Everything you need to know about hair removal Image by: Getty Images
Whether you shave, wax or laser away your body hair, here’s what you need to know.
Getting vacation-ready or summer style often includes some thoughts about whether to get rid of the hair on your legs and underarms. The next question is invariably what method to use. And truly, there’s no shortage. From razors to wax, to creams to lasers, you can get rid of the fuzz on your body in many, many ways. So we broke down the cost, pain level and smooth factor of each.
Most of us have experienced shaving. Blades housed in a hand-held device sweep across the surface of the skin to cut the hairs. It’s easy, it’s affordable and accessible and it will do the trick if you’re strapped for time or traveling. The cons? You know those as well. You can risk nicks and cuts and hair can grow back quicker and thicker. But razors are continually improved season after season offering closer shaves and less irritation.
Cost: Anywhere from a couple bucks to $20 for a disposable razor.
Pain: Unless you nick yourself, non-existent.
Longevity: Not long. Anywhere from a day to a couple days.
Schick Quattro You Peace of Mind Sensitive, $14, ulta.com.
These hair removal creams work by dissolving hair at the surface. The root isn’t removed, but depilatory creams tend to have a few days edge on shaving. It’s quick (usually you only keep the cream on for a couple minutes before jumping in the shower to remove) and easy to bring with you to the cottage for touch ups.
Cost: About $10 for a bottle.
Pain: Non-existent if you don’t keep on the cream too long.
Longevity: A few days, no longer than a week.
Veet Hair Removal Silk & Fresh Sensitive Formula, $11, walmart.ca.
If you’re looking for smoothness that lasts longer than a couple of days, chances are you’ve tried waxing. Hair is pulled out from the root thanks to a combination of fabric strips and hot wax. We recommend heading to a spa that specializes in the service so you can minimize pain, avoid burns and get more tips to keep your skin safe. If you are set on doing it at home, make sure to follow these steps and tips. And yes, you can opt for cold wax if you’re nervous about burns. The main cons here are ingrown hairs (so make sure to exfoliate regularly) and the pain.
Cost: Bikini lines can range anywhere from $20 to $50, while legs usually start at $50. If you’re opting to DIY, kits can range from $10 to $40, sometimes more.
Pain: Yup, it hurts. But it's not totally unbearable.
Longevity: Full weeks of smoothness justify the pain and price. Depending on the thickness of your hair, you can get anywhere from 2-5 weeks of smooth skin.
Parissa Persian Cold Wax, $14, well.ca.
An epilator machine is a hand-held device that basically tweezes the hair from your skin. You move the device over the surface of your skin, and the springs or disks pull the hairs out by the root. This means less disruption to the surface of the skin. No blades, no heat and no damage. Expect a bit of redness where the hair was pulled out, but other than that this is a great hair removal option.
Cost: Epilators range in price and style. You can buy them to work on dry skin or wet skin, and smaller models can be used for sensitive areas like the face or bikini line, while larger ones will work better on legs or arms. The good news is, is that after the initial purchase, the epilator will last you awhile.
Pain: This one is subjective. It hurts more than shaving, for sure. But if you can handle waxing, you can handle this.
Longevity: Lasts anywhere from a couple weeks to a month.
Philips SatinTouch Precision Epilator, $40, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Laser hair removal is the most permanent and most expensive method of hair removal. A laser is aimed at the hair where it is absorbed by the pigment and damages the root. This results in limited or no future growth. Everyone is different and depending on your skin tone and type of hair, you may need anywhere from five to twelve monthly treatments before opting for maintenance treatments once or twice a year. The key here is going to a professional and doing your research. When done improperly or without care, some patients have seen scarring or burning—which will definitely not contribute to your desired soft, smooth look.
Cost: It really depends on what you’re targeting. Underarms start from $100 per session, while legs and bikini lines go up from there. For full legs, expect to pay around $300 per session. It’s expensive.
Pain: It’s no more painful than waxing, though it does feel different. The best analogy is that each laser feels like a rubber band snapping against your skin. Not unbearable, but no walk in the park either.
Longevity: Months, years, potentially forever. This is one of the more permanent options, and if you keep up with it, you can toss your razors and wax strips to the side.