Hair removal is one of those dreaded activities that (as women), we tend to worry about or keep hush-hush (since many of us consider it a private matter). But why should we?! Although it might be a hairy situation to contend with, every woman has to deal with it. So let’s stop beating around the bush, and just get real about our options when it comes to the best hair removal methods out there. Featured here are the various types of hair removal products and techniques available on the market.
Hair Removal Methods
A quick and easy way to (temporarily) remove hair, shaving requires the use of a razor (and accompanying shave gel or cream to lubricate the area prior to shaving). The razor blades literally cut the hair, creating the immediate look of hair-free skin. The upsides of shaving are that it doesn’t cost a lot of money, nor does it require you to grow out your hair prior to shaving. The downsides of shaving are that the results are temporary (you’re stubble-free for only a day or two), and bumps, in-grown hairs, and chafing can occur (if proper pre and post-shaving treatments are not used). It is recommended to exfoliate (with a loofah or body scrub) prior to shaving, to remove dead skin cells. This helps encourage a closer shave, resulting in smoother skin.
Using individual strips and heated wax, this treatment works by pulling the unwanted hair out of the follicle. This hair removal technique tends to be painful, but the results last for several weeks. The up-side of waxing is that your skin will be hair-free for a considerable amount of time, hair grows in finer and sparser (over time), and there’s never the feeling of ‘stubble’, since the hair shaft is not being cut (like when you use a razor). The down-sides of waxing are that the treatment might result in in-grown hairs, bumps, or redness (depending on your skin sensitivity level and if you use pre-waxing and post-waxing products). A fantastic post-waxing product to use (to minimize redness, swelling, and bumps) is a medicated cream (containing lidocaine) that acts as a topical analgesic.
Sugaring is similar to waxing, in that it requires a paste or gel (made from sugar), applied to the hair to pull it out. The primary difference from waxing is that it doesn’t require use of strips. The pros of sugaring are that you can remove large amounts of hair (ex. on your legs) in a short time period, and that (over time), hair becomes finer and sparser. The cons of sugaring are that it requires your hair to be at least 1/4 inch long to pull out, and if done improperly, can lead to injured skin. After doing this hair removal treatment, use a body lotion or emollient-rich body butter to moisturize your skin.
An epilator is a hand-held hair removal device that literally pulls the hair out of the root. The machine uses rotating blades (similar to tweezers) that quickly grab multiple hairs simultaneously and pulls them out. This hair removal method can be painful, but the results are relatively long-lasting (as you’re hair-free for several weeks). Again, the down-sides are that you can get in-grown hairs, bumps, or redness.
A depilatory is a hair removal cream that relies on chemicals to dissolve the unwanted hair (on contact). The benefits of using a depilatory are that there is no pain, it’s easy to use, it can be used in or out of the shower (and it only takes about 5-15 minutes), and requires no prior experience. The downside of using a depilatory as a hair removal method is that the results are temporary (you’re hair-free for only a few days) and that many depilatories on the market have unpleasant smells.
Tweezing (otherwise known as plucking) is best used for small areas (such as on the face or eyebrows), as it requires you to pull out individual hairs. The pro of tweezing as a hair removal method is that it enables you to be precise about which hairs you want to remove (which is useful when shaping an eyebrow). The con of tweezing is that you can only pull out individual hairs, so it is not practical for treating larger areas of the boy.
Laser Hair Removal
The final hoorah of hair removal methods – laser hair removal. This is considered the most expensive of all the hair removal treatments, but it’s also the most long-lasting. There are now hand-held laser hair removal devices on the market that enable you to permanently reduce unwanted hair, in the privacy of your own home. The laser is only suitable for people with light colored skin and dark hair, so it’s not for everyone. In addition, it requires a number of consecutive treatments (generally over the course of several months) to effectively work. It also encourages sun-sensitivity, so it is imperative that you use SPF on the treated areas, and do your best to stay out of the sun.