How to handle embarrassing beauty question #254: lady whiskers.

Ladies, we need to talk.

We need to have a chat about an alarming problem most of you will be familiar with. I’m talking about our LADY WHISKERS.

You know the ones – those wiry hairs that sprout on our chinny-chin-chins?

The intensity and speed with which these things grow are now starting to officially scare me. I almost need to keep a pair of tweezers on my person at all times just in case a rogue one spontaneously erupts while I’m on the bus.

And the thing is, the more women I speak to, the more I discover we are all suffering in silence, not wanting to address the elephant on our, erm, top lip. Or neck. Or chin.

It’s time we had a frank and open discussion. Why do we get those long, thick, coarse (often black – eek!) hairs root themselves so inexplicably deeply into our skin.

More of a mystery, why do they grow back so freakishly fast?

German woman Mariam, 49, started growing facial hair after she gave birth 28 years ago. In 2008 she stopped plucking it and decided to grow a beard.

Firstly, let's start with the WHY.

It comes down to one thing: hormones. As if hot flushes and a weak bladder aren't punishment enough ... our hormones take one last shot at making our lives a living hell by helping us grow a lady beard.

To be a little more scientific: both men and women have male and female hormones, but in different proportions. All women produce small amounts of male hormones called androgens. With age, the proportion changes: welcome whiskers! At the same time, as women grow older, oestrogen levels in their body decrease so there is less to counter the effect of the androgens.

The saddest irony in all of this is that as hairs start to grow with abandon on our chins and upper lip, they start to diminish on the top of our heads.

"But I've had a big black chin hair since I was in my early 20s!" I hear you cry. Well apart from that just being really shitty luck, it's also possible and quite common for younger ladies to experience facial hair growth, once again, due to hormones. Often it's due to pregnancy, irregular periods and sometimes even the Pill. It's a cruel, cruel world.

The real mystery though is this: Why in the heck do they grow back so quickly? I swear to god, I tweeze my face free of all hairs before I go to sleep at night, only to wake and discover that, like an insidious weed, they have all reappeared.

So what can you do about them then? Even though most of just tweezer the suckers out, there are a lot of other (often more extreme) but more permanent options available.

Tweezers. Your new best friend.

Tweezing, bleaching and waxing

These are the most common and probably easiest methods if you only have a few odd, stray hairs growing. The obvious downside is that it's only temporary and, due to the hideous fact these things grow back so damn fast, you can be caught unawares.

Waxing can irritate the skin, particularly on your face, and although there are creams available, your facial area can be particularly sensitive, so be careful and test it on a patch of your skin first.

Shave it off

So this might feel wrong for you as a woman and even though we wouldn't necessarily recommend it (better to stop these things at the root), it is an available, albeit temporary, fix. It can be great though, for peach fuzz as you can barely see it when it grows back.

Get a prescription

Aside from HRT, you can ask your doctor for something to tackle the hormonal changes in your body. A topical cream can slow the growth of facial hair, but it can take four to eight weeks to see results. Be sure to see a doctor and get a professional opinion, as this method may not be right for you.

Laser treatment

By far the most effective treatment, laser damages the hair follicle to slow down hair growth. The problem is that if you have grey or light hairs, the treatments won’t be effective. Dark hairs are most easily targeted.


This can be performed in beauty salons and involves inserting a needle into the hair follicle and passing an electric current through it to destroy the hair. Sounds fun, huh? It will be fairly uncomfortable and time-consuming but will work well on all types of hairs. Beauty is, indeed, pain.

However you approach it though, remember this: You are NOT alone.

Also to remember is this: friends do not let friends get around town sprouting a tiny forest on their chin without alerting them to that fact. Do the sisterly thing and point that whisker out.

If you relate to the above, then you'll love this comedy skit about Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her last f**kable day as woman. Particularly the part where Tina Fey talks about going home to 'bleach her beard'.

Post continues after the video

The takeaway message from all of this: we very much have a sisterhood in this realm. Sure, it's an errant facial hair sisterhood but we have kindred spirits none-the-less.

How about you? Have you discovered some particularly scary facial hair on your own face lately? Perhaps you've always had them? Let us know in the comments below.

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