Battling with unwanted body hair? Here’s all you need to know about being fuzz free all year round…
- Exfoliate the areas 24 hours before you plan to carry out any treatment. This will remove any dead skin cells, make for a cleaner removal and help to prevent ingrown hairs.
- Make sure skin is clean and free from any moisturiser or oil at the time of hair removal.
- Choose a formula suited to your skin type or needs. For example, use a bleaching cream for sensitive skin, waxing strips for the bikini area or hair removal cream (aka depilatory cream) for dry skin.
Legs and underarms.
It’s the quickest and cheapest method of hair removal – and you don’t have to wait for the hair to grow to a certain length before doing it.
Regrowth can be quick, and hair tends to grow back thicker, darker and coarser, which may be itchy. You also risk cutting yourself if you’re not careful.
A high-quality razor with multiple blades or a razor with a water-activated moisturising bar, and shaving gel.
- Shave in the bath or shower. Dry shaving can irritate the skin.
- Apply shaving gel to the area you’re going to shave, then run the razor over that area using gentle pressure. If the razor is sharp enough, it will remove the hair with minimum force. The older the razor, the blunter it will be, and the more likely you are to cut yourself, so use a fresh blade at least every two to three shaves.
- Avoid shaving areas of broken skin as the razor could reopen the wound and cause it to bleed.
- When you’ve finished, leave shaved areas to dry for 10 minutes, then apply a fragrance-free body moisturiser to soothe and rehydrate skin.
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It removes hair at the root, so you should be hair-free for several weeks. Regular waxing can weaken the hair follicle, so the hair won’t grow back as thick and coarse as it does after shaving.
Before a wax, you will need to wait for a week or two for the hair to grow. Waxing can be slightly painful, but the discomfort shouldn’t last long – and the more often you wax, the more used to it you become.
A cold wax or hot wax kit and a fragrance-free moisturiser. It’s more effective on finer hairs so is ideal for the legs, arms and face. The strips also come in different shapes and sizes suitable for areas such as the upper lip. Most kits also come with an aftercare product, such as a wipe or cream.
Hot wax kits usually come in a tub with a wooden spatula, temperature indicator and fabric strips. Hot wax can be more time-consuming to apply and is slightly messier than cold wax, so always carry out the treatment in the bathroom. Hot wax is more suitable for sensitive skin as the heat will open the pores, making for easier hair removal.
How to Use Cold Wax:
- Rub the unpeeled strips together between your palms to warm up the wax, making it easier to separate the strips.
- Smooth the strip on the area to be waxed and rub it several times in the direction of the hair growth to make sure the hairs adhere to the wax. Hold the skin taut, then pull the strip away against the direction of the hair growth in a sharp, quick motion.
- Apply the aftercare product that comes with your cold waxing kit to remove any residue wax.
How to Use Hot Wax:
- Heat the wax in the microwave or a saucepan, and test it’s the correct temperature by dabbing a little on the inside of your wrist – it should feel comfortable.
- Apply a thin layer to the skin with the wooden spatula, and layer the strip of fabric on top.
- Rub the strip several times in the direction of the hair growth to make sure the hairs adhere to the wax.
- Hold the skin taut and pull the strip away against the direction of the hair growth in a sharp, quick motion – pulling too slowly will cause bits of wax to remain on the skin. If you’re left with wax on the skin, use the fabric strip to remove it.
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Waxing Tips and Tricks
- Don’t wax the same area twice. Waxing removes the top layer of skin, leaving it slightly sore. Any stray hairs left after waxing should be removed with tweezers.
- Apply pressure to the area you have just waxed with the palm of your hand to soothe your skin.
- Wait 24 hours before applying a moisturiser to avoid irritating the skin, and choose one with cooling ingredients, like aloe vera.
Arms, upper lip, chin and stomach.
Bleaching simply dyes dark hairs, making them less noticeable. It can be done easily at home, and it’s painless, making it a preferred method for more sensitive areas.
It may cause a burning sensation or irritation if you don’t follow the instructions properly. And if the hair is particularly thick and coarse, it will still be visible, despite being lighter. In this case, it may be better to wax.
A bleaching cream suitable for use on both the face and body, and a gentle cleanser. The bleaching cream kit should come with a plastic spatula for application and an accelerating powder.
