Tricks of the Trade: Get summer-ready with these hair removal tips

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WHAT hair removal treatments can you recommend for me? I want to be smooth and body hair-free this summer. 

Allowing hair to grow wild and free on certain body parts (think: underarms, legs, bikini area and upper lip) seems downright illegal when you’ve got plans to show some skin. Transitioning into summer usually gets us into this bewildered state as we seem to forget basic grooming and hair removal rules, coming from the cool weather brought about by the past months. A shift to sweltering temperature and stifling humidity demands a wardrobe of skimpier, looser and sheerer clothing, and thus begins our dilemma: How do we maintain a smooth, hair-free exterior without having to resort to a last-minute run-in with the old razor? Thankfully, hair removal now comes in many different forms and procedures, both temporary and permanent. Let’s break down these options.

Threading. If you haven’t thought much of your facial hair, maybe now is the right time. Many of us don’t realize that we have perhaps developed a little moustache over the years, and it may be darker than we think. In threading, a therapist quickly twists thread together to strategically pull unwanted hair. It has been known as a great way to have your eyebrows shaped, too, and works equally well for the moustache and sideburn area. Overall, this should be part of every girl’s grooming habit, as it beats patchy do-it-yourself plucking, and is effective and delicate enough for your face. To first-timers, a warning: This isn’t exactly pain-free. You may feel a slight pinch, but rest assured it is swift, precise and neat. Results last over a week longer than a wax.

Waxing. Still one of the most effective ways to get rid of stubborn hair, it is probably also one of the most painful. Though it varies from person to person, waxing sensitive parts tends to warrant a little yelp, but it gets the job done. The key to less painful waxing is to have a professional do it for you, which makes pulling hair out a little more bearable (as opposed to doing it yourself). Ideal for hairy arms, legs, bikini area and underarms, it promises a smoother, less dense hair growth, and being hair-free for about a week and a half. If you’re prone to ingrown hair, try exfoliating the area more often, except during the first 24 hours after you’ve been waxed.

Intense pulsed light. Working with high-speed, pulsing flashes of light that burn hair follicle, intense pulsed light (IPL) is virtually pain-free. The IPL laser targets melanin pigmentation of the hair and singes each strand until it stops growth completely. Its attraction to melanin means darker hair gets better results, as its strands contain more of the pigment. Depending on the thickness and color of your hair, results can be seen in three to five visits, but can usually be continued with your therapist or dermatologist until all the hair is gone. Minimal regrowth can occur in time, which requires only a maintenance blast to make it all go away.

Laser hair removal. Laser beams focused at the hair’s follicle cause long-lasting thermal damage to the hair, causing it to fall off after the second or third session. This procedure has been proven quite effective, especially for all types of hair and in all shades, too. Painless and quickly done in massage-like strokes, laser hair removal sees clear results in five to six sessions. However, to have the area completely hair-free will require ample patience (about six months) and a strict break from the sun (absolutely no tanning) due to skin sensitivity from burning. This also includes fake tanning products. This one may need some planning if you want it done in time for your vacation.

 

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