9 Methods of Hair Removal – Pros, Cons, and Useful Tips

Header for Hair Removal article, Close up of three women with shaved legs

 

 

Humans have been finding ways to get rid of hair … as long as we’ve had it.

 

  • Egyptians used sharpened flint and sugaring as a symbol of their wealth (only peasants had facial hair).

 

  • Ancient Persians loved their threading.

 

  • Cavemen might have scraped off their unwanted strands for survival purposes.

 

Not to mention the ever-changing (but always present) religious or sexual reasons.

 

Now, we have a deluge of options to fit any budget and personal preference, whether full-on Brazilian because you want to look sexy in your dominatrix outfit or wrangling a couple stray strands from your “au natural” patch.

 

What we will look at today is all the available methods, pros, cons, prices, and tips – with a special focus on areas below the equator.

 

 

SHAVING


 

After the appearance of the Gillette brand in the 1880’s, the floodgates opened for options like disposable, electric, and cartridge razors.

 

 

DISPOSABLE RAZORS – cheap, easy to find in a pinch, good to travel with, but they require more pressure and don’t always give an even shave.

 

Good for men and women, but not the best choice for taking care of the pubic area (mostly because the single or double blades require more than one pass). They're also not environmentally friendly.

 

 

ELECTRIC RAZORS – These don’t need shaving cream, you can use them anywhere but they don’t give as close of a shave and many men complain about irritated skin after.

 

Ladies should stay away from men’s versions mostly because they are designed for thick vs thin hair.

 

 

Hair removal methods, cartridge razorsCARTRIDGES – The most popular choices, the easiest to use and avoid nicks or cuts, fast, but they are environmentally wasteful, not cheap, need several passes for thicker hair.

 

The differences between men’s and women’s products are negligible (except the price - women pay more for nearly the same design).

 

 

SAFETY RAZORS – Well-made blades last a long time but they require a lot of practice before it becomes an easy process, and (despite the name) it’s easier to cut yourself.

 

No advised for women’s intimate areas due to the dips and curves down there which make for harder blade navigation.

 

 

Straight razor on a bowl and brushSTRAIGHT RAZORS – The closest shave you’ll get.

 

The blade will last forever (but needs regular stropping and honing), the most cost-effective.

 

However, they need a lot of practice, take a long time, and can deliver some pretty serious cuts if you’re not careful.

 

It's definitely something ladies should keep away from their private parts.

 

 

HOW TO GET A GOOD SHAVE


 

  • If you’re trying to tame the bikini area after a long winter break or you’re a dude who’s just coming out of Movember, things will need a trim first. 

 

  • Moisten the skin for a few minutes. How long depends on the area. A warm, moist towel on the face is great for guys. Soaking in the tube for a few minutes is great too.

 

  • Some people suggest a very mild/gentle exfoliation before grabbing the razor – things like coffee grounds, soft loofahs, or exfoliating mitts. For places around the vulva, a dry cloth is fine.

 

  • Use unscented shaving cream. Coconut or olive oil work too, but keep it a thin layer.

 

  • Shave in the same direction the hair grows. This helps keep ingrown hairs away and makes sure you don’t nick any follicles.

 

  • Don’t press down. I know you’ll have the urge to do this, but it will just make things more irritated (especially in the bikini area). Pull the skin taut instead.

 

  • Rinse, pat dry, and moisturize with oil-free, fragrance-free cream. Avoid things that contain alpha hydroxyl acid.

 

 

PLUCKING


 

Three styles of tweezersPull, pull, pull it out by the roots.

 

It will only cost you the price of a set of tweezers (around $20 for a nice pair) and however much time you want to spend getting those stray hairs.

 

NOTE: It obviously isn’t for large patches of hair, and more for fine grooming etc.

 

Be careful of over-plucking – things might grow back weird or not at all.

 

 

THREADING


 

Also called “khite” in Arabic or “fatlah” in Egypt and is a very old practice dating back thousands of years to somewhere in Asia.

 

This process involves taking cotton or polyester thread that is tied in a loop then twisted in the middle. and then rolling it over the areas where you want the hair gone.

 

 

It can take away WAY more hairs at one time than tweezing. It also gives you much more control than waxing and allows you to get at that finer peach fuzz or lip growth.

 

All it will cost you is a spool of thread or a dirt cheap ($5 to $20) visit to a salon that offers the service, where you’ll see them use either their hands or their hands and mouth to control the thread.

 

It’s really only for the face though, so forget about the bikini area.

 

 

EPILATING


 

They look like shavers, but they aren’t – more of tweezers on steroids or the mechanical version of waxing. There are four versions:

 

White eplilator machine with yellow backgroundSPRING: A curved coil spring that is tight on one side and loose on the other, allowing for hairs to be pulled out by the roots. Make sure yours comes with replacement coils in case one breaks.

