Summer is here! Rising hemlines and swimsuits emerging from their hibernation mean many of us are likely scrambling for smooth, hairless skin. Of course, hair removal is a personal choice. But if you’re looking for options, there are more to choose from than ever before. Whether you want instantly smooth legs or a permanently fuzz-free bikini line, there are a variety of ways to get the results you’re looking for. Here are just a few of our favorite hair removal methods, plus their pros and cons.
Ah, shaving, the ol’ standby. It’s the cheapest option, and it’s ideal for a quick-fix. However, hair grows back faster after shaving than with any other hair removal method, and can leave you with uncomfortable bumps and redness. To get the best results, shave using a rich shaving oil and a safety razor like Oui The People’s Sensitive Skin Razor, which uses a single, sharp blade to easily glide across skin, reducing friction and irritation in one sweep. Keep ingrown hairs and bumpiness at bay by regularly moisturizing with a lotion that contains a chemical exfoliant like salicylic or glycolic acid. Cerave SA Cream is a dermatologist favorite for ensuring shaved legs stay as smooth as possible.
Waxing + Sugaring
Waxing uses cloth strips and warm or cold wax to pull out hairs from below the skin, resulting in more long-lasting results. But ouch! The process can be painful, particularly on areas like the bikini line and underarms.
Sugaring, which many consider to be less painful than traditional waxing, is a similar process — combining a mix of sugar, lemon juice and water to surround the hair follicle and remove the hair at the root, without causing skin damage or irritation. Over time, sugaring can lead to a more weakened hair follicle, which results in finer hair that grows back at a slower rate.
If you’re waxing or sugaring for the first time, you can expect to be hair-free for 2-4 weeks. The downside? Waiting for hair to grow back between appointments, as the wax/sugar needs something to grip on to work.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a great option for those looking for long term results. Small, precise lasers are beamed directly at the root of the hair, resulting in damage to the follicle’s ability to grow strong or thick hair. With multiple treatments, the follicle eventually becomes weakened to the point of not being able to grow hair at all. While at-home devices exist, they usually use a weaker, more scattered beam, which means more treatments will be required to see lasting results. In-office laser devices are stronger, and professional operators are better trained to work with precision and treat more sensitive areas like the face and bikini area.
In terms of pain, most people report each “zap” as feeling like the small snap of an elastic band. That is to say: it’s pretty bearable. After care is a cinch, too. Soothe skin with a light, fragrance-free lotion or aloe vera gel to calm any irritation, and protect yourself from the sun with a high SPF.
The downsides? Picking up lasers means putting down the wax. The laser needs hair under the skin to target, meaning shaving is your only option between appointments. Plus, it can take anywhere from 6-10 rounds of laser to see results, meaning over a year of visits for some clients. That being said, once you’re done treating a specific area, it’s unlikely to ever grow hair again.
Electrolysis has been around for a long time (since 1875, to be exact), and for good reason: it works. Yes, it’s the only truly permanent hair removal solution out there, and it’s safe for all areas and skin types. It works by inserting a very small probe into the hair follicle and targeting the root of the hair with a burst of heat energy. Blood supply to the hair is cut off, and hair is no longer able to grow. With multiple treatments, it is a safe and effective treatment for permanent hair removal, but yes, it can be quite painful on more sensitive areas. Meeting with an electrolysis professional for a consultation will allow you to discuss a course of action that will give you the best results with the least amount of pain.
Electrolysis also requires specific aftercare, which means treatment may be best scheduled during the cooler months of autumn and winter to allow for optimal recovery. Some things to avoid after electrolysis? Self tanners, fragrance, swimming and direct sunlight, for up to 48 hours at least. If you’re planning on receiving electrolysis treatment this summer, make sure you give yourself enough time to properly heal, and remember to thoroughly apply an SPF of 30 or higher to give yourself adequate protection. With proper aftercare, electrolysis treatment will provide lifelong results, so it’s ideal for those who want to say goodbye to shaving and waxing for good.
The bottom line:
Professional treatments like laser and electrolysis are the most ideal for the long term results, but best reserved for the winter months to give yourself the ideal downtime for recovery. For summer? Find a waxer you click with, purchase a multi-treatment package, and keep regular appointments to stay soft and smooth all summer long.
How do you do hair removal? Or do you prefer to go au naturale? Let us know in the comments.