Can you imagine scraping off all your hair with seashells? What about having walnuts rubbed on your face to prevent hair growth? Yes, for centuries, humans have been doing whatever they can to remove hair, as detailed by the blog “History Undressed.” But even today, we 21st century-dwellers have our own practices, some effective, some not so much, and some just plain weird.
We conducted our own survey of American women and their thoughts on hair removal. It showed that the average woman first experimented with hair removal at around 13.5 years old. Along with that, the most commonly shaved areas are legs, arms, pubic, and facial—so basically everywhere. American women are doing all they can to remove body hair and they’re experimenting with different methods to find the most efficient.
Shaving may seem the obvious choice for hair removal, but there are other options that are available out there. So, we put together a list of the latest hair removal trends, including advice from the experts, and our own rating system, so your own search isn’t as, well, hairy!
The Standard: Waxing
Waxing can be done by yourself or by professionals. Basically, the idea is to epilate, or remove unwanted hair from the body by pulling it from the root.
Pros: Waxing removes hair easily. Plus, it can take anywhere between 3-5 weeks for it to grow back. It’s also fairly priced. You can expect to pay around $30 for a basic bikini wax, a good price considering the fact that you don’t have to do any work—just show up for your appointment!
Cons: It has some risky side effects. There have been many reported cases of infection due to waxing. Dr. Linda K. Franks explained to msnbc.com that waxing could be dangerous because you are removing hair that is there for protection. “Getting a wax literally strips away that layer of protection. Anytime you compromise the integrity of the skin, you’re going to increase your risk of infection,” Franks said.
Our rating: A
While there are some risks of infection, if you do your research and find a good salon, the results can be great. Smooth skin at a fair price is what waxing is all about!
The Newcomer: Threading
Threading has become a recent phenomenon in the hair removal world, with salons popping up around cities and shopping malls. But while it’s new here in the States, it’s been a well-kept secret on the other side of the world. According to Prime Brows Salon, threading was a technique utilized by women of Asia and the Middle East for centuries. It is used specifically for facial hair and it entails a “twisted cotton thread” to be rolled over the hairline and pull hair from the follicle.
Pros: It’s fast. Because it is threading all the hairs together, it takes out a whole row at a time, unlike a slow, one-at-a-time tweezing session. Also, there are no harsh chemicals involved, so those of you with sensitive skin, rejoice.
Cons: You need to find someone who is experienced. It’s an art passed down from generation to generation, not a beauty school course. If done by an inexperienced threader, it can break hairs, cause faster re-growth or an infection.
Our rating: B-
This new treatment seems promising, but it might need a few more years to work out the kinks in its system. Tweezing may be the better option for some of you if you’re not convinced that you’re threader is an expert in the field.
The Investment: Laser Treatment
The goal of laser hair removal is a lifetime of smooth skin. Ideal Image, a well-reputed laser facility, details the process. “First, the hair is destroyed from underneath the skin, and sheds out completely. Afterwards, the pores in the skin close, leaving only smooth sexy skin.”
Pros: For women with darker-colored hair, this treatment can be miraculous. It saves a lot of time and energy that was previously spent on shaving and fretting over stubble.
Cons: It’s expensive. Discovery Health reports that it can cost anywhere from $1000-$2000 for the series of treatments required. Also, it doesn’t work on everyone. “As with all laser hair removal treatments, blond, gray and red hair does not respond since the laser targets melanin, the pigment in the hair follicle,” states Ideal Image.
Our rating: B+
Laser hair removal gets an average rating because of its cost and exclusivity. It’s a huge investment, and unless your dark hair is really inhibiting your life, it seems monthly waxes or daily shavings may be a cheaper choice. However, if you do have dark hair and want the convenience of not having to think about stubble, then a laser treatment is definitely something to seriously consider (and save up for!).
Trying to decide how to remove your hair is way more complicated than choosing between coconut and peach shave gel. Keep in mind, though, that whatever hair removal method you use is completely up to you. Don’t ever let anyone pressure you into it if you‘re not ready and always use safe removal practices. Remember, the most beautiful type of skin is the one you’re most comfortable in—waxed, lasered, shaven, or tweezed!