If you’re like me, you may have grown up being envious of that friend who has never even owned a razor. That’s when you started shaving as soon as you were allowed to – and she still shaves roughly once a year. Subsequently, it’s safe to say I’ve tried about every hair removal option society has to offer. While I’m thankful for my healthy, thick locks, lashes and eyebrows, I’ve so often wished that my body could understand I need it to grow hair in only those areas. And it would seem as though I’m not alone. While hair removal dates back to the ancient Egyptians and their need to be completely hair-free, the number of paths that lead to baby-smooth skin has only increased.

Today, the plentiful options available on the market can be a bit of a quagmire, which is why you need to be properly informed if you’re going to be spending money. Or, as in the case of waxing, taking on a lot of pain.

A quick answer to the question of which hair removal to invest in is experimentation. We will all have different reactions to each method. However, exploring the common pros and cons of each is always a good start.

Waxing waxing | Longevity LIVE”

As mentioned, arguably the most painful. It is an age-old cult favorite – this happens to be the OG Egyptian method. Waxing removes hair from the root, all in one go. It comes in a variety of forms, from strips of wax that you warm up with your hands, to a pot of wax that gets warmed on a little stove and is spread on your skin with a stick. However, each form requires a hard yank to remove the hair,

Pros

  • It’s cost-efficient.
  • The entire hair gets removed, and it lasts longer than most hair removal methods. This is probably why most people still prefer this option.
  • With time, you decrease the thickness of the hair and the speed with which regrowth happens.
  • You don’t get the typical rough stubble that’s associated with shaving, and your skin tends to be softer after waxing.

Cons

  • It’s not permanent, and it requires a bit of skill, which is why many people opt for salon treatments.
  • Waxing also requires regrowth in order to be effective.
  • Ingrown hairs are a nasty side effect of waxing. This happens when the hair cannot grow back through the skin and curls underneath the surface. In order to avoid this, you need to exfoliate regularly and take good care of the skin after it’s been waxed.
  • You have to live with enough re-growth until your next wax and you need to put up with a fair bit of pain.

If you feel like you’re willing to give waxing a go, click here for our do’s and don’ts of this method – that way, you get only the best results and avoid the pitfalls.

Depilatory Creams varicose | Longevity LIVE

This is probably the least painful of all the options. This method breaks down the keratin in the follicle, essentially dissolving the hair at the surface of the skin. Depending on the thickness of the hair, this process takes approximately 10 minutes to work. Which brand of depilatory cream you use also has an impact on how long you’ll need for it to work. After the hair has been broken down, it gets wiped down with a warm towel or a spatula.

Pros: 

  • It’s easy to perform at home and requires no training.
  • It won’t break the bank.
  • Helps to ensure less coarse hair regrowth.

Cons:

  • It may contain chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. If you’re not careful to follow instructions, you can cause serious damage to the skin.
  • It’s not permanent, and regrowth happens at much the same rate as shaving. If you have dark hair, you might also see a dark hue shortly after removing the hair.
  • Some of them tend to carry a scent that can be unpleasant, and it can last a good while.

Shaving

A good old razor is probably the most common method of hair removal.

Pros

  • It’s fast, cheap, and easy.
  • The hair can be at any length for you to shave it effectively, meaning that you don’t have to wait for a decent regrowth before shaving.
  • If you have light, thin hair, this is probably your best option.

Cons

  • If you have thick or coarse hair, it will stimulate hair growth and thickness. As a result, the process will eventually require you to shave more and more often.
  • Nicks and cuts are common
  • Depending on how often you need to shave, you need to replace the razor regularly. Because most razors are made of plastic, this is not a very eco-friendly option.
  • It can also lead to ingrown hairs, which is also why you need to exfoliate often and take good care of the skin.

Laser laser hair removal

This form of hair removal is best suited for those with fair skin and dark hair. This is due to the laser targeting hair color and burns it out until it falls out on its own. It works by converting the light from a laser into heat, which causes damage to the hair follicle and hair bulb. It’s also the only permanent form of hair removal available at the moment. If you time it correctly, you will eventually be able to join that lucky friend in the annual shaving of the bumfluff that grows back, if at all.

Pros

  • Laser ensures that hair eventually doesn’t grow back.
  • With the right form of treatment for your profile (which is determined by the color, thickness, and the number of hair) over time the hair becomes lighter, thinner and fewer.
  • It can help to prevent ingrown hairs.
  • It’s an investment into

Cons

  • It can also be painful. Many describe it as being struck with a rubber band. For me, it feels like a rubber band that’s on fire.
  • It is arguably the most expensive version of the available hair removal methods.
  • It’s not effective for everyone. If you have very light hair, for example, the laser won’t be able to accurately target the hair, and will, therefore, be unable to burn it.
  • The biggest downside to laser treatment is that should your hormones change, your hair will grow back.

Click here to find out whether you are a good candidate for laser hair removal.

Bottom Line

No matter your preferences, there is no denying that there’s something about smooth, hairless skin that just makes us feel more polished. And let’s be honest – one of life’s greatest joys is being newly free from hair and climbing into fresh, clean sheets. If you’re struggling with stubbly, stubborn hair that keeps growing back, and you’re unsure about how to fix it, it’s always best to speak to your dermatologist. That way, you can determine which method will be best for you. Here’s to feeling at home in our skins in 2020!

References

Harvard Health Publishing. Excessive Body and Facial Hair in Women. May 2016.

American Academy of Dermatology. Hair Removal: How To Wax.

 

Johane du Toit

Johane du Toit

Johané du Toit is the Health Writer at Longevity Magazine. She has a keen interest in medical and scientific innovations and aspires to provide the public with the latest reliable news in the fields of medicine, fitness, wellness, and science. Johane is happiest outdoors, preferably near a large body of water or in the mountains, and loves waterskiing, cooking, traveling and reading.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.