During winter, we might completely forget about annoying body hair that just creeps all over the body while you're covering yourself up from the harsh winter temperatures with warm tights and sweaters.
However, when the first summer sun appears, you're facing the neverending battle of hair removal. No one wants to go to the beach with hair sticking out from awkward places, right?!
Body hair removal can be quite a delicate art and since there are so many options available for it, making the right choice can be extremely hard. From choosing the best hair removal method to finding the best tools to do so – it's not so easy as shopping for tights.
But if you're facing that battle right now, we're making things a tad a bit easier for you with this quick guide into the 3 main hair removal methods: using epilators, shaving with razors, and waxing.
1. Shaving with razors
Shaving is one of the easiest, cheapest and most easily accessible methods but nevertheless, it can be done the right way or the wrong way.
Curiously, there are tons of myths surrounding the art of shaving and some of them really don't want to disappear anytime soon. To make things clear, here's what you should know about shaving:
- Shaving doesn't make the hair grow back faster or thicker, genetics and hormones do.
- Shaving won't make your tan fade.
- You shouldn't use soap for shaving as it will dry your skin and therefore, there's a bigger chance of your skin becoming irritated.
- You shouldn't shave dry skin as it can get irritated.
- It's definitely not impossible to shave your bikini area.
- It's okay to shave every day.
- You can shave during winter as well.
Pros of shaving:
- It's pretty much completely pain-free.
- It's very easy – you just need a razor and some shaving gel or cream.
- It's very fast and suitable for a busy lifestyle.
- It's very accessible and affordable – razors are sold literally everywhere, from the nearest drugstores to supermarkets.
- It's not so messy as waxing can be.
Cons of shaving:
- It's quite easy to get ingrown hair while shaving. It doesn't necessarily have to happen if you're careful and prepare your skin correctly, but the danger is still bigger than with other methods.
- Shaving can be dangers since you're still handling a sharp blade.
- The results are very short term, so you need to shave very often.
How to prepare your skin for shaving
To ensure your skin is smooth after shaving and you won't encounter annoying redness or irritation, you need to take good care of your skin both before and after shaving.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Hydrate your skin well. Experts recommend soaking your skin under a warm shower (or in a bath) for a few minutes before you start shaving.
- Exfoliate before shaving. Exfoliation removes the tiny dead skin particles from your skin, so the razor gets to slide over the skin easily.
- Use shaving gel abundantly. Apply a thick coat of shaving gel all over the area you're going to shave after you've hydrated your skin. This way you'll reduce the chance of getting itchy bumps or irritation, plus you'll see exactly what areas you've shaved already.
- Use moisturizer after shaving. Rich moisturizing is the key to avoid irritation after shaving and this goes for both before and after shaving. Apply moisturizer all over the shaven area to keep it smooth and hydrated.
How to choose the best razor
As with any tool, a huge part of selecting the best razor depends on your skin. Here are some golden rules though that might make the choice a bit easier:
- For the smoothest shave, always opt for razors with at least 4 or 5 blades.
- Choose a razor with a moving head, so it moves nicely with you across all the areas and curves on your body, even the ones that are hard to reach.
- To avoid irritation, moisturizing and hydration is the key, but your razor can help with this. Choose the one with an extra lubrication strip, so the shave is smoother.
2. Using epilators
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Epilators are especially loved since they leave a more long-lasting effect than razors, so it's often the best choice for those who live a hectic lifestyle. The golden nugget of epilators: the result is longer compared to shaving and it removes shorter hairs than waxing.
Similarly to shaving, there are a bunch of myths surrounding epilators. However, here's the truth:
- Epilators aren't necessarily painful. The first time can be painful since you still have all the hair but the more you use the epilator, the easier it gets since not so many hairs grow back in the end.
- Your hair won't grow back thicker – epilators remove the hair completely from the root.
- Many epilators can be used in the shower, like the Philips Satinelle Advanced BRE630, Wet & Dry Epilator.
- Epilators can be used safely for bikini, underarm and facial area.
Pros of epilators:
- The results last a very long time since epilator plucks your hair out with the root. You don't need to epilate more frequently than once or twice a month.
- You don't need to wait for hair to regrow to a certain point (as you do with waxing), so you can epilate as soon as you wish. Epilators can grab hair that is as short as half a millimeter!
- It might be less painful than waxing since some epilators can be used in the shower and some have built-in massage-function which calms your skin.
- Epilation is somewhat close to permanent hair removal. If you epilate regularly, your hair growth will reduce significantly over time and the new hair is much smoother (and less noticeable).
- You can use an epilator all over the body. Most epilators come with different head attachments which are suitable for different body areas.
- In the long term, it's actually the cheapest body hair removal method since you only need to buy the epilator and that's it – no wax, no strips, no razors.
- It's not so messy as waxing.
- Epilation doesn't remove the dead skin, so it might be better for those who don't want their skin to be “peeled” as it's essentially done during waxing.
Cons of epilators:
- It's clearly more painful than shaving. As mentioned above, the first times can be the worse (depending on your pain threshold) but eventually, the pain is barely noticeable. So, you just need to suck it up the first few times!
