Now that we’re on our knees in summer, one part of your beauty routine is probably pretty high on your list: your high-visibility waxing approach. You’ve probably wondered, “Should I shave?” Wax? Laser remove all those pesky hairs in my bikini line, armpits and legs? » If so, welcome to Hair Removal 101.
We all know that keeping our bodies hair-free in the right places isn’t always easy – all hair removal methods, whether waxing, shaving or laser has the potential for problems such as nicks, bumps, ingrown hairs and…general discomfort. Let’s take a quick look at the multitude of withdrawal options, and with them the varying levels of pain, commitment, expense, convenience, and perhaps most importantly, longevity.
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And as always, remember that the amount of hair you remove, if at allis up to you and there is nothing dirty or unsightly fur. It’s normal! It’s natural! So you always do. But if you decide to start hair removal, these tips will help you.
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How it works: Warm (but not too hot!) wax is applied to the desired area and removed against the direction of hair growth, pulling the hair out from the root.
Best for: Legs, underarms and bikini areas, and ideal for those with thicker, darker hair that tends to be stubborn.
Advantages: Temporarily removes hair at the root for an average of three weeks of smooth skin, which can range from two to six weeks depending on your hair type and thickness.
The inconvenients: Waxing requires some regrowth to be effective, as waxing needs at least a quarter inch of stubble to adhere. Treatments can be moderately painful, as the hair is effectively pulled out at the root, but it becomes more tolerable over time. Waxing can also cause ingrown hairs.
Average cost: Between $15 and $80 for in-salon waxing, depending on the areas waxed and the salon of your choice. Or, you can opt for at-home options, such as Home Hair Removal Kit with Wax Warmer from Bella Verde.
Tips: “Don’t drink or wax,” warns Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Centers. “Some people come after consuming alcohol thinking it will ease the pain, but alcohol tightens the pores making it much more painful.” Stimulants, like coffee, can also increase sensitivity, so be sure to keep this in mind if you’re DIYing.
How it works: Shaving removes hair from the surface of the skin by cutting it with a razor.
Best for: Legs, armpits and those with lighter and finer hair.
Advantages: Inexpensive, painless, quick and easy; and shaving creams used can help moisturize the skin, keeping it soft.
The inconvenients: Regrowth occurs quickly, and because the hairs are cut at the surface, the hairs that grow back are blunt and not tapered, so they may appear thicker. Razor burn, nicks and cuts are possibilities, and those who shave regularly can also become prone to ingrown hairs.
Average cost: Razors and shaving cream can be purchased inexpensively at any grocery store or drug store.
Tips: For those who can’t kick the habit of shaving, “growth reducers” products promise to help inhibit hair regrowth, reducing the frequency of shaving needed.
How it works: Hair removal creams use chemicals to weaken the hair follicle so you can wipe it out effectively.
Best for: Those who want quick, easy and relatively painless results at home. Depilatories are most popular for facial hair, bikini lines, and armpits.
Advantages: Can be done at home and removes hair just below the surface of the skin, providing slower, less coarse regrowth than shaving.
The inconvenients: The chemicals in these products can irritate sensitive skin, especially in more delicate areas. These creams are notorious for their smell and can also cause ingrown hairs.
Average cost: About $6 to $12 for a tube of hair removal cream or lotion spray.
Tips: Choose a cream suitable for the specific area you are treating and perhaps light some scented candles in the bathroom to mask the strong smell that most of these products tend to have. A solid option is Completely Bare Easy Off Foam Hair Removal Spraywhich comes in the form of an easy-to-apply foam that washes out in the shower.
Laser hair removal
How it works: The laser penetrates the skin to target the hair shaft and inhibit hair growth. It basically destroys the follicle which means it can achieve permanent elimination. Typically, hair in the treated areas falls out within 2-3 weeks.
Best for: People whose hair is darker than their skin – while professional dermatologists may vary the type of laser used, the laser targets the melanin in the hair, so it is not as suitable for people with dark skin or hair pale. The laser must be able to lock onto the dark pigment in order to differentiate dark hair from the skin.
Advantages: Ideal for long-term hair removal in all areas. “It causes no damage to the dermis, so even the most sensitive skin can be treated,” says a New York dermatologist. Dr. Ariel Ostad.
The inconvenients: Laser hair removal can be painful, with most people describing it as a “popping” sensation against the skin, as well as a feeling of heat from the laser. Also, it requires many visits to a dermatologist for best results. “It is important to consult a dermatologist who can offer different lasers adapted to the color of the patient’s skin and hair,” explains Ostad.
Average cost: $150 to $500 per treatment, with an average of six sessions recommended, depending on the area to be treated. Multiple treatment cycles are generally recommended to capture hair follicles at different stages of the growth cycle. Some people need touch-up treatments to maintain, especially on large areas.
Tips: Although it may seem expensive, in the long run many see laser removal as an investment that can pay off. “It’s the most effective and cost-effective treatment, considering what you can spend over a lifetime with options like waxing or electrolysis,” says Ostad.
How it works: Electrolysis uses a thin, needle-like electrode to apply an electric current to the hair follicle.
Best for: Small areas such as eyebrows, upper lip and armpits as it treats each hair and follicle individually which is time consuming and can be expensive.
Advantages: Can permanently remove hair and is suitable for very fine, light hair, unlike laser, which works best on darker hair.
The inconvenients: When done incorrectly, electrolysis can lead to scarring or discoloration of the skin. Treatments can be uncomfortable and cause a “stinging” or “stinging” sensation, and like laser hair removal, permanent results require multiple sessions.
Average cost: About $25 to $150 per hour.
Tips: Dehydrated follicles can be more difficult to treat, so be sure to drink plenty of water the night before, the day of, and the day after your treatment.
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