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The most romantic holiday of the year is a great opportunity to swap bulky sweaters for flirty dresses. For those of us that get lazy during the off-season, hide weeks of hair growth under layers of clothing but prefer a smooth look, it also means it's time for a date with a razor.
While razors are often quick and inexpensive, making them go-to hair removal tools, they’re only effective at removing surface hair. So, post-shave stubble may appear faster than we’d like.
Luckily, for those tired of reaching for the razor so often — and those interested in minimizing the risk of those annoying ingrown hairs — there are other ways to keep hair away.
From depilatory creams to at-home laser hair removal devices, there’s something to meet each person’s level of comfort. But, each method isn’t meant for all skin and hair types.
To give you a running start, we consulted three beauty and skin experts about the best hair removal practices and products.
Before starting any hair removal process, there are a few first steps you should take:
- Find a well-lit area
- Make sure skin is exfoliated
- Remove any extra moisture from the skin
A trick some estheticians use is adding a bit of baby power to the skin, said Jennifer MacDougall, on-air beauty expert who’s worked with Gucci, Vogue, L’oreal and more and a key hair stylist for Project Runway.
Nair Wax Ready-Strips are made with 100 percent natural rice bran oil, don’t require any rubbing or heating and can be purchased for any part of your body. The strips work like wax-filled stickers which remove hair from the root. MacDougall recommended these strips for those just getting into waxing. “You don’t have to worry about burning yourself," she said. "That’s one of the biggest things that someone can do if they don’t know how to do this themselves.”
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A ready-strip may not be suitable for the insides of nostrils. But, Yoffee Nose Wax makes it simple to remove hair up there. The unisex product, made of natural beeswax which MacDougall describes as “gum-like,” comes with an applicator. Spread the wax on the applicator and insert it directly into the nostril for about 90 seconds, then remove it.
The wax must be preheated for about two minutes, but other than that the process is quick and easy.
A favorite of beauty artist Daniel Chinchilla, whose clients include celebrities like Ariana Grande and Keke Palmer, these Parissa wax strips are also perfect for beginners. Rub the strips in between your hands, press them onto the skin in the direction of hair growth and remove them to pull the hair directly out of the root. Chinchilla said some things should be left to the professional, though. “Make sure you don’t try and wax your eyebrows yourself. You could easily mess up and remove too much," he cautioned.
An inexpensive option for wax strips for sensitive skin, this one skit comes with 40 strips and 6 finishing wipes. Veet’s formula locks around the smallest of hairs, from as short as 1/16 of an inch. The ready-to-use strips can also be used on any part of your body. Though, there is a separate option specifically for underarm, bikini and face.
Though an epilator isn’t a wax, it also removes hair directly from the root. But, it takes a bit longer to use than wax, so it's only good for people capable of enduring a bit more discomfort. An Amazon best-seller, the Philips Satinelle Epilator grips and removes even the shortest hairs on either wet or dry skin.
Best depilatory creams
Unlike waxing, which may cause some discomfort to those with a low threshold for pain, depilatory creams are painless. They can get messy, but they are usually pretty inexpensive.
The creams work by dissolving hair at or just below the surface of the skin, making it easy to wash away. It’Make sure your skin doesn't react poorly to depilatory cream by testing it out on a small patch of hair. The effectiveness of the cream may also vary depending on amount of hair and hair type.
Chinchilla said this is one of his go-to products for removing unwanted hair at home. The cream is generously applied to the skin for at least four minutes and then washed off: quick, painless and easy. This Nad’s Hair Removal Cream is great for sensitive skin since it’s formulated with natural extracts of melon, aloe vera, avocado oil and honey.
For hair removal on the arm, legs and bikini area, Gigi Spa offers this inexpensive option. Apply the hair removal lotion to the skin after it’s dampened and leave it on for up to 10 minutes. The lotion is enriched with cocoa butter, vitamins C and E and natural oils to keep skin smooth once the unwanted hair is washed off.
Best at-home laser hair removal
While waxing and depilatory creams can provide temporary results, the thought of never having to do either is pretty tempting. With laser hair removal that thought can become reality. Board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek, from Union Square Dermatology in New York City recommended heading to a professional since in-office lasers are stronger and “utilize wavelengths that are better at targeting the hair follicle.” But, she also noted that it's possible to successfully perform laser hair removal at home.
“The at-home devices are reasonable for light skin patients with dark hair who have a few small areas they want to treat or who want to supplement their in office treatments with an at-home treatment,” said Chwalek. It's not a great option for those with darker skin, she added. And, if you’re unsure whether an at-home device is right for you, consult a dermatologist.
Chwalek recommends this Tria hair removal device since it’s more similar to in-office technology than other brands. “Tria Beauty uses diode technology which is similar to the lasers we use in office for laser hair removal," said Chwalek. "Most of the other home devices use IPL technology which does not always target the hair follicle as specifically as the diode wavelength." If you’re interested in treating larger areas like the legs, Tria Beauty also offers the Tria Laser 4X made to handle those bigger areas.
Chwalek also recommended this Remington hair removal system. The product promises permanent hair reduction just after three treatments. Though a lot more pricey than waxing and depilatory creams, the permanent hair reduction can result in longer-term savings, since frequent hair removal treatments won’t be necessary after the hair is gone.
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