Plucking Hair: Best Locations & Safety Tips (2023)

Plucking Hair: Best Locations & Safety Tips (1)Share on Pinterest

Tweezing is an economical and easy way to get rid of stray hairs. It may not, however, always be the safest or most effective way to rid yourself of unwanted fuzz on your face and body.

And plucking hair may even stimulate growth rather than diminish it (more on this later).

In this article we’ll go over where it’s OK to tweeze and where you should avoid it. We’ll also provide tips on how to pluck hairs effectively and safely.

According to Statista and based on data acquired by the U.S. Census and Simmons National Consumer Survey, 28.05 million Americans used at-home hair removal products in 2019.

Getting rid of unwanted hair is more than just big business, however. Hirsutism (excess hair) can be emotionally upsetting and time consuming for many people.

Too much hair in undesired places is more than just an annoyance. For some people, such as women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hirsutism can have a large emotional impact on self-esteem and body image. To combat this, many people turn to tweezing.

Reaching for your tweezers is commonplace, whether it’s for the removal of an unwanted unibrow, an errant gray scalp hair, or extensive, unwanted hair on the face and body.

What areas of the body do people commonly tweeze?

Body areas where people routinely tweeze include:

  • eyebrows
  • nose
  • chin
  • upper lip
  • facial moles
  • sideburn area
  • nipples
  • underarms
  • knuckles
  • stomach line
  • bikini line
  • toes

Is plucking bad? The answer to that question lies in where on your body you’re plucking hair and your tweezing technique.

“Nobody likes stray hairs on their face or body, whether they’re above or below the eyebrows — those pesky chin hairs, toenail hairs, or a stray hair on the cheek. Before you rush to pick up a tweezer, however, you need to do so carefully, so as not to end up with ingrown hairs, scarring, or irritation,” says dermatologist Dr. Annie Gonzalez of Riverchase Dermatology.

According to Gonzalez, places you should never tweeze include:

(Video) Do you tweeze or pluck hair? ⬇️⬇️⬇️

  • inside the nose
  • on moles
  • ingrown hair

Don’t tweeze nose hairs

“One must know the number one no-tweeze zone: the nose! Never tweeze nose hair. Hair is there to prevent infection and bacteria. If you have an overgrown follicle beneath the nose, that can be carefully trimmed with sterilized nail scissors,” Gonzalez says.

Don’t tweeze mole hairs

No-tweeze zone number two? Moles. Yes, moles that have small hairs growing out of them are very common. But tweezing these hairs can cause inflammation and infection.

If it’s really troublesome to you, consult with your dermatologist about:

  • laser hair removal
  • removing the mole
  • trimming the unwanted hair

Don’t tweeze ingrown hair

No-tweeze zone number three is ingrown hair. Tweezing ingrown hair can lead to infection and scarring.

“Never touch an ingrown hair with a tweezer but rather, see a dermatologist,” Gonzalez says.

Avoid tweezing sensitive areas, such as nipples or underarms

Other areas you to think twice before tweezing include around the nipples, vaginal area, and underarms.

The skin is very sensitive in these areas and can easily become irritated or scarred. Tweezing sensitive skin can also be painful.

Don’t tweeze pimples

Another potential no-tweeze zone is in a pimple. Pus pimples that form around a hair shaft can sometimes be a minor type of infection, known as folliculitis.

In these instances, removing the hair may help clear up the infection. However, it may also make infection worse by introducing bacteria to the area. In some instances, tweezing pimples may even lead to scarring.

Tweezing isn’t all bad. There are times when reaching for tweezers may be the best solution.

“When done correctly, plucking removes the entire hair from the follicle, keeping it from growing back for up to 6 weeks. If you tweeze with skill in an area such as the eyebrows, it can give you more control than waxing,” Gonzalez says.

Here are some tips to tweeze safely.

Don’t dig out partially tweezed or broken hairs

When you tweeze a hair, your goal is to pull the hair shaft out of the skin, at its root. You may, however, wind up breaking the hair, causing it to snap back where you can’t get to it.

If this happens, don’t try to dig out the partially tweezed hair, as this can cause skin irritation or infection. It can also result in an ingrown hair.

Use sterilized tweezers

To tweeze effectively, always use sterilized tweezers that are also not dull or unaligned. Damaging your tweezers, like dropping them repeatedly, can make them less effective at gripping hair.

(Video) DON’T do this after PLUCKING HAIRS

Pull hair at an angle, following the grain of the hair

Always pull the hair out at an angle, going with the hair’s grain, rather than against. This will help avoid breaking the hair. It also may help reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs, and may be less damaging to hair follicles.

