What does your hair removal method say about you?
It's time to start thinking about bikini season. What's it to be, ladies: shave, wax, cream or laser? Let us help you decide.
Body hair. It's the bane of our lives, right? Unless, of course, you embrace the hirsute, bushy or bewhiskered look, in which case — hats off to you. You're a lot braver than we are. We're all for equal opportunities but we're more than happy to leave the unshorn effect to our male counterparts.
So, what's the best hair removal method for you? Are you a waxer, a shaver or a plucker? Here's the lowdown on your options and what your choice reveals about you.
The simplest, quickest, least painful hair removal method, shaving requires only a razor and shaving foam. Don't scrimp on your tools, though. Once you've tried a razor with aloe or shea-butter moisture strips, you'll never go back to the budget disposables. To minimise the risk of razor burn, choose a shaving foam, cream or gel rich in essential oils. A mini electric shaver is great for a quick fix when you can't make it into the shower but make sure you do plenty of lubricating afterwards to restore moisture to your skin.
Top tip: Avoid ingrown hairs with exfoliating serums and wipes between shaves.
If shaving is your hair removal method of choice, you're a pressed for time, "wash and go" kind of girl. And you don't mind a bit of stubble between shaves — this is inevitable, no matter how fancy your razor is.
If you can withstand a little pain, waxing promises smooth skin for weeks. Preloaded wax strips are perfect for legs and underarms, with little preparation required and minimal mess to clean up. For the sensitive bikini area go for a microwavable wax kit, then use a battery-powered trimmer for a neat finish.
Top tip: Take a painkiller 60 minutes before waxing to take the edge off the pain.
If waxing is your hair removal method of choice, you're brave but impatient. You're not a wimp when it comes to pain but you can't be bothered dealing with body hair more often than every few weeks.
Brave enough to go for a Brazilian wax? Here's how to avoid a disaster?
For a fast, pain-free hair removal method, depilatory creams and lotions are definitely worth a try. They contain chemical compounds that dissolve the hair proteins and many women prefer them to shaving because they leave a rounder, smoother edge to the hair (farewell sharp stubble). Depending on your hair colour and growth rate, you may still need to use the cream once a week or more.
Top tip: Use the cream towards the end of your shower, as your hair will be hydrated and easier to remove. And make sure your cream is suitable for the body part you want to de-fuzz to avoid an unpleasant reaction to the strong chemicals.
If depilatory cream is your hair removal method of choice, you're a traditional kind of girl. Although depilatory creams have come a long way over the years, many women still associate them with that strong, chemical smell.
Laser / Pulsed Light
Hair removal by laser or pulsed light gets to the root of the problem — literally. The energy travels down the hair shaft and destroys the hair's root at the follicle. However, it's not an immediate result. It takes time for the hair to weaken and fall out. The most recent laser treatment, DUET, is said to be the most effective yet, as it combines laser with suction and allows the professional to treat larger areas at a time.
Top tip: The best candidates for laser hair removal are women with dark hair and pale skin. Fair-haired ladies should opt for electrolysis instead.
If laser treatment is your hair removal method of choice, you're not short of cash, or patience. This is the most expensive hair removal method and can take up to eight sessions (every 4-6 weeks) before you see results, followed by an annual touch-up. Prices vary widely, depending on the experience and location of the salon, but you can expect to pay between £50 and £100 per session for the bikini area and between £120 and £200 per session for the lower legs.
The only hair removal method that can legitimately be described as permanent, electrolysis involves sliding a tiny needle down into the hair follicle to the hair growth cells. The needle destroys the cells, meaning hair will never grow there again. Successful electrolysis requires up to 25 sessions, depending on the size of the area being treated. Fortunately, sessions are relatively short at around 10 minutes long.
Top tip: Electrolysis hurts. Apply a local anaesthetic cream 20 minutes before each session.
If electrolysis is your hair removal method of choice, you're a woman on a mission. You won't stop at anything to achieve the smooth, hair-free look. Time, money and pain won't stand in your way.