- Epilators are still a bit more costly than razors or wax kits – while there are epilators starting from $30, most tend to cost around $100, so the starting cost is a bit higher.
- It's another thing that needs charging and/or batteries. Like we don't have enough electrical items already, right?! If you hate recharging your equipment, epilators might be a bit of a headache.
- Possible skin bumps/irritation, redness, and problems with ingrown hairs if you don't prepare your skin properly.
How to prepare your skin for epilation
In a way, epilation takes the least preparation but at the same time, it's also a bit trickier than just applying an extra load of moisturizer on your skin.
The key to smooth epilation is exfoliation the day before epilating. By using exfoliating scrub or mitt, rub down the skin to remove dry dead skin. This way you can avoid the pesky ingrown hairs.
Some innovative epilators have exfoliating brushes that remove the need for the manual scrubbing, so if you want to make life a bit easier for you, opt for an epilator like Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa that has such brushes built-in.
It might be worth to shave your skin about 2-3 before epilating since it's much easier for the epilator to grab shorter hair – this way the hair won't get stuck in the epilator and therefore, the whole process is much easier.
How to choose the best epilator
Buying an epilator is sometimes as tough as buying a car. There are so many accessories, technical specs and dozens of other small things that might make all the difference.
As with razors, it all comes down to your personal preferences. To make things more pain-free, there are still a few things you can keep an eye on when picking out the ideal epilator:
- The more tweezers the epilator has, the quicker the whole process goes. One of the best in this regard is Emjoi AP-18 epilator which has 72 tweezers, while most others have just around 10-12 tweezers.
- If you want to use the epilator in the shower, choose the one with a wet application as well.
- The more head attachments you have, the more flexibility you'll have. For extra comfort, you can pick an epilator with a massage cap. The best epilators come with special caps for more sensitive areas.
- If you don't want to bother with manual exfoliation, choose an epilator with an exfoliating brush like the Braun Silk-Epil SkinSpa 9.
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Waxing is quite likely the most controversial hair removal methods. Just the pure thought of having your legs or bikini area waxed can cause major trembles.
However, experts all agree on one thing: waxing is NOT something to be afraid of! Like other methods, it has its perks. Waxing produces more long-lasting results compared to shaving (being pretty much equal to epilators) and it can be a bit less painful than epilators.
Being a controversial method, there are plenty of rumors spreading about waxing. Here's what waxing is actually all about:
- Waxing doesn't make your hair grow back thicker. In fact, the new hair will eventually be softer and more sparse.
- Waxing doesn't always hurt as bad as you might fear. Everyone has different pain thresholds and of course since you're pulling hair out from the root, it's not too pleasant.
- Waxing doesn't cause wrinkles, it actually has a smoothing and exfoliating effect.
- Waxing is completely safe for pregnant women as well.
- Your body hair doesn't need to be very long for waxing. Just a quarter of an inch is plenty.
Pros of waxing:
- The results are more long-lasting compared to shaving (and equal when compared to epilating), lasting about 3-5 weeks.
- It takes less time than shaving.
- Waxing is least likely to cause ingrown hair.
- You can get near the “iffy” areas on your body that you simply can't reach with a razor or an epilator. That's especially why it's used for the bikini area.
- It can be a lot less painful than epilating.
Cons of waxing:
- It's definitely a lot more painful than shaving.
- It's messy (residue wax or stickiness).
- You need to wait for your hair to grow long enough – about one-quarter inch long.
How to prepare your skin for waxing
As with other body hair removal methods, preparation makes all the difference. Here are a few key things you should always keep in mind, no matter if you're going to a salon or doing DIY-waxing at home:
- Let your hair grow until it's at least about 1/4 inch. The longer the hair, the least painful it will be.
- Don't get a tan about a week before waxing. After tanning, your skin gets irritated more easily, so it's better to avoid abundant sunshine before waxing.
- Do a gentle exfoliation a couple of days before waxing, but don't go too harsh since tougher scrubbing can leave your skin too sensitive. Just a gentle scrub with a washcloth is plenty.
- Moisturize your skin abundantly a few days before waxing but not on the same day. Well-moisturized and hydrated skin doesn't get so easily irritated but if you apply it on the same day, it might make it harder for the wax strips to grab your hair.
- Drink plenty of water before waxing – the more hydrated your body is, the easier the whole process will be!
How to choose the best waxing supplies
While shaving nor epilating take too many supplies, waxing is a whole different story, requiring a whole load of supplies – wax, pots, strips, powder, applicator, not to even mention the products you need for taking care of your skin before and after waxing.
To make life a bit easier, you can buy a pre-made wax kit instead that already includes everything you need, plus it's usually cheaper to buy the kit, rather than buy every individual piece.
Another choice you need to make is between wax pot or pre-made wax strips. The latter tends to be the least desired option since the wax is cold and therefore, the result isn't so efficient. Using a wax pot, you get more control over the amount of wax applied and due to the warmth, the result is also better.
There are tons of other, even more specific, hair removal methods, but most women find the best choice for them among these three. If you keep in mind the tiny little details and prepare your skin well, all three can be great options and will ensure a hair-free body throughout the whole summer!