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Being a girl is so hard (sigh). Not only do we have to worry about what to wear, achieving that perfect winged eyeliner and gorgeous Victoria Secret waves, plus making sure we’re kicking goals in our work/study/overall life, we also have to worry about having a super smooth, hair free bod. It’s an effort. Fo. Sho.

As we start the changeover from a cold, cover-up-every-inch-of-our-bodies winter, where we could stretch our hair removal out just a little more than usual… to summer, when we’re out and about rocking our denim cut-offs and striped tee’s; now is the perfect seasonal transition time to start planning which hair removal treatment is right for you.

Ain’t nobody like a prickle, so to be sure you’re prickle free and ready for anything, here are the breakdowns of hair removal and what is best for you and your lifestyle.

WAXING

How Long It Can Last: 2-6 weeks, depending on your hair type and how long you’ve been waxing for.

Go For It:

  • Long-lasting results
  • Actually reduces the amount of hair that grows back over time
  • Removes hair from the root
  • Can remove even very short hairs
  • Suitable for all areas of the face and body and skin types

Be Aware:

  • Can be mildly painful (depending on body area and sensitivity)
  • Can cause skin redness for some people (only for the next few hours post treatment)

Great for two-three weeks, not-so-great for one-two weeks. The thing with waxing is that you do have a re-growth period, but if you’re prepared to stick it out, the more often you wax the finer the hairs become which means your not-so-great hair regrowth weeks lessen and lessen as your hair follicles basically give up producing hair and you’re regrowth becomes much finer.

At home vs. salon? Well, totally your call on this one. I’d always prefer salon because I know the quality of wax and training of therapist is far better than what I could achieve at home…plus I’d get nervous, get the giggles and never actually pull the wax off because I know it’s going to painful. At the salon, at least there is some suspense as to when the wax is going to be removed so I can’t psych myself out!

IPL

How Long Can It Last: 6-8 weeks initially, with maintenance treatments once a year.

Go For It:

  • Permanent hair removal (be sure to discuss your expectations at time of consultation)
  • Considering you’re never going to need to worry about hair removal again, the cost is actually very affordable
  • When hairs do grow back, they’re much finer and easier to remove (so less painful)
  • Suitable for all areas of the body

Be Aware:

  • Only effective on hair with pigment. Again, be sure to discuss this at your consultation
  • Can be painful. If you know you don’t have a high pain threshold, then be sure to mention this to your therapist, as they will recommend pre and post treatment creams that will make it a little more comfortable for you
  • More expensive than traditional hair removal methods (remember though that it is a one off treatment period)
  • Can cause unwanted pigmentation on the skin

After saying all of that, IPL treatments aren’t for everyone and can be a little more complicated than you may realise. It’s strongly recommended that you only partake in IPL for hair removal when you’re not going to be exposed to heat and sunlight (during summer mainly, so best to do during winter), as we do not want to get any undue pigmentation from this treatment. It’s also a treatment that is totally dependent on you as an individual – hair colour, skin tone, pain tolerance.

What to look for with an IPL clinic:

If this is a treatment that you would love to have, then please be sure to do some research on which clinics are up to date with their training, and that will book you in for a full consultation prior to you signing the dotted line to ensure your results and expectations are achievable, and that you’re the right candidate to have the treatment. If they don’t give you a consultation, be wary as I’d hate for you to commit, pay and not be thrilled with the results. Be sure to ask as many questions as you want – even down to the machine and the cooling mechanism (even if you’re not 100% sure on what it all means), as you need to know that the therapist administrating your treatment really knows their stuff. Also be sure to ask about how many sessions are required for your skin and hair type, and if you’re going to need multiple re-visits to maintain it.

If you’re getting good vibes, both yourself and the clinic tick all the right boxes and all is well, then yay – you’re going to be hair free and care free!

SHAVING

How Long Can It Last: 2 days-1.5 weeks depending on your hair type, body area and how fast your hair grows.

