Different Methods For Hair Removal

These days there are many options for hair removal. 

It's not just about the razor anymore. Different hair removal methods work better on different areas & skin tones. Find out when -- & what -- to shave, wax, tweeze & laser.

1-Laser hair removal

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Hair Removal -- How Waxing & Sugaring Works

Waxing is the application of a sticky substance to skin. The resin binds hair to a strip of cloth, which is yanked off (usually in the opposite direction of hair growth). Hair is removed from the roots and will eventually grow back. Sugaring, an alternative to wax, is made up of a mixture of lemon juice, sugar and water. Hair needs to be longish for the waxing to work because the wax needs to bind on the hair in order for it to be yanked out (notice how we refuse to use the tamer word, 'pull'?). The pain factor here is high. But the first time hurts the most. Hair grows in thinner. (We swear). So after a couple times it hurts a bit less. Waxing and sugaring lasts about 2 to 6 weeks 

Waxing your own legs can be tricky and sticky. But do it right and you can save yourself a lot of money from the salon.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

1-Ensure hair is long enough to wax. Hair needs to grow out 1/4 inch (the wax needs hair to stick to otherwise it can be yanked out by its roots). 

2-Two days before exfoliate legs to remove dead skin.


3-Apply baby powder to skin. Baby powder removes oils helping the wax stick better to hair.

4-Heat wax in microwave or by immersing container in warm water (follow the package instructions methods vary widely).
5-Work in small sections. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth. For proper application hold the stick at a 90-degree angle & apply a smooth thin layer.


6-Before wax cools completely apply the strip to wax
7-To remove strip peel it in the opposite direction of hair growth. Don't pull straight up, it's less painful to keep the strip as close to skin as possible. If the area stings it can help to apply pressure on immediately after the strip removal.

8-Apply a lotion containing salycylic acid to prevent ingrown hairs.


9-To remove excess wax on skin use a body oil do not try to remove wax with hot water. Also consider a sugaring kit like Moom Sugar. Sugar washes off much easier than wax.


  1. If you're using Retin A Renova or Accutane don't wax that area of the skin. You're much more susceptible to rashes & irritation.
  2. Take 2 ibuprofen pills an hour before your treatment to cut down on the pain.

What You Need:

  • Wax kit (comes with the spatula, wax and strips)
  • Hairy legs
  • Post-waxing cream (see Step 8 above for product info

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Hair Removing, What is Threading?

Threading is an ancient Middle Eastern technique that is becoming common in the United States with threading shops popping up in every big city as we speak. 
Many of the top beauty editors in NYC get their brows threaded rather than waxed.
How does it work? An aesthetician uses a doubled-up strand of cotton thread to twist around individual hairs, then pulls them out from the roots. The procedure is used mainly on the eyebrows and upper lip. 



Threading is faster than tweezing. The average eyebrow procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes, while tweezing takes about 20 minutes.
Cost is relatively cheap:We suggest trying a professional threading job, then maintain your new brow line yourself with tweezers.

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Hair Removal For Women Laser Hair Removal Facts

I've tried laser hair removal on my legs and bikini to great success. But before you sign up for these very costly treatments, you should read up on the facts to determine if laser hair removal really is for you. 

Who's a Good Candidate?

Lasers and pulsed lights work best on people with dark hair and light skin. There are new devices created to work on light hair and dark skinned people, but from what I've read, they work only 'so-so.'
A new device, Aurora by Syneron, uses both intense pulsed light and radio frequency to treat women with blonde or gray hair, but they are only about 50% as effective as other lasers.
As for dark or tanned skin, lasers can cause discoloration (read why below) unless you use a machine created for dark skin. Ask for the ND Yag laser, states Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD in the July 2004 issue of InStyle magazine. (Woolery-Lloyd is the director of ethnic skin at the University of Miami). 


How it Works

Lasers use pulsed light to target, break down and destroy the melanin (dark pigment) in hair. This is why it works only on dark hair. Lasers will also target the melonin in dark skin, which can cause discoloration. According to Michelle, my aesthetician at Completely Bare salon in NYC, hair grows in three phases: growing, resting and shedding. Lasers and pulsed lights targets hair in the growth phase. 

