Hair removal can be an intensely personal process, whether it is on an area commonly treated for removal, such as a legs, or a more embarrassing area, such as the chin or lip for women. Because of the potential for embarrassment when going in for removal or even a consultation, many men and women are seeking out alternative removal means to avoid professionals and complete the procedure themselves. The following tips have been created to help these individuals.
Shaving and Tweezing
The two most common methods of hair removal, shaving and tweezing are typically inexpensive means of removing unwanted hair, ranging from large areas like the legs to smaller areas, such as the space between eyebrows. Shaving is achieved by running a single blade or a collection of blades over skin, removing everything well above the root, with a duration of anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days, depending on individuals’ growth cycles. Tweezing, conversely, is achieved by grasping hair and pulling directly from the root, resulting in a more extensive removal period. This technique, however, is really only effective on small areas such as the face, belly, or fingers and toes.
Both of these methods are popular because of the ease with which they are achieved, and the easy (and inexpensive) access to removal tools. Many individuals find these methods are the simplest and easiest to achieve results, and do not desire to deviate from the norm.
For every individual unwilling to deviate, however, there is one willing to try out new things. Because shaving is not a long-lasting removal method, and requires constant razor replacement and attention, many men and women seek out a more permanent hair removal plan. Similarly, tweezing only covers a small portion and must be completed on a regular basis to achieve results, sending some people on the hunt for a long-term solution.
Home Laser Hair Removal Systems
The best home laser hair removal devices utilize light pulses in order to disrupt the growth cycle of hair, eventually resulting in permanent or semi-permanent removal. In order to do this, the customer must first shave, then go over the area with a light-equipped head. The light targets the hair beneath the surface of the skin by identifying the color contrast between skin and hair, then “zaps” the hair follicle. Many users do experience some amount of pain involved when using laser removal, similar to the feeling of being pinched or poked with a needle.
Many men and women choose laser hair removal for its long-lasting results; unlike shaving, laser hair removal aims to disrupt growth permanently or at least semi-permanently (for six to 12 months), and many find that the one-time purchase of a laser hair removal system is eventually made up by not having to purchase a steady stream of razor blades. Many at-home systems have gained FDA clearance, making them a safe at-home removal method.
Though laser hair removal is effective for many people, it does have some restrictions. Because the laser seeks out pigment in hair to deliver its “zap”, there is a small window of hair and skin tones that will work: light to medium skin and dark brown to black hair are the best candidates for this procedure. Lasers do require an up-front investment, scaring many potential users away, despite the potential promise of saving money or making up the difference by not purchasing razors. Safety is also a concern for some people, as it is possible to burn skin when using light removal therapy. For this reason, users should always closely follow the instructions included with the unit.
Hair Removal Cream (Chemical Depilatories)
Numerous men and women who have grown weary of shaving turn to chemical hair removers, such as Nair. These creams are applied to clean skin (some formulas are designed to be applied to dry skin, while others must be used on wet skin), left on for a period of time—usually ten minutes—and washed away with either a rag, a scrub, or lukewarm water. These creams are typically extremely effective at hair removal, though they do not generally outlast regular shaving, as the chemicals burn the hair not at the root, but on the visible shaft.
Removal creams can be extremely effective. Also FDA approved, many creams are instilled with properties to soothe sensitive skin, and may also have an exfoliating effect. Tubes often last longer than a razor, allowing many to save money on hair removal. This particular method is also not terribly time-consuming, and offers results that may last for up to one week.
On the flip side, because they are comprised of chemicals, some removal creams run the risk of causing burns or other injuries to users. For this reason, most contain strict guidelines on use, including location and duration. When used properly, however, most individuals do not experience any difficulties. However, again, creams do not generally offer an extended removal period.
Epilators essentially function as broad-range tweezers. Using heads made up of anywhere from 20 to several hundred small, rotating tweezers, epilators remove stubble at the root, resulting in more extensive coverage. Because it is tweezing on a grand scale, it is accompanied by the same stinging pain usually associated with tweezing, and may result in some ingrown hairs. However, because it is removed from the root, epilating typically delivers long-lasting results, ranging from several days to several weeks—again depending upon an individual’s growth cycle.
Epilators are typically quite affordable, ranging from $30 to higher-priced models in the hundreds. In addition to their affordable price point, epilators are generally useful for people of all backgrounds and needs, provided that they can handle the initial pain of epilating. As mentioned above, however, epilating can result in a series of ingrown hairs. Thankfully, prevention is straightforward: exfoliating skin before use and moisturizing skin after use will likely hold these at bay.
Though many people are familiar with the pain of tweezing, some are unable to stomach the pain of epilating. Many find that taking a Tylenol or other pain reliever twenty minutes before use makes the process bearable. Epilating is generally a smaller investment than other machine-generated treatments, making it the go-to for people able to handle the pain.
Home Waxing Kits
Home waxing kits function similarly to epilating, as it, too, removes hair by the root. Rather than grasping hairs via a series of tweezers, however, waxing uses hot wax on the surface of the skin, allowing a cloth to grip unwanted hair and rip it out. Waxing differs from epilating in its potential damage to skin; because wax is placed on the surface of skin, it has the potential to remove the top layer or so of skin in addition to its original target.
At-home waxing kits are among the most affordable solutions in existence, and can run as low as $5. The manner of delivery varies, and may come in the form of wax strips that require only body heat to activate or in the form of a jar of wax designed to be heated and applied directly to skin. Whatever the format, wax is generally safe and made of non-toxic ingredients when used according to product directions.
Like virtually every other grooming method, wax can be abused, leading to the possibility of injury. Though at-home waxing is typically inexpensive, improper use can cause the cost to go up; stripping too much skin could result in the need for a quick hospital trip or topical pain reliever.
There are many different options for men and women in need of at-home treatments, each one is best suited for a certain type of individual, whether that is based on:
- Pain tolerance
- Duration of removal process
- Duration of hair growth interruption
Using the list above, readers can readily make a choice regarding the best at-home hair removal method for them.