Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means: no more covering up that winter hair growth under your arms, on your legs, or your bikini area.
After months of letting your hair grow wild, what’s the best way to get rid of it? We’re here to help you figure out the best methods for your skin, whether that’s waxing vs. shaving, sugaring, laser hair removal, or something else altogether. Read on for our hair removal guide!
Shaving Pros & Cons
Shaving is the quickest, most painless, and cheapest method of hair removal. All you need is a razor, some water, and shaving cream to get the job done.
However, shaving can cause redness and irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin, and especially in sensitive areas (e.g., your bikini area). Not only does shaving irritate your skin and cause razor burn, but the hair also grows back quickly and often grows back coarse.
Not to mention, your skin will probably itch like crazy while it’s growing back. Itching those sensitive areas like crazy is not a good look. Shaving also can result in nicks and cuts, especially if you’re using a new razor or a cheap blade.
If you do choose to shave, use a fresh, new razor with multiple blades and use a good shaving cream or oil so you get a close shave. Before you start shaving, exfoliate, especially if you are prone to bumps and razor burn. Stay out of the sun with freshly-shaved legs and underarms and be sure to moisturize and use post-shave lotion to keep things smooth and bump-free.
Waxing Pros and Cons
The biggest difference between waxing and shaving is the pain factor. Shaving cuts off your hair at the skin level, causing no pain (unless you cut yourself). Waxing, on the other hand, uses wax to rip hair out at the root.
If this sounds painful, well, it is. The good news is that you can lessen the pain by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen, before your waxing appointment. Also, the more often you go for waxing, the less painful it is.
The more you wax, the finer your hair grows back. Once you’ve been going regularly for a while, you’ll have very little hair regrowth. The other benefit of waxing is that there is very little irritation to your skin. As long as you exfoliate regularly to prevent ingrown hairs, you won’t have any of the redness and bumps that you get after shaving.
Waxing is more expensive than shaving, but it also lasts much longer. You can 4-5 weeks in between waxing sessions, depending on how fast your body hair grows.
If you are going to get waxed, make sure you know which type of wax your waxer will be using. There are two types: hard wax and soft wax.
Hard wax is applied warm, with a spatula. Once it hardens, it is removed from the skin, taking the hair with it.
Because it attaches only to the hair, not to your skin, it’s best for smaller areas, such as your bikini area and your face. Attaching only to the hair means that you won’t have the redness and irritation you may have with soft wax.
Soft wax is also applied warm, with a spatula, but instead of peeling it off once it hardens, muslin strips are smoothed over the wax and then pulled off. It’s best for larger areas of your body, such as your arms, legs, underarms, and Brazilian waxes.
Sugaring is another option that is similar to waxing. It’s done with a sticky paste made up of lemon juice, sugar, and water—that’s it. The warm paste is applied in the direction of the hair growth and then flicked off in the opposite direction. No muslin strips needed and no need to wait for anything to harden.
Sugaring pulls the hair from the root and doesn’t irritate the skin. Similar to waxing, hair grows back finer and slower. Sugaring can be somewhat painful, like waxing, and you can’t do it when you are taking certain medications, like Retin-A, blood thinners, or those that cause you to be sensitive to the sun.
Laser Hair Removal Pros and Cons
The most expensive hair removal method is laser hair removal. However, if you do the math, years of waxing may cost you the same, or more, than laser hair removal, which eventually prevents the hair from ever growing back.
Laser hair removal uses a laser that attacks and destroys the hair follicle so the hair never grows back. Most laser hair removal processes use a cooling and numbing gel before the laser is applied.
It is relatively painless and can be used on any area of your body. It also doesn’t cause much irritation and you won’t have any itchy areas where your hair is growing back. Most people take 6-8 sessions to fully get rid of unwanted hair, but after this, you will enjoy years (or even longer) of being hairless in the areas treated with a laser.
One of the downsides of laser hair removal is that it isn’t that effective for everyone. It works best on those with dark hair and light skin. Laser hair removal for men is also becoming popular.
Waxing vs. Shaving vs. Laser Hair Removal: Which Is Right For You?
Which of our hair removal methods will work best for you? Waxing vs. shaving? Or are you ready to try something else, like sugaring or laser hair removal?
Whatever you choose, make sure you do your research, pick a reputable salon if you’re going to let someone else do the honors, and be sure to take proper after-care of your hair-free areas!
If you found these tips useful, be sure to check out some of our other health and beauty articles.