When Does Hair Fall Out?

Hair falls out within 10-14 days. I use a mild sugar scrub in the shower on the 10th day, which helps exfoliate the skin and remove hair.

What Areas Can be Treated?

Lasers and pulsed light target several follicles at once, so you can treat large areas of skin. While it would take years to perform electrolysis on the back or legs, a typical laser hair removal session on both legs usually takes under two hours. Lasers are great for treating the back, shoulders, arm and chest.
For upper lip and chin, lasers work but only on dark hair. If you want to ensure the blonde hairs are zapped, your better bet is electrolysis for permanent hair removal in these areas. 





How Long Do They Take?

It takes 4-6 laser hair removal sessions spaced 4 weeks apart to see 70-80 percent reduction in hair growth. For best results, Michelle suggests getting maintenance treatments done once a year for a couple years at least.

Are Results Guaranteed?

No. Laser hair removal works better on some people than others. No one knows for sure what the regrowth rates are. Some people notice regrowth after several months or years, while others find they never have to shave again. The average experience is 70-80 percent reduction in hair growth if you do a full 4-6 course treatment.
It's worth mentioning that like most technology, lasers have come a long way over the past few years. A friend of mine spent a lot of money to have his back done only to have it fail. He ended up having great success with the much more time-consuming electrolysis.

How to Prepare

Once it's determined what type of laser or pulsed light machine will be used, you'll likely be told to either shave the day of your treatment or three days before. Check with your aesthetician before you show up. I've come in freshly shaved only to be sent home.

What's the Pain Factor?

The pulsed light in laser hair removal feels like a rubber band popping against your skin, although some machines perform differently. Not every zap will hurt and I've found some areas (lower legs) hurt more than others (thighs).
I strongly advise taking a couple ibuprofen an hour before your session. Others recommend numbing skin 20 minutes before your session with a spray or cream that contains 4 percent lidocaine. InStyle magazine recommends Gigi's Anesthetic Numbing Spray.

Pick the Right Expert

Many salons advertise cheap and discounted procedures, but I've been told the best places don't have to resort to discounts. Do your homework before signing up for services. Book only with a dermatologist or licensed technician.

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How to Protect Skin in the Winter

Skincare is totally seasonal, just like your wardrobe. In summer, you're busy with sun protection (aren't you?) and self-tanners, while in winter you may seem addicted to moisturizers because your skin gets so dried out and flaky (this is called "winter itch"). So why the dry skin in winter? Low temperatures, low humidity and strong, harsh winds deplete skin of its natural lipid layer which keeps the skin from drying out.
To keep your skin feeling dewy and moist even in the harsh winter weather, follow these tips:

Keep Water Lukewarm, Not Hot

Hot water robs skin of moisture, so it's best to shower in lukewarm water. If you can't bear this rule -- I can't -- try to keep your warm showers short and try showering only once per day. This also means skipping the hot tubs in winter (another rule I simply cannot bear). The hot, hot temperature, combined with drying chemicals, is torture on skin.
The same rule applies to hand-washing: Wash hands in lukewarm, never hot, water (this is a rule I firmly abide by). If your skin turns red, the water is simply too hot. 

Moisturize After Showers or Handwashing

Moisturizer is the key to soft, supple skin in winter. Apply product when skin is slightly damp. For best effect, pat skin dry instead of rubbing with your towel before application.
Antibacterial soap in public places can be harsh on hands, so I like to keep hand salve in my purse . To keep cuticles soft, I massage in olive oil.
Extra tip: I love keeping moisturizer and facial water on my desk at work. and then dab on moisturizer. The water locks in moisture and leaves my skin refreshed even in harsh office heat. 

Exfoliate on a Weekly or Semi-weekly Basis

Moisturizer is much more effective on properly exfoliated skin. Use a scrub in the shower and exfoliate facial skin with a mild scrub made for the face. 

It's best to scrub skin when it's dry. Apply scrub to dry skin before you turn on the water (mix with lotion if it's not moist enough). Massage the scrub in for a good five minutes for best results

Extra tip: Dry brush skin before a shower with a body brush to remove flaky skin (it's more effective than brushing in the shower).

