Find out exactly which methods work best for each area of the body and face.
Whatever you choose to do with your body hair, whether you wear it proudly or have it lasered off for smooth skin, we support you 100 percent. And if you do decide to go ahead with the latter, there are many things to consider, including the method of removal. Whether you choose shaving (there are numerous types), pulling the hairs from their roots with various types of wax, removing with a laser (for a permanent solution) or a depilatory cream that chemically dissolves the hair on the surface of the skin. Like we said, there's a lot to consider and a lot of factors that go into your decision, so we've rounded up all the expert-approved tips and tricks you might need before you take the plunge. Below you'll find our comprehensive guide to hair removal to help you explore all the options, whether you're focusing on shaping your eyebrows, depilating your body or just chasing a few unwanted strays.
Before you start plucking your eyebrows, mark where you want them to start and end with a white pencil. Trust us, it helps you not overdo it. The best pro trick is to hold the pencil on the side of your nose and place a line where it touches your eyebrow, tilt the pencil diagonally so it touches the outer corner of your eye and mark that spot, and finally, place a dot just above the outer side of the iris – this should be the highest point of your arch. Draw the pencil along the lower edge of your eyebrows, connecting the three lines, and then remove with tweezers only the unruly hairs that go outside the outline.
To wax them: First and foremost, don't wax yourself. Well-intentioned but unskilled friends shouldn't experiment with your eyebrows either. This is a case where you should want the best professional on the market to do it, as even the tiniest bit of misplaced wax can cause seriously caked-on brows in less than five seconds.
Before visiting the spa or salon, stop using retinoids, such as over-the-counter retinols. They are most commonly found in anti-wrinkle creams and acne products. Also stop prescription retinols like Retin-A, Tazorac, and Renova at least a week before to prevent redness and burning. "Retinoids penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, causing exfoliation, and they also help produce collagen," says New York City-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein. In doing so, they make the skin more sensitive and potentially injured or inflamed. If you really can't give up retinoids, Marchbein recommends manual removal with tweezers as a safer and more precise method of shaping your brows. "I recommend this to all my patients," she says. "Reduces any risk of wax burns."
- UPPER LIP
If you want to get rid of the hair above the upper lip for at least a year, use a laser.
Lasers work by destroying the hair at the root, preventing it from growing back for a year or more. The sessions are quick, they last only a few minutes and the feeling is like a slight pinch, not pleasant, but not particularly painful. However, laser treatment is expensive, with most women needing at least six sessions to get the desired effect, and then mandatory maintenance to maintain the results.
To get rid of the hair above the upper lip for a few weeks - use wax.
Unlike the eyebrows, this area of the face is suitable for treatment at home. A bonus is that you won't have to leave the spa with temporarily reddened skin. Choose a set with a low temperature, as waxes intended for other parts of the body can burn the face. Working in three separate sections (left side, right side, and center), spread the wax down and out of your nose and always pull the wax up when pulling it off.
Shaving: After you have lathered the area with shaving cream or soap, start gently moving the razor up, then down and finally side to side, this way you will remove any hair growing in different directions . As anyone who has ever held a razor knows, ingrown hairs will quickly return, sometimes within hours. To prevent stings and possible infection or inflammation of the hair follicles, we recommend using a sharp razor and changing the blade every two to three shaves.
Wax removal: If we want to have smooth skin for a longer time—we are talking about days, not hours, it can be easily done at home. Choose a strip-free wax that will act as a shrink wrap around each hair, says our expert Gergana of Infusion Beauty Center. It is very important to make sure you are working on very small areas, it is good to pour some ibuprofen an hour before waxing. Armpit hair is usually thick and grows in many different directions, making it particularly painful to remove.
Laser: Talk to anyone who has used a laser and they will tell you that the underarms give the best results, the hairs disappear the fastest and stay far the longest, with many people reporting that they have little or no hair growth in the area years after the treatments stop. You should know that laser hair removal works very well for dark, thick hair and permanently removes about 97 percent of the hairs treated. To achieve maximum results and minimize complications such as burns, treatment by a board-certified dermatologist is always preferred. To achieve a good effect, you will need about six sessions, each of which costs approximately BGN 250. The hair will thin more and more with each session and when the hair starts to appear again, the periodic maintenance session, and it is once every a few months is usually enough to hold them.
Reasons to wax: Although 23 percent of women in a recently published Gillette study said they shaved their forearms, most dermatologists and estheticians—and we ourselves—know full well that we cringe at the thought and all advise waxing instead. Think how annoying it is to deal with ingrown hairs.
Reasons for a laser: Many women are just looking for a mild reduction in arm hair, so they only need one to three sessions, says board-certified dermatologist Vanya Koleva. A session of laser treatment for the forearms costs a lot of money.
- BIKINI ZONE
Although you can use almost any hair removal method in this area with some degree of success, laser hair removal produces the best results. Laser is much more effective and you don't have to wait for the hairs to grow, and it is also a much longer lasting method. But waxing is probably the best choice in terms of quality/price ratio.
Whether you prefer to let an expert do the waxing for you or want to do it yourself at home, the first step is to pop some ibuprofen an hour before. While you may be tempted to drink a glass of wine, don't—it will actually make you more sensitive to pain. If you're brave enough to do it yourself:
- First, make sure your hairs are long enough, just over half a centimeter if fine and 1cm if coarse. Otherwise, the wax will not work.
- Sit in front of a mirror with your feet in front of you, then bend one leg so that your foot rests on the opposite knee. Start at the edge and spread the wax in the direction of hair growth in an area of 2.5 to 7 cm. The smaller the areas, the less pain there will be.
- Smooth a strip of muslin over the area, pull the skin taut, then pull the strip back in the opposite direction of hair growth. We love the Depileve Facial and Bikini Wax Strips.
- After waxing, soothe skin with aloe lotion or use hydrocortisone cream if you get red bumps.
Shaving: Seventy percent of women are loyal razor users, according to an industry survey, and for good reason, shaving is quick, easy, cheap and good for the legs. Don't forget to use shaving cream because it will remove an extra millimeter or two of hair. And arm yourself with a new multi-blade razor every five shaves to get the smoothest results and prevent irritation.
Waxing: The pain level may be higher, but the results of waxing can last for weeks instead of a day, two or hours like shaving. As with other areas, apply the wax in the direction of hair growth, then pull the strips in the opposite direction. Work in small sections – no more than three inches long – to minimize pain.
Using a depilatory cream: Although they can be used on any area of the body, they are most effective on finer hairs, making the legs a better bet than the bikini line. Since you'll be dealing with a lot of cream and the whole treatment can get pretty messy, it's best to apply it right before you shower, then use a washcloth to remove it under warm water. If you have eczema or sensitive skin, New York-based board-certified dermatologist Kavita Marivala recommends always testing the product on a small area. "Some depilatories can cause contact dermatitis, which can be itchy," she says.
- RANDOM HAIRS
There are always a few hairs that pop out unexpectedly. For hair on the chin, nipples, toes or other uncomfortable area, tweezing is the easiest option. But to eliminate these hairs for good, there is electrolysis, the only truly permanent method of hair removal. It is very suitable for white and gray hairs. The process is slow and painful, but quite effective. For a price of about BGN 90 for a 15-minute treatment, an esthetician will slide an electrified needle into the follicle of each hair you want to remove. Sessions are weekly and become less frequent over time, but up to eight months of treatment may be required.