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Facial hair removal 101: Where do I begin...

Guest Jamie61

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Guest Jamie61

A little background. I've never had a heavy beard. Mostly brown/ blonde, now gray and blonde with some dark hairs mixed in mostly around my chin and my upper lip. Since starting HRT my facial hair has slowed down remarkable, here it is 5pm and as I access my skin from this mornings shave I can barely feel any stubble. Feeling mostly smooth on my cheeks. 5 weeks ago that would have been visible noticeable through foundation as well felling very stubbly to the touch, especial around my chin and lip.

So I ask those of you who have experience with treating facial hair:

So how should I proceed, laser first, then electrolysis?

Do you have to be able to grow your hair out to be treated? Is it the same amount of growth required for laser as for electrolysis?

I'm concerned about starting to present part time each weekends, then eventually FT, if I need to be able to produce some facial hair growth for treatment.



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Guest LesleyAnne

Sorry Jamie61.....electrolysis is the only thing that will work on gray/blonde hairs. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), and Laser work on dark hairs by super heating the shaft down into the follicle which destroys those hair regenerating cells. Unfortunately Laser, and IPL won't get the grey, or blonde or even red hairs hot enough down to the root to destroy those cells, since . They just won't absorb the heat well enough to zap em for good. I bought a home IPL system and it works great on dark hairs, but my good ole lady grey ones just laugh, and continue to grow till I shave em or pluck em.

The reason electrolysis works is a very thin needle is inserted parallel to the hair shaft down into the follicle, and is zapped for a few seconds getting it to boil which then kills the cells that produce the hair.

None of it is fun!

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  • Admin

I agree with Lesley Anne. Unless your gray hairs are pretty dark, and it makes up most of what's there, you'll have to get electrolysis to see much effect. Mine was mostly dark grey with some white hair, and while I got good results from laser, I still have to shave every day to rid myself of the white or light gray hair. But I have no shadow, and even after 24 hours I can only tell by touch what's there.

Carolyn Marie

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Guest AllisonRae

Hi Jamie61, First I think you are doing things smarter than I did. I started laser 2 months prior to me starting HRT. I have a mix of dark and gray hair in my beard. Beth, my laser technician explained to me that it's hit and miss with gray hair since often the color of the hair folical is darker. Also she said having a lighter complexion with darker beard is the best for laser hair removal. That is basically me so laser is working very well for me. I also was instructed to try to avoid getting my face tan since it reduces the effectiveness of laser. The treatments go pretty quick too. Stings a lot and you feel sunburned afterwards. Hope this helps you with some of your curiosities.



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Guest April63

My facial hair is a mix of brown and blonde hair. I've had five sessions of laser so far, and most of the brown hairs are gone. The blonde hairs seem to have thinned out a little bit as well. I'm going to need to switch to electrolysis if I want to completely remove my beard. I could probably live with shaving the blonde hairs, as they're not that noticeable, but I think I'm going to nuke them.

As far as the growing out goes, you need to have some hair growth for electrolysis. Sessions are generally once to twice a week, so you'll probably have some growth almost always. With laser, sessions are about every six weeks. Some clinics prefer you to be cleanly shaven, but others like a small amount of growth.

Also, you can always go in for a consultation at a laser clinic to hear a professional's opinion on your hair.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks everyone! I had my first consult for laser and I am going to start a course of the pulse laser treatment knowing that only my dark hair will be hopefully removed. This clinic said I need to be clean shaven. I have been reading about a few places that specialize in doing electrolysis for transwomen. I understand you Need to have the hair removed on parts below before you can have surgery. Oh my!


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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Jamie61

Hello everyone,

I'm going to try laser first. I let my facial hair grow out, that took 3 days. What I saw was about 1/3 dark hairs. The rest are blonde or gray. My skin is light so the 'technician' think that most of the dark hair will respond. I think that may be worth it. Any thoughts? Would anyone else try laser under those conditions?


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no the price is to much and u keep paying I think and do is pluck them out this after time removes them forever look at a lady eyes brows it works with time and save your money

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Jamie61

Tomorrow is my 2nd laser treatment! The first one had a definite impact, but as expected only on the dark hair. Still very much worth it in my opinion. I found a very reputable group practice of plastic surgeons. The person doing the treatments is actually an RN who trained on the use of the laser technology. I got a series of 6 treatments for $850, face and neck only. It was pretty intense as it was my first experience. I noticed that the need to conceal a shadow has already greatly diminished. Time will tell. I intent on starting electrolysis in January for the light hair on my chin and upper lip and perhaps full face. A lot of the light hair growth has slowed for hormones. Anyway just wanted to share that update.



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Hi Jamie,

I have my third session on Saturday and the last one I asked for all the area beneath my jawline to be done and like you said it was a little intense with the increased area treated. I am noticing a shadow fade more so in the back and I am liking it.

She wants to see how my shadow responds to it before moving to the more noticeable areas. Somehow I don't think I will be escaping the discomfort of electrolysis .

Hugs Cerise

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Jamie61

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I had my first taste of electrolysis. I grew my 'beard' out, minus dark hairs ( thank you laser!) and had a first meeting, evaluation and treatment from an electrologist. It all went very well and she gave a treatment, clearing hair along a sideburn. Then she gave me a little tour of a few areas on my face (lip, neck and jaw line). Oh boy!

Low point, growing your facial hair out for treatment. High point, very exciting to feel the result on the treated area!!



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  • 2 weeks later...

I am going to an electrologist/laser hair removal specialist tomorrow! I hope my hairs are dark enough for laser. That seems to be the fastest way to get rid of the hairs. Most of them seem dark, but how dark they need to be is the question I have. Guess I'll find out tomorrow!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Jamie61

My laser treatments are going well. 3 of 6 treatments complete. The dark hair is really waning now. I'm guessing it may not hurt as much going forward, however the nurse who is giving me the treatment says that usually it is reported that the treatment continues to feel about the same. I have a second appt. with an electrologist to really get the ball rolling on the light hair. This takes a few years from what I understand. I hope it doesn't take quite that long. A year would be allot better... Just sayin.

Good luck on your own hair removal, kinda wish I had started this sooner...


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Thanks for that update. I was just reading this thread yesterday and wondered how things are going. Trying to wrap my head around hair removal, hormones, all the coming steps is very difficult and very overwhelming. It is nice to see your experiences and to read your input on it all. It really helps. Thanks!

Did you hear why they said it could take a couple years for electrolysis? I am worried because my facial hair is very salt and pepper, and one trans-woman I met at a social in Austin (who had very light hair herself) said that I was in for the electrolysis route.

Also, and if I am getting too personal please just ignore this question, are your 6 total laser sessions just for the facial hair? Or does that include sessions for other hair as well?

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and knowledge here!


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  • Forum Moderator
Did you hear why they said it could take a couple years for electrolysis?

Multiple growth cycles occur, it's like working through layers and layers of hair follicles as they grow at different times. Years are sometimes required to clear them all out. Even the E 3000 method (extreme electrolysis) takes several months to provide complete clearing.

Last night I went to another session of electrolysis. I am just about done with this at 4 years ! My situation was probably close to worse case, very dense growth, large areas of growth (across front of neck), many white hairs. The road to smoothness is a long one, very expensive and painful.

Best of luck to you all.

C -

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Jamie61


Congratulations Cyndi!!! I can't imagine what it must feel like to complete this process.

My update is that I have now have had four of six laser treatments and two treatments of electrolysis.

Laser treatment of dark hair: Most of my face seems very clear of dark hair except my upper lip and two spots, one left and one right, under the jaw line. I did feel a response to the laser pulses across my face, however the only intense area is the upper lip. That pattern is a reduction with each treatment. If any dark hairs remain on my upper lip after the 6th treatment, I will pay to have a few additional laser 'spot' treatments on my upper lip. Having now had a few electrolysis treatments under my belt, I can say with certainty that you want as little hair on your upper lip as possible.

Regarding my experience with electrolysis. I decided to try a 2nd electrolysis method with a different person. This method was called manual thermo-something and seemed to be a little more intense. But also possibly more effective. I noticed that the treatment of each hair seem to feel about the same intensity. ( versus the other treatment type, not sure of the name, in which some hairs felt almost nothing, while others felt a hot needle)

Each individual treatment seem to take me to the same 'edge' of what I wanted to endure over and over again. Also each hair seem to pull out with the tweezer without resistance. The 'electrolystician' ( is that a word?) would treat the same hair a 2nd time if it showed resistance. I asked her if these hair would then be growing back as finer hairs, which is the process she explained initially. She told me that when a hair comes out easily, there is a chance that we've "damaged" the hair enough that it may be history! She told me that my hair was coming out very easily! This meant that the hairs were moist and transferred the heat well, doing the most damage.

