If hormones or an unfortunate encounter with a razor at a should-have-known-better age have left you predisposed to dark hairs atop your upper lip, you've probably tried to sort the blighters out a time or two. While I'd always recommend starting with bleach to disguise them and seeing how that goes, here's the lowdown on a more hardcore method I've turned to in the last while to get shot of mine: DIY waxing.
- Start with a clean, make-up free face to give the wax the best chance of working effectively. Use make-up remover to cleanse thoroughly if necessary, then wash with a gentle rinse-off cleanser to ensure no residue remains.
- Gently exfoliating with something like Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant (or using a muslin cloth in conjunction with your cleanser) will lift off any dead skin cells, but you may prefer to skip this step if your skin is sensitive.
- My current weapons of choice are Boots own brand pre-loaded wax strips - they're good even for beginners, there's no danger of scalding yourself with them, they actually work ( unlike some Veet products I could mention), and they come on transparent plastic backing so that you can see exactly what you're waxing. If you prefer to use hot wax, for God's sake check the temperature of the wax on your inside wrist before putting it near your mush... and then remember to remove it from the heat source once it's at the desired temperature.
- Lightly powdering your upper lip will help the wax adhere to the hairs rather than to your skin. Some waxing kits, like Waxcellence, come with a preparatory oil for this purpose but I find they can encourage breakouts when used on the face.
- Keep skin taught throughout the waxing process - the easiest thing to do is to pull your upper lip down over your teeth for the main event, and use one hand to pull the edges taut as you work on the stragglers at the sides.
- As ever, apply the wax in the direction of hair growth, and remove swiftly in the opposite direction, being sure to keep the wax you're removing close and horizontal to the skin. This will minimise redness - whipping wax off by pulling it out and away from the skin can lead to bruising, ow! - but you should still expect things to look a little tender for 24 hours post-wax, during which time you should lay off make-up and fake tan and avoid hot showers, baths, or exercising to the point of sweating excessively.
- Use a cold compress or aloe vera gel to soothe any irritation or redness.