Warm weather and sunny days signal the reemergence of short skirts and bare skin. That also means that hiding those hairy legs under jeans and leggings will no longer fly. (Don’t act like you didn’t let a few days slip.) So get your body ready for summer by choosing a hair removal method that works best for you. Best part about it—from price range to technique—is you have options!
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Shaving is quick, inexpensive and relatively painless if you do it the right way. Start by wetting hair completely in warm water and lathering on a moisturizing shaving gel. Use a sharp blade and avoid shaving the same area repeatedly to minimize nicks. Because the hair is cut instead of pulled out with the root, expect stubble within a day or so depending on how fast your hair grows. Exfoliate daily to keep from developing ingrown hair.
These two methods are best for small areas on the face. With tweezing, each individual hair is plucked at the root with tweezers and eventually grows back in with a softer, tapered end. Threading involves a long piece of thin cotton thread that is twisted and then repeatedly run along an area. Because it pulls out a line of hairs at a time, it results in a more precise shape (with eyebrows, for example), but can be a bit painful for some people. Both tweezing and threading are great alternatives for those who get skin irritations from waxing.
Depilatory creams (think Nair) disintegrate hair via chemical compounds that break down its protein chains. Although they’re just as simple as shaving, depilatories leave hair stubble with a smoother tip rather than the sharp edges a razor provides so it looks like your hair is taking longer to grow back in. Remember to test the product on a patch of skin first and then follow instructions carefully to avoid any chemical burns.
If you can’t be bothered with shaving every other day, then waxing could be your solution. Although you can buy a DIY kit, it’d be best if you left major hair removal to the professionals. You don’t want an accident down there right before your beach getaway now do you? Just know that the cream needs something to adhere to so leave at least a quarter inch of hair growth before going in for your appointment. Warm soy- or sugar-based wax is spread over a patch of hair and covered with strips of cloth. Once the wax cools, the strip is quickly pulled away to remove the entire hair - root included. And yes, depending on the area it can hurt a lot, but popping an ibuprofen about 45 minutes before your session helps dull the pain and prevent swelling.
If you’ve decided to go the laser route, expect going in for multiple sessions and shelling out several hundred dollars for the procedure. The good news is that after your initial treatments, you’ll only need to go in for touch ups once a year. This method consists of shooting lasers down to your hair follicles to the destroy the roots. Once the roots are destroyed, the hair gradually falls out over the course of two to three weeks. But please note, laser hair removal works best on dark coarse hair on light skin and it can increase your risk for hyper-pigmentation and scarring if you have dark skin. If you do, ask for the Nd: YAG laser, which is better for your skin type.
This option is considered to be the only permanent solution to laser hair removal. With electrolysis, a tiny needle is inserted into each hair follicle and then destroys the cells that cause hair growth. If you’re squirming at the thought, you should also know that anesthetic creams are used to make the process a bit more comfortable. Results can take 10 to 25 treatments with each session last up to 10 minutes tops. So at $40 to $90 per session, the cost can quickly add up. But after you’re done, hairy legs will be a thing of the past.