Summer is in full swing right now, which means that we should be getting on top of our hair removal routine game. No one wants to miss out on a spontaneous beach trip with friends or forgo wearing a pretty summer dress because of a few wayward hairs or a patch if razor burn! If you’re finding your current method of hair removal just isn’t working for you, maybe now is the time to consider the different options of keeping your underarms, bikini line and legs smooth, bump-free and swimsuit ready!
We all know that keeping our bodies fuzz free isn’t always easy – and all hair removal methods have potential for issues like nicks, bumps, ingrown hairs and, unfortunately, discomfort. Whether it’s waxing, shaving, epilating or laser, it’s important to know all about the multitude of removal options, and with them how much they hurt, what they cost, their convenience and most importantly, longevity.
Quick, easy and pain free, shaving is a fast, effective and easy way to remove unwanted hair. It first became popular during World War II when nylon stockings were in short supply and bare legs became a hot trend that never went away.
It’s best to use a sharp razor so it doesn’t snag or pull on the skin. Teaming it with a shave gel in the shower is a lot less harsh than soap to get optimum results and soft, silky skin too. If you suffer from ingrown hairs try to shave in the same direction as the hair growth to minimise those nasty red spots or unwanted sensitivity.
TIME: 2 to 5 minutes in the shower.
COST: The cost of a disposable razor ranges from approximately $3 to $17.
RESULTS: You can be hair-free for up to two weeks
THE CONS: You have to shave often and deal with stubble unfortunately. If you’re not careful small nicks and razor burn can also occur, so to cut down on irritation, pick a razor with a lubricating bar on it.
Waxing is a great hair removal option. ‘A warm wax mixture is spread over hair in the direction of its growth,’ says Blaise Kerr-Bell from Caci Clinic Auckland CBD. ‘A paper strip is then smoothed over the wax, and quickly pulled off in one quick motion, removing the hair follicle out of the skin from the root.’ It can be done anywhere there’s hair – so legs, underarms, bikini, arms and face – and it’s relatively quick with no downtime. ‘You can be in and out in the space of a lunch break.
TIME: 30 to 60 minutes
COST: ‘At Caci, the cost varies depending on what area you want treated but to give you an indication; bikini starts from $33 and legs start from $41.’
RESULTS: ‘Waxing can leave you hair free for up to 6 weeks,’ says Blaise. ‘After a long period of time waxing, the hair follicles can become damaged which will cause the hair to grow back finer and slower than before.’
THE CONS: ‘Waxing isn’t a permanent hair removal treatment so you need to continually do it about every 4-6 weeks to keep on top of it,’ says Blaise.
‘You’ll also need to let it grow out before each treatment, (approx. 1 cm) which can be a bit of an inconvenience especially over the summer months!’
BLAISE’S TOP TIPS:
- Keep it regular! The more regular you are with your treatments, the better the results will be.
- Don’t let the hair grow too long as this can cause the hair to break rather than being pulled out from the root.
- Everyone’s pain threshold is different, and generally waxing is less painful after the first time. But if you need to, you can take some pain relief an hour before your appointment
- Don’t apply any active products after your wax or take a hot spa or bath.
- Avoid tanning and sunbeds.
- Also, if you’re having your legs or bikini waxed it’s best to wear some lose fitting clothes as there can be some residual wax that makes pulling on a tight pair of jeans difficult!
- Using an exfoliating scrub the day before and avoiding body lotion the day of the wax helps.
Contrary to what people may think, there is a difference between IPL and Laser – and a very big one at that! ‘IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, where the treated area is blasted with light from a broad spectrum – some of which transfers heat which affects hair growth,’ says Nicky Shore, OFF Wax & Laser founder and owner. ‘However with Laser the energy is concentrated through just one wavelength that specifically targets hair follicles,’ she says. In short, the treatment settings with Laser machines are more accurate and precise allowing them to individualise treatments for each client. ‘The beauty of a high powered laser, (unlike IPL which works on the skin) is that it penetrates deep to the root of the hair, specifically targeting the melanin in short powerful pulses without damaging the surrounding tissue.’
TIME: Each session usually takes about 20 to 40 minutes.
BEST FOR: The whole body
COST: ‘Through a complimentary consultation and patch test, we can assess and create an individual plan for you,’ says Nicky. ‘As a guide, upper lip is from approximately $60 per session, and underarm are from $99 per session.’
RESULTS: ‘With laser, a standard course is 6 – 8 sessions,’ says Nicky. Great for long-term hair removal in all areas, it also causes no damage to the dermis, so even the most sensitive skin can be treated. Also bear in mind that most people require a ‘top up’ maybe once a year or every couple of years after their course is completed.
THE CONS: Laser hair removal can be painful, with most people describing it as a ‘snapping’ sensation against the skin, as well as a sensation of heat from the laser. ‘We have a cooling device to cool the skin so you don’t have to feel the heat from the laser as much,’ says Nicky. ‘Candela’s Dynamic Cooling Device™ (DCD™) sprays cryogen gas into the skin before the laser to make it as comfortable as possible.’
TIP: Try to be careful to not aggravate the area for 24 – 48 hours after your treatment. ‘Layering on any additional heat is an absolute no – from a hot shower to a workout,’ says Nicky. ‘Also ensure sunscreen is applied at all times and reduce the amount of sun exposure to that area for the course of the treatment.’
If you like speed, efficiency and cutting out the chore of visiting a professional, an epilator could be your hairy leg solution – and they’re on the comeback. The devise uses a multitude of small tweezers that are designed to pull out the shorter hairs that wax often misses. They’re usually available with different attachments, depending which model you choose. The attachments are specifically designed to give you great results for different body parts.
TIME: Epilating usually take under an hour – and also doesn’t require any clean up time afterwards.
COST: An epilator can cost anywhere where from $50 to $300.
RESULTS: With epilation, you get smooth skin that lasts up to 4 weeks. Removing hair from the root means that it takes longer to grow back than removal with surface methods like shaving and creams. The small tweezers also don’t pull on the skin directly when removing hair, meaning it’s great for those with more sensitive skin.
THE CONS: While pulling out your hairs from the root is undeniably uncomfortable, most epilators can be used wet, or at a lower speed setting to minimise pain. But hey, a little pain, a lot of gain!
TIP: Hair grows back at different rates. Use your epilator as soon as you see any hairs coming through to maintain smoothness at all times.
How do you stay fuzz free? Tell us in the comments below..
As seen in M2 Woman’s Jan/Feb issue 2016:
WORDS: Elise Wilson
MAIN IMAGE: St. Tropez and Julien Macdonald
All other images supplied
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