Go For It:

  • Very quick
  • Can be done in the shower or the bath
  • Pain-free
  • Leaves skin feeling smooth
  • Can be used with shaving creams that nourish your skin
  • Inexpensive

Be Aware:

  • Hair grows back more quickly than it does with other methods
  • If the right shaving accompaniments aren’t used, the razor can damage your skin

The easiest option, but also the most time consuming option. I say this because it’s something that you can’t just do once and forget about for a week or so. Usually it’s something that you’ll have to do every 1-3 days depending on how fast your hair growth cycle is. When you shave, you don’t remove the follicle/bulb itself, you’re just cutting it back as close to the skin as possible. You’ll also find that in certain areas, like your underarms for example you get what looks like a shadow – this is the early stages of hair growth. So if this is you, then waxing, epilator or IPL may be your choice in this area.

HAIR REMOVAL CREAMS

How Long Does It Last: 4 days – 2 weeks depending on your hair type and how fast it grows.

Go For It:

  • Quick and easy
  • Can be done in the shower or the bath
  • Pain-free
  • Leaves skin feeling smooth
  • As simple as applying a body lotion to your skin
  • Can be nourishing

Be Aware:

  • Some waiting time
  • Hair removal doesn’t last as long as other methods
  • Sometimes not suitable for use on sensitive areas
  • Doesn’t smell the greatest

EPILATOR

How Long Does It Last: 2-6 weeks.

Go For It:

  • Controlled, effective hair removal
  • Precisely removes even the shortest hairs
  • Can cause small, bearable pinches, as opposed to the sharp pain associated with waxing
  • Allows you to go back and remove any missed hairs with ease
  • Can epilate 0.2mm length hair, which means you don’t need to wait as long as waxing for hair growth

Be Aware:

  • Takes a little while to ensure each hair is removed
  • Can be painful for some for the first few times of using (especially if you’ve been a shaver for years)

An epilator is a device that has ceramic plates, holding tiny tweezer like elements that rotate electrically to remove hairs from the follicle (same to that of waxing) as you glide up your leg, or area to be treated.

UPDATE:

Ha! Well…during my writing and research of the above treatments for hair removal, I managed to convince myself that I needed an epilator in my life. And if you’re totally up for a bit of TMI (as you’d expect from this article), then please read on…

Broadly speaking, for hair removal on my legs and underarms I have tried waxing and hated having to live with the hair growing long enough to wax again, so only I lasted a month. I have tried IPL, however I tend to go really olive in summer and have a tendency to throw pigment and didn’t want to risk it. So I’ve always gone back to shaving but hate the time spent on having to do that so frequently.

I did my research on which device would be the best for my needs and went with the latest Braun Silk-Epil 9 ($169-AUD). It has a massage head that you can use to ease the pain, and you can use it in the shower/bath for added comfort. So for my first go I jumped into the shower and to be really honest with you, it really wasn’t a comfortable thing to do to myself. It hurt a lot; and I have a high pain threshold. I was literally screaming and laughing at myself because of what I had chosen to put myself through. The heat of the water in the shower eased the pain dramatically. But you know what? Once I got used to it, and continually reminded myself that after years of shaving my legs, of course its going to be uncomfortable, I realised that the initial pain had eased off. The more you do it, as with waxing, the finer the hairs become and the more bearable the treatment is. Once I jumped out of the shower and pat-dried my legs, I have to say that I was totally stoked with the results – smooth, completely prickle free and exfoliated too. I genuinely wish that I had done this YEARS ago. I wish that I never picked up a razor and my sisterly advice to you is this…put down the razor, and invest in an epilator. If you can cope with the first few goes, knowing that it’ll be easier (and with longer lasting results) in the long run I promise you you’ll be so happy that you did. I am!

As with any hair removal treatment, it’s important to keep your skin exfoliated to ensure the hair can regrow without causing any inflammation through ingrown hairs. To keep your skin extra smooth and nourish, be sure to finish with a beautiful body moisturiser.

If exfoliation and body moisturising is something you’d like to read more about, then be sure to read Don’t Forget Your Body and Get Glowing!

What’s your go-to hair removal treatment? What have you tried and tested?

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