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How To Get Rid Of Beard Shadow MTF/FTM/Non-Binary

Louise D.

The internet provides a variety of effective tips and instructions on how to manage facial hair shadows, mainly because it is not really an issue that exclusively impacts transgender women or non-binary people. Both cisgender men and cisgender women can have issues with facial hair shadows. Even transgender women might still be dealing with some degree to shadow after their transition.

Cisgender men often have to adhere to facial hair rules at work or in school, which can result in an increased need to continually shave the face. This can cause many different kinds of skin issues, including shadows, especially in a case where they have previously sported a full beard. The expectation within some industries for maintaining a close shave can be hard on a person’s skin in the long run.

Many cisgender women have unwanted hair growth on their upper lip, and this can also leave shadows. Especially when they continually pluck these hairs regularly to get rid of them.

These problems experienced by various different genders have led to this topic being well covered online. In order to spare you the trouble of scouring gender-specific information, we have taken the time in this article to combine shaving tips, skin shade tips, and makeup tips, all geared towards combating shadows left by facial hair.

Beard Shadow

What Causes Facial Hair Shadows?

Hair Removal

There are several usual causes for shadows associated with facial hair—the most obvious of these being hair removal procedures. Persistent skin irritation will cause discoloration over time. Increased hair growth also causes thicker hair follicles which will likely create blue undertones on the skin surface.

Some people will only have to manage hairs on their upper lip; others will have more facial hair to get rid of. While there are several effective methods to get rid of unwanted hairs, most people will shave them regularly. While steps like using good shaving cream and taking fish oil supplements can help people who like to maintain a clean shave, there will usually be some degree of side effects associated with regular shaving.


Furthermore, hormone changes are a common cause of changes to skin. This can be related to the oiliness of skin, the color, or the distribution of hair. It can also result in acne-prone skin. While there are some things that you can do to try and help skin issues associated with hormones, this might be a problem that only a doctor can effectively address.


Alternatively, it can be related to diet. Low levels of iron and Vitamin E can result in darker skin in some areas. There are some steps that you can take to remedy these situations. They will be discussed in more detail later on in the article.

Laser Hair Removal For Facial Hair

Some people might take more drastic steps to get rid of unwanted hair. Laser hair removal is a step that some people will take to minimize their need for shaving. This can help with unwanted discoloration of the skin, but it can also cause some discoloration.

If this is a step that you are considering, make sure to discuss side effects and expectations with the technician or doctor who will perform the procedure.

An alternative to laser is waxing. You usually do not have to wax as often as you would shave, but due to pain and irritation, many people avoid waxing. It is for this reason that some turn to laser to get rid of unwanted hair on their bodies.

Shaving Facial Hair

Due to the nature of some secondary sex characteristics that affect a great many people in the world, daily routines would involve shaving either the entire face or specific areas like the upper lip. The best way to go about this is to first take a warm shower so that heat can open up your pores and relax your skin. If you do not have time for a shower, wash your face in warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Because the warm water relaxes your pores and softens your skin, it will help you get a closer shave.

Beard Shadow
Clean the Skin

Use an oil-free cleanser, and if you have dry skin, it might be good to exfoliate before shaving so that you can remove dead skin cells that might otherwise get stuck in your pores while shaving. You should also try to hydrate well if you have dry skin. If your hydration product is oil-free and quickly absorbed, you might be able to take this step before shaving, but if it is thick or oily, you should rather wait until after. In that case, use a moisturizing shaving cream as well.

If you want to apply something before you start shaving, you can opt for something like a pre-shave oil that is specifically designed to support razor drag and will not clog your razor up as normal oil-based cleansers would. Apply only a thin layer of product before shaving.

Apply Shaving Cream

Use a shaving brush to apply your shaving cream. The brush needs to be kept clean and will help to exfoliate the skin before shaving. Apply your shaving cream with the same brush in an up-and-down circular motion so that you can lift up the hair in preparation of shaving.

Beard Shadow
Pulling the Skin Taut

Pull your skin taut and shave along with the trajectory of hair growth in short strokes. If you need to go over an area for a second time, first apply a second layer of shaving cream and consider going against the grain of hair growth once the second layer of shaving cream has been applied.

If you are finding it tough to shave, rinse your face with warm water before applying the second layer. Apply pressure cautiously for a clean shave, and try to shave in the opposite direction if one direction is not working. But do this carefully; going over the same area twice can increase irritation.

Appropriate Razor

Your razor blade should be good for a maximum of seven uses. Ideally, it should be changed after five or six uses. A dull blade can cause acne, ingrown hairs, and irritation. Improper shaving techniques or equipment can cause razor bumps, redness, or cuts, usually related to skin irritation.

If you find that a manual razor is causing a lot of skin problems, you might consider switching to an electric razor instead. Also, try to get regular massages from a barber, if you can, to stimulate blood flow in the face, and always use a clean towel after your rinse.

