|Has peach fuzz and stubble trouble got you feeling like Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear? There are lots of options to get you out of hairy situations.|
To shave or to wax? Or to Nair? Or to laser? Oh, and wait, what about electrolysis? It seems as though hair removal have come a long way from traditional shaving, as more people are opting to be completely bare. There are many questions when it comes to getting rid of unwanted body hair. Hair removal is either temporary or permanently reduced, but which method is right for you? Read on to find the best solution for your prickly problems.
Temporary Hair Removal
For many, a quick whisk with Gillette is all it takes. It’s a no-brainer since it’s probably been something we’ve been doing since the day adolescence kicked in. It’s affordable to everyone and fits easily into the daily shower routine. To get a a close shave, use a multiple-blade razor and moisturizing shaving cream to avoid nicks (water alone or regular soap is very drying to the skin).
EOS Evolution of Smooth ($3.79 Walgreens) is free of parabens, ultra-rich and moisturizing, smells delicious, and is housed in an environmentally-friendly pump bottle that won’t “ring” the tub.
Gillette Venus Embrace five- blade razors ($11.99 Duane Reade) glide quickly and effortlessly on the skin.
The cons? Smooth sailing won’t last long, as the stubborn stubbies reappear after a few days.
Waxing tears the hair out at the follicle leaving you hair free for up to six weeks. However, there is a “growing out” period in between waxes, and for it to be effective hair must be relatively long for the wax to adhere to. It can also be problematic for women with darker skin as it can, in some cases, irritate, inflame, and may leave discoloration.
Known as hair removal creams, they are chemically based and work to destroy the keratin bonds that link the proteins in the hair that give it its strength. This results in disintegrating them at the surface of the skin and can easily be wiped off. Depilation creams are a quick way to banish unwanted hair with the results lasting a few days longer than shaving before the bristles start to crop up. Sensitive skin beware-you should always do a patch test first on a small area because irritation may result. One to try: Veet Spray-On Hair Removal Cream ($8.99 Walgreens) leaves dry skin feeling moisturized.
Epilators have a set of circular tweezers which whiz around, traps the hair and pulls it out at the follicle. The re-growth is slow (up to 4 weeks) and even taking in to account the initial cost of buying the epilator, it is cheaper than waxing in the long run. In terms of pain scale, it is uncomfortable at first, but many build a tolerance to it, especially since the hairs grow back finer. Results can last several weeks and can be used on all hair types. I use Braun Silk-Epil X’Elle($69.95 Amazon.com). This device is ergonomic and has a high RPM, which keeps the ouch to a minimum!
Fairly straightforward, if correctly done, hair is pulled from the root and the resultant area is smooth for 4-6 weeks (for eyebrow hair). Generally speaking tweezing is ideal for removing unwanted facial hair . It is also great for touch up shaping and maintenance of the eyebrows.
My favorite? Tweezerman tweezers ($15 Tweezerman) are not only the gold standard, they also have cute designs and the slanted tip catches the slightest hair. Perfect for maintenance to prolong freshly arched brows. The best way to tweeze?
-Hold skin area taut.
-Direct the tweezers so that you are tweezing the direction of the hair’s growth.
-Pull just one hair at a time to control the overall tweezing effect.
If irritation, redness, and bumps appear, soothe the skin with azulene oil and apply ice for a few minutes.
Threading is an ancient method practiced in India whereby a cotton thread is pulled along unwanted hair in a twisting motion, acting like a mini lasso to trap and pull unwanted hair from the root. I first was introduced to this method by my college roommate who had elegantly shaped brows that framed beautiful large eyes. I have to admit the first few “zips” were tearfully painful, but after seeing the results, how precise the shape, and how much faster than tweezing it was, I learned to brave the pain (a little numbing gel helped!) and threading became a monthly ritual. Threading is generally limited to just the face, and not the body. Always go to an experienced threader, or else risk misshapen or uneven brows.
Permanent Hair Reduction
In permanent hair reduction, treated areas where the root of the hair has been damaged will not grow back. However, hair growth is affected by hormones in the body, and there is no0 guarantee that new growth will not happen. Maintenance from time to time may be needed to keep you hair-free. Always choose experienced professionals with a proven track record of safety when opting for these methods.
Electrolysis destroys the hair follicle with chemical or heat energy when a fine probe is inserted and the hair easily removed with forceps. It claims to be “uncomfortable” rather than painful (I’ve never tried it, but an electric current shot into individual hair follicles doesn’t seem to be the most comfortable thing!) and can temporarily leave a slight reddening of the skin immediately after the treatment. It is best suited for small areas and are ideal for women with fair skin and very blonde to white hair that lasers can’t treat.
Laser/ Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
Laser hair removal and IPL both work by targeting the melanin pigment of the the hair follicle, which kills it from the root and prevents re-growth. Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is a variation of laser hair removal, which uses very powerful light beams to kill the root. Since the laser beams and IPL are attracted to melanin, treatment of very blond or white hair is ineffective. Results and price ranges for either treatment are similar. Both are great for larger areas of the body, and individuals with fair skin and dark, coarse hair yield the best results.
Laser and IPL hair removal must not be used around the delicate areas of the eye, and extra precaution must be taken when treating the face. Make sure the safety googles being used are COMPLETELY opaque. Make sure to find a reputable institution that specializes in treatment of all skin types. Laser/IPL equipment settings must be tailored based on variations in skin color, so operators must be proficient in knowing what settings to use for each patient. Laser/IPL hair removal can also be painful (depending on the operator’s settings and how well the skin is cooled). It’s also fairly expensive, ranging from $75- $500 per treatment, depending on the size of the area. The best area results for the most bang for your buck? Underarms- never be afraid to wear sleevless again!
How do you fight the fuzzies?