Hair removal often proves to be a tricky issue for women. Epilating and waxing are great for super smooth skin, but are uncomfortable or sometimes downright painful. Shaving is easy, but not as smooth or long lasting. Laser hair removal can bring great permanent results, but not for everyone, and it is expense. Here are some tips on which to choose and how to use them.
30 Days of beauty, Day 10: Remove Unwanted Hair
Shaving is a low-cost and effective mode of hair removal. Unfortunately, if not done properly, it can easily result in painful nicks, ingrown hairs or a smoothness that doesn’t last as long as it should.
The basics of shaving are simple. Just wet the area to be shaved and, in most cases, shave against the direction of hair growth in short to moderate firm strokes. Some spots that may need to be shaved from multiple angles are the underarms and pubic area. These areas are often more sensitive than others and have thicker hairs along them. In the pubic area especially, shaving with the direction of hair growth first can help to avoid irritation.
Invest in a quality razor that meets your needs. Razors that have moisturizing strips on them are useful, especially for those with sensitive skin. A pivoting head allows you to reach tricky areas like your knees with minimal risk of nicks. We like the Schick Intuition and the Gillette Venus with Olay Lotion.
Also choose a shave cream that suits your skin. There are many brands that offer shave creams tailored for dry or sensitive skin. These help to nourish the skin and to create the smoothest results possible.
Waxing and Epilating
Waxing and epilating offer longer term hair removal because they remove hair by the roots. However, the process is not pain free. When epilating, start with clean skin and use a quality epilator. We like the Braun Silk Epil, which can be used either wet or dry.
Waxing can be done at a salon or at home with a kit. When waxing at home, it is often helpful to have a partner pull the wax off for you. This is because, when pulling it yourself, it is too easy to become squeamish in anticipation of pain and not pull hard or quick enough. That leads to even more discomfort along with less than ideal results!
Want to know more about waxing, whether it be for legs or facial hair, read our article, What to Expect At Your First Waxing Appointment.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal can be done at home or in a spa. While laser hair removal can lead to permanent hair removal for many, it isn’t perfect. First, it can take up to a year of regular sessions to see results, and some will only see partial results. Second, because the laser targets pigment, it cannot be used on people with darker skin tones and works best only on those with light skin and darker hair.
Spa services tend to be pricey and we recommend a home system instead, as the home devices are generally just as effective, but cost much, much less over the period of time it takes to see results. Our favorites for home use are the Tria Laser and the products from Silk’n Sens.
For more on laser hair removal read our Home Laser Hair Removal Guide and/or our Silk’n Flash and Go Review. If you want salon or spa laser hair removal read up on What To Look For In a Laser Hair Removal Spa.
Permanent Hair Removal for Women With Darker Skin
If you have darker skin (generally anything over medium tan) you cannot safely use a laser hair removal device. However, there are a couple of other options. One is the eGlide, which is not the easiest to use over large areas, but is great on the face and affordable enough to give a try in other areas. Read our review here: Eglide Review.
The other is the No No! which is reported to be quite effective, but some complain that it creates a burnt hair smell, and its overall ratings are not as good.
Tips for the Best Hair Removal Experience
Below are tips for getting the most from your hair removal sessions:
1. Nicole Dantzler from Lipstick and Luxury points out the most important tip: “Always exfoliate before you shave, exfoliation removes dead skins cells and gives you a closer shave.”
Exfoliating makes for a smoother surface to start shaving with and guarantees the softest results.
For easy to use homemade scrubs, Sharzad Kiadeh of LuxLyfe provides these DIY recipes
“DIY Homemade Body Treatments
Homemade Body Exfoliator:
¼ cup Organic Brown Sugar
¼ cup Olive Oil (Any kind is fine)
½ TSP Sea Salt
½ TSP Vanilla extract
1 TBS Organic Honey
Mix it all up, head to the shower, lather it on your body and use it like you would any other body exfoliator.
Note: I have never tried this on my face… it might be a little harsh, so just stick with the body for now. It does get a little messy, but your smooth body is totally worth it!
Sugar Lemon Scrub:
I LOVE making beauty treatments at home. It has forever been one of my favorite things to do. (I secretly feel like a chemist/mad scientist when I’m whipping things up in the kitchen and then applying them to the chosen body parts that need beautifying)
For the Sugar Lemon Scrub all you need are the following three ingredients.
2 TBS Salt
Approximately 1/4 cup Organic Sugar (continue adding sugar until the consistency becomes similar to that of an exfoliator)
Mix everything up and apply it like you would any other exfoliator. Your skin will feel ridiculously soft, I promise! Do this as little or as often as you feel necessary. (Everyone is different)”
2. Don’t try to shave dry skin, as it most often results in razor burn. Instead, make time to shave towards the end of your shower or bath. Try to soak your skin for at least 10 minutes before you begin shaving. The warm water will soften your skin and make it much easier to shave.
3. Change your razor often. Many razors can safely be used several times, but be sure to check your razor before each use for signs of ineffectiveness, like whitening of moisturizing strips, immovable buildup in the razor or signs of rust.
4. Don’t leave your razor in the shower. This will likely make it ineffective faster.
5. Moisturize after you do any hair removal procedure. Baby oil applied to skin that is still damp will lock in the moisture. Lotion applied to skin that has been patted dry with a clean towel will work as well. However, if you have sensitive skin, an unscented lotion is your best option.
6. If you plan to go somewhere that may expose your skin to harsh elements. consider doing hair removal advance. Excursions like trips to the beach can quickly become miserable if your newly shaven or waxed skin reacts poorly to lotions or the sand and saltwater.
7. If you experience frequent irritation after shaving, epilating or waxing, despite trying all of the above tips, consider a product designed to sooth the skin after shaving, like specialized lotions and ointments.
8. Two products that can help sooth ingrown hairs and razor burn that you can probably find in your home or at a low cost locally are baby powder and unscented non-gel deodorant for sensitive skin. Apply either of these to towel-dried skin after shaving for the best results.
Tomorrow, Day 11: Get Your Spray Tan On