photo courtesy of Michelle McNiven

A Dark-Haired Gal’s #1 Beauty Secret

May 26, 2021

by robyn fogle

(P.S. It’s great for everyone else too!)

You know that really good friend who will tell you when you have a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth? Or that the zipper on your jeans is down? That you have toilet paper dragging from your shoe? Or any number of other embarrassing things that might feel awkward to tell someone, but would be even more mortifying for them if they discovered it themselves hours later? Don’t you just love that friend!? I know I do! 

It was just a few months ago when my loving husband gently told me I was growing a mustache! I mean, who says that to a woman?! Someone who loves you, that’s who. I hadn’t noticed it myself, but he was right and I was grateful he’d told me. I am no stranger to dark hair in unwanted places so I already knew how to get rid of it - and no, I’m not talking about waxing. It was time to call my electrologist! 

I first discovered electrology in my early 20s when I was diagnosed with PCOS and started noticing unwanted and abnormal dark hairs growing on my chin and various other parts of my body. Rather than just plucking them time and again, I sought out a permanent solution.

Electrolysis was a game changer and I’ve been eagerly telling my friends and family about it ever since. I have no idea why more women (and men!) don’t know about it, or why there is any sort of stigma or shaming associated with this cosmetic work, but I’m determined to change that. And so is my electrologist Michelle McNiven, owner of Elevate Electrology, who also understands the struggle of unwanted hair firsthand. I asked her if she’d be willing to share about her background, training, hair-removal alternatives and who could benefit from electrolysis. Here’s what she had to say.

Michelle McNiven, owner of Elevate Electrology

What inspired you to study Electrology?

When I was 13 I was sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store. My mother saw a hair on my chin and made the comment that I was like an old lady with chin hair. I was mortified and let her go shopping while I stayed in the car, found her tweezers and started plucking! Every time I saw a “mismatched” hair on my face I plucked it. By the time I turned 27 I had a full beard that was out of control! It felt rough like a man’s beard and I couldn’t keep up in trying to hide it! I tried tons of products that promised hair removal and was disappointed time after time. My outgoing personality tanked, I hid behind my hands every time I was at a table. I hid behind my hair, and I ran out during my breaks, several times a day, to shave in fear that someone would notice. 

I couldn’t do it anymore. Finally, by divine inspiration, I looked up Electrology in the Yellowpages and found an electrologist in my area. She only advertised in the Yellowpages so it was amazing that I found her! 

Electrology is a process and one that takes time. It is not a one and done event. It takes time and dedication, but the outcome is so worth it. I have been hair free for years and finally able to turn those challenges into stepping stones. 

What does the training entail?

To be trained in Electrology a student has to graduate from a certified program and have over 600 hours of hands-on experience before being licenced. The electrology course goes through skin issues, hair growth cycles, use of electricity, and treatment programs

What makes electrolysis different from alternatives such as laser or waxing?

Electrology is the only FDA approved method of permanent hair removal. Laser is known as “hair reduction”. Laser requires a good contrast between skin and hair. Hair that is blond, gray, or red are difficult to do in laser settings and require electrology to complete. Electrology is manually done so any color of skin or hair types are able to be removed. 

Treating hair by tweezing or waxing does damage to the hair follicle and often results in hair that becomes deeper, darker and coarser. Many people have experienced more hair growth because often more than one hair gets in the tweezer or removed in the wax and unintentionally removed causing that to become deeper, darker and coarser. Electrology uses heat to destroy the individual hair follicle before epilating the hair. 

Who could benefit from electrolysis? What areas of the body do most people have worked on?

Electrology is useful and effective for anyone with hair! Most of my clients are women who have facial hair. But electrology is good for all genders. Because it is a targeted hair removal it can be used to remove unwanted hair anywhere on the body. Men can use it to remove unwanted hair around the lip area or under the chin or just to clean up their beard so they always look sharp. Women can use it to improve their eyebrow area, or even on legs or underarms. 

There really is help out there and something that permanently removes hair.

What is your encouragement for women or men out there with unwanted hair?

Body hair is very normal. Certain areas of the body having hair is very important,  but if you are someone who is suffering from PCOS, or been diagnosed with hirsutism or dealing with hormonal therapies that are causing excess hair growth, Electrology really can help. 

If you are a woman dealing with excess hair, know that many women are dealing with the same thing, you’re not alone.  A completely healthy woman who does not have a family history of hair issues, or diagnosed with anything can have hair grown when she hits puberty, when she uses birth control, when she has children- especially little boys, or when she hits menopause. It is common and normal. 

And so, dear friend, that is my #1 beauty secret for you. But I don’t want it to be a secret any more than I want to walk around with spinach stuck in my teeth. So I’m telling you! And I hope you’ll be that trusted friend who is willing to tell someone else when you notice that long dark hair on their chin or upper lip or wherever. That’s what good friends do!

Oh and be sure to check back next week where I’ll be sharing about the actual experience of having electrolysis done in our Know Before You Go series. What’s it like? Does it hurt? How long does it take? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered on that part too!

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