Despite how important using the proper hair removal method and technique is for our bodies, we often avoid discussing it. (Unless you know me in real life, of course!) The truth is, hair removal can be awkward to discuss. Fortunately, however, I do not care. Whether you’re a hair-removal regular or have never shaved your legs before, it’s essential that you’re aware of what’s out there and what’s best for you.
Why should I care about hair removal?
If you didn’t already know, the wrong technique or product for your body could have consequences. Misusing the perfect product or using improper technique also sucks. And, of course, using the method that’s right for you will feel fantastic. With a solid foundation about the eight different ways to remove unwanted hair out there, you will no longer need to worry about these issues of the past.
That’s why this post provides the ultimate rundown of the 8 most common hair removal techniques.
Disclaimer: This article is not promoting or advocating hair removal. The choice to remove body hair is a personal and private one.
The history of hair removal
According to the Women’s Museum of California, “The first razors were used in Egypt and India around 3000 BCE. Upper-class Roman women of the sixth century BCE used tweezers, pumice stones, and depilatories to achieve the desired degree of hairlessness. Egyptians of Cleopatra’s time used a sugar mixture in a method similar to Waxing.
“The modern era of hair removal may have been encouraged by Charles Darwin’s 1871 book, Descent of Man, through the popularization of his theories of natural selection. That is, homo sapiens have less body hair than his/her antecedents because less hairy mates were more sexually attractive,” according to the Women’s Museum of California,
The different hair removal techniques
There are 8 standard hair removal techniques, none of which superior to another. Each method comes with its pros and cons:
Method 1. Shaving
A sharp blade (razor) cuts the part of your hair follicle that sticks out of the skin. Two types of razors are effective at removing female body hair. There’s the good old standard razor or a fancier electric one.
Method 2. Depilatory Creams
By breaking down the bonds in hair, depilatory creams allow hair to be easily removed from the skin. Many people use them to remove hair on both their bodies and face.
Method 3. Waxing
Waxing is the hair removal process from the root by using a covering of sticky wax to stick to body hair, then removing this cover and pulling out the hair from the follicle.
There are two types of wax: hard wax (aka “strip-less wax,” usually warm) and soft wax (aka “strip wax,” either warm or cold). Typically, hard waxes hurt less than soft waxes.
Method 4. Sugaring
Sugaring removes body hair by quickly pulling the hair from the root, similar to waxing. The “wax” is made with different ingredients: lemon, water, and sugar, hence the name. The ingredients are all heated together until it reaches a candy-like consistency. Once it cools, it’s applied directly to the skin.
How is Sugaring different from Waxing?
Besides the ingredients, Sugaring paste is applied to the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. It’s then removed in the order of hair growth in quick, small pulls. Because the sugar only exfoliates the surface of the skin, it can be reapplied multiple times to the same area of skin.
Waxing is much more methodical. Both hard and soft wax mixtures are applied in the same direction as hair growth. Once the substance cools and slightly hardens, it’s removed in the opposite direction of hair growth.
Method 5. Tweezing
The process of removing/plucking hair by mechanically pulling the item from the body with tweezers.
Method 6. Threading
In threading, a thin cotton or polyester thread is doubled, then twisted. It is then rolled over areas of unwanted hair, plucking the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing, where single hairs are pulled out one at a time, threading can remove short hair rows.
Threading is a very natural way of removing the hair from the root. It only adheres to the hair and not the skin and gives a cleaner residue-free finish, and it’s not as abrasive. Threading is most commonly done around the face, less commonly on the body.
Method 7. Epilation
Epilation, by definition, is the removal of hair by pulling it from the roots. Technically, Waxing and threading are considered epilation. But don’t get confused! What I’m referring to is epilation via epilator use.
What is an Epilator?
An epilator works similar to Waxing in that it removes hair by the roots. But an epilator doesn’t use wax. Instead, it plucks away hair as you move the device over different parts of your body.
There are two options: a dry epilator, which you can use without water, and a wet epilator, which provides the convenience of removing hair while in the bath or shower.
Method 8. Laser
Aka “Laser Hair Removal,” laser epilation is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair.
Phew! If you’ve made it this far, you can rest assured that you now have the foundations of each hair removal method and feel more confident about your next hair removal experience! I wish you luck in trying the best one for you. Don’t be afraid to test out a few (or all) of them. The Hair Care section of CVS is now yours to conquer or help out someone! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments as usual.
For more reads, check out this article on how to prevent breakouts from your mask.