January 24th 2021
Peach fuzz: a guide to downy facial hair, and how to remove it
April 29th 2021 / 1 comment
From magnifying mirrors to HD cameras and selfie culture, peach fuzz or vellus hair can become a source of anxiety - here’s how to remove it if you want to, and a case for leaving yours be
Peach fuzz: sounds cute and friendly, can be a pain if you’ve got a lot of it, particularly on your face. The better cameras get and the more Insta obsessed we become, the more we perceive fine, downy hair on the face as noticeable and troublesome, but just to preface this article with a self-acceptance pep talk, we’ve all got it, and unless you’re zooming in during selfie mode in full sunlight or face-planting the mirror, we promise we can’t see it. That light-up mirror you're using to do your makeup in the morning may be highlighting it but don't let it fool you into thinking you're part beauty queen, part bear.
For some, it is admittedly a legitimate problem and confidence sucker, but if you’ve never thought about it before, or are suddenly gripped with peach fuzz paranoia, please don’t leap to drastic measures to mow it off your lovely visage.
If it is a beauty issue for you and you'd like to be rid of it, here are a few peach fuzz facts, along with some ‘dos’ and ‘don'ts’.
What is peach fuzz?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it thus:
“The down on the chin of an adolescent boy whose beard has not yet developed.”
Clearly this entry needs to be revisited for the 21st century where gender is concerned. Electrolysis expert and co-founder of The You Clinic Rachel Cross emphasises that peach fuzz isn’t simply a teenage boy issue:
“Some people are just hairier than others – no different from the hair on our head or our eyebrows, we all have different amounts and thicknesses of facial and body hair. Women are simply not hairless! We all have hair in places we wish we didn't, it’s just that it may vary in amount and thickness.”
“Sometimes the best 'treatment' is to simply accept what we have and try not to feel in any way ashamed or embarrassed. It’s vital to remember that many pictures online and on the pages of glossy magazine are not real. Clients always think they are the only one with the problem, but when I tell them that I perform electrolysis all day long it reassures them. My advice to young girls in particular is to leave hair alone if possible, as you could regret harsh or extreme treatments years down the line. If they do want to pursue a treatment, then I urge them to look for a reputable clinic.”
If you are seeking treatment, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Peach fuzz isn’t the same as a man beard - it’s ‘vellus’ hair, as opposed to coarser, darker ‘terminal hair’. Peach fuzz, as the name implies, is finer, shorter, softer and very often lighter in colour, and in the majority of cases it’s only visible at very close range. The fact that it’s often difficult to detect makes it equally tricky to remove, hence why you should only go there if the fuzzies are really giving you strife.
Peed off with peach fuzz? Right this way…
Peach Fuzz Removal Options
Disclaimer: it’s always advisable to seek the opinion of a qualified skincare specialist where possible - this is your entire face we’re talking about and peach fuzz is tenacious. But if you do want to know how to get rid of peach fuzz and downy hairs, here's what the experts say.
We’re going in with the big guns here, but this treatment has stood the test of time in the sense that everyone from Cleopatra to Marilyn Monroe to Elizabeth Taylor has partaken in a version of dermaplaning to achieve a polished complexion. In short, they shaved their faces, and while that’s most definitely a 'thing' on the internet (more on that later), we’d advise professional dermaplaning over taking your Venus to your face any day (on NO day use your body razor to shave your face...bacteria and...just no).
A 2020 study by Treatwell revealed that searches for dermaplaning are up 621 per cent year on year! But you won't find dermaplaning in the hair removal section on the site, as it's not actually a hair removal treatment, but rather a dermatological one that has the side-effect of ridding your skin of peach fuzz. Cosmetic doctor Dr Rabia Malik explains what you’re in for:
“Dermaplaning is an effective method of exfoliation. Using a scalpel blade, dead skin cells are removed from the epidermis (top layer of the skin). Along with exfoliating, dermaplaning also helps remove the unwanted vellus hairs from the face.”
“Usually, you can see a difference after the first treatment. Not only will you achieve smoother, brighter skin but you’ll be free of peach fuzz and despite popular belief, the hair will not grow back thicker.”
The whole process is painless (it feels like a light ‘scraping’ *shudder*), and apparently it also helps your usual skincare to penetrate more effectively afterwards. It’s normally recommended to have the treatment once a month, but this totally depends on your skin type, peach fuzz status and finances. Dermaplaning downsides include expense, plus it’s not recommended for very sensitive or acnegenic skin, or those suffering from rosacea.
Some aestheticians combine dermaplaning with other non-surgical treatments for extra hardworking results. Case in point Harley Street doctor Dr David Jack's Tri-Layer, £375, which combines dermaplaning with mesotherapy injections to replenish and rejuvenate the skin, plus radiofrequency to stimulate new collagen. The trio work together for ultra-healthy, happy skin which is glowing with visible results from day one.
