Third year History student Naomi Winter gives a how-to guide on hair removal
The topic of hair removal is subject to lively debate, and is viewed by many as an important feminist issue. Whilst this is a valuable conversation to be had, most of us remove some amount of hair as part of our grooming routines. There are many ways to do this, so without further ado I have chosen some of the most common and given a quick rundown of their pros and cons.
Shaving is arguably the champion of a speedy, budget friendly, pain free de-fluff. To achieve a nice clean shave, make sure your razor is sharp and good quality (Gillette tend to make the best), run the blade under a hot tap for a minute or so and apply shaving foam for a smooth surface before you start. Moisturise damp skin afterwards for a baby soft finish. The downside is that the results are only short term, giving skin a rather lovely sandpaper feel a couple of days later. It can also prove to cause irritation especially in more sensitive areas such as the bikini line.
Hair Removal Cream
Hair removal cream (Veet is generally the go to in this department) has developed a much less pungent smell in the last decade or so and has all the benefits of shaving in terms of being quick, easy and cheap. It is also better than a razor on sensitive areas such as the bikini line and upper lip with the effects probably lasting that little bit longer too. However, I find hair removal cream on big areas such as legs a bit longwinded, it can also cause irritation, so it is a good idea to do a little patch test if you haven’t used it before to ensure you don’t react.
Waxing on the other hand is not exactly a walk in the park in terms of pain, but this improves with repetition, as hair becomes thinner and sparser. Results last longer than shaving and if you have dark hair there is much less of a ‘shadow’ as waxing removes the hair follicle. A hot wax in a salon, with a trained beautician is the best way to go (a bad wax can result in bruising, irritation and ingrown hairs) but this can often prove quite pricey to maintain on a regular basis. Sugaring uses a similar process but uses a paste of water, sugar and lemon instead of wax so is ideal for those with sensitive skin and a low pain threshold. DIY wax strips haven’t really improved since 1984 so unless you want to be sat on a cold bathroom floor for two hours hesitantly peeling off a gummy strip from a ‘delicate’ area, give them a miss.
Threading is generally used on the face and with a good beautician can be used to achieve absolutely flawless brows and eliminate downy hair to give a photoshop finish. It can be pretty uncomfortable at first but, like waxing, gets better with repetition and is generally quite cheap. Again, ensure you go to a good salon and tell the beautician what you want to avoid the tadpole brow look that Posh Spice sported circa late 90’s– I’ve been there, so you don’t have to. A good threader will cause little irritation and will calm the redness with some good old Aloe Vera gel.
Laser therapy or IPL is the don of hair removal with repeated treatments often achieving permanent results. It is also much more comfortable than waxing and more economical in the long run if you regularly pay for salon treatments. However, results can be dependent on your colouring (dark hair and pale skin generally sees the best results), and the initial outlay for a good, trained practitioner is usually expensive. Laser is a great investment if you’re in a constant battle with fuzz but ensure you go to a reputable practice with properly qualified staff. There are often deals for multiple treatments but if you think it’s too good to be true, you’re probably right.
My personal favourite salons in Bristol are 'Bonjour Belle' on Alma Road, perfect for sugaring and threading (they also do a student discount), and 'Ministry of Beauty' on Cotham Hill is also great for a hot wax.
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