Hair removal: Methods, techniques and costs
Smooth, bare skin is sexy and makes a woman feel more confident in her skin. Hair removal is a beauty treatment that most women around the world undergo at some point in their lives. Read on for a guide to the latest hair removal techniques and products and some that are making a comeback.
Using a razor is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to remove hair. It become popular in WWII after nylon became scarce and women had to shave their legs for a clean look.
Tips for shaving with a razor
When shaving, make sure to use a sharp blade because a dull blade can result in nicks and cuts (so replace disposable razors often or replace blade on reusable razors).
Saving your legs: For your legs, start in the shower and exfoliate your legs first to remove dead skin cells. As a result, you will get a closer shave and can wait longer between shaving sessions. Next, apply shaving cream (men's shaving cream is just fine, the only difference is the fragrance) or try a thick conditioner. The cream or conditioner creates a moisturized base to guide the blade and can help prevent cuts and nicks. Now start to shave your legs from your ankles and work the razor up your leg. Afterwards, apply a creamy lotion or baby oil to soothe the skin.
Shaving your arms: To shave under your arms, try to glide the razor in the various directions that the hair grows. For a smooth shave, you can even use shave cream or conditioner under your arms. It is very important that the area be wet and moist to reduce any cuts!
Since there are so many types of razors on the market, you need to experiment with a variety depending on your needs. Some razors now have three to five blades for an ultra-smooth shave. If you are in a hurry, many disposables come with a moisture strip or even built in shave cream.
If you are using the razor to shave your bikini area, it is a good idea to trim your bikini hair first and then choose a 5-blade razor for the best results. You can trim with scissors or a special razor designed for this, such as the Venus Bikini Trimmer (available at drugstores and mass market stores).
Depilatories work by dissolving keratin in the hair shaft at the skin surface. This method is one of the most convenient, pain free methods of removing hair. Depilatories are ideal for removing hair under the arms and on the bikini area. Depilatories is a great solution to removing hair in areas that are hard to reach with a razor due to body contours. They are also ideal for the upper lip for convenience and lasting results.
Tips for using depilatories
Since there are chemicals in these formulas, it is wise to do a patch test first to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. For most women, the treated area will be sensitive immediately after using a depilatory, so follow up with a soothing cream.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal works by emitting a laser beam or intense pulsed light (IPL) into the hair to kill the root. Since hair grows in cycles, it takes about five to six treatments, spaced approximately one month apart to kill about 75% of the hair. Laser hair removal can be expensive ($100-$200 per session), but over time results are permanent.
Tips for laser hair removal
The best candidates for laser hair removal are people with a fair complexion and dark hair. Dark skinned women should check with their dermatologist to determine if this is an option. For home use, Tria Beauty recently introduced the Tria Laser Hair Removal System. Priced at $495, it offers a less expensive option to those wanting to remove hair permanently.
Waxing has become a popular long lasting hair removal method for many women. Waxing was one of the first treatments to be performed at a salon for all areas of the body including legs, underarms, face and bikini (and of course for men... their backs!).
Waxing involves unsing a spatula to apply a warm or cold wax to the desired body area. Once the wax dries, the hair adheres to it. To remove the wax/hair a muslin or cloth strip is applied to the wax and quickly pulled away from the body, taking the hair with it. Waxing can be painful, although some of the newer salon formulas that you can heat at home on the stove or microwave are designed to open up the pores and adhere better to the hair for less pain.
Waxing is a preferred method since it removes hair shafts from below the surface of the skin. It also lasts about three to eight weeks, making it one of the longer lasting methods. Waxing is also gentler on your skin, leaving no nicks or bad smell. Hair tends to grow back softer and finer without prickly stubble that accompanies shaving. It also inhibits future hair growth, so that over time there is less and less hair.
Tips for waxing
Make sure that the wax isn't too hot - it could burn your skin! If you're waxing at home, apply the wax in the opposite direction of the hair's growth, then when removing the muslin cloth strip, pull it in the same direction that the hair grows to get maximum results.
Check out: 12 Ways to prepare for a wax >>
The method of sugaring hair removal comes from India and the Middle East and uses a paste or gel made from sugar, water and lemon juice. Sugaring is an all-natural method that washes off easily with water. Also, since it is made from all-natural ingredients, generally there are little side-effects.
Two methods for sugaring
- A thick paste of sugar, water and lemon juice is warmed and first applied in the opposite direction of hair growth. It is then pulled off in the direction of hair growth by hand.
- The second method is similar to waxing in that the gel is applied in the direction of the hair growth and then pulled off in the opposite direction.
Electrolysis is one of the few permanent methods of hair removal. A small needle is inserted into the opening of the skin where hair grows. Next, a low-level electrical current passes through the needel and into your skin to destroy the hair follicle. The process can take time and requires many treatment sessions over a long period of time. It can also be an uncomfortable treatment and sometimes you can get slight redness and swelling.
Where to get electolysis
Electrolysis is a popular treatment on areas of the face (eyebrows, upper lip, chin, etc) as well as arms, under arms, legs, back and chest.
Threading is another method comes from India and the Middle East. Threading removes the entire hair follicle and can last up to six weeks. Threading works by taking a cotton thread and pulling it in a twisting motion to grab the hair and lift it out of the follicle. Threading is excellent for eyebrows for a clean, smooth line or the upper lip and it is sanitary since only the thread touches the skin. It is also great for sensitive skin since no chemicals touch the skin.
Learn more about the art of threading >>
Get even more tips about the different techniques of hair removal >>