Guide to Hair Removal Methods: From Waxing to IPL

What do you think of when you hear the words Beauty Maintenance? Did I sense a smile or a cringe?

No doubt this deadly duo of words is of the most divisive combos amongst the female population. Loved by some and feared by many. Makeup, clothing, accessories, nails, hair styling and in case the list wasn’t long enough for you let me add the pesky process of hair removal.

To know precisely who to point the finger of blame towards for introducing the female hair removal we must direct our attention to the ancient Egyptian women.



The process of hair removal with sharp rocks and shells was not limited to leg hair but included the whole body, a bald head with only the very surprised eyebrows remaining….ow!

Luckily for us hair removal techniques have improved dramatically since our bald egyptian sisters era. Whether it be a shorter-term fix or a more permanent longer-term option, there is a hair removal technique to suit you.

To start, there are three main considerations that should be taken when choosing the right hair removal technique for you, the depth of your wallet, the time between regrowth and of course your pain threshold.

Now, let’s find the best practice for you.

Waxing

First observed by the ancient egyptians, men and women alike were known to have applied a sticky paste made of beeswax and sugar to their face before pressing and quickly removing a strip of cloth, pulling out the hair.

With both in-salon and home options available, waxing is a good long-term solution to slow hair growth, however do not be surprised to find that hair growth is accelerated during the first 2-3 months of treatment. Although more costly than shaving, hair is unlikely to grow back before 2 weeks after your first treatment, saving you valuable shower time and nasty razor cuts.

Do take caution as waxing (particular those more delicate areas) is best left to those of us with slightly higher pain thresholds, alternatively take a painkiller before your scheduled appointment.

Shaving

The most popular and pain-free of all hair removal techniques, shaving involves razor blades that cut hair at the skin level, arguably prompting faster regrowth times. The cheap and pain-free convenience found in shaving has found shaving become part of the routine for many women, however the perfect on the go solution also comes with some not so nice side-effects.




Most users find that after shaving skin is more prone to ingrown heads, resulting from hair being cut on an angle thereby encouraging hair to grow in unnatural directions. What definitely seems to be the quick remedy to a daily problem may result in damaged skin and will be incredibly time consuming in the long-term.

Tweezing

Another simple and cheap home remedy to pesky facial hair is tweezing which involves the process of individually plucking unwanted hairs. The risk of ingrown hair and infections are high if, like shaving, the hair follicle is pulled in an unusual direction.

Depending on the amount of hair you wish to remove, tweezing can be a time-consuming process. Do be warned however that eyebrow hair may not grow back, so be extra diligent if you are prone to incorrectly removing more hair than you anticipate…and word of advice no magnifying mirrors!

Hair Removal Cream

A guide to beauty hair removal

Not so keen on the pain side of things, why not try depilatory or hair removing creams from your supermarket? Similar to shaving only the surface level hair is removed through chemicals in the cream which dissolve the surface hair leaving the root intact.

The pros of the chemical dissolvent is that hair growth is likely to be slower than that of shaving (depending on the closeness of the cut), however do heed caution as there is a potential risk of chemical burns and blistering after use.

Threading

Perceived as one of the latest facial hair removal trends, threading has actually been in existence for centuries, first originating in the Middle East. This process involves creating loops and a series of knots in a piece of thread which is then twisted rapidly back and forth across rows or hairs, removing them quickly from the root.

A skilled practitioner requires great precision and will often spend many months practicing on an eyebrow shaped piece of velvet before advancing to a human. This process involves no chemicals or additions other than the string itself, however the salon process is costlier than that of waxing or tweezing.

Epilating

We first saw epilators in the late 80s and by the 90s everyone was using one, a decade later the momentum built again as newer more advanced product types came to market. With a similar concept to waxing, the epilator is a motorised device with rotating blades that individual plucks hairs pulling them from their root.




The key to a less painful epilating experience is exfoliating a few hours beforehand, softening the hair follicle for easier removal whilst removing dead skin cells to reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs. Once again, this process will be painful when beginning but will reduce over time and leave for longer periods of happy hair-free weeks!

Laser

First commercially available in the mid-1990s this process of hair removal was the first semi-permanent solution offered to the public. The process involves exposure to pulses of laser light that destroys the hair follicle.

It is more effect on light skin with the contrast of dark hair as the light lasers convert heat when passing through dark material.

The laser damages the bulb of the hair follicle, thereby inhibiting growth for 6-12 months before returning to normal growth.

Of course all these benefits to come with a price tag, treatment for the whole leg area can vary between $150-$200 and requires a number of treatments.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment

IPL Hair Removal

Said to be less damaging than laser treatment, the monochromatic light beam causes hair to drop out after treatment and is considered less painful than the laser alternative.

The IPL light causes less damage to the top layer of skin (epidermis) and focus on the second layer of your skin (dermis) where the root lies.

After a few years of IPL many users have reported absolutely no hair growth. Cost for a single treatment can be as high as $600, with regular sessions required for long-term results.

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