Keep in mind that tweezing isn’t meant to be a permanent fix. Tweezed hairs come back, needing to be tweezed again.

The growth pattern for individual hairs isn’t synced, so any area of the face or body that you routinely tweeze may require daily tweezing to be hair-free.

Plucking multiple hairs close together may actually promote hair growth

A study done on mice at the University of Southern California found that tweezing hairs that grow closely together in a small, densely packed location may actually promote new hair growth.

Plucking hairs that were located far away from each other didn’t produce the same effect.

The researchers determined that hair follicles located close to each other can orchestrate a unified response to the injury and inflammation caused by tweezing.

This response is known as quorum sensing. The plucked, distressed follicles secreted CCL2, a chemical that generates a white blood cell response. This generated regrowth in the plucked hairs, plus stimulated new hairs to grow.

This study may hold promise as a potential cure for balding.

Consider these other hair removal techniques if you want to skip the tweezers.


Shaving is an inexpensive and fast way to temporarily remove hair on the surface of the skin. It works well for large areas, such as the legs. Shaving is commonly used on the face and underarms as well.

There are many types of razors, including disposable razors and electric shavers. These range from inexpensive to more expensive electric models.

(Video) Plucking Hair - Daily Do's of Dermatology

Shaving can be done at home and can quickly remove hair, but you’ll remain hair-free for only a couple days or less.

Shaving considerations and precautions

Shaving can cause stubble, irritation, and razor bumps in some people. Men of color who have curly or kinky beard hair are especially susceptible to ingrown hairs caused by shaving.

Shaving can also be irritating and cause razor bumps on some areas of the body, including the pubic region.

To get the best shave, always go with the hair’s grain instead of against it. Shaving skin that’s warm and moist can also help you get the smoothest results.

Using moisturizer or aftershave can reduce irritation and itching.


Waxing can be done by a professional or at home. It uses warm or cold wax and paper or cloth strips to pull many hairs out simultaneously by the root.

Waxing can be done anywhere on the face or body. It can keep skin hair-free for 2 to 4 weeks. You’ll have to let the hairs grow long enough to be successfully waxed, around 1/4 to 1/2 long. This can be a downside for some people.

Waxing considerations and precautions

Based on the body area you’re having waxed, waxing can be expensive. Eyebrows can cost around $20 to do in a salon. Legs or the pubic/bikini area can cost $75 or more.

If you go for a professional waxing, make sure your clinician is licensed and working in a clean environment.

Like shaving, waxing can sometimes lead to skin irritation and ingrown hairs. It can also be painful for some people.

Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal targets many hairs in an area at once. It can be used anywhere on the body or face but isn’t typically recommended for eyebrows, since the laser may be damaging to the eyes.

This treatment should only be done by a professional, such as a dermatologist or licensed laser hair removal technician.

Laser hair removal is most effective in people with lighter skin and darker hair. You may need several treatments before you see a difference in the amount of hair you have.

Laser hair removal may be permanent or semipermanent. In some instances it may only soften, rather than remove, hair.

Laser hair removal considerations and precautions

In rare instances, laser hair removal may have the opposite effect and stimulate more hair growth, or adjacent hair growth on areas not being treated. This is known as paradoxical hypertrichosis.

It may sometimes be the result of a laser that’s too weak. It may also be more likely to occur in women who have hormonal imbalances, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PSOS).

Laser hair removal is very expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars for each individual area of the body or face.

Based on the area being done and the intensity of the laser, this hair removal treatment can range from mildly uncomfortable to painful.

(Video) Does hair grow back THICKER if you shave or pluck?


Electrolysis can be used anywhere on the face or body.

Needle electrolysis is a technique that relies on a needle or probe to zap hairs at the root, one at a time. It’s not the same thing as an electrified tweezer, which is a device you can use to temporarily remove hair at home.

Electrolysis introduces heat generated by shortwave radio frequencies into the hair’s root in an effort to kill it. It produces permanent to semipermanent results.

Technicians who use a Teflon-coated needle may produce more immediate, permanent results than those who use standard needles.

It’s very important to use a highly qualified, licensed technician, and to specify that you’re getting needle electrolysis. An inexperienced practitioner can easily cause scarring, so choose wisely.

Electrolysis considerations and precautions

Today’s electrolysis is gentler than it was in decades past. However, this technique can be significantly painful for some users.

