Body hair is something we all know, whether it’s something we love, loathe, or are just generally indifferent about. It’s personal to ourselves and varying lifestyles and preferences. For some, it’s a form of personal expression. For others, it’s a nuisance that disrupts the swimsuit season. From waxing to laser hair removal, there are plenty of methods in-between if you’re not keen on the idea of body hair. More power to you!
It’s the old school method we love to hate, but it gets the job done in a pinch. Grab your trusty reusable razor (just make sure the blade is sharp for a close shave) and moisturizing shaving cream or gel and go to town. Just be sure to wet your skin beforehand to soften your hair follicles (warm water works the best) and shave in the direction that your hair grows to prevent any razor bumps. To avoid infection and bacteria developing on the dampened and dull blades, it’s best to use a fresh blade after each shave. But make sure to keep the body of each razor to cut down on waste!
If you prefer an at-home dry shaving method, an electric razor may be the tool for you. A standard razor will give you a closer shave, but if you’re afraid of any nicks or cuts on your skin, opting for the electric version will save you from the pain of a shaving accident (we’ve all been there). This time, work the razor against the grain in gentle circular motions. If you miss a spot, go back over it until the hair is no longer visible.
Epilators today are essentially tweezers heads that spin on a wheel. Just grab your epilator, roll it up and down your skin, and watch as the “tweezers” grab your hair from its root rather than just shaving off your hair at the surface. Epilators will give you a close, smooth shave that lasts longer than using a razor, but there is one caveat–it can be painful.
Tweezers: our best friend and worst enemy. This method may be the most tedious, so maybe save it for touching up your brows or any stray hairs that you might have missed otherwise.
If only it were that simple. There are plenty of different methods to waxing, but four stand out amongst the rest: soft wax, hard wax, wax strips, and cold wax.
Soft wax is typically the “go-to” method in the industry. It’s applied on a thin layer to your skin (typically for larger areas) and removed by a muslin strip. Just beware: soft wax adheres to the skin more than other methods, so going over the same area twice may result in some unwanted pain.
Hard wax is applied in thicker layers to your skin and doesn’t require as much diligence when it comes to removing hair from the same area. Once the wax is applied on your skin and hardens, you can remove it without any cloth strip.
Cold wax, is–you guessed it–cold and malleable wax. It can be difficult to remove from its jar but overall can give the same results as its warm counterparts without any potential wax burns on your skin. Carefully remove some of the wax from its jar and knead between your fingers to warm it up. Apply to your skin and spread in downwards motions. Use a paper to remove the wax by pulling upwards.
Wax strips–while convenient–may not be as effective as the other methods, but they’re great for on-the-go and mess-free situations. Like other waxing methods, wait for your hair to grow out around 2mm for them to work their magic. You can use the full strips on larger areas or trim them down for those hard to maneuver spots (we see you, ankles). Warm up the strips between your hands, place down on the desired area of your skin and apply pressure in the same direction that your hair grows, take a deep breath, and rip it off while pulling your skin taught.
Sugaring is a method that dates back to ancient Egypt. The paste–made from sugar, lemon, and water–is applied at a lukewarm temperature to your skin and folded against the grain of your hair. To remove the hair, you just pull away from the skin in the opposite direction it was applied and voila! Similar to waxing, this can leave your skin smooth for up to a month.
Were you really a teenager if you didn’t get a temporary burn from a depilatory cream? Depilatory creams go straight to the source. It’s formulated with common chemicals that break down protein bonds in your hair. All you do is apply the creams to your skin, wait five to ten minutes (thicker hair may take longer), and wipe away the hair with a warm towel after it’s been broken down. If you’re afraid of a reaction, test it on a small patch of skin first to make sure you aren’t sensitive to its ingredients.
Laser Hair Removal
If hair removal is just a tedious (and expensive) part of your weekly routine, a more permanent option like laser hair removal may be up your street. Laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. It beams concentrated light into your hair follicles. There are pigments in the follicles that will absorb the light and, essentially, destroy the hair. It takes several sessions and a chunk of time to get lasting results, but if you want smooth and silky skin without bothering with manual removal methods, it has you covered (just not in hair).
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL is similar to laser hair removal in the sense that it utilizes light to remove the hair. IPL releases light from various wavelengths and penetrates to your dermis (the second layer of skin) without harming your epidermis (first layer of your skin). Pigments in your skin will absorb the light, causing heat, which will destroy the hair follicle and prevent hair from growing there again.