Hair removal is a matter of personal preference: a) whether you choose to de-fluff in the first place and b) which method you favour if you want to transform yourself into a slippery seal.
In the latter camp? The best way to decide how to go about hair removal is to arm yourself with the pros and cons of each option. That way, you can work out which suits you best in terms of convenience, pain factor, longevity, and end result. We've put together the ultimate guide on every different hair removal method to choose from in case you're in the market to switch things up.
This involves looping a thread of string around each tiny hair, effectively lassoing it, then pulling the loop taut to catch and pull each hair out from the root.
Pros: It gives an ultra neat and tidy finish and it's a more gentle option than waxing for sensitive, thin or redness-prone skin.
Cons: It’s tricky and fiddly to learn how to thread at home and you may struggle to do it yourself. It is taking the hair out from the root so it's a bit painful. It's not great for covering wide surface areas.
Best for: Lips and brows.
This involves using strips of hot or cold wax, spread over hairs (in the direction of growth), then ripped off in the opposite direction to remove both the hair and the root.
Pros: It’s fairly foolproof and effective and, since it removes hair from the root, it gives a longer-lasting smoothness than razors or hair removal cream. Over time, waxing hair repeatedly can weaken the hairs making them finer and less painful to remove and less stubbly if left for longer periods.
Cons: It stings (especially for thicker haired gals), it's messier than shaving, and it takes some nerves of steel.
Best for: Legs, lips, brows, pits and bits (aka bikini lines).
Hair removal cream
Also known as depilatory creams, hair removal creams work by breaking down the keratin structure of hair, effectively dissolving the bonds so that when you wipe the cream away, it takes the hair with it
Pros: It’s painless and speedy, and because the end of the hair isn't squared off at the tip (as it is in shaving), it'll feel softer when it grows back through.
Cons: The smooth feeling is short-lived as this only removes hair above the skin (rather than from the root), which means regrowth will come through fairly quickly. They can be messy to use, lots have a whiffy scent and they can feel itchy during the three to ten minutes they take to work.
Best for: Upper lip, legs, bikini lines and armpits.
This involves using a single blade to remove the hair and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin (similar to shaving). It mainly targets peach fuzz (the soft, ultra fine baby hairs that offer appear along the upper lip.
Pros: It's precise, pain-free and simple to do. Since it removes dead skin cells as well, it leaves skin feeling much smoother and creates an even base for makeup.
Cons: Hair grows back fairly quickly as this doesn't remove them from the roots. If you're too rough you can aggravate the skin creating irritation and acne.
Best for: The upper lip and baby hair on cheeks.
This involves pulling hair out of the roots using a thick gel made from sugar, lemon and hot water, much like a wax.
Pros: You can make the concoction at home using ingredients from your kitchen cupboard, it removes hairs from the root and it uses natural ingredients. It's slightly less painful than waxing as the mixture only sticks to hair (rather than your skin as well) and it can be applied at room temperature rather than hot which can be less irritating for sensitive skin.
Cons: It can be messy and (since you're still pulling out hairs) still painful. Plus, it doesn't work as well on thick hairs as waxing.
Best for: Armpits, legs, bikini lines, upper lips and brows.
This involves skimming off the layer of hair above your skin with a razor blade.
Pros: It's quick, easy and gives an ultra smooth finish. It's also pain-free.
Cons: It doesn't remove hair from the roots, so re-growth can be quick. The razor, squares the tips of hairs off meaning they can feel sharp or appear thick when they grow back through (though they won't actually make hairs grow back thicker).
Best for: Armpits, legs and bikini lines
This stands for Intense Pulsed Light and involves using light therapy to target the melanin in hair follicles and damage the root in a way that inhibits it from producing new hairs.
Pros: This used to be a salon-only treatment but at-home devices mean you can now it yourself. It's not very painful to use and the results can be permanent. Different sized nozzles enable you to target both small and large areas.
Cons: This works best on contrast (the ideal candidate would have dark hair and pale skin) and so can be less effective for those with dark skin and dark hair or light skin and light hair. Though technological advancements are tackling this issue. It can also be patchy – permanently reducing the amount of hair you have, rather than eliminating it altogether.
Best for: Legs, bikini lines, armpits and upper lips.
This involves using a handheld device that has a rotating head with tiny mechanical tweezers that catch and pluck hairs out from the root.
Pros: It removes hairs from the roots so will last much longer. Over time, it weakens hairs so that they grow back finer and softer (or not at all).
Cons: It can take longer than shaving or waxing to remove all hairs, it's painful and it can be slightly more patchy than other methods.
Best for: Legs, armpits and bikini lines.
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.