Female Facial Hair: Say ‘NO’ to the ‘MO’

female, facial hair, hygiene, career

If you are a woman with naturally dark hair or are over 40, you have a mustache.

Not might.  Not maybe.  You have a woman mustache.

If you were a man, you might be able to pull off that fu manchu.  But, you have a woman mustache, and both professionally and personally, your female facial hair is working against you.   As I was plucking my own excess facial hair today (I’m a brunette, there is no denying it exists), I couldn’t help but ponder why so many women – even professional women, are boasting a ‘stache.  If it were November, one could hope so many woman with female facial hair were letting it grow in support of the Movember Movement to promote men’s cancer awareness.  But, alas, even that was a stretch.  We are into December and the lady lip fur is still among us.

Poor Grooming Could Cost You A Job

Like it or not, attention to detail is critical in a competitive work environment.  Could your unintentional ‘mo cost you a job?  A promotion?  If the person interviewing you is annoyed or distracted by your crumb catcher, you might not see interview number two even if you are the best person for the job.  Interviewers expect professionalism.  Like it or not, the second you walk into an interview, you are being judged.  While some interviewers might not notice you paired black shoes with a brown belt, HR professionals take note of what you might consider minor details. Attention to grooming, fashion and small details can be a tell-tale sign of your attention to detail in the workplace.

Women sporting mo’s are not just an age thing even though the likelihood of darker, courses facial hair increases with hormonal changes for women over 40.  I see young women sporting facial fuzz.  It’s not about poor hygiene or a lack of grooming either.  Top executive power women, decked out head to toe in the latest fashions are walking around seemingly unaware of what’s lurking just below their noses.

Why so many women have a mustache:

  •  Vision:  It is hard to see the glistening dark hairs when one looks straight on in a mirror.  Most people look at you from an angle.  We see the whiskers; you don’t.
  • Denial:  It’s customary to get your eye brows waxed.  Women don’t want to lose that feeling of femininity by asking for the upper lip while they are at it.  HINT: If the stylist asks you if you are also getting your lip waxed, you should say YES.   And, if you are still too embarrassed, just use some tweezers after the shower.  Takes 2 minutes.
  • No One Tells You:  If your tag is sticking out, your friend will tuck it in.  If you have lipstick on your teeth, even a stranger will rescue you from embarrassment.  But, if you have a hairy upper lip, you might be hard pressed for anyone to tell you.  It’s just too embarrassing for you both.

My Female Mustache Confessions

I have watched good friends boast lip fuzz and not said a word.  I have witnessed powerful female executives navigate board meetings, negotiations and the finest of business details – never to realize the extra detail they needed to pay to their own faces.    I did tell a bride before her wedding to wax.  And, my husband let me know once that I needed to reacquaint myself with my tweezers.  The truth is, being truthful about facial hair is hard and makes us all uncomfortable.  So, instead of discomfort, if everyone waxed and tweezed, none of us would be in this hairy predicament.

In a world of professionalism where putting your best self forward can be the difference between winning and losing, details matter.  The first step in defeating the mo is admitting the mo exists.


Jamie is a media relations guru, graphic designer, writer, consultant, researcher, idea person, chocolate enthusiast, runner, marketing strategist, dog owner, tech geek, social media chic and advocate of the afternoon nap. You can connect with Jamie on LinkedIn and on Twitter as @Lil_Kansas_Mama.

Reader Interactions


  1. Denise says

    Jamie, thanks for posting this. As a blonde, I didn’t even have much peach fuzz on my lip, but now I am over 50, there are delightful whiskers on my chin (and a little bit above the lip.) It’s even harder to see those but if you use a magnifying mirror like I do, it’s frightening. Every two weeks, I use one of those hair removal creams especially designed for the face and it works like a champ. Once in awhile I have to tweeze a rogue hair too. Makes my hubby happy.

    I have heard young men in the office make fun of older women with whiskers, and it’s not pretty, so it’s definitely something that people notice.

    Just take care of it!


  2. M Variola says

    Can we fire a woman who doesn’t shave her armpits or legs?
    What if she claims some wacky wiccan religious exception?
    How about her pubes?

  3. Fran says

    How shallow is one to judge a woman on whether she has or hasn’t got a mustache.
    It should make no difference, it’s not dirt, it’s hair. I’m a woman in a management position and I have a mustache that I’m well aware of and happily sport. I keep it neat and trim the ends regularly. It has not affected my prospects in any way what so ever, I have the respect of upper management and work colleagues.
    If a woman chooses to have a mustache or anything else that isn’t considered the norm by some shallow people she has the right. A person is judged on their ability and what kind of person they are. Fran.

  4. EozS says

    Oh for Pete’s sake Jamie, it’s upper lip hair, grow the eff up.

    Also, your entire premise is flawed. You seem to think that mustachiod women are unhireable, yet wonder, so very confused, why SO MANY PROFESSIONAL WOMEN have visible upper lip hair. Duh.



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