MTF Facial and Body Hair Removal
How can trans women get rid of facial hair?
Getting rid of hair when transitioning can be done successfully in several different ways.
But we’re only looking for long-lasting effects that are worth the time and effort.
Let’s skip all the everyday stuff such as shaving, which causes razor burn, painful waxing that leads to ingrown hairs and stubbles, or other ways you may have thought of to cover up that 5 O’clock shadow.
What procedure removes unwanted hair permanently?
As a transitioning woman, your best options for long-lasting and effective hair removal (facial and body) are:
- IPL or Intense pulsed light hair removal
- Laser hair removal
Before we talk in-depth about the hair removal methods above, it’s crucial to understand how hair grows on our bodies.
Hair growth cycles:
Unlike other mammals, humans do not shed seasonally; we continually go through three (3) different hair growth cycles, and all three phases are happening simultaneously.
Anagen phase: This is the first hair growth cycle, otherwise known as the growing phase.
In this phase, the hair is still attached to the root and visible on the skin.
The anagen phase lasts about 2-3 weeks for body hair, but the hair on places such as your head can last years (which is why it grows so much longer than the hair on your body).
The anagen phase is the phase you target when you want to treat your hair follicles.
That means whenever you are having laser hair removal, electrolysis, or IPL hair removal; you want your hair to be in the anagen phase because studies show this is when hair removal is most effective.
Catagen phase: This is the second phase of the hair cycle and is when the hairs begin to shed.
During this very temporary stage, the hair is no longer attached to the follicle/root and is in the process of being shed out.
Hair removal treatments done in this phase are somewhat effective but primarily ineffective in this stage as the hair is no longer attached to the root, and any therapy done will not reach the source of which the hair is growing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_follicle#Catagen_phase
Telogen phase: last stage of hair growth. The telogen phase is also known as the resting phase that can last from days to years.
- During this phase, the hair is not visible on the outer layer of your skin, and treatments are completely ineffective because there is nothing to transfer the energy from the tip of the hair down to the follicle. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_follicle#Telogen_phase
Hair growth cycles are why you have to go for numerous laser hair removal sessions because you want to catch each hair growth cycle in the anagen phase (usually 2-6 weeks apart) once the new cycle is beginning.
Now that you understand the hair growth cycles let's talk about the best hair removal methods for MTF transgender women.
Best Hair Removal Methods While Transitioning
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Hair Removal
IPL is another type of effective laser hair removal method such as the Alexandrite laser.
It's a type of light therapy used primarily to remove unwanted hair from home, get rid of wrinkles, and treat spots.
Check out these At home laser hair removal before and after
Instead of using a concentrated beam of light, IPL devices use an array of light and are A LOT MORE AFFORDABLE than a salon, and you can do it from the privacy of your own home.
How can you remove unwanted hair permanently at home while transitioning from male to female?
Here's what Nikki Has to say about our IPL:
"Nikki - 21 JAN 2021 (35 upvotes)
I was nervous buying this because it seemed a little too good to be true, considering how low the price is for what you are getting and how good the reviews are. I finally caved and bought this product on October 30th, and it was delivered on November 4th.
The packaging was very nice; My first thought was that it looked legit.
It has a little bit of weight to it. When you turn it on, you can hear some kind of whirring noise like something is happening.
Note that the "zaps" are EXTREMELY bright. Even pressed tight to my skin and wearing eyeglasses, I keep my eye clothes during the flash to be on the safe side. The first session I used seemed not to do anything, but I had only used the device at power level 1 because I was nervous it would hurt.
In the second session, I did a few things differently: I turned up the power level to 3 and did one pass of zapping over the areas I was treating as neatly as possible like I was following a grid.
Then I turned the power level to 4, did one more pass, and in the areas where my skin is lightest, I went ahead and did the same again at power level 5 (maximum strength). So each spot of hair growth gets 2 or 3 zaps every time I use it, and I usually wait 4 to 6 days before I use it again.
It really doesn't take very much time to cover a large area because the part of the device that does the zapping has pretty broad coverage.
After my second and third sessions, the hair on my upper lip never grew back.
It took six sessions to get rid of 99% of my chin/jaw/neck hair (two stubborn hairs left on my jaw).
After four sessions, my tummy hair is about 2/3rd of the way gone. My armpit hair has been reduced by nearly half.
I have had this product for one month, and it has significantly reduced my unwanted hair.
For context, I am a cisgender Latina woman with light, yellow/gold skin tone, and my body hair is extremely thick, coarse, black, and curly.
Please note, anywhere you have more melanin in your skin, the higher levels can also burn your skin instead of just hair- so do not use level 5 where your skin is medium-tone or tan, and do not use level 4 or up where your skin is dark.
