The color of your hair is determined by genetics and begins below the skin in the hair follicles. Hair is made of keratin, a hard protein, and is designed to help regulate body temperature. Shaving removes the hair at the skin line, leaving open pores through which the hair color is evident. While some men enjoy the shadow that usually occurs midday, others prefer a clean look. Women with dark facial hair usually prefer to have no facial hair shadow. There are a few techniques you can employ to reduce the five-o’clock shadow look.
Remove facial hair with an epilator, which is a device that allows you to pluck out large quantities of hair at one time. Shaving keeps your face hair-free for one to three days, while plucking lasts closer to eight days, giving you a longer period before the shadow appears.
Use depilatories to melt the hair down below the skin surface and avoid a shadow for closer to two weeks. Apply lotion after using the chemical hair remover to keep skin smooth.
Apply hot wax that pulls out the hair from deep in its roots. Hot wax gets rid of the facial hair shadow for as long as six weeks. The process is very painful, so you may want to reserve facial waxing for special occasions when you want to avoid the sneaky shadow.
Get rid of the hair for good with electrolysis. An electric current is sent through each hair shaft, killing the hair, root and follicle. The process gets rid of the shadow after many treatments over long periods of time. For example, according to the Nemours Foundation, a single session to remove the hairs on the upper lip can take four to 10 hours.
Soften your hair to get a closer shave and leave less of a shadow by warming up your skin with a hot facecloth prior to shaving. Consider shaving in a warm shower where the hair follicles can remain open longer. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should shave in the direction of the hair growth to avoid irritation and get a closer shave.
Cover up your shadow with pancake makeup or stage makeup. A foundation to cover up hair follicles should be close to the color of the skin on your neck. Apply with a sponge and brush the makeup towards your hairline.