Since it only targets one hair at a time, many sessions may be required before you see results. For this reason, electrolysis may not be practical for large areas of the body, such as the legs.

While not as expensive as laser hair removal, electrolysis can also cost hundreds to thousands of dollars before each hair is permanently removed.

Temporary, significant reddening of the skin can result from this procedure.


Dermaplaning is also called facial shaving. For this procedure, a dermatologist or aesthetician will use a scalpel to lightly scrape and exfoliate the skin while removing surface hair.

It’s typically done to eliminate peach fuzz on the face, sometimes as part of a facial.

Dermaplaning considerations and precautions

Dermaplaning is gentle and shouldn’t hurt. However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid this treatment.

Dermaplaning temporarily removes hair on the skin’s surface. It’s not recommended for thick or coarse hair.

While it may give you your desired results, it’s not considered particularly effective as a hair removal technique for people with hirsutism or extensive hair growth.

Tweezing has its place, but it shouldn’t be used everywhere on the face or body.

(Video) Reacting To Extreme Hair Plucking

It’s important to tweeze correctly to avoid developing ingrown hairs or irritating skin.

Never tweeze nose hairs or hair growing out of a mole or pimple.

Other forms of hair removal may be better for certain body areas.


How do you prepare your skin for plucking? ›

You will want skin nice and clean to avoid post hair removal breakouts, so wash your face before tweezing your eyebrows or chin. The warm water should help relax skin and the hair follicles, so it's easier to pull hair out. If you exfoliate, now is the best time to do so.

What are the disadvantages of plucking? ›

Cons: Besides being a slow and painful option, tweezing can break the hair instead of pulling it out, which can cause thicker regrowth. Also, there's a risk of infection if the tweezers are not properly sterilized. A thin cotton or polyester thread is doubled, twisted, and then rolled over areas of unwanted hair.

Why shouldn't you pluck your chin hair? ›

Side effects of tweezing

Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) Folliculitis (inflammation and potential infection of hair follicles) Potential scarring.

What to apply before plucking? ›

In areas where you remove hair, regularly use skin cream. The more healthy and moisturized your skin is, the less prone it will be to bumps when you do pluck hairs. Do not moisturize only before and after hair removal. Do it daily to keep your skin strong.

How can I safely pluck? ›

Always pull the hair out at an angle, going with the hair's grain, rather than against. This will help avoid breaking the hair. It also may help reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs, and may be less damaging to hair follicles. Keep in mind that tweezing isn't meant to be a permanent fix.

How do you close your pores after plucking? ›

Dab toner on the skin around your brows using a cotton swab after plucking is complete. This helps tighten your pores back up. Only use alcohol free toner to avoid burning and irritation to your skin. Use aloe vera gel to soothe skin if necessary.

Why you shouldn't pluck hairs? ›

Plucking can actually damage the hair follicle causing it to send a message that there's no real need for it to produce hair in this area. The result? Potential bald spots. It can also ruin the texture of your hair and is not a permanent fix.

Does hair stop growing if you keep plucking? ›

Plucking stops hair growth temporarily (it will never stop hair growth permanently!) by removing the hair shaft. When done correctly, plucking can stop hair growth for up to six weeks, longer than many alternative hair removal methods.

What happens if you keep plucking? ›

You need to understand that through plucking, you are targeting the hair follicles and thus with repeated plucking, your hair follicles get destroyed. Eventually, hair follicles get damaged and that effects hair growth. Compared to threading and shaving, hair will grow back slowly because it is removed from the root.

How do I stop my chin hair from growing? ›

There's not much you can do to stop chin hairs from growing — they're just a part of being human.
Options for getting rid of chin hair include:
  1. tweezing.
  2. shaving.
  3. waxing at home or by a professional.
  4. professional threading.
  5. professional sugaring.
  6. laser hair removal.
  7. electrolysis.
Jan 24, 2019

Should a woman pluck facial hair? ›

Although plucking away unwanted face and body hair is convenient, it's typically pretty harmful. Plucking or tweezing is time consuming and only invasive if removed in the wrong direction which can deform and tear the hair follicle. Tweezing hair grows back the same as sugaring if pulled from the root.

How do you get rid of coarse chin hair permanently? ›

If you want to eliminate chin hairs permanently, you might consider laser hair removal or electrolysis, Dr. Lamb said, which both work by damaging the hair follicle so it stops producing hair.

Is it better to pluck hair wet or dry? ›

You can pluck on wet or dry hair, says Johnson. Some people prefer wet hair because it's easier to move and control, while other people prefer to pluck on dry hair so they can get a true sense of the hair's density. It's really up to you.