Beard Shadow

If you have acne-prone skin, you might consider using an electric razor or beard trimmer, as shaving with a normal razor will likely only irritate the acne further. Furthermore, if you have sensitive skin, you should consider not using more than two blades on your razor as more razors increase the risk of razor bumps.

After the Shave

Remember that once you are done shaving, your facial pores will be open and exposed; they clog easily in this state. In order to remedy this, you need to use an aftershave balm appropriate for your skin type. Before you apply anything, though, rinse your face with cold water. This will help to close pores, and cool water will also help to soothe any irritation that might be brewing. This will help get rid of beard and mustache shadow and will minimize the chance of ingrown hairs.

Mustache Shadow on Upper Lip

If you are regularly removing hair from your upper lip via shaving or plucking, over time, you will likely develop some kind of shadow. This is normal and is something that many people struggle with.

The majority of people will use makeup to hide this shadow effectively, but there might be some who want more permanent ways to get rid of an upper lip shadow. There are products on the market that can help get rid of these shadows, and we will discuss some other options below.

Beard Shadow

While upper lip shadows affect a wider range of people, a full face beard shadow is definitely easier to notice. In fact, you can have skin that is actually not sensitive and handles regular shaving well, but over time you will still develop some kind of shadow.

If you are a cisgender man, this might not bother you, although other demographics affected by this phenomenon might be uncomfortable with it. If you are a cisgender man that is bothered by your shadow, then feel free to read on; we might have some tips that you can follow to get rid of the unwanted shadow as well.


Complications For Sensitive Skin

If your skin is acne-prone, your priority should be aimed at minimizing dead skin cells on your face before you shave. These dead skin cells will get stuck in your pores while shaving and will exacerbate acne.

If the problem is persistent and you are already following steps related to skincare and diet to minimize symptoms, then it might be time to consider consulting with a doctor or dermatologist. There are products on the market that help get rid of or manage severe or persistent acne.

If your skin is just sensitive and you experience pain or redness after swelling, consider a balm or oil that can be applied after your rinse. Anything that might soothe this irritation. You might also want to switch your shaving cream or change to a specialized brush to help manage this sort of reaction.

Advice for Improving The Appearance Dark Patches

There are some basic and noninvasive things that you can do in order to get rid of facial melanosis.


Your first step would be a diet plan. It is best to go see a dietician to meet your individual needs, but you can also focus on eating fruit and green vegetables and drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

Beard Shadow

If you are transitioning, you might find that changes in your hormone levels can affect your skin in sometimes unexpected ways. Even cisgender women who start using oral contraceptives will notice differences in their skin.

You should also avoid a fatty diet and excessive caffeine consumption. High protein diets can also increase acne. Also, try to avoid emotional bingeing. The pursuit of healthy skin can be a long one, but there does seem to be hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

The Sun

A simple yet often overlooked tip for the management of dark patches on the skin is to apply sunscreen. Do not just use it in the summertime, but year-round. Apply it often, even if you will be spending most of your time indoors.

There are also things like lemon juice which can naturally lighten the skin if applied for short periods of time. Please be cautious not to overdo it with this technique, and make sure to rinse thoroughly if you are using lemon juice. If you do not get rid of all of it and then go out in the sun, you can cause serious damage. Also, try to use it only in affected areas, such as your upper lip. You should also avoid using creams with tar derivatives.

Beard Shadow

Makeup Tips

Many people have the option to address this kind of issue with the help of makeup. You can research color theory for a more in-depth idea of how to use makeup to get rid of unwanted shadows.

The general advice for color use is to remember that shadows on the upper lip and the rest of the face are usually bluish in color. So you should try to use peachy, pink, or orange undertones to better cover up these bluish patches. Use a color-correcting, or similar brush, to apply these undertones.

You can also make use of a primer, usually one in a slightly yellowish hue. There are also additional makeup products that you can use that create a blurred surface through blurring pores that make makeup more effective. You would then apply an appropriate conceal palette and go from there.

Remember to wash makeup off with warm water and a gentle cleanser. Hydrate your skin after washing and take special care with problem areas like the T-line or upper lip. Makeup might get rid of problems in the short term, but they are really only hiding them and can actually make things worse over time.

Beard Shadow

More Extreme Measures to Get Rid of Dark Areas

If you find that nothing is working and want to take more drastic steps, there are always skin lightening creams that can be prescribed by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. They will also be able to provide guidance on how to use these products, for example, whether it should be applied only to upper lips or other problem areas or whether it is applied to the whole surface.

Other cosmetic options are chemical peels, which you might be able to access through spas, but might be better to access through a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. And things like microdermabrasion and laser resurfacing.

These options are on the extreme and expensive side but are viable options if other methods have failed for you.

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