There was a time, not that long ago, when the state of your mustache was considered classified information outside your closest friends. But social media, and Instagram specifically, has brought many beauty taboos out of the shadows… including facial hair. It’s where women—glamorous women! famous women!—are candidly discussing their ‘staches and more. Where beauty entrepreneur Huda Kattan revealed a face-shaving routine that went viral. Where actress Thandie Newton flashed a selfie while bleaching her upper lip.
And whether you groom your lady beard or let it be, the takeaway from these conversations is this: There is nothing abnormal or unnatural about growing hair on your face. It’s biology. We’ve all got follicles covering our faces that are “incredibly sensitive to our hormones,” says NYC dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. “How sensitive they are, though, is determined by our genetics.” When we experience hormonal fluctuations, testosterone can turn our peach fuzz, known as vellus hairs, darker and twice as thick, says Medford, Oregon, dermatologist Laurel Naversen Geraghty, MD. The areas that are most testosterone-receptive? The upper lip, chin, and sideburns. (But you knew that.)
If you choose to remove or trim your facial hair, here’s an easy-to-follow guide—plus, the best tools toget the job done.