Book in for a thorough consultation before a dermaplaning treatment and don’t be seduced by deals - playing Bladerunner on your face just isn’t something to economise on.
All-over facial threading is offered by professional brow bars up and down the land (we love blink and Shavata), and an expert threading specialist can nix peach fuzz in no time, although be prepared for a lot of eye watering. A little redness and irritation can occur post-treatment and it can take up to three days for this to subside. Avoid harsh treatments, retinol and exfoliating acids both beforehand and during recovery time and avoid heavy and perfumed creams, as these could provoke flare-ups and breakouts. As peach fuzz eliminators go, this is also one with heritage - both women and men have been threading their faces for centuries.
Hair removal creams
Of the sensitive facial variety is best, but even these can cause irritation and burns if not used correctly. Stick strictly to the development time on the packet and patch test before you go all in. A quick poll of the office (and online reviews back us up) suggests Veet Natural Inspirations Hair Removal Cream for Sensitive Skin, £7.49 is the one to beat. New hair removal kid on the block Sunny also has a Facial Hair Removal Cream, £5.50, in its range that we rate. It's scented with honeydew melon and leaves your face silky smooth for up to a week. Just ensure you wash both of these off thoroughly and avoid your potent skincare routine for afters - you need a gentle moisturiser to keep things calm.
If your peach fuzz is on the thicker side, this approach may work for you, and it’s the only method of permanent hair removal for this type of hair currently available. Electrolysis expert Rachel gives us the lowdown:
“Electrolysis uses a very fine needle that is inserted into the opening in the skin that the hair grows from (the follicle). The needle needs to touch the blood supply at the base of the follicle. Heat is then applied via the needle to cauterise (seal off) the blood supply. The needle is removed and a pair of tweezers is then used to lift the hair out of the skin. Without a blood supply, a new hair can no longer grow back.
“It must be noted that electrolysis is only as good as the therapist performing it. It's a very skilled treatment and will only achieve permanent results if performed correctly.”
Suited to all hair and skin colours, electrolysis can be very effective, but it is a costly option (from £45 per session) and there are a few medical constraints to be aware of- book a consultation with an expert to discuss whether it's right for you, or if you live in the London area, make an appointment with Rachel here.
This can work well, but your skin may pay- it’s an aggressive hair removal solution for your full face and definitely isn’t to be recommended for sensitive, acne or rosacea-prone skin. It’s vital to go gentle on the aftercare too- aloe vera all the way, ditch the acids, avoid sun exposure and ramp up the SPF. Ripping, tugging and ingrown hairs could all be part and parcel of a full facial wax. You’d have to be really peeved with your peach fuzz to go here.
Good old Jolen. While bleach won’t zap hairs, if your peach fuzz is on the darker side this will lighten it so that it’s less noticeable, although it won’t escape the glare of sunlight or zoomed camera lenses. Then again, no one wants to live their life under a lens- in reality it’s probably far less noticeable than you think.
Shaving your face
As popularised by the likes of beauty mogul Huda Kattan, shaving your face at home has become commonplace in the beauty world with people praising how much better their makeup goes on after doing it.
Our columnist Hattie Sloggett gave it a go with Veet’s Dermaplaning Sensitive Precision Face Kit, £29.99, lured by the promise it would make her makeup go on ultra-smoothly. She found that at-home dermaplaning left her with baby-smooth skin with zero redness and that foundation went on much more smoothly and it blended better than ever.
Skincare brand Votary this month launched its Magic Razor Wand, £20 for three, which can be used to remove peach fuzz as well as tweak eyebrows, trim your hairline and defuzz your upper lip. It’s made with stainless steel and has a hand made from 80 per cent wheat straw.
Another brand new launch is Magnitone's BrowzThat, £8 for three which makes light work of removing peach fuzz.
While shaving your own face might seem a bit of an ordeal, some view it as a self-care act, including body-positive blogger Nelly London took to Instagram stories to share that de-fuzzing her face is one of her favourite steps of her self-care routine, showing how much dirt comes off her face after doing it, even after cleansing. Look away now if you're squeamish.
Don’t go there if your peach fuzz is light in colour - laser will do more damage than good, as laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment in the hair. You could end up with burns, permanent hyperpigmentation or scarring, with no reduction in peach fuzz. Laser is normally not the one, but if your peach fuzz is veering into full facial hair territory, it could work for you - book a consultation with an expert to discuss your options.
Rachel slaps this one down:
“Plucking is possibly one of the worst things a client could do in this case as over time this will stimulate the blood supply to the follicles, resulting in thicker and stronger hairs.”
Not to mention the soul-draining prospect of plucking out all of the microscopic hairs one by one. Give us peach fuzz any day over that torture.
Find out more about laser hair removal here