I have loathed shaving for many years. It has been an irritation in my life that made me try a few ways to slow down growth – without success! A client made a comment one day that came as a surprise, “I bet it doesn’t take you long to grow a full beard?” That should give you an idea of how prominent my dark brown facial hair is, even after shaving.

By the time I could be myself, some of my facial hair had started turning grey. Most of it was still dark brown or looked almost black to me. I would shave twice a day at least, especially before going out. Occasionally, I would leave the growth for a day or two, so when planning to go out, I could eliminate the traces most effectively, the longer hair was always cut so close to the skin that it was barely noticeable. Well, for a few hours at least.

Even after obtaining the closest of wet shaves, the follicles of each hair would raise the skin slightly, enough that I knew my skin wasn’t smooth. I learned that using a face powder with foundation helped, but I never liked a heavy-handed approach to makeup. Nothing yet was satisfactory.

I admit I plucked hairs from my face to alleviate my anxiety. Sadly, it was only ever a temporary solution. A bearable pain that gave me some hours of relief and confidence when I needed it.

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Approximately four to five years ago, I began seeking permanent ways of removing facial hair. My first low-budget approach was to purchase a hand-held laser gun. When I say low budget, it was about half of my modest monthly income, so very costly at that point. I cannot say that it worked effectively other than making my skin red from the heat and making me spend more on a replacement lamp of a limited lifetime usage.

After extensive research, in 2018, I found a clinic that offered laser treatment and booked an appointment with the doctor to decide if it would be viable to embark on treatment. A journey of one hour and thirty minutes by car. A €60 session that would take about 15-20 minutes maximum. I was so desperate to resolve this issue; I was already living my life as the real me. It all went well for several monthly sessions until one time the laser stung my face as it fired on the side of my neck. He adjusted the settings, but it still hurt, and it forced our session to stop.

With my face and neck feeling like I had sunburn, on arriving home and looking in the bathroom mirror, I was shocked at seeing clear burn marks on both sides of my neck at the spots where the pain was most severe. The response from the doctor was of concern. He sent a prescription by email for treatments from the pharmacy. The following day, he and his assistant drove to my house to examine the burns and gave me further specialist creams to apply.

Although his gesture was welcomed, I still consider myself a victim of either malfunctioning equipment or a lack of skill and knowledge on his part. Responses to my questions made me feel as if I would never get to the root of the problem. I chose never to return. Treatments had reduced beard growth, but a considerable amount yet remained. Additionally, some grew back. This was proving to be a serious learning curve!

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It took some time to find an alternative. I was under a medical scheme that would cover the costs of further treatment. I also discovered that laser treatment was ineffective on grey or white. It had to be electrolysis or nothing.

Further research revealed that there were no clinics within easy access from where I lived. The options were: Toulouse, a five-hour-plus trip each way by car. No trains could get me there and back in a day to allow a two-hour session. Paris, where I could get a train there and back in a day. I didn’t have much luck getting through to the clinic in Paris and called the one in Toulouse. I made an appointment. It was to establish an understanding prior to treatment.

The doctor was touched by the time and distance I travelled to see him that he arranged a session that very afternoon. I was slightly apprehensive as I prepared myself for an electronic needle to be repeatedly stuck in my face, while tweezers pulled out each hair. They offered me a local anaesthetic, but I declined until I knew if it was necessary. There was some discomfort, but it was bearable — with the satisfaction and knowledge that I was being treated.

The following day there was a little swelling and some scabbing, but nothing too bad. However, the trip to and from the clinic was exhausting to ponder returning for another treatment.

The next stop was Paris. I eventually got through to make an appointment and received treatment a couple of months later. The doctor begin on my top lip, only this time I accepted the local anaesthetic. She worked with an impressive focus and speed. My lip was very swollen the following day, taking a few days to return to normal. On the plus side, there was next to no scabbing, so that was a great outcome.

It became a monthly visit to Paris for the two-hour sessions. Leaving home around 9 am and returning home just before 10 pm, it was a tiring day all around. No time for sightseeing or a delightful meal. Simply hop on the train, get to the clinic, hop on the train, and get home.

Things were going well, and treatments were scheduled for every three months and were showing a visible improvement. Then the lockdown hit us, and life seemed to grind to a halt. Only recently has it been possible for me to travel to Paris again. My treatment will continue from May 21st. I have the added plus of being on HRT, which also is helping to slow down beard growth. Given time, it may even eliminate it all together. Today, time is precious to me. Who knows what awaits us in our future? And it’s why I am grabbing the chance to resolve this forever.

I share this personal account with the intention that it may be of some value to you and others. I will happily respond to any questions or comments.

