysis reduces hair growth, stopping short of calling it permanent.
9. Laser. Yes, I had this done as well, and it ranked up there as one of the most painful experiences of my life (by the way, I’ve had a kidney stone, a couple massive herniated discs and some intense “body work” massage that made me cry). It is especially effective with dark hair on light skin.
Basically, it works by setting the hair bulb on fire, so yeah, it is as bad as it sounds. It also can be expensive – though worth it. I had it done on my throat since I kept getting in-grown hairs. After two visits, the area was permanently bald.
Similar to laser is the flash lamp or intense pulsed light (IPL), a gadget that uses xenon. It is generally cheaper and faster than laser, and considered by many to be equally effective. Before pursuing either treatment, it’s a good idea to discuss them with a qualified trained practitioner or physician.
10. Prescriptions. You can go see a dermatologist to discuss other medical solutions to excessive hair growth. That’s fairly extreme, however.
11. Bleaching. Not a way to get rid of hair, but instead a method of lightening it. Never heard of a dude bleaching his stubble, but ya never know.
Now get out there, you damn ape.
About Dr. Evan Marlowe Evan Marlow is the dean and founder of Man School. You can visit at Manschool.cc