 

ROTATING DISCS: Similar to springs but with discs.

 

TWEEZER: The evolution of the disc model with metal plates that move together as it rotates to provide a continuous cycle of gripping and releasing.

 

WET: Can be used in the shower with or without gel or cream.

 

Most run over $100 and come with the same pain level as any device that rips things from their roots.

 

 

DEPILATORY CREAM


 

Two kinds of Veet depilatory creamThere are plenty of brands on the market, but Veet is probably the most famous. If you’ve never tried it, it’s basically a cream that dissolves the hair to the surface of the skin, with (at most) a mild tingling feeling.

 

The biggest advantages over shaving are that it’s painless, cheap (around $10), fast, and easy.

 

NOTE: Yes, men can use it too, even around the genitals (if you get the correct type of cream)

 

The downside? It smells REALLY bad (chemically), it lasts about as long as shaving, and some people have allergic reactions to it. I would recommend doing a patch test before slathering it across your crotch.

 

You must also remember that you’re going to need several creams to target several areas (eg. Bikini, face, legs, male genitals etc.). There is no all-in-one cream. Also, there is nothing that is safe to use around the eyes or ears.

 

 

WAXING


 

I’m a veteran of this kind of hair removal, mostly after I got crotch razor burn. the biggest piece of advice I can give you …

 

Book an appointment with a professional. Then, when you’re acclimatized, you can take the solo plunge (if you dare).

 

NOTE: DIY Brazilians are not a good idea.

 

Does it hurt?

 

Close up of someone about to remove a waxing strip from a woman's legIt depends on your pain threshold and where the hair is being ripped from, but make no mistake … you are ripping hairs from their roots, and it’s not something you can nap during.

 

The feeling is akin to a really intense sting that goes away almost immediately (especially if the beautician applies pressure to the area right after). There are numbing creams and painkillers if you’re desperate but ask first. The best thing is to keep breathing.

 

How much does it cost?

 

Prices vary greatly depending on how big of a body area, how much hair you have, and how posh of a salon you choose.

 

What will it look like?

 

When it comes to the pubic area, know what shape you want and how much you want taken away. There are lots of fancy names, but all you really need to know is this:

 

  • BIKINI – Good for beginners, removes the hair from just outside the panty-line.

 

  • FULL/DEEP BIKINI – The same as a bikini but more hair is taken away from the edges, usually the “standard” for most salons.

 

  • FRENCH – It’s like a Brazilian but the butt hair is left alone. It can also leave the hair around the labia.

 

  • BRAZILLIAN VS HOLLYWOOD – There are lots of discrepancies here. Some say they are the same. Some say a Hollywood is when all the hair is gone. But many salons take a Brazilian wax the same as a Holly wood. If you want a little patch of hair left over, it's still a Brazilian. Either way, 99% of the hair is going to be gone, including the fuzz around your butt.

 

If in doubt, just talk to your beauty therapist. They’ll know what to do.

 

Illustration of five women with different kinds of hair removal shapes

Image Credit - Artistry Esthetics 

 

THE DOS AND DON'TS OF WAXING


 

  • Don’t shave for at least a week. Hair needs to be around 1/4 inch

 

  • Don’t be shy. Like a doctor, they’ve seen a thousand or more private parts

 

  • Don’t exercise or have sex for 24 hours before to reduce friction and the chance of irritation

 

  • Don’t take hot showers, have sex, or get direct sunlight for 24 hours after

 

  • Don’t go just before your period. Things are more sensitive

 

  • Don’t wax if you’re on medication that makes your skin sensitive or if you have a sunburn

 

  • Don’t be surprised if things are read and throbbing after

 

  • Don’t exfoliate for a couple days after!

 

  • Do expect different wax. Fabric or hard wax depends on the area and the coarseness of the hair

 

  • Do shower before

 

  • Do give yourself a light exfoliation before

 

  • Do wear loose, comfortable clothing. Tight clothing can cause more irritation

 

  • Do put on some aloe or other soothing creams

 

  • Do put on some ingrown hair serum

 

It’s it worth it?

 

YES! Results are the smoothest skin you will ever feel for about 3 to 6 weeks. Hairs also grow in finer after, which makes future sessions easier to deal with.

 

 

WAXING GUIDE FOR MEN


 

It's not just the beard (or back) that's fair game. More and more dudes are taking to other kinds of man-scaping. 

 

The do's and don'ts are the same for both genders (for waxing and laser).

 

However, there are a few points that are unique.