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Sophie Frenchie

I began this journey the day I opened my eyes for the very first time. I found this site at a time when I needed support more than any other point in my life. I had chosen to transition after years of internal turmoil, failing to be able understand or accept who and what I was. My life moved on at a pace that I found hard to deal with at times, but I managed. Living alone in the South West of France life was far from simple or easy then. Then, I discovered this oasis online, finding love, understanding and support unequalled to anything I have previously come across. Dare I suggest, my other family! So, why return after leaving about two years back? At the point, my life was changing dramaticaly, everything I had believed, understood and built my life around, up until that point, changed almost overnight. I am very settled in my life now living as a woman, with friends and a social life, all while being the happiest I have been. I am in the medical system here after overcoming many obstacles, now with the hope of surgery very soon to complete my transition. I have returned here in the hope that my experiences and knowledge can be of help to others in this community. When very young, I dreamed of being a girl, going to bed at night hoping I would awake as a girl. After realising that wasn't going to happen, I shut down that wish and lived a repressed existence from that day. It took a lifetime of unintentionally hurting myself and others, regretfully! Perhaps the one true regret of my life!

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skippy1965 Cynthia
Trusted Member
5 months ago

I did about sixty hours of electrolysis (at cost of 75/session and it did help a lot until the cost became prohibitive (as it cAn take 200-500 hours to totally eradicate a bears depending on how much/how thick the growth is). I never used any anesthetic and actually often fell asleep during sessions) . Like you my hairs are largely Frey or white so laser is not an option. Even the time I did made a significant difference-whole I can FEEL the growth on a daily basis it is not so visible that it needs twice daily shaving -I can… Read more »

Marg Produe
Active Member
5 months ago

Thanks Sophie for posting this and Cyn for commenting. I’m almost done and shave about once every 4 weeks or just before a big event. Here in my area I found a service that would offer a 10 hour block for $700. I then did 2 hours a week for 5 weeks and skipped enough extras during the week to save up the $140 needed (a couple of bag lunches, cheap beer and no new car). It’s taken 2 years with time off for the Shut Down and I’ve got about 2 more months to go. I usually take 2… Read more »

5 months ago

I have a blue beard so I know where you are coming from. (I was actually thrown out of school, aged 14 for “refusing to shave” ie that I was already looking unshaven an hour after using my grandfather’s cut throat. But I discovered hair removal cream. Nair, Veet. Etc For me, a minute and a half over the recommended time give me about six hours of smooth face.

Auroras Livingfem
5 months ago
Reply to  lucygirl

I use before Nair cream in my legs only it worked on my face haven’t but good advice thank you Lucygirl

Celeste Starre
Active Member
5 months ago

Good luck at only once a month. I have a friend who is nearly finished clearing his face and neck. He does 1 hour a week with the occasional missed week. He started 7 years ago.

Roberta Mank
5 months ago

I feel so fortunate that I was able to find a wonderful young nurse just starting out on her own electrolysis business. On my 2nd visit she suddenly asked me “can I ask you a personal question? Why are you doing this? Are you transitioning?” I replied that I was and she replied “Well good for you!” I knew that I had found the right person. I have totaling 5 hours every 2 weeks and have been going for about 7 months. I barely need to shave any longer around the upper lip and chin and we have moved on… Read more »

Chrissy James
5 months ago

Thank you Sophie for a wonderful article on a great topic. I did electrolysis on my face in my early 30s (27 years ago) when the procedure was relatively new. My dermatologist did a wonderful job. It was the best money I ever spent. In recent years I’ve had my bikini area and legs done. I love the results! Requires an occasional touch up and still have a few stubborn hairs on my face, but minimal effort shaving face and no more shaving bikini and legs. Silky smooth!

Kelli Sometimes
5 months ago

Thanks Sophie. I’m fortunate to not have heavy facial hair, but nevertheless, I have grown weary of shaving. Laser treatment of my legs and private area a few years ago was very successful. Your story is helpful as I consider alternatives to deal with my facial hair which is now mostly grey/white.


Patricia Marie Allen
Active Member
4 months ago

I feel your pain…. literally. I’ve been doing electrolysis once a week for four years. I started with one hour sessions and then when another client quit I picked up a half an hour. So for the past two years its been one and a half hour sessions once a week, with only a two month break due to Covid-19 while my provider got her PPE in order. I started with her working on my sideburns — the area between the cheek bone and jaw bone. At my providers advice (she can’t do a local antithetic) I use an over… Read more »

Patricia Marie Allen
Active Member
4 months ago

BTW I am covered 100% by insurance. ;o)

Patricia Marie Allen
Active Member
4 months ago

For me, the upper lip is the most sensitive. The closer to my nostrils the more so.

My chin and under the chin and on my neck… I can cat nap through that most times.

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