She seemed to work very steadily and quickly, which increased the cumulative affect of the discomfort in an area. So a few times I asked her to try a new spot which she wanted to do anyway to give me an idea of how the different areas would feel. She told me that my ability to handle the discomfort should get better with practice.

I decided to go this route and I booked a second appointment for only 15 minutes to start.... baby steps. My understanding is probably two years to complete, and noticeable results after a year. I think that depends on how much hair you have, your thereshold etc... My beard was not intense so two years is probably a moderate average I think. I am lucky in this regard.

An hour cost $75, once/if I can tolerate that long, which may take months. So I estimate going for 45 minutes, 4 times a month, $250/mo. 24 months would be approx $6000.00. Which from what I understand is not bad from a cost perspective.

Growing hair out 104 times is going to bother me, but my friend Nichole gave me makeup tips ( I'll share after I try these).

Hugs to my sisters!


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  • Forum Moderator

Jamie, it does get better. I've got about 20 hours in with electrolysis and I am seeing good progress. I didn't bother with laser. To reduce the "long" time it takes, it does help to extend the treatment times. I started with 1 hour sessions and just started to do an hour and half. I grow out my beard over two days in which I stay inside. I resolved to get the most benefit from having to grow my facial hair, which I hate. It's dead time but worth the effort for me. I had a salt & pepper mix with more white than dark. My upper lip, lower lip and chin is 90% done now with some progress on my cheeks. The upper lip is definitely the most painful area.

There are three different life cycles of hair growth. It comes out easier when it's in its Anlagen cycle (active phase) and hardest when it's in it's Telogen cycle (resting phase). For me, pulling out the Telogen hairs seems as painful as the actual electrical pulse to kill it.


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Guest Jamie61

Thanks Jani!

I'm think I need to get tougher. It just seems to have a cumulative effect after awhile to where I can't stand it.

Thanks for the encouragement!


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I closed my eyes and imagined being nipped by a horde of puppies. It still hurt, but puppies.... :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yeah I am looking into electrolysis treatment for my face ASAP, from everything ive read it's one of the most important step for transitioning. My beard comes in dark brown, would laser be chaper/easier for me in the long run?

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Laser is much quicker than electrolysis (from what I understand it goes after multiple hairs where electrolysis is one hair at a time. The problem is any light hairs might be missed. I am going through the laser first and then hitting the left overs with electrolysis.


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Guest Alicia Rose

I've touched this topic a little before. Just the other day I had my fourth Laser Hair Removal session. The place I'm going to is charging me $100 for my cheeks/chin/lips/neck, which is half their regular price. Being a new member there and making me wait during my first visit months ago is the reason why they're giving me 50% off (Paid $400 and saved $400 thus far). I personally plan on sticking with Laser while I'm able to save money.

I have an appointment (a 30 min consultation) with an Electrolysis place on Thursday, but can't shave until then which will bother me. Although, my hairs aren't that bad anymore I become extremely depressed if I stop shaving... so I feel I may end up skipping them for my own sanity... I'd prefer to start HRT and mess with Electrolysis later.

If anyone knows.. does HRT affect hair growth as in.. will hairs grow back quicker or anything because of the hormone change? I haven't started HRT yet and too scared to ask. Or does it still help to get Laser done before HRT?

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I just started HRT, getting up to my one month anniversary! I've noticed my facial hair being lighter than before but it may be a by product of the laser instead or in partner with the HRT. Sometimes the laser damages rather than destroys the hair follicle depending on the hair's growth cycle. Keep in mind, 1/3 of you're hair follicles are inactive or at such a late stage that neither electrolysis or laser will work.

PS: I did shave yesterday and noticed my leg hairs were definitely seemed lighter and not as thick.

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So after some checking around I found a place called 'Ideal Image' in CT where I could go for laser treatment, went for a consultation...I did not realize how much money this can cost! They are having a 50% off sale for valantines day, it came out to around $4,500 for my face and neck, I do not have the means to afford that right now :unsure: and that's at half off! and from what I've seen after looking into it more that is a good price...

Now I feel like I'm stuck, my plan was originally to get this horrible beard gotten rid of before moving on to HRT, I don't know if I have the fortitude to go through transition with my facial hair still being a constant issue :(

Anyone know of a better way? I have the dark, thick hair that's good for laser, but extremely hard to hide with shaving and foundation...

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