The device has a little card that shows which intensity levels are safe for which skin/hair colors.
I have found the best technique is shaving and then waiting until I get a "5 o'clock" shadow bit of hair growth before zapping.
You will literally smell burning hair if you use this technique, but it does not hurt, and this seems to be the best way to get the fastest results.
You'll notice that a few hairs seem to be zapped out immediately, but most of the hairs that you lose will fall out after a day or two.
Just try to be consistent, and it really, really works.
I am excited about eventually not needing to shave, but I am much more excited by the lack of that post-shave shadow.
Especially for my underarms, it is incredible to see the patches where hair no longer grows and are regular skin color instead of that gray/purple tone that my armpits usually have after shaving.
After sessions, your skin will feel warm to the touch, but I have had zero actual burns anywhere on my body.
Over the course of an entire session, I might have one or two "Ow!" moments where a zap actually hurts, but the pain level is comparable to being snapped by a rubber band and goes away instantly.
I use the "Australian Gold Aloe Vera Freeze Gel with Lidocaine" as a cooling gel after my skin feels particularly warm to the touch.
Please, please learn from my mistake and do NOT put that cooling gel on your face: it gave me the worst acne breakout of my life.
At first, I wasn't sure if this device or the gel triggered the breakout, but after continuous use of the device without the gel, I can confirm that this device does not trigger breakouts.
Now I use a gentle face moisturizer after zapping facial hair and save the cooling gel for my body.
I have every intention of using this product to remove all of my body hair permanently, and, honestly, it probably comes with enough flashes that two people or more could remove all their body hair.
This thing is absolutely worth it and more! Definitely one of the best purchases I have made.
It permanently removes body hair, and there is no downside. If your body hair is darker than your skin tone, you should absolutely buy it."
At-Home Laser/IPL Hair Removal For Transitioning Women
If you're not convinced that such a simple yet affordable device is capable of saving you thousands in laser hair removal cost and or electrolysis, then read on.
We will not only show you proof but also make you the offer a lifetime. Here at KetchBeauty, we believe in equality and fairness.
We have a 90-day money-back guarantee on all purchases.
If, after 90 days of using our IPL every week, you don't see any unsatisfactory results, let us know so you can return the device for a refund.
Here's what some well know women have to say about our IPLs [Some of these names may be familiar...]
- Samantha Lux: A well know advocate for transwomen with over 580,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 80,000 followers on Instagram.
*Full disclosure: Samantha did purchase our IPL on 20 JULY 2020 and used it for 3 months or until 20 OCTOBER 2020 before deciding to make a video review with here results. Even though we sponsored the video, all opinions are her own and real after testing it on herself. The video sponsorship is to compensate for here time and effort taken out of her scheduled to make a video in the first place.
Her own words via email prior to making the video:
I’ve been using your device and I’ve seen some impressive results! I’m down to share my results in a video :)
Let me know what you think!
- Gia Gunn: Needs no introduction but Gia Gunn is the stage name of American drag performer Gia Keitaro Ichikawa. She is known for competing on the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the second season of The Switch Drag Race, and RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars season four.
- Victoria Rose: Is another well know trans advocate with over 30,000 subscribers. In her own words describes herself as being a woman of transgender experience. Victoria has been using KetchBeauty's Hair Removal IPL since the first quarter of 2020. Find her socials below as well as her results.
- Carolina Gutierrez: Caroland is a channel with 73,000 subscribers dedicated to helping and educating the public in various topics from beauty and fitness to trans issues, pop culture, nutrition and much more. Carolina has been using the KetchBeauty IPL consistently and has shown off her results frequently on YouTube and Instagram.
- Mathilda Hogberg: Is a well know Swedish YouTuber with 45,000 subscribers who shares tip and helpful content to help transitioning women find their way. She has recently started using our IPL and has offered to make a video showing her results because it's unexpected and unbelievable for her.
- Destiny Maylas: Another well known youtuber with 30,000 subscribers who primarily post content related to HRT, and it's effects over time. Destiny is very skeptical and critical towards any and all products. This is what she had to say: "
- Apr 22, 2021, 10:07 PM I have refused a few Sponsorship Collab requests because I don't believe the product will help the Trans Community or Curly, Brown Girls or both, but this product looks promising and I'm pretty sure this will help the Trans Community that's why I'm happy to Collab with your brand after the product proves effective."
- May 9, 2021, 12:48 AM I just got the package. I will use it for a few weeks so I can give a proper feedback. Ill also use it on my partner so we can both provide a proper feedback.
- Becky Boulton: Transgender vlogger with 27,000 subscribers giving advice and sharing experiences!
- Adea Danielle : on this channel with over 66,000 subscribers you will find beauty videos, transgender life updates, Storytime and much more!
