Hair removal is a multibillion dollar industry. Silky smooth skin helps women and men feel more attractive and sexy. Whether at home or using professional services, almost every woman and man will remove their hair sometime in their life. Here are the most common hair removal methods and products.
Shaving is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most common methods to remove unwanted hair by both men and women. It really became popular in World War II with the help of Betty Grable, who really helped popularize it by showing off her million dollar shaved legs.
Shaving is usually done with a manual or electric razor with the help of shaving cream or gel. When shaving, it is important to use a sharp blade because dull blades can damage the skin. For the best results, always remember to replace the blades when they get dull.
In a warm shower, lightly exfoliate your skin to remove any dead skin build up. When shaving your legs, getting a smooth shave requires a shaving gel. On clean skin apply a thin layer of your favorite shaving gel or try a conditioner. Hydrating your skin makes it so much easier to shave because it helps the razor glide over the skin. It also helps you see what areas you have already shaved. Then starting at your ankle lightly press and begin shaving up to your knee. You don’t have to press hard. The trickiest areas are the ankles and knees. When you are done shaving, use a moisturizer.
When removing hair from the underarms, clean the area to remove any dirt, oil, and deodorant. Apply a shaving cream while stretching your arm above your head. Since the hair grows in many directions, you have to shave in many directions to get all of the hair.
When shaving the bikini area, wear a bikini with the least coverage so it is easy to see the bikini line. After applying a shaving gel, go over the area as few times as possible. To avoid razor bumps, shave in the direction the hair grows. If you want a closer shave, shave against the growth.
There are all kinds of different razors on the market. You have to experiment to find the right one for you. Today, you can find multi blade razors with three or five blades. The idea of a multi-blade razor is that there is less space between the blades, which is supposed to result in a closer shave.
Hair Removal Creams
Hair Removal creams contain calcium thioglycolate, sodium thioglycolate, and sodium hydroxide which breakdown the keratin in hair. If it works, this is one of the easiest and pain-free ways to remove hair. Depilatories come in different strengths and can be used under the arms, on the bikini area, and even the face. Hair removal creams are ideal on areas where it is difficult to shave.
A patch test should be done in an inconspicuous area to test for an allergic reaction. This method does remove more dead skin then normal cleansing so there can be sensitivity.
Bleaching is not really a form of hair removal, but it does reduce the appearance of hair. It works by removing the pigment in the hair. Bleach usually contains hydrogen peroxide and ammonium bicarbonate. The most popular area for bleaching is the upper lip, but bleach can also be used for the sides of the face, under the jaw, and on the forearms. Always test bleach on a smaller area before applying it on a larger area.
In early times, Romans and Greeks used pumice stones to remove hair by buffing it away. Hair buffing works by removing fine hair from the surface of the skin through abrasion. Buffing is only effective on fine hair.
To buff away hair, you have to hold the skin tight with one hand and use circular motions until the hair is sanded way. You must be careful not to overdo because it can leave skin raw.
Hair removal epilators use rotating tweezers that open and close to pull hair out at the root. Epilation is like tweezing multiple hairs out at the same time. Epilators are mostly used by women, but even men can use epilators. While epilators are most used for hair removal on the legs, epilators can also be used on the face, underarms, and bikini area. Epilators can be painful initially, but much like tweezing you get used to the discomfort over time. There are 4 basic steps involved with epilation: cleansing, exfoliation, epilating, and moisturizing. The two biggest downsides with epilators are that it can be painful and lead to ingrown hair.
Waxing is one of the most popular methods of hair removal for women. It can be used to remove hair on all parts of the body including the legs, underarms, face and bikini. Waxing involves using a resin-based wax to remove hair from the root. Once the wax dries, the hair sticks to it. A cloth strip is then placed on top of the wax and pulled away. Waxing is popular because it removes hair from the root, making the results last longer than shaving. The hair that grows back has softer tips than shaving. Over time, waxing can damage the follicles, leading to a reduction in hair growth.
Sugaring is an ancient Middle Eastern practice. Ancient Egypt placed a high emphasis on removing body hair as it was thought to be unclean. It is believed that sugaring was discovered by accident. It uses a natural sugar paste to remove multiple hairs at the root similar to waxing. There are two types of sugaring (1) hand removal method and (2) strip removal method.
The traditional method used a paste. A sugar paste can be made by combining sugar, lemon juice, and water. The paste should be pliable and be manipulated in a ball. The warm mixture is applied in the opposite direction of growth. Then it is flicked off in a parallel motion in the same direction of the growth. The strip removal method is very similar to hard wax. The mixture is applied in the direction of hair growth and then pulled against the growth.
Threading involves twisting a looped thread to remove hair from the root. Threading has been used for centuries in India, Turkey, and India. It has been passed down from generation to generation. Threading is usually used to shape the eyebrows and to remove hair on the sideburns, sides of face, upper lip, and chin. Before threading, tie any loose hair back. Any makeup, lotion, or cream should be removed from the skin. Tie two ends of thread together, creating a loop. Twist one end of the loop and move the twist to the center. There is a bit of skill involved with threading. The hair is captured by manipulating the twist to capture and trap the hair.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal works by sending out a pulsed laser beam into the hair that destroys the dermal papilla. Hair grows in different cycles: Anagen, Telogen, and Catagen. Because not all the hair is in the same cycle, it takes multiple treatments for laser hair removal to be effective. Laser is ineffective on hair that doesn’t have pigment, such as blond, gray, or vellus hair. It is most effective for people who have a fair complexion and dark hair. While it is not approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal, it may cause permanent reduction. Lasers can reduce hair by up to 80%.
Electrolysis is the only proven permanent form of hair removal recognized by the FDA. In electrolysis, a small needle is inserted into the follicle and an electric current is passed through the needle to destroy the entire hair. There are three types of methods used based on the types of electrical current used: thermolysis, galvanic, and blend. It can take time and many treatments are required as the hair grows in cycles. Electrolysis can be performed just about anywhere on the face, the chest, pubic area, arms, hands, legs, and back.
What is your favorite hair removal method? Let us know in the comments below.