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#105848 - 04/02/13 05:03 AM "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face?
anamika Offline

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 33
Hello Hello Everyone,

During electrolysis treatments for the accelerated pigmented vellus hairs on my face (hair length ranges from 1-5mm) I was told that removal of these hairs would result in "shiny" skin with a "plastic" appearance. (Apparently, undesirable!) So, I was advised against removing the hairs.

Since I do not understand and cannot visualize what they mean by "plasticky shiny skin", I cannot see why it would be undesirable. (To me, this translates to smooth skin, hence, is good!)

Would anyone have any feedback and/or experience regarding this? Also, how would having one's vellus hair removed result in this????

Thank you.


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#105849 - 04/02/13 11:28 AM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: anamika]
I_love_pink Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 03/01/12
Posts: 64
Loc: Greater Toronto Area, Ontario ...
I think it's just a visual thing that you either like or hate. Personally I hate it and it's a dead giveaway that someone has had hair removal when their facial skin is super smooth and shiny (really no other way to describe it - there's just no hair there!).

Hair gives a bit of texture to the skin (in a good way) and it absorbs light so the skin doesn't reflect it and look shiny. The vellus hair also holds on makeup so if you get rid of all your fine hair you'll find your makeup will slide off more easily and it won't look as natural either.

If you've ever waxed your upper lip or chin, you should have a good idea of what they mean by plasticky and shiny by recalling what those areas look like with absolutely no hair on them. When that extends to the cheeks and jawbone, it just isn't a very subtle look. As I said above it then becomes very obvious that you've had hair removal done on your face.

#105850 - 04/02/13 12:59 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: I_love_pink]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3452
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
"I Love Pink's" explanation of this phenomenon is the best I've ever read. Thanks for this ... new facts for me. Yes, “vellus hair diffusing light to create a softer look,” is spot -on! I remember a client that shaved the vellus hairs on her face, except her upper cheeks, and it looked terrible.

A 1mm long hair is pretty darn tiny. Maybe just sort out the long visible ones?

#105851 - 04/02/13 02:47 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: Michael Bono]
dfahey Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9689
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
All that was said is very good and very true!

May I add that each vellus hair situation is different. In consulting with my female clients, I listen very carefully to what bothers them most. Then, when making suggestions, I always emphasize that we will never conquer all of the vellus hairs and that should never be the goal - EVER! I ask them if they want their skin to look like a painted wall or a mannequin's face? When I tell them the effort and expense that it entails to permanently remove the hair they have now with electrolysis, they verbalize that they would be satisfied with thinning the areas that bother them the most.

Vellus hair on a woman's face serves to soften her face. Most of my clients are happy with that plan of approach. I only have one that isn't - she wants hair removed that I think is not necessary ( and I have told her so many times). Most electrologists would think that I am unethical for continuing electrolysis care on her. I will only say that they are only reacting in a general way and they don't know what I know about this person, thus, they can't understand why I agree to see her when my eyes tell me she is finished.

So, in general, it is best to serve females with too much vellus hairs with a plan that thins bothersome areas - we are not aiming for total removal. Electrolysis is the ONLY permanent answer for fine, non-pigmented hair. People want what they want and as electrologists, we can serve this group if we have the desire. A proper set up is essential. Vision aid and proper lighting to highlight those hair structures is at the top of the list.
Dee Fahey, R.N., C.T.
Licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio for Nursing license and Cosmetic Therapy/Electrolysis license

British Institute & Association of Electrolysis

Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest.

#105852 - 04/02/13 03:48 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: dfahey]
Brenton Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 721
Loc: SoCal
Out of curiosity, what about guys who have that plasticky skin look? I thought it looked nice but maybe that's just me lol. It seems like it might have a different visual affect than what would appear on a female face?

#105854 - 04/02/13 04:26 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: Brenton]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3452
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Total beard removal and the “plastic look.”

I not a fan of removing full beards on men (unless “transitioning”). Actually, I refuse to do it any more. (I CAN refuse clients.)

