The subject of hair removal can divide rooms these days. Debates around whether or not we should be doing it, how we should be doing it and how often we should be doing it makes for some interesting discussion. And let’s be real, hormonal conditions like PCOS are ten a penny right now. So whether you’re suffering from excess hair growth or are simply wanting to keep on top of your basic bikini, you’ll likely have been around the hair removal block. (Or if you don’t want to remove any body hair, that’s great too. You do you!)
Each method has its merits and its drawbacks; some are permanent, some are semi-permanent, some are budget-friendly and some cost a bloody fortune. Some are painless, some are moderately painful and some hurt like hell.
Here’s your comprehensive guide to hair removal options to help you figure out which is best for you:
I don’t care what you say, waxing hurts. Or maybe I just have a very low pain threshold. Regardless, you gotta expect some pain if you choose to use waxing as your preferred method of hair removal. Waxing pulls the hair out by the root so the results last up to six weeks (although realistically, it’s more like four). Because you have to keep up with waxing monthly, it can get expensive. Plus, it works best if you don’t shave in between waxes, which can be pretty inconvenient and lead to a week per month of being a little fuzzy.
Ouch, ouch, and thrice ouch. Perhaps it’s thanks to aforementioned low pain threshold, but OMG, threading really hurts. It’s an ancient technique that involves pinching the hair between two cotton strings that pull each strand of hair up and out of the follicle, and it’s a good option for facial hair; particularly eyebrows as it allows your beautician to be really precise. You wouldn’t want to start threading your lady garden, but it gets a big tick of approval for the brows.
The entry level hair removal method. Likelihood is, shaving would have been your first hair-removal rodeo, and it’s pretty straight forward. It seems cheap, you can do it in the shower and it’s pretty painless (until you carve a chunk of your leg out after getting a bit too gung-ho with the razor).
But, the cost of razor blades quickly adds up and you gotta keep doing it to remain smooth. Because it just cuts the hair on the surface, it doesn’t actually remove the hair, which makes ingrown hairs a common symptom of shaving. Oh and FYI, you’re meant to change your blade after every three shaves. Hands up the last time you did that? *Crickets….*
Laser is definitely an in-vogue hair-removal method currently, thanks to its growing accessibility and affordability. It professes to be permanent, and while we’ve heard varying reports (many say you’ve got to keep on top of it every year or two after the initial 6-12 sessions), it definitely dramatically cuts down on the amount of maintenance you need to be doing.
It effectively cripples the hair follicle, making it much harder to grow back, and when it does, it grows back very finely. As a general rule, laser works best for those with pale skin and dark hair.
However, because laser technologies are constantly developing, it’s definitely worth looking into if you have a darker skin tone. Pain-wise, it’s quite manageable. It’s quick, and because it offers longer-term results, it seems worth the sharp, zappy pain. From legs to toes to underarms to bikini, laser is a one stop shop for all of your hair removal needs.
Electrolysis is a form of permanent hair removal. It works by inserting a very fine needle into each individual hair follicle where a light electrical current is applied to destroy the follicle. It hurts, but it shouldn’t be excruciatingly painful and it is extremely effective on every skin tone and hair type. But, it’s expensive.
Prices depend on the area you’re treating and how long it takes, but you can expect to pay around $75 for a 30 minute session. Because hair comes in roughly 18 month cycles, you might have to spend that long with regular treatments to make sure there’s no hair coming through in the treated area, which can mean you really end up playing the long game with electrolysis.
Sugaring is definitely having a moment. Because of its 100% natural and non-invasive profile, it’s been hailed as the ideal alternative to other hair removal methods. Sugaring effectively exfoliates the dead skin cells and removes the hair in its natural direction of the growth, eliminating breakage and ingrown hairs.
It’s also less painful than waxing or threading, but again the cost can mount up depending on the areas you want sugared and like waxing, results last for around 4-6 weeks.