We’ll be first to admit that we don’t like this irritating but necessary task. But it’s something that goes back thousands of years to the times of the ancient Egyptians.
We may do it for similar purposes today, but the hair removal techniques have evolved to the point of high-tech. Each one has its advantages over others along with some reasons to nix them.
Let’s review your options to make life less hairy.
Simple and Cheap Ways to Get the Job Done
There are several things to bear in mind when you decide which of the hair removal techniques you want to use. You have to think about the effectiveness of each one along with the convenience.
Those two traits go hand-in-hand. Cost is another major factor.
These methods have one thing in common. They all involve some disposable element to them.
That will directly affect the money you’ll need to lay out to use one over another. It also brings their environmentally impact into the equation.
Whether it’s razors, disposables or a lotion you have to buy repeatedly, the hits keeping coming as long as you decide to manage your unwanted hair. Let’s consider the pros and cons of each one.
Shaving is the oldest form of hair removal techniques. The basic principle is the same; only the tool has changed.
The modern-day razor dates back to the mid-1950s. You may not opt for the straight one or the stainless-steel version today, but they still exist because of their effectiveness.
- It’s relatively cheap when you consider a per cost price for disposables.
- You can take them anywhere and use them in the shower or bath.
- Improper storage can shorten the life of the blade and increase the risk of infection.
- One word describes their biggest disadvantage: nicks.
VERDICT: It’s a cheap option where convenience trumps a lot of the cons.
Waxing is one of the older hair removal techniques though the materials have changed through the years. The description just sounds painful as we include it with our list of methods.
The idea is to lay a strip of coated wax on an area to clear. The action is a quick snap in the opposite direction of growth to remove hair from the follicles.
It’s effective at what it does, albeit, at the cost of the top layer of your skin. You also have to have some good leverage to be able to remove all the hair on your legs.
- Your skin will stay smooth longer than with razors.
- It’s a relatively inexpensive method.
- It’s messy.
- We won’t lie. It hurts!
- There is a greater risk of infection because of damage to the top layer of the skin.
VERDICT: Unless you really hate shaving, you have better options that are less messy and painful.
Depilatories combine the effectiveness of waxing with a method that causes less pain than the others we’ve discussed. It works by literally dissolving the proteins in your hair.
You’ll apply them and let them do their work for a set time. It’s essential to follow the product’s recommendations for usage to minimize irritation.
Some individuals may experience itching, redness or other signs of irritation. That’s why it’s paramount that you test them on a small area of your skin first before applying it over large areas.
- It’s virtually pain-free.
- You can get a wide range of products to match your intended use.
- They stink no matter how much fragrance the manufacturers add to the product.
VERDICT: It’s a good backup if you can deal with the smell and mess.
Sophisticated and More Permanent Methods of Hair Removal
These methods cross the threshold into solutions that last longer but come at a greater cost and risk. These are techniques for someone who is serious about hair removal.
An epilator takes the principle of waxing but removes the messy part of it. Instead of wax strips, a mechanical device does the hair pulling.
You’ll find electric, rechargeable and battery-powered models. You’ll also see variations in the type of mechanism that operates on the business end of the device.
It offers a more effective way to remove hair than waxing because it won’t hurt your skin the same way it can. Unlike the others, you’ll pay more at the onset, but you’ll recoup with cost-savings over disposable products.
- It doesn’t damage the epidermis like waxing can do.
- It saves time by leaving your skin smooth longer.
- People with sensitive skin may find using one too irritating.
- They’re more expensive for your initial cost.
VERDICT: Over the long haul, it’s the best value for the money if your skin can take it.
5. Laser Removal
Laser removal is the most sophisticated and involved in the hair removal techniques we outlined. There’s a good reason that it’s regulated by the FDA.
This procedure involves pain and some risks that you need to understand up front. Some type of pain aid is necessary which is typically a topical skin-numbing medication.
Whenever you use a drug whether it’s prescribed or OTC, a risk of interactions exists with other meds you take as well as supplements and even foods. That puts it into the medical professional category.
The process essentially destroys the hair follicle, hence, its permanency. It doesn’t work for everyone especially if you have light-colored hair.
- The results are permanent.
- You won’t have to buy razors, blades or other disposable products again.
- The use of skin-numbing products carries risks.
- You have to avoid sunlight until your skin heals.
- It is painful.
- It doesn’t work for all hair types.
VERDICT: You would have to really, really hate shaving or anything else to consider it, given its risks.
Electrolysis works on the same principles as laser removal in that the effects are permanent. If it’s important to you to swear off shaving, it’s worth considering.
It uses a shortwave radio frequency to do the deed followed by a probe which removes the hair. The same risks as other procedures involving the hair follicles exist.
If you go this route, seek out the services of a professional rather than trying your hand at it at home. Infections are a concern if you don’t have the proper setting and sanitation to conduct the procedure.
- Hair removal is permanent.
- It’s suitable for just about any part of your body.
- The risk of infection is high given the fact that the process destroys the hair follicle.
- You may have to have several sessions to get the job done completely.
VERDICT: It’s a viable option if you want a permanent solution without the additional risks of laser removal.
You should consider both the pros and cons of any choice of the available hair removal techniques. Permanency isn’t the only issue you need to weigh when homing in on the best method for you.
It’s essential to approach it realistically. You are, after all, removing a part of your body, so you should expect some pain, side effects and other hassles.
You may be able to balance some with others. But from knowledge comes the power to make informed decisions.