- Wash the area with cold water beforehand and wear an old top in case any bleach transfers onto your clothing.
- Carrying out a patch test on a small area of the skin 24 hours beforehand to make sure the product is suitable for your skin.
- Mix the powder and cream together, and apply with the plastic spatula, making sure it totally covers the hair.
- Leave on the area for about 10 minutes before wiping off.
Bleaching Tips and Tricks
- Don’t leave the bleach on for longer than stated on the packet as it may end up bleaching the skin at best, and causing a bad reaction at worst.
Legs, arms, bikini line, underarms.
An epilator removes hair at the root, plucking out the hairs, so you can go over the same area several times if needed. It also works well on stubble, so you don’t have to wait for the hair to grow long.
While waxing removes several hairs at a time, the epilator removes them one by one. But the more often you epilate, the more you’ll get used to it. It will eventually become less painful.
A fully charged epilator.
- Pull skin taut, as this avoids bruising and makes it easier to pick up the hairs.
- Hold the epilator close to the skin and run it lightly over the area where the hair needs removing, in an upward motion, against the direction of the hair growth.
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Epilating Tips and Tricks
- Choose an epilator that can be used in the bath or shower – warm water makes for easier and gentler hair removal.
- If you’re a novice, epilate in the evening before bed as skin can be red and swollen for a few hours afterwards.
- Shorter hair is easier to epilate as it won’t get tangled in the tweezer heads.
Hair Removal Cream
Also known as depilatory cream
Legs, arms, underarms, face and bikini line.
It’s pain free.
It’s more time-consuming than shaving as you have to apply it evenly, then wait for the ingredients to dissolve the hair chemically before removing (up to 10 minutes).
A hair-removal cream kit: choose from cream, spray or in-shower cream/spray, all of which should come with a plastic spatula to apply.
- As with bleaching, always carry out a patch test 24 hours beforehand to make sure the product is suitable for your skin.
- Apply the cream in an even layer, and make sure it completely covers the hair.
- After 5-10 minutes, use the plastic spatula supplied to remove a small amount of cream – if the hair comes away easily, it’s ready to remove.
- Rinse the cream off and dry the area.
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Hair Removal Cream Tips and Tricks
- The spray-on in-shower cream gives a quick, mess-free application. It’s also easier to apply to those hard-to-reach areas like the backs of your legs.
- Keep an eye on the clock – if you leave the cream on for longer than is recommended, it could potentially burn or irritate the skin.
Laser Hair Removal
It’s a permanent solution to hair reduction. Laser works by targeting the hair’s pigment – called melanin – in your follicles: the more melanin there is, the darker the hair. The laser beam converts to heat as it passes through the skin, which is then absorbed by the melanin present in the hair follicle. The heat damages the follicle at its root, and over time it will prevent regrowth.
At-home hair removal laser systems are more expensive than waxing or shaving, costing from £100-£400. You may feel a slight pinprick sensation or a bit of heat when treating the area. Laser tends to be less effective on lighter-coloured hair such as blonde or grey as there’s not enough melanin present in the hair – the pigment is needed to absorb the laser light. It’s also not recommended for dark-skinned people: darker skin contains more melanin, which can absorb the laser beam, causing permanent depigmentation.
A laser suited to the area you want to treat – face or face and body and a razor or hair removal cream.
- Shave or use hair-removal cream before your treatment. This ensures the laser light will travel straight to the root, rather than being absorbed by melanin in the hair on the surface of the skin first.
- Plug the laser in at the mains, switch on and press the laser head against the skin, wait for the green light on the device to flash, then press the button. This shoots the laser beam directly into the hair follicle. Repeat until the whole area has been treated.
- Follow the recommended treatment schedule (usually one session every other week over a period of two or three months) that comes with the device to ensure you target every hair when it’s in the growing stage of its cycle.
Laser Hair Removal Tips and Tricks
- Don’t use any hair-removal methods that remove the hair at the root beforehand, such as waxing or epilating. The root – due to the melanin within it – needs to be present to attract the laser energy. If you wax or epilate beforehand, wait until your hair has grown back (ideally 1-2mm in length) before having laser treatment.
- Stay out of the sun during laser treatment, and always wear an SPF after you’ve used a laser.
- If skin feels hot to the touch, use an ice pack or cold flannel/towel to cool the area after treatment.