Is it better to pluck before or after shower? ›

Minimize the plucking pain

The best time to pluck your eyebrows is right after a shower. Warm water opens hair follicles and softens the hair, helping them slip out easily.

Should I put powder before plucking? ›

Applying a talcum powder to the skin where you plan to pluck will help remove any excess moisture, but it will also make it easier to see the hair. Just take a tiny amount of powder and gently rub it onto the skin using your fingers. You don't need to rub it in completely, just enough so that it sticks.

Can you tweeze your private area? ›

Tweezing. It's a little time-consuming and can be painful, but tweezing your pubes is a low-risk way to get rid of stray curlies along the bikini line. According to Dr. White, this method plucks the hair out at the root without irritating the skin (the way waxing or a depilatory can).

How do you pluck painlessly? ›

How to Make Plucking Your Eyebrows Less Painful
  1. Pluck after a shower. Just as is the case with shaving, it's best to pluck after you've opened up your hair follicles via hot water. ...
  2. Use a new pair of tweezers. ...
  3. Grab hairs at the base and pull in the direction they grow. ...
  4. When in doubt, less is more. ...
  5. Apply aloe vera after.
May 15, 2015

How do you pluck hair painlessly? ›

If you tweeze...
  1. Take ibuprofen. "Taking an ibuprofen about 45 minutes before tweezing can help decrease the discomfort," says Sania Vucetaj, founder of Sania's Brow Bar.
  2. Try a numbing cream. ...
  3. Keep your skin taut. ...
  4. Pull from the root of the hair. ...
  5. Alternate between sections.
Jan 11, 2016

What to do before and after tweezing? ›

You want skin nice and clean, and warm water helps relax skin and hair follicle for easier removal. Wipe off and pat dry to remove moisture. (Cleansing the area and toning before and after tweezing is a good idea as well.)

Can you pull out pores with tweezers? ›

Begoun says that although it's possible to use tweezers to remove blackheads, this technique usually won't get rid of the whole thing, and will only get to the uppermost portion of the sebum. “It doesn't reach the root of the problem hiding deeper in the pore lining.

Why do females get chin hair? ›

For women, the hair may grow in areas where men often have a lot of hair, but women often don't. This includes the upper lip, chin, chest, and back. It's caused by an excess of male hormones called androgens. All women naturally produce small amounts of androgens.

Why not pluck grey hair? ›

Dr. Kraleti doesn't recommend plucking or pulling the hairs out. “If there is a gray hair you must get rid of, very carefully cut it off. Plucking can traumatize the hair follicle, and repeated trauma to any follicle can cause infection, scar formation or possibly lead to bald patches.”

Why do chin hairs keep coming back? ›

Hair growth occurs where hair follicles are concentrated,” Dr. Massick adds, “so it's not unusual to have the same hairs popping back up again.” That means you may simply be battling the same hair each time or hair from its sister follicle that's lurking nearby.

Why do I get black hairs on my chin? ›

Related Story. But if you start to notice excessive facial hair growth that's dark and coarse, it might mean you have abnormally high levels of androgen hormones, or an increased sensitivity in your hair follicles even to normal levels of androgen hormones, explains Minisha Sood, MD, endocrinologist in New York City.

Is plucking hair a good idea? ›

In the long run, you're actually doing more harm than good. "Plucking can traumatize the hair follicle, and you can damage it to the point where it will no longer grow any hair," says Gillen.

Is it better for a woman to pluck or shave facial hair? ›

Thus, out of shaving and plucking facial hair, shaving is better. But even shaving is not recommended because skin on your face is extremely delicate and soft. Comparatively waxing and laser hair removal are the best ways to get rid of facial hair.

Should you moisturize before tweezing? ›

"The heat opens up the pores so it's much less painful. Make sure the skin is clean and dry, not greasy, and with no lotion or creams."

Is there a way to make plucking less painful? ›

Founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, Anastasia Soare (aka the brow queen), recommends taking a hot shower or using a warm compress on the brows prior to tweezing them. "This will help open up the pores and ease discomfort," she says.

How do you numb your skin for tweezing? ›

"Taking an ibuprofen about 45 minutes before tweezing can help decrease the discomfort," says Sania Vucetaj, founder of Sania's Brow Bar. Try a numbing cream. "Slather on a soothing numbing cream over the area to alleviate pain during your tweeze," says Vucetaj. Keep your skin taut.


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