 

BONERS - You know how uncontrollable they are sometimes (especially when someone's touching you down there) and it can drive many men to abandon further appointments. If you're worried about pitching a tent, don't be. They have seen it all (and probably expect it). 

 

STRETCHING - The technician is going to stretch on your junk - not like a tug of war, but taut skin hurts A LOT less, so just let them go at it.

 

PAIN - It's not going to be as bad as you imagine. Many clients say that the chest area is waaaaay worse.

 

If you're interested in seeing a full treatment, check out this training video.

 

WARNING: The penis takes center stage, so probably NSFW  

 

There are also plenty of "shapes" you can get. Don't worry about the names, because different places might use different terms (but they will definitely ask you and you can discuss what you want).

 

Illustration of hair removal shapes for men's pubic region

 

 

DIY WAXING


 

Box of natural, extra stregth hair removal waxThere are those crazy people out there with pain tolerances and techniques I can only dream of.

 

If you want to take this avenue, you should follow the same advice as if you were going to a professional.

 

However, there are a few industry tricks you can add to your repertoire.

 

 

  • Add a light sprinkle of baby powder. It helps absorb moister and makes the wax stick better

 

  • Test the wax temperature on the inside of your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot (or cold)

 

  • Apply wax in the direction of the hair growth, press down firmly using strokes, then leave on for a few seconds so it can set

 

  • To remove, hold your skin taut and pull in the opposite direction of the hair growth, staying close and parallel to the skin

 

  • Apply pressure just after, to relieve the pain

 

  • Don’t wax the same area twice

 

  • Hydrate after (baby oil or aloe work fine)

 

 

SUGARING


 

Jar of Gentle Bees hair removal sugar waxThis is pretty much the same as waxing, but using a sugar paste instead. All other advice about waxing applies to sugaring.

 

The benefits?

 

You can make it at home, so it reduces costs, and it’s 100% natural.

 

Here's the recipe - 

 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4th cup of water
  • 1/4th cup of lemon juice
  • A thermometer if you’re making it on stove and jar with lid
  • Thank you to 7beautyTips.com for this information

 

METHOD #1

 

Add sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour in lemon juice and water. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon. Heat the bowl in a microwave for about a minute. Take it out and check the consistency. It shouldn’t be too runny or too thick.

 

The perfect consistency should be like honey. If it’s too runny, let it come to room temperature. If the paste is too thick heat it in a microwave for a few more seconds.

 

METHOD 2

 

In a saucepan, add sugar, lemon juice, and water. Let the mixture melt and combine over low heat. Keep stirring the mixture so that the sugar doesn't stick to the pan. When small bubbles start to appear, test the temperature with a candy thermometer. Once it reaches 250 F (121 C), remove from heat and set aside to cool.

 

Allow to mixture to cool before applying onto your skin. Pour the mixture into a glass jar or container with a lid. You can store it for about a month.

 

 

LASER HAIR REMOVAL


 

Technician using a laser gun to remove hair on a bikini lineIf the regular waxing appointments aren’t your thing and you want longer-lasting results, you could consider laser removal.

 

This is also an area you do NOT want to go cheap on since the machine that’s being used is something that requires training – things need to be calibrated to your skin tone etc.

 

How it works:

 

Laser light converts to heat and passes through the skin. The heat is absorbed by the hair’s darker pigment in the follicle. This damages the hair and inhibits growth. Some hair and skin types are difficult to treat, but not impossible (like darker skin or lighter hair).

 

Misconceptions

 

Many people think that the hair will fall out after one or two visits. This just isn’t the case. You’re going to need several visits spread across a few weeks (with each visit lasting around 20 minutes to an hour), so the active hair is destroyed, less blood flow goes to the follicle, and the new hair grow back thinner and weaker. It’s a test of patience.

 

Your pre-session preparation is very important:

 

  • Don’t tan or use tanners for a least a month ahead. You need your skin to be a white as possible. Winter is the ideal time

 

  • Don’t wax or pluck for 2-4 weeks ahead of time (or at all during treatment, for that matter)

 

  • Don’t bleach your hair

 

  • Don’t get a full body laser treatment. And don’t believe any technician who says it’s possible

 

  • Don’t use perfumes, deodorants, or hot water just after.

 

  • Do clean the skin and leave it free of cosmetics, lotions, deodorants etc.

 

  • Do wear loose fitting clothing

 

  • Do SHAVE the day of or before. Otherwise, the surface hair will absorb the energy and not the root. It might also increase the risk of burning

 

  • Do make sure your technician is experienced and knowledgeable

 

  • Do use sunscreen after. It should be your best friend anyway

 

  • Do wear those little goggles. It’s non-negotiable.