I did remove the beard from a pretty well-known “sort-of celebrity” (well, a "used-to-be" one), and the guy gets a LOT of negative comments on-line. He seems to be okay with this androgynous look; I’m not.

I also removed the “platinum blond” beard from a big Norwegian guy … I thought he would look normal without the beard, since when shaved you couldn’t see it. Afterward, YOU COULD see that something is “wrong!” I think it looks terrible! I also think it was a crime to remove that beautiful blond beard. The guy looks like a Viking … with a face that never went through puberty. BE CAREFUL GUYS!

Today, if I think I’m giving somebody a “freaky” look I won’t do it.

#105855 - 04/02/13 04:32 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: Michael Bono]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3452
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Actually, my BIG issue these days is with women that want the "full Brazilian." I'm close to refusing to do this. Sure, a neat "package" is a fine idea. But everything? It looks freaky: like she had chemotherapy. NOT at all nice looking. I think I'm done with this.

Yeah, "no" works for me. Today's the day ... DONE. Thanks for "pushing me over the edge" on this decision.

#105875 - 04/03/13 07:08 AM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: Michael Bono]
anamika Offline

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 33
Dear Experts,

Thank you for your feedback and for taking the time to share your knowledge... :-)

I cannot say that I fully understand the "shiny", "plasticky" look yet. Would anyone have any pictures to help illustrate??? (I think of "shiny" skin as being Nicole-Kidman-like, which I like.)

Also, would skin colour make a difference---where darker skin tones do not look "plasticky" versus lighter ones? (The waxing/plucking/hair removal method that I had used earlier could never remove the really tiny hairs, and so I cannot gauge from my own hair removal experience. As for make-up, I found that foundation tended to stick to my hairs, making them standout even more, which made my face look like a fur coat!)

Some of my 1mm long hairs are as dark as the ones on my head, while some of my unpigmented 3mm vellus hairs are distorted now due to years of hair removal. And then there are the 5mm long pigmented vellus hairs that cover the sides of my face. These are the ones that I am interested in targeting, as when they are gone, my face seems "cleaner" (I cannot think of a better way to describe it).

I do hope to find an electrologist (who is as honest as you folks) that will tell me if I am ever going overboard and targeting unpigmented tiny vellus hairs at any point...but until then, I rely on Hairtell. :-)

Thanks again,


#105878 - 04/03/13 03:14 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: anamika]
Danika Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 476
I have one more session with my dear zapper and then it's all over as i return back home where there is no one to continue with. We have only done some sideburn area , darker hairs only, not blonde vellus, but its better than nothing. When I see the photos here of an entire hairy man's back being covered I could just cry, cuz in my world ,my small face is no where near as hairy, and no where near as completed treatment wise...seems an impossible dream ....
So really my only option is to use a rotary razor. Yes it makes my skin dryer looking, feeling, and is not as optically appealing but what choice do I have? Do you know of any other methods to somehow reduce the look of face hair without having the plastic look or spending hours fussing on face?
Female- Light skin, brown/blonde hair.
LASER- over 1+yr. Pleasantly surprised with results. No future sessions. Need to live with/in sun.
ELECTROLYSIS- Scammed by the one in my town. Whenever possible, while traveling out of town,I try to get electrolysis on face. Very Challenging overall due to lack of professionals available .Many treatments done on only a tiny area of my face yet there still seems to be alot of hair growing there. Seems an impossible dream at this point frown

#105880 - 04/03/13 05:57 PM Re: "Plastic" skin from vellus hair removal on face? [Re: Danika]
Michk Offline

Registered: 03/23/13
Posts: 25
I was doing treatments for vellus type hairs on my face but after going to 3 different electrologists, I had to stop due to scarring. I have tried waxing sideburns and chin area, but looks weird bc other areas have hair and the regrowth stage is tough. A couple of friends suggested using eyebrow razors on dry skin. Have you tried that? There are a few different brands out there. Sephora sells them, drug stores, and amazon sells one called Tinkle. I have tried them all. Have you tried one of those female trimmers to see if that helps the look of the hairs? It's so tough. I'm in the same boat:(. Hope you find something that works.

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