Admit it—we don’t just wake up with well-groomed eyebrows and smooth, silky legs. If a few days pass without maintenance, things can get a little, well, hairy. From al fresco threading booths at the mall to slimy wax pots at nail salons, hair removal is everywhere you look. But what are the best options, and how do they differ? Here’s a little breakdown of some hair removal techniques to help you find the ones that are best for you.
Quick, inexpensive and less painful than waxing, threading is becoming more popular every day. You’ve probably seen it being done at a kiosk in the mall, and it may look terribly painful and odd at first. However, It’s fantastic for sensitive skin, as there are no creams or products used—just thread. It’s also far more precise than waxing. The technician rolls and twists thread and passes it over your skin, pulling hairs out from the root. It generally costs $7-20 a session and the recovery time is quite fast. I only need to be threaded once a month and wind up with perfectly groomed brows on a tight budget.
I’ve been getting my eyebrows threaded for years and must say that when done properly, it’s the best way to get perfect eyebrows. Threading is also fantastic for the upper lip and any facial hair removal. Leave it to the professionals, and read reviews before trying a threading technician.
I’m not a fan of wax used for eyebrow maintenance (because it’s hard to control when trying to shape the perfect eyebrow), but it’s fantastic for legs and bikini lines if you can take the pain. When I trained to get my esthetics license, waxing was a mandatory part of the curriculum. I learned how to use hot wax and linen strips to remove unwanted hair in a sanitary fashion. My beef with waxing is that some facilities potentially spread germs by double dipping, and there’s no real way to tell if technicians are keeping the wax pure.
You can save a lot of money by getting your own pot and waxing your legs at home. It’s actually easy once you get the hang of it, and your legs truly feel soft and silky for many days (or even weeks, depending on your chemistry).
Creams manufactured for hair removal dissolve hair follicles from the roots and break down the hair’s protein structure. It’s an inexpensive, pain free technique that’s not difficult to administer. Creams remove hair from right beneath the skin’s surface and slow down regrowth. Hair also grows back softer than it does after shaving. I like to use it on the bikini line, as I absolutely cannot stand the pain and suffer from even the best bikini wax. However, I’ll tell it like it is—most of these products smell terrible, and I don’t love that they’re made with some pretty toxic ingredients.
Be careful, as all hair removal creams may cause chemical burns if left on for too long or removed incorrectly. Blot the treated area with a clean, lint-free towel after you’re done, and never apply lotion or perfume to freshly treated skin (or anywhere near your eyes). Read the directions carefully, and always test a small patch of your skin to see how you react to any new product.
Sugaring uses lemon, glycerin, sugar, and hot water to remove unwanted hair from the root. It is one of the most inexpensive, gentle and safe hair removal options out there. Starting at $15 per treatment, this ancient technique is an all-natural option. Waxing can be harsh and cause premature aging on the face, so consider sugaring for your upper lip area. It can be administered at room temperature and only sticks to the hair (never your skin). Sugaring is safe to use all over the body, and there’s no risk of burning or ripping sensitive skin as often seen with waxing.
Using a pulsating beam of light, laser hair removal is a very effective, long-lasting hair removal technique. Laser beams pass through your skin and damage each follicle one by one. Lasers also inhibit future hair growth and after several sessions, most hair will actually stop growing back at all.
You should only have laser treatments done at a medi-spa or dermatologist’s office by individuals who are trained to safely work with laser hair removal. As with any beauty procedure, research before you go in for a service, and ask around so that you have the best, safest experience possible and get the best value for money—treatment prices vary greatly.
Never use these devices on your brows and as always, follow the manufacturer’s directions closely to ensure the best results.
No matter which way you proceed, take some time to learn about your options and see what best suits your needs and budget. Remember that growing out your leg, bikini and arm hair is also an option and that you need not to remove all hair that grows naturally on your body. Beauty is skin-deep, but it’s easier to get to without a furry topcoat.