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Smooth operator: a guide to different hair removal methods

08 SEPTEMBER 2010

There are so many methods of hair removal to choose from, but which best suits your needs?

* Shaving
Why? Great for instant smoothness and treating large areas. Use a shaving lotion to help blades glide over skin and prevent nicking.
Why not? Slicing the hair at an angle creates a sharp tip that makes skin feel rough as hair regrows, within 24-48 hours.

* Waxing
Why? Gives a longer lasting result – maybe two weeks before some hairs start to show – as it pulls hair out from the root.
Why not? There's a momentary sting but you quickly get used to it. Ingrowing hairs are common.

 

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* Threading
Why? Lasts for weeks as hairs are pulled out individually from the roots by cotton wrapped around each strand, which makes it great for shaping – on brows, in particular.
Why not? As each hair is pulled individually, it's best suited to small areas.

* Epilation
Why? Hand-held gadgets containing rotating wheels that pull hairs out from the roots. Works quickly. Good for large areas. Not as messy as waxing.
Why not? Would probably sting too much to use on sensitive areas and too unwieldy for use on small areas.

* IPL/Laser
Why? The longest lasting result – years – as cells responsible for growth are destroyed by light conducted through the hair.
Why not? Areas of skin can be treated in 15 minutes, but repeated sessions are required to reach hair through all its growing phases. It's expensive and can't be used on grey hair.

* Electrolysis
Why? Results last for years as a needle inserted into the follicle sends a current down the hair to destroy it. Best for use on small areas, such as the upper lip.
Why not? Repeated sessions are required. Expensive.

* Depilation
Why? Hair removal creams dissolve the hair below the surface.
Why not? Messy. And regrowth is swift – within one-to-two days (but not as stubbly or as quick as with razors).




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