Warm weather is (thankfully) creeping in, meaning more skin will be exposed as we trade in long sleeves and pants for tanks and minis. For those who want to approach summer with smooth and hair-free skin, removing unwanted hair can be achieved in more ways than one. Before you begin the process of going from "grizzly bear" to "bald eagle," consider the many paths to hair removal you can take. Going from stubbly to smooth is not a one-size-fits-all beauty routine. Check out the options and decide which method is right for you.
Laser Hair Removalgroupon.com
If permanent is your preference, laser hair removal is an excellent choice. Sure, the cost may seem steep, but think of it as an investment for a lifetime of hair-free freedom. According to DocShop, "The typical cost of laser hair removal is $150 to $500, depending on the area of the body that is being treated. (But a) larger area, such as the back, averages between $600 and $900 per treatment session."
As Mayo Clinic describes, "Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a laser - an intense, pulsating beam of light – to remove unwanted hair. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle which inhibits future hair growth." You'll likely need a few rounds of treatment before you are totally hairless and depending on the size of the area you're interested in the process can take hours at a time. WebMD notes, "Most patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven sessions." Be sure to find a laser hair removal specialist who is knowledgeable, experienced, and safe.
If the idea of laser sounds like it's right up your alley and you want to go the DIY route, consider an at-home laser hair removal system. Best Reviews chose Tria as their "Best of the Best" at-home laser hair removal system. It is the "first FDA-cleared laser available for home use," giving you a sense of security as you zap your way to hair-free fabulousness. It costs $499 on Amazon and according to Best Reviews, worth every penny. "Off the charts in terms of performance and effectiveness. Professional-grade quality."
Wax on, wax off. Waxing is a semi-permanent hair removal option that lots of ladies (and men) have sworn by season after season. According to ePain Assist, "(Waxing) removes the hair from the root. It will take around two to eight weeks for new hair to grow back." Most (soft) waxing is done with strips, where hot wax is slathered onto the skin and a cloth strip is pressed and smoothed over the area. In one swift pull, the waxing technician removes the hair as you hold your breath as it can be a bit painful, but you'll get over it in a few seconds.
There is also the hard wax option – best for smaller areas of the body. Here, there are no strips used - the wax hardens directly onto the skin and is then yanked off, taking the unwanted hair with it. Angie's List notes that, "Many customers find (hard wax) to be less painful than other types of waxes."
If you want to wax but hate the idea of going to a salon, at-home wax strips are easy to use and quite effective. Try Sally Hansen ready-to-use wax strips for under ten bucks. You won't get the pampering that comes with a spa session, but it gets the job done.
Sugaring sure sounds sweet, and for those who choose this centuries-old hair removal method, it's a follicle favorite. Huffington Post describes sugaring as, "A treatment that uses a combination of sugar, lemon, and hot water to remove hair from the root without pulling at the skin." The mixture forms a gel and only sticks to the hair, not the skin. Huffington Post claims this method lasts even longer than waxing and is great for people with sensitive skin, "as it's less likely to cause irritation." Not to mention, it smells fresh and you probably have all the ingredients in the kitchen already!
An oldie but goodie, shaving is super-convenient, cheap, and instantly effective. Sure, the stubbles will grow back in a few days - sooner for some - but it couldn't be simpler than to whip out the razor while showering to get the job done before heading out in your "Daisy Dukes." Shaving is great for nearly any area of the body when time and efficiency are of the essence. Invest in a decent razor to prevent ingrown hairs, razor burn, or a nasty nick. Moisturize well and replace your razor often so it doesn't get dull.
Elle.com Beauty Director Julie Schott swears by Schick Quattro YOU which costs $9.99. The 4-blade disposable razor results in a super-close shave, following your every curve and contour. A unique touch? The handles are scented!
If you are looking for a totally pain-free method, depilatories are a delight. Some of these creams and lotions smell kinda nasty, but the result is worth a few minutes of inhaling that off-putting aroma. Not to mention, the formulas are far better than they were decades ago, so the stench is somewhat sweeter.
According to Cosmopolitan, "Depilatory creams work by dissolving the hair at the skin's surface. Your hair isn't pulled out from the root like it is when you wax." Before using, it is advised to do a small skin patch test to make sure you are not sensitive to the product. Hair-free skin that's red, raw, and blotchy certainly isn't the look you're going for.
Nair is a hair remover that has been around for a while and they are always coming out with something new and improved. Their $8.99 Sensitive Formula Shower Power™ with Coconut Oil and Vitamin E is gentle and effective and can even be used in the shower. Keep it on for less than five minutes, simply sponge off, and feel your skin at its smoothest.
Another permanent solution for hair removal is the process of electrolysis. As per WebMD, "Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Today's medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers." The process can be tedious for large areas of the body, but the results are remarkable. Like laser hair removal, "you will need to return for several electrolysis visits," as WebMD notes.
Electrolysis can hurt a bit, but the good thing is that you can use a topical numbing cream before the technician goes to town. But a pinch of pain for a lifetime of hairlessness is worth it, no? And the cost may hurt you in the wallet but remember, once you are done with your sessions, that's it. RealSelf suggests the average price for electrolysis is $450 per session with a range of $25-$1,500.
Nearly everyone has a tweezer in their medicine cabinet, perfect for precise plucking. Away with the strays! You can grab a tweezer for small areas of the body like the brows, upper lip, chin, etc., but if you're looking for smooth stems from hip to toe, tweezing would take you all season. Sure, if you miss a hair or two after shaving, pluck away, but unless you have all day to go at your hair one strand at a time, tweezing large areas is a big no.
Invest in a sharp and precise tweezer that grabs each hair and lets you pluck perfectly. Tweezerman is a tried-and-true tweezer. Try their Slant Tweezer for error-free beautification, snagging strays superiorly. It costs $12.68 at Walmart.
Tip: Keep a tweezer in your beach bag in case you find yourself sunbathing and look down to see a bikini hair that somehow survived your weekend wax. Grab that sucker and get back to the sunshine!
Buffing hair may not be the go-to method for most, but it is something worth trying if you're seeking a new path to sleekness. Some gals go for a buffing stone and others use a paper or a buffer pad or mitt, but the results are similar, you sort of "sand" your hair off the body. It's quick, cheap, and gets the job done.
Livestrong mentions, "Buffing may be good for those with fine leg hair or to clean up errant follicles in between waxing sessions. And how it's done? "Start with skin that's clean and dry. Briskly but gently buff the skin using small, circular motions until hair is removed." Buffing also removes dead skin cells, so you'll kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Follow up with a rich moisturizer, and you'll be baby soft.
Hair Off makes a facial buffer for about $15, perfect for errant chin or upper lip hairs as well as "peach fuzz" that's not so peachy. The small buffer is designed for delicate areas that need a quick fix on the fly. Just buff your way to beautiful.
Threading is like tweezing in that you want to employ the technique for small areas of the body. As per Cost Helper, "Threading is an Eastern-based method of hair removal that dates back thousands of years." Generally, you'd visit a professional to get the job done, and the more advanced they are, the faster and finer the process.
According to LaserAway, "A cotton thread is pulled along unwanted hair in a twisting motion, which traps the hair in a mini lasso, lifting hair right out of the follicle. (Threading is) extremely sanitary, great for people with unruly brows, it's fast, and has an amazing ability to be incredibly concise when it comes to removing hair."
Threading not only gets the job done precisely, but inexpensively too. According to Angie's List, "Consumers should expect to pay less that $40 for a session. In cities where (many) threading salons exist, the price for service can reduce significantly, and can even run as low as $5."