Hair removal is a chore for everyone. No one actually looks forward to it and you’re either left with razor cuts, ingrown hairs, bumps, redness or itchiness, not to mention it can be very painful on both your skin and to your pockets. Obviously some methods are cheaper than others in the short term; But what is the most cost effective way of removing hair?
Shaving is the removal of hairs from the surface of the skin using a razor. Disposable razors are inexpensive; a pack of 6 disposable razors (Schick) can cost around $4. Shaving is quick, even for a large area it may only take a couple of minutes if that. The results are smooth legs, underarms, bikini etc. but unfortunately it’s short lived. Hairs can start to grow back as soon as the next day! The area begins to then feel prickly and coarse and so then shaving begins once again.
Although shaving is cheap, it does not leave the area hair free for more then a few days, the maintenance is constant and never ending plus razor cuts and bumps are common. Not ideal, but it can do the job if you don’t mind the time wasting.
Waxing is a method that removes hairs from the roots. Warm wax is applied in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction, removing the hairs from the roots and treatments are usually every 2 – 6 weeks depending on the area. Waxing treatments can be performed in salons by a beauty therapist or at home. Salon waxing treatments can cost anywhere between $10 – $60 possibly more depending on where the salon is located. A tub of wax costs around $12 to buy from the supermarket or pharmacy and this can be done at home, however it can get very messy, sticky & time consuming. Did we mention this is perhaps the most painful option? Ouch! Depending on your pain tolerance, waxing can be moderately painful or very painful and a very common outcome of waxing is that it can lead to ingrown hairs that can then scar which can end up looking worse then the hairs itself.
There needs to be some hair growth for the treatment to be effective, if hairs are too short the wax may not grip.
Electrolysis is a permanent method of hair removal whereby hairs are removed individually. A very fine needle (probe) is inserted into the hair follicle which sends an electrical current down to the bulb of the hair causing a chemical reaction to permanently remove that specific hair strand.
Treatments are usually every week or every second week and can be very time consuming as hairs are treated individually. A course of treatments is required and this treatment is usually charged by time. For example 10 minutes can cost around $35 (depending on where the clinic is located) and how experienced your electrologist is. 10 minutes may only be enough to treat a very small area as each hair is treated individually.
You want to be very careful selecting your electrologist as this method can cause scarring & pigmentation if performed incorrectly or by inexperienced operators. Darker skin types be very cautious when considering this option.
Bleaching is the application of a bleaching cream to the area, usually used on facial hair to lighten the hairs. Costing is around $11 – $19 a box (Nair Cream Bleach, Andrea Cream Bleach). Bleaches contain harsh chemicals and can cause irritation to the skin, plus they emit a strong smell.
This method does not rid you of the hairs it simply lightens them, so the hairs are still there.
Depilatory Creams work by using an active ingredient to dissolve the hair shaft. The cream is applied in thick layers to the area, applied on for anywhere between 3 – 8 minutes (depending on which brand you’re using and the directions). Some brands include a spatula in the pack to wipe off the excess cream and then wash the area. Results = no hair however some redness and irritation is common. Hair removal creams cost around $7 a tube, can be used on almost all areas of the body.
Hairs do not grow back as quickly as they would with shaving, however this would be different for everyone. If you’re lucky you may get a week of being hair free. Although a lot of people find the nasty smell of the creams enough to put them off trying this one again!
Medical Grade Laser Hair Removal offers permanent hair removal, suitable to almost all skin types and almost all body areas. A small hand piece is placed on the area being treated, the laser light is emitted through the hand piece & travels down to the hair bulb, and this light is then converted to heat to prevent hair growth.
A course of treatments is required, facial areas require treatments every 3 – 4 weeks and body areas every 6 – 8 weeks (hair growth is quicker on the face than the body).
The pain of the treatment is commonly compared to the flick of an elastic band against the skin, although pain tolerance varies for everybody, for most clients’ treatments are at most, uncomfortable.
Treatment costs start from $29 up to $699 for a full body treatment. For best results you want to make sure you are having treatments at the required times & continue with the full course of treatments. An overall investment of 8 visits over 16 months can achieve up to 80% reduction (100% removal of hair is very unlikely as hairs become finer & lighter after every treatment, thus harder to treat).
Although treatment costs might seem more compared to shaving or waxing per treatment, you are only paying that for the course of 8 sessions, not the rest of your life. You may require maintenance treatments to treat any stray hairs that do grow back but these treatments are at a lower price, as it’s a spot treatment not a full area.
Laser hair removal is an investment but well worth it in the long run, you can ditch the razor, forget about waxing & stop putting up with the smell of hair removal creams. And the last minute shave of the legs so that you can go to the beach becomes a thing of the past.
Skin and hair suitability needs to be assessed prior to any laser hair removal treatment & to find out more about the results you can expect from the treatment book your self in with a qualified laser technician to explain everything you need to know.