Listen, we know nobody’s perfect. We’ve all made a good amount of mistakes when it comes to fashion and beauty. But regardless of your style preferences, there are still some less than thrilling body maintenance chores that we can’t seem to sidestep — case in point: hair removal. Yet despite being a universal issue, we can’t help but notice how many questions arise when one tackles the fuzz, like “Can I shave dry?” or “What exactly is depilatory cream?” This mess is tricky. From the perils of waxing to the 101s of threading, it can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, girl. We got your back when it comes to the best methods for removing any unwanted hair.
Threading and Waxing
The Mistake: Not knowing which method is best for your skin or lifestyle.
The Fix: Read below.
Threading Pros: Threading doesn’t use any harsh chemicals like other forms of hair removal do. It’s literally two pieces of cotton thread. For ladies with sensitive skin and those who favor more natural ingredients, threading really is the better option with the lack of chemicals and a smaller risk of irritation. Bonus points: Threading also makes it easier to grow out your brows while maintaining the shape.
Threading Cons: Threading is all about precision, but it can be difficult to get small hairs along the brows or mustache line using this method. Some argue that threading will result in regrowth of thicker, more coarse hair. This may especially be true along your mustache line, but results vary depending on your hair texture.
Waxing Pros: Waxing encourages hair to grow back thinner and less often, making this option better for those with thicker brows and body hair. Waxing also gives you a very defined brow shape, as the wax strip tugs away the unwanted hair in precise lines.
Waxing Cons: The aftermath of waxing sensitive skin can include chemical burns and redness. It pulls at the skin and often leaves a mark afterward, so if you have an event to go to, you’ll need to get the service done at least 48 hours in advance. We do not recommend waxing if you have easily irritated or sensitive skin. Be sure to check the type of wax that is used, as well, in order to avoid allergic reactions.
The Mistake: The dry shave. Don’t do it. We all know this one’s bad, but somehow we are all guilty of it. But why? Nothing about the dry shave is that appealing. Usually, we shave in the shower where the warm water has allowed our pores to open up. When we dry shave, our pores are tightly closed, which is no good. When done incorrectly or in a rush, the dry shave can cause a painfully stinging irritation and razor burn that can last for several days or mark you permanently.
The Fix: If you really need to shave on the fly, use a body oil, lotion or even water to soften the blow of razor burn and skin irritation. The lubrication will help to create a barrier between the razor and your skin. Also be sure to use a lighter hand so as not to cut yourself. Follow it up with a moisturizer to keep your skin from drying out and becoming irritated.
The Mistake: Shaving with soap.
The Fix: First and foremost, remember to exfoliate before you shave to remove dead skin cells that clog razors. Opt for a hair conditioner instead of typical soap, as it moisturizes the skin instead of drying it out. Make sure to follow up with a non-scented lotion or essential oil after your shave while the skin is still wet from the shower, to seal in the moisture from the water.
Extra Tips: Again, make sure to wait until the end of your shower so that your hair follicles have had proper time to soften. It’s also better to wait until the evening to shave for the same reason. We all have a tendency to shave quickly rather than carefully. Take your time. Use gentle, purposeful strokes with a clean razor.
The Mistake: For women who shave and wax, it’s essential to exfoliate before you take a wax strip or razor to the skin. Not properly exfoliating causes dead skin cells to build up and block hair follicles, which in turn makes it harder to ensure that all of the hair is coming out from under the skin. Essentially, the wax is pulling up dirt and debris that was sitting on the skin, instead of pulling out all of your unwanted hair. Not to mention, a lack of proper exfoliation also leads to ingrown hairs.
The Fix: For a smoother and cleaner wax or shave, exfoliate two to three days before a waxing appointment. Try using an exfoliating wash cloth for areas with body hair and your favorite facial exfoliator or face brush to slough the skin near the eyebrows before a wax.
The Mistake: But don’t get exfoliator happy. Women also make the mistake of exfoliating recently waxed skin. Skin is super sensitive post-wax or shave, so it’s important to take note of that and let your skin get a bit of a rest.
The Fix: Wait three days before exfoliating again or you can risk creating more redness, bumps, ingrowns and irritation.
Laser Hair Removal
The Mistake: A common mistake women make when going to an aesthetician for laser hair removal is not shaving before their session. Hair can’t be too long or you run the risk of it burning and damaging the skin. Keeping the hair short still allows the laser heat to upend the hair follicles’ stem cells.
The Fix: Shave at least 24 hours before your session. Be careful to stay out of the sun for at least six weeks before a session to avoid skin lightening during a treatment. You should plan to slather on the sunscreen (always, but especially in the weeks prior to this procedure). Avoid other forms of hair removal like waxing, electrolysis and plucking, as they can agitate the hair follicles and hinder the hair removal process.
The Mistake: Ask yourself honestly how often you replace your razor. So many of us are guilty of buying a pack of disposable razors and using them for months on end. This is not the way to do it if you want a smooth, clean shave. Aside from upping your chances of razor burn, failing to replace your razors on the reg can lead to ingrown hairs and more nicks and cuts, because the blade becomes duller and you have to shave with more force.
The Fix: Regularly replacing your blade can also prevent next day bumps and skin irritation. Some dermatologists recommend replacing your blade every four uses. If that sounds like too often, try to aim for every two weeks and work your way down to replacing more often.
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(Photos via Getty)