8 kinds of hair removal methods explained
MANILA, Philippines – We are truly living in the future – that is, you can now transcribe a recording by dictating it to your computer and there’s been an upgrade to the good ol’ tweezer that makes getting rid of body hair much easier and quicker. But as new technologies keep cropping up and updates to old hair-removal methods are made, it’s been overwhelming to choose the best one for your body.
If you aren’t quite on the au naturel bandwagon just yet, we break down 8 hair removal methods below.
What it is: Everyone’s familiar with this hair removal standard – by shaving, you’re cutting off your hair on the surface of your skin.
Best for: If you need to get rid of body hair quick, and you’re not one for pain, this one’s for you. You can shave your legs, underarms, bikini area, and just about any part of your body, just make sure you’re doing it right. Use a clean, sharp razor with a smooth shaving cream (conditioner works as a quick fix), and do it after a shower and after exfoliating, so that your hair is soft from the warm water and steam, and your skin’s surface is free of dead cells. Keep in mind though that because you’re only removing hair at the surface-level, the hair will grow back quickly – a shave will only last one to 3 days.
Aftercare: To prevent ingrown hairs – hair that grows back into the skin and results in itchy, painful, red bumps – exfoliate regularly. Moisturizing after a shave also prevents ingrown hairs and will keep the area smoother for longer.
What it is: These creams use chemicals to dissolve the hair to below the surface level. Using a depilatory cream is like shaving but without the razor and the possibility of ingrown hairs.
Best for: Depilatory creams can be used for the legs and underarms, and some are formulated for your bikini area and facial hair too. Just make sure to read labels and follow instructions very carefully, and to test the cream on a small patch of skin on your arm or leg to check if you’re allergic and before trying it on more sensitive areas.
Aftercare: Depilatory creams are pretty low maintenance on the aftercare front, but since the hair will grow back in a few days, keep in mind that they might work their way into your everyday routine, similar to shaving.
What it is: Waxing involves applying hot or cold wax to an area and removing the wax, together with the body hair, with a strip of cloth.
Best for: Waxing is pretty universal – you can do it on your legs, underarms, bikini area, eyebrows, and upper lip – but it’s best left to the professionals. If you’re a seasoned waxer and know what to expect in terms of pain and aftercare, ready-to-use wax strips like those from Veet could be a more convenient option.
Aftercare: The results of waxing last for longer, but it requires a bit more aftercare. At least two days after your waxing session, avoid friction and heat – opt for looser clothing and try to avoid saunas and hot tubs. Try not to use deodorants or powders on the area either, and avoid touching or scratching the area with unwashed hands. After those two days, as with many kinds of hair removal upkeep, it’s best to exfoliate regularly to avoid ingrown hairs.
What it is: Sugaring is like waxing, but the method uses sugar mixed with a paste or gel instead of wax. It’s a traditional hair-removal method in the Middle East and can be DIY-ed at home, though we’d recommend having it professionally done if it’s your first time to try it out.
Best for: Like waxing, sugaring is universal too, and can be used on the legs, underarms, bikini area, eyebrows, and upper lip. Some people prefer it to waxing because it uses natural ingredients and is reportedly less painful.
Aftercare: Any patch of skin where hair has been pulled out from the roots will be sensitive, so treat it with care. Avoid tight clothes, heat, and friction for up to two days after your sugaring session. After that, exfoliate and moisturize regularly to avoid ingrown hairs.
What it is: Threading involves twisting a piece of thread together (hence, the name) to trap hair in the area where the thread intersects. By doing this, each hair is pulled out from the root, similar to tweezing or waxing.
Best for: Small areas of the body are best for threading, like your eyebrows or upper lip. The result is a smooth finish, like what you’d expect from waxing, but this method may be better suited for sensitive skin than waxing, as there are less chemicals involved.
Aftercare: Threading is best done by a professional, especially if you’re getting it done on your eyebrows (always get them shaped by a pro!). They’ll usually apply a cooling gel afterwards to reduce redness and swelling, and remind you how else to care for your skin for the next day or so. Remember not to use makeup on the area, lest you clog your pores.
What it is: Plucking hair out from the root with a pair of tweezers , which are a staple in any girl’s beauty kit.
Best for: Because tweezing involves removing hair one by one, this won’t work so well on large areas. Tweezing would be best for facial hair – your eyebrows and upper lip (if you can stand it), and for removing strays post-shave or wax. Tweeze in the direction of the hair growth, after opening up the follicles in the area with hot water or steam.
Aftercare: Splash some cold water or hit up the area with ice to close the follicles again and to reduce redness and swelling
What it is: Epilation is like high-tech tweezing. An epilator has a series of small tweezer heads on a spinning wheel and plucks out your hair from the root as you roll it over your skin. They’re handy and often rechargeable, making them great for at-home hair removal.
Best for: Large areas like your legs and underarms, and even your upper lip with the right attachment. But according to Refinery29, it’s best not to use it on your bikini area, unless you can withstand the pain.
Aftercare: For smaller areas, apply ice on the area immediately after to reduce swelling, and don’t apply makeup in the following day or two. For larger areas, avoid tight clothing, heat, and friction for the next day or two, and exfoliate and moisturize regularly after. Also remember to clean your epilator after every use.
What it is: Laser hair-removal destroys hair at the root using light. Heat from the laser is absorbed by the hair’s dark pigment, and then the heat destroys the follicle.
Best for: Anyone who’s sick of the maintenance the temporary hair-removal methods above require should probably consider laser hair-removal. It’s not cheap, nor is it quick – it will run up to thousands of pesos and will take multiple sessions – but it’s an investment for the long-term. It’s good for any part of the body too, except for anywhere near your eyes. Consult your doctor on the best way to go about this cosmetic procedure.
Aftercare: You won’t be able to expose the area that is receiving laser treatment to the sun as this can cause complications, and you should protect that area with sunscreen whenever necessary. Avoid tweezing and waxing post-treatment too, though shaving, especially before a treatment, is okay.
What’s your best bet when it comes to hair removal? Share your experiences with us in the comments below! – Rappler.com