Hair Removal: Getting to the Root of the Issue
Hair removal is a redundant chore that takes up time, energy and money, but it’s a beauty routine that’s been with us for centuries--they were sugaring in Persia in 1900 BC--and continues to grow (pun!) in popularity.
With the thought of bikini-clad vacations dancing in our heads, we’ve examined options that make this task easier, cheaper, or all of the above.
Here are the main ones we consider or have tried. We'd love to know which one you prefer? Have any stories you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.
What it is - You’re familiar with the concept: hot wax wiped onto your skin and ripped off against the direction it grows in.
What it’s best for – Both large areas, like the legs, as well as smaller portions of skin like brows, lips, bikini lines, etc.
- Pulling hair out by the root can lead to thinner regrowth and the results last longer than shaving. (That goes for all of the options listed above.)
- Price – Moderate, varies based on where and who is performing.
- It’s a common procedure and not difficult to find a decent technician to rip your hair out.
- Waxing needs 1/4 inch of hair growth, which means you’ll have to grow the hair for approx. 4-6weeks. A pain during bikini season.
- Waxing can pull off a top layer of skin, so anyone with highly sensitive skin or using Retin-A, Accutane or other medications that make skin peel easily are advised to steer clear of waxing. (Yikes.)
- Wax has to be heated, it carries a risk of burning skin.
* Personal Note- I’ve been to enough dodgy places to know that not all wax is created equal. For a time, my favorite spot was Bliss Spa (in various cities) for bikini waxing. Their cool iridescent indigo mixture is touted as “the world’s best wax,” and is specially formulated to not burn or pull off skin. It’s a more expensive service than, say, getting your hair ripped out in the back room of a nail salon, but it may be worth it if you have sensitive skin. The staff at Bliss is highly trained and super hygienic. Their Ingrown Eliminating Pads helped to keep the skin smooth and blemish free between sessions. But the cost definitely adds up, to about $100 per wax. It hurts your wallet more than your bikini line.
What it is – Threads are twisted and moved along skin to yank the hairs by the roots.
What it’s best for – small areas- brows, chin, and lip.
- Super sanitary, new threads are used for each client.
- Won’t pull off top layer of skin like waxing.
- The whole procedure can be done in just a couple minutes.
- Pain. Pain is relative and everyone will have different comfort levels with each removal technique, but let’s just say that one half of Girl Around Town will never try threading again.
What it is – Sugar, lemon juice and water are mixed to form a paste, which is rolled spread over an area of skin. The paste adheres to hair, not the skin, and is pulled off to yank the hairs out from the root. The paste can be applied at room temperature or warmed slightly.
What it’s best for – Anywhere; full body, legs, bikini, arms, brows, etc.
- Great for sensitive skin - the mixture is natural, so you’re not applying petrochemicals.
- Can be applied at room temperature, which decreases the likelihood of burning.
- Paste can be applied as little as 1/16th inch of hair, so you only have to wait 8-10 days between sessions.
- Since the paste can grab hair while it’s still new, there’s chance that could lead to permanent hair removal.
- There’s some pain associated with it, but reportedly less than waxing and threading.
- Not as common as waxing; may be harder to find a local spot that sugars.
Laser Hair Removal
What it is – A low-energy laser beam passes through skin and is absorbed by the pigment of some of the active-growth hair follicles, instantly and permanently disabling them with each treatment.
What it’s best for – Any area on the body. But note that ideal candidates must have light skin and dark hair. The laser works by shooting through pale skin to find the hair, and darker hairs are naturally easier for it to find.
- Permanent Solution
- No downtime
- Least painful option
- It will cost more upfront than the other options, but it’s the only permanent solution. There are various lasers for varied skin tones and types. Since we each have different skin and hair follicles, a licensed practioner and/or doctor will choose the correct laser for the job. The price will vary accordingly to the type of laser, the type of medical practice and the total number of sessions needed. But it’s a permanent solution, so once it’s done, it’s done!
- Potential for skin discoloration if incorrect laser is used. Seek the correct professional sets us up for success.
Check out Smart Beauty Guide for information on what to expect and how to prepare.
This post is presented to the Girl Around Town audience in partnership with
Smart Beauty Guide and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.