2. Electrology - effective, fast, and painful
If you're not familiar with electrology, this is where a needle or a small metal probe is inserted into each hair follicle, and a small electric current will pass through the needle and zap the hair.
This is essentially the same as laser hair removal but much more painful and expensive. Electrologist results are faster, but sessions are a painfully slow process.
The best part of electrology is that it works on all skin and hair types, textures, and colors.
The cost of electrology varies a lot, but the main difference is that it is charged per hour or minute instead of per area of the body.
Like laser hair removal, you can get discounts on Groupon, so be sure to look there if this is something you plan on doing in the future.
Again, electrology is super effective, but it is ridiculously expensive. Most people book an hour-long appointment but hardly ever make it to the end because it's so painful.
You'll need to book about 8-12 sessions to have an area completely treated and done with.
This is not because it's less effective than laser hair removal (4-8 sessions), but because electrolysis is so painful, you will need more sessions of shorter treatment times.
For people with a lot of hair that you want to clear in a shorter amount of time, you can opt-in for lidocaine or Marcaine injections (numbing agents) in the area before to make it bearable.
Pro tips: if getting lidocaine shots at your dermatologist or salon isn't an option, you can visit your dentist and ask for a shot of lidocaine.
Also, you can request to have a patch test done on your hair at salons or dermatologist offices before committing to a 12 session packaged deal.
Some side effects associated with electrolysis may include:
- Discomfort or pain
- Skin redness
- Localized swelling
- Tiny blisters
- Ingrown hairs
How do you prepare for electrology?
The preparation for electrolysis sucks. You have to grow your hair out long enough for a tweezer to grab onto.
If you're a trans woman with dark facial hair, be prepared to grow your facial hair out for at least five days before treatment.
After electrology, your skin may feel extraordinarily raw or sore because the process includes sticking needles into each pore.
As soon as the hair is treated, it's plucked out, so results are instantaneous.
At the end of the day, you need to research and find a laser that works for you.
3. Laser Hair Removal
If you're not already familiar with laser hair removal, it works by taking a concentrated light beam and then heats the hair follicle and destroys it.
Single hair removal sessions for a specific body part or area can easily cost upwards of $100 per session. (Groupon is a good place to look for coupons for discounts).
Unlike electrology, laser hair removal is most effective for people with light skin and dark hair (same as home IPL hair removal devices).
The way laser hair removal works is the concentrated beam of light that heats any pigmentation in the hair and transfers that heat down to the root of the hair follicle, destroying it.
If you have light hair and light skin, there isn't much contrast to differentiate between the hair follicle and the skin, and this goes for dark skin and dark hair combinations.
This can lead to burning of the skin or irritation, which you want to be mindful of.
Different salons have different lasers, but people have been reported to have the best results from "Alexandrite laser."
Quick side note: “An alexandrite laser is one that uses an alexandrite crystal that is used as the laser source or medium. The alexandrite laser produces a specific wavelength of light in the infrared spectrum (755 nm). It is considered a red light laser”
This laser has been known to be the most effective and least painful compared to others.
You'll still feel the heat, smell the hair burning (which is a good thing you want to smell the hair burning because it means that it's actually working).
So now you must be wondering, "How long does it take to see results from laser hair removal?"
The time will vary from person to person, but the combined average is about 2-3 weeks; you'll notice the hairs starting to fall out in patches.
How to prepare for laser hair removal
Before you undergo laser or IPL hair removal treatment, you need to shave beforehand.
Shaving before will allow for the laser/IPL light to identify and target the hair and transfer the heat to the follicle after it's been zap, and as stated above, you can expect the fallout process to happen within 2-3 weeks.
How painful is laser hair removal?
Depending on the area being treated pain level is about 3-5 out of 10 on a pain scale for laser hair removal.
Areas such as the upper lip where the skin is fragile and sensitive will be more painful than areas with thinker skin.
You may feel like your skin is being snapped with a rubber band, and you may also experience mild discomfort after the procedure, such as redness and irritation like a mild sunburn. (
The more visible hair on the outside of the skin, the more painful the treatment will be that's why you should shave before)
That being said - The pain is not nearly as unbearable as electrolysis.
How permanent is laser hair removal?
According to Samantha Lux: "The permanenity… (is that even a word?... IDK anyways) of laser hair removal is very debated! Some people say that it just disrupts the hair for a long period of time and expect eventual regrowth." All her treatment has been within the last five years, and she is entirely free from the burden of shaving.
Some negative side effects of laser are:
- Discomfort or pain
- Localized swelling
- Skin redness
- Hyper pigmentation (temporary skin darkening)
- Scab formation
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Related article: MTF laser hair removal