The best hair removal options

After months of jeans and jumpers, our hair removal routine often requires some attention as spring replaces winter. We look at the best de-fuzzing options.

With bikini season just around the corner, the thought of slipping into shorts after winter can be daunting. It’s easy to neglect hair removal when you’re covered in layers, but it’s not so easy to hide while you’re sitting at the beach.

Being hair-free no longer seems to be a trend, but the norm. Doctors have seen a steady increase in the number of patients requesting permanent hair reduction, with the ‘Brazilian’ still among the most popular treatments for female patients.

Depending on whether you want to fight the war on body hair every few days or no more than once a month, there’s a hair removal method that’s right for you.

Shaving

Shaving is a quick, convenient option for those of us who live busy lifestyles. However, shaving only cuts the hairs, it doesn’t remove them from the root. The hairs also tend to grow back much faster than other hair removal methods. You’ll probably find you need to shave every day or so to maintain silky smooth skin.

Waxing

After waxing, you will generally be left with silky, smooth legs for up to six weeks. However, when hair does grow back, you’ll need to let it grow to a certain length (at least half an inch) before the next wax. Because waxing removes hair from the root, hair shouldn’t feel spiky as it returns and regular waxing has the potential to reduce the amount of hair that does grow back.

Depilatory creams

Once known for their nasty odour, depilatory creams have come a long way. Now these creams smell like tropical blends or spa treatments, and they commonly possess moisturising and nourishing properties. Like shaving, depilatory creams fail to remove hair from the root, so hair will grow back quite quickly. It is important to use depilatory creams towards the end of your shower or bath, as hydrated hair is easier to remove than dry hair.

Epilator

Delivering the same smooth results as waxing, epilators feature tiny tweezers that grasp multiple hairs and pull them out as you roll the epilator over your skin. Be sure to exfoliate before and after epilator treatment, as dead skin cells can clog the affected hair pores to form pimples and irritation on the skin.

Laser

The most permanent method of de-fuzzing, laser hair removal lends long-term results in achieving silky, hair-free pins.

Today, a variety of lasers and light-based devices can be used to reduce hair growth in unwanted areas. Although not a permanent solution to hair removal, after a treatment cycle only occasional maintenance is needed.

The laser designed for hair removal releases a wavelength of energy which is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles. By targeting the pigment, the surrounding skin is not damaged as the energy is absorbed by the hair follicle only.

Prior to laser hair removal, it’s important not to wax or pluck the treatment area for at least six weeks. This ensures hair is present, as without it the laser will not achieve the desired effect. The hair growth cycle plays an important role in the success of laser hair removal, and therefore multiple treatments will be needed in order to achieve long-term hair loss.

Hair follicles grow in a cycle, which is commonly described in three stages. The first stage is referred to as anagen, or the growth phase. Around 85 percent of all hairs are in the growing stage at any one time and, depending on the individual, this may last for between two and three weeks. Anagen is followed by catagen, or the transitional phase, when the follicle shrinks, and is partly destroyed. Finally, the telogen phase describes a period of rest, when the hair does not grow.

Laser has the greatest effect on growing hairs. Because not all hairs are growing at the same time – some are in transition, and others are resting – it can take a number of treatments to successfully reduce the hair in any one area. Multiple treatments are therefore typically spaced several weeks apart to ensure the growth phase of the hair is targeted.

How to prevent ingrown hairs

Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown back into your skin instead of rising up from it. Sometimes, dead skin can clog up a hair follicle, forcing the hair inside it to grow sideways under the skin rather than upward and outward.

For those pesky red bumps and other irritations caused by shaving and waxing, the best product we’ve tried to date is Hovan’s Gold Ingrown Hair Cream (www.hovansgroup.com.au). Using an exfoliating scrub or pumice stone on soapy skin should also help reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs.