Throughout the ages, men and women have been obsessed with either removing or growing body hair. Today, we see many commercials for products that help us remove hair or promote hair growth.
Some might believe the removal of body hair is a contemporary issue, but this is not true. We read about two brothers in the first book of the Bible: one is hairy and the other is not. Joseph shaved before going to meet Pharaoh. Razors were found buried with Egyptians in the pyramids. Roman and Greek statues show no hair, except on the head. Therefore, we know mankind has been removing body hair since the beginning of time.
There are many myths and misconceptions about the “best” way to remove hair. My goal here is to describe the different methods of body hair removal. No one method is best. The best method is what works for you.
Before removing hair from the body, it is best to make sure your skin is prepared. It is best to exfoliate, or remove the dead skin cells, before removing the hair. Skin that is exfoliated and hydrated will give the best results, no matter which method you use.
All methods either cut the hair or remove the hair from the follicle.
Shaving – Shaving is the easiest method of hair removal. However, shaving does not actually remove the hair; shaving cuts the hair above the skin.
Depilatories – Depilatories are chemical creams placed on the skin that dissolve the hair above the skin’s surface. These are effective, but will not last as long as removing the hair follicle. Some people are very sensitive to the chemicals used in these products.
The following methods are all methods where the hair is removed from the hair follicle. Many myths surround the subject of how fast the hair grows back. No method makes the hair grow back faster or slower. The consistency of continuing to remove the hair is a factor. If you consistently remove the hair from the follicle when it is just growing back, the hair will become weaker – looking finer.
Removing the hair follicle consistently from the area being treated also subjects the hair to growing on the same growth cycle. If you tweeze your eyebrows, then 3 days later you see hair, it is not that the hair has already grown back. Hairs are growing on all different growth cycles, so you may tweeze 10 hairs one day and have another 8 hairs in 2 or 3 days. It is not the same hair growing back that fast; it is different hairs.
Tweezing – Tweezing is removing individual hairs from the hair follicle with tweezers. This is a time-consuming task and should be limited to small areas.
Threading – Threading is an ancient art of removing hair using a string or thread. It is much like tweezing but you will get more hairs and baby fine hairs using this method. Some will tell you this method “lasts longer” than tweezing, but it is the same method of pulling the hair out. You might think it lasts longer because more and finer hairs are removed.
Waxing – Waxing is the method of applying a wax to adhere to the hair and then pulling the hair adhered to the wax as you remove the wax. There are two kinds of wax: soft and hard. Soft wax is applied to the skin, usually with a stick. Then a type of cloth or paper is placed over the wax as pressure is applied so the wax will adhere to the hair. Then the cloth is removed. Hard wax does not use a cloth or paper. It is applied cooler and thicker than soft wax. The applicator is used with pressure to have the hair adhere to the wax. Then the wax is removed with the hair.
A disadvantage to waxing is that you must have hair growth to wax. The wax must have some hair to adhere to. You need hair growth as long as a grain of rice. This will be different for different people, but it is usually requires at least one week of hair growth.
Sugaring – Sugaring is much like wax except a sugar mixture is used instead of wax. The sugar mixture is pushed down into the follicle where the hair is dissolved instead of pulled out. A real benefit of sugaring is that it does not adhere to the skin like wax does. You cannot get “burned” with sugaring and the mixture is natural and dissolves with water.
Unlike waxing, you do not need hair growth to sugar. Since you are pressing the mixture into the hair follicle, a presence of hair growth is not required.
The best hair removal method is the one that works for you. Choose a method you will keep up with consistently. Preparing your skin for hair removal and being consistent with the method will lead to healthy, smooth skin.