 

Does it hurt?

 

 Imagine the snapping a hot rubber band against your skin. That’s what you have to go through for up to an hour. Granted, some people have a far easier time - comes down to your pain tolerances and the technician.

 

Is it worth it?

 

Yep. You might have to endure discomfort every month, but you’ll be hair free for quite some time. It won’t be permanent, but it will just be a few stray hairs that pop up, but that can be taken care of with a touch up every 6 months to a year.

 

In the end, the price of monthly waxing added up to way more than what the laser ended up being (hair removal in my area is expensive AF).

 

 

ELECTROLYSIS


 

This is the only TRUE method that is permanent. It involves sticking a microneedle into every follicle, zapping it with an electrical charge (heat), and therefore killing it.

 

 

  • It’s quite safe with a very long track record

 

  • You’ll need a consultation first

 

  • Sessions can be long (each hair must be done individually) and must be done over many visits. This can rack up the bill considerably.

 

  • It’s also very uncomfortable for some people (or outright painful). However, the technician can control the machine to modify this pain.

 

  • The recovery time resolves after a few days or a week, which is good.

 

  • Whether this avenue is right for you or not, is entirely up to you. I will say that guys who want their crotch hair gone forever, be warned.

 

 

MEDICATIONS


 

Certain drugs exist that inhibit growth, but they are not something the general public can use and usually require a prescription. They also stop working when you stop taking the medication.

 

Antiandrogens are often used to treat Hirsutism (think of bearded ladies or extreme cases like “werewolf” girl etc.)

 

 

NIGHTMARE PRODUCTS AND TV STUFF


 

There will always be something on late night television that convinces you they have the next big thing that will target your unwanted hair in a fast, painless, and easy way – all for the convenient price of $59.99.

 

Or in the case of the “Nono”, $300...

 

 

This ad is not to advertise - It's to warn you away...

Advertisment of a terrible hair removal product

 

The reviews for this have been terrible, and I’m not surprised. It doesn’t leave the skin smooth, things smell like burning feathers as the thermicon technology immediately removes and crystallizes hair.”

 

You’re also supposed to keep steady motions as long as the blue light stays on. I can tell you, that thing flickered more than a strobe light at a rave.

 

Don’t waste your money on these kinds of product.

 

You should also stay away from anything like:

 

Electric tweezers, transdermal electrolysis, transcutaneous hair removal, photoepilartors, microwave hair removal, dietary supplements or non-prescription inhibitor drugs.

 

Why?

 

For reasons varying from zero clinical proof or dangerous side effects.

 

 

HAIR REGROWTH PROBLEMS


 

And unless you’re going the laser or electrolysis route, there will be these inevitable problems:

 

EXTRAFOLLICULAR (ingrown) – where the hair stays under

 

TRANSFOLLICULAR (razor bump) – where the hair grows out then back under the skin again

 

Illustration of hair regrowth problems, ingrown hairs and rasor bumps

Image Credit barbereile.blogspot.hk

 

However, here are some solutions or precautions:

 

  • Wet the skin with warm or hot water to open up the pores before shaving

 

  • Use thicker shaving cream 

 

  • Make sure the razor is sharp or new

 

  • Try ingrown serums

 

  • Practice regular exfoliation

 

NOTE: Curly hair for darker skinned people has a tendency to burrow back in

 

Also...

 

It’s tempting as hell as hell to pick at them (like resisting a plump zit or nearly-off scab); however, it could lead to infection.

 

The best solution is to soak it in warm water and then exfoliate, perhaps add a salicylic acid treatment after. If picking is inevitable, make sure the hairs on just under the surface of the skin and the tweezers are sterilized.

 

SKIN INFLAMMATION - Use a cold compress or soothing cream to combat this common problem.

 

BURNS AND SCARS - If you’re getting these, whatever you’re doing needs to be stopped. Talk to your doctor and change methods.

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

 

Well, there you have it! You are now ready to go forth and be as hairless or hairy as your heart’s desire.

 

Any more hair related tips you want to add? What are your favorite hair landscaping methods? Share in the comments!

 

Also, if you liked this kind of article, you might be interested in these:

 

 

Have a sexy day!

Robyn

Mots clésHair Removal

Comments (1)

  1. Jordan says:

    My wife has been looking into different hair removal treatments. I think that being able to get some ideas from your article would be good for her! I'm glad you talked about waxing being a good option, which I think would be good for her to hear, because she's been scared to try it! Thanks! http://w

    1. Robyn to Jordan says:

      Yeah, my first waxing was scary AF. There are a few spots that will hurt a lot, but the pain will be over super fast. The silky smoothness after is worth it!

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