Invest in a Humidifier

Furnaces rob air of moisture, leaving very little humidity in the air. I once read that your skin needs more than 30 percent humidity to stay properly moisturized. A room heated by a furnace can have as little as 10 percent moisture. In the winter, consider sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom. Keep doors closed so the moist air doesn't escape the room.

Skip the Drying Soaps

Stick with a creamy moisturizing cleanser that contains glycerin or petrolatum, such as Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash, or Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash (my current drugstore pick).
Extra tip: Simply can't skip the bath? Skip the bubbles, which can contain harsh foaming ingredients and opt for bath oils or oatmeal scrubs, which are great for soothing itchy skin.

Baby Your Hands & Feet

Hands and feet can suffer terribly in winter. Put on moisturizer and gloves BEFORE you head outdoors, and consider lathering up your feet in thick moisturizer and sleeping in cotton socks at night.
Extra tip: Cover feet in a thick moisturizer, wrap feet in Saran Wrap, then pull on a pair of socks for a couple hours. Try to sit or lie down while the moisturizer soaks in or risk sliding into a full split and pulling your groin muscles. The same treatment can be done on hands, except try plastic bags and keep hands in a pair of socks. A half-hour should do you.

Stay Hydrated But Don't Go Overboard

Many people believe if they drink more water, they'll hydrate skin. But I've read time and time again that this is a myth and you simply cannot moisturize skin from the inside out.
That said, a small study recently published by the University of Hamburg (and reported in Allure magazine), suggests people who drink relatively little water could see a significant benefit in skin hydration if they started drinking nine eight-ounce glasses of water per day. What does this mean? Probably that dehydration does affect skin, but a normally hydrated person isn't going to see major benefits by drinking even more water. My advice: don't expect bottled water to save you from winter itch.

Don't Forget Your Lips

Licking your lips will not moisturize them and instead will help dry them out. Lips retain less moisture than other parts of the body, so they tend to dry out more quickly. A simple lip balm helps, as does my all-time favorite lip trick learned in high school from "Seventeen" magazine: moisturize your lips with Vaseline. Take a toothbrush and "brush" your lips in a circular motion. This will remove dead flakes and leave your lips soft and supple. 

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Hair Removal For Women Top 10 Shaving Tips

Shaving first became popular during World War II when nylon stockings were in short supply and bare legs became a trend that has yet to cease.

Today, more and more women are turning to waxing and some are trying laser hair removal , however, shaving remains the least expensive form of hair removal. Here are 10 tips and tricks to ensure you're doing it the right way and cutting down on the nicks and irritation so common to shaved skin.

1. The trick to shaving is to wet your skin and let it soften from the heat and moisture. You don't want to shave dry skin. Shaving is a natural exfoliator and you'll clog up the razor with dead skin while putting yourself at risk for nicks.

2. There's no need to waste your money on shaving creams formulated especially for women. They are virtually the same as the creams sold for men. (Now if you can just find a scent you can live with).

3. You are going to have to experiment with razors until you find the perfect one for you. Ask your friends for recommendations and look for a razor with lubricated strips, pivoting heads and spring-mouonted multiple blades. I've sampled several types and varieties and was amazed at how different each feels.

4. Be sure to change razors or cartridges on a regular basis, a dull blade can lead to nicks. Also, it's best not to borrow your guy's razor. His hair is coarser and will dull a blade. (Plus, don't men typically hate it when women borrow razors?)

5. Be sure to exfoliate your skin before shaving. It gets rid of all the dead skin cells that could clog up your razor, preventing a close shave.

6. Since your leg hairs grow down, you'll want to start at your ankles and shave up. 


For your underarms, you'll need to shave in every direction since the hair there grows every which way.

7. When finished, apply oil or moisturizer. The skin on your legs has few oil glands and has a tendency for dryness.

8. Ingrown hairs are caused when the hairs curl back under the skin. Avoid ingrowns by exfoliating daily and using a glycolic acid body lotion.

9. If you have a chronic case of ingrown hairs, try Tend Skin, an over-the-counter lotion for ingrown hairs, applying it in the morning and at night. The bumps should disappear within a couple days.

10. Consider opting for waxing, at least on your legs. You'll find that if you have coarser hair, it won't grow back as fast

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