Which Hair Removal Method is Right For Me?
The decision to eliminate body hair or not is entirely up to you. Many choose to wax, shave, pluck, and even laser unwanted hair. There are many ways to remove unwanted hair, but which hair removal method is the best? And more importantly, which hair removal method is the best for you?
Researching procedures that affect your body is always a good idea. To make it easier, we’ve rounded up some of the most common hair removal methods. These methods work for different parts of the body and range from quick, easy, and inexpensive to time-consuming and pricey.
Most of us are familiar with shaving, for better or for worse. It’s quick, easy, and cheap (at least upfront). Busy folks put up with shaving because the process is a no-brainer, and it can be done almost anywhere on the body. For best results, use lotion, shaving cream, and an exfoliator.
Those who want quick, easy, and temporary results should shave to remove unwanted hair. However, results from shaving don’t last, and there are skincare concerns to consider: ingrown hairs, razor burn, bacterial infections, and cuts happen, even from the most seasoned shaving pro.
Waxing has an ouch factor (we’ve seen the movies), but it also gives longer-lasting results than shaving. Hot wax is applied directly to your skin and adheres to unwanted hair. A cloth or paper strip is applied firmly, sticking to the wax and skin. The strip is quickly ripped against the hair growth direction, removing the wax and hair. The hair is pulled out by the root, rather than cutting it off at the surface. Results from waxing can last four to six weeks, depending on the area and hair growth.
Waxing is more expensive than shaving—salon appointments add up, but the longevity is greater than just a quick shave. Many choose to get their legs and bikini line waxed. Skin irritation and redness are common after waxing.
For those unfamiliar, sugaring consists of applying a mixture of lemon juice, sugar, and water to the skin. When it’s dried, the mix is peeled off, along with the unwanted hair. Sugaring can be done anywhere on the body, just like waxing. It’s a gentle way to remove hair, but regrowth still happens.
Sugaring removes hair from the root and is done at home or in a salon. It’s similar to waxing in both price and longevity. Sugaring is sometimes preferable because the sugar paste has fewer ingredients and is better for sensitive skin. If you hate the pain of waxing, give sugaring a try. You may experience redness and skin irritation, as well as ingrown hairs.
Many reach for tweezers to combat unruly brow hairs and facial hair. Tweezing is arduous when you’re removing hair from larger areas. It’s important to take your time, and there is pain involved—after all, you’re pulling individual hairs directly from the root.
Depending on the individual, facial tweezing may need to be done daily. Employ a different method on legs, bikini lines, and underarms. Facial tweezing can be time-consuming, but it’s cheap, non-invasive, and done at home.
5. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Often confused with laser hair removal, IPL is used in at-home hair removal devices and at some medspas. It works anywhere on the body below the eyes. An IPL device uses a broad-spectrum pulse of light, similar to a camera flash, instead of “true laser” light to remove unwanted hair. This unconcentrated light heats the hair root, and the hair is slowly destroyed. For the best results, do four treatments on the area spaced out every two weeks—an eight-week treatment plan. After that, do a similar routine every six to eight weeks to maintain results.
Because IPL releases scattered light, results are inconsistent. Also, IPL is unsafe for dark skin tones—it carries a high burn risk for anyone without pale to light skin and dark hair. Even with regular use, not everyone sees results with IPL, and the results seen are slow and impermanent.
Laser hair removal delivers accurate and permanent results when performed correctly, with minor discomfort.
6. Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is compared to IPL quite a bit—both use light and heat to destroy unwanted hair at the source. But there are major differences: IPL uses a broad spectrum light with multiple, unfocused, scattered, and weak wavelengths. A laser has a strong, focused light beam that accurately and successfully destroys hair follicles because it stays narrow over a great distance.
Unlike IPL, laser hair removal is safe and effective for all skin tones when performed with the right technology. On darker skin tones, Nd: YAG lasers safely remove unwanted hair—Alexandrite lasers are best for lighter skin tones. Many companies have equipment with both laser technologies in one machine, like Candela’s GentleMax Pro.
Laser hair removal delivers accurate and permanent results when performed correctly, with minor discomfort. Many describe the feeling of laser hair removal as a quick sting like a rubber band snapping against the skin with the pain fading away immediately. Certain lasers, such as the Candela GentleMax Pro, offer built-in comfort technologies like a cooling mist sprayed on the skin before each laser pulse.
If you want permanent results, laser hair removal is your best bet. When comparing time and money spent over a lifetime on shaving, sugaring, or waxing, laser hair removal comes out on top—especially considering the temporary results of these somewhat outdated hair removal methods.
The average person spends $24,000 in a lifetime on waxing or sugaring appointments. While these methods have longer-lasting results than shaving and offer instant gratification, the results are fleeting. About 39 hours a year are spent, in vain, to get rid of unwanted hair that reappears in days.
IPL devices are more expensive than the upfront costs of waxing, shaving, or sugaring but less expensive over a lifetime. However, this method has a time commitment to maintain the potentially patchy results seen and carries a high burn risk.
Laser hair removal is an investment at first. In the long run though, it’s the most cost-effective hair removal method of the bunch—the results of each treatment are permanent. And if you shop around, many places offer payment plans to help make laser hair removal affordable for everyone.
All hair removal methods have pros and cons. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck—and safeguard your precious time—laser hair removal is the best way to remove unwanted hair and give you the smooth, hair-free skin of your dreams!