Yep, we're here to shave the day.
We reckon knowledge is power and if we'd known some of these hair removal facts and myths when we were deciding on the best hair removal method for us as teens, we might have saved ourselves some pain (looking at you waxers) or pesky stubble (that's you, shavers).
Some of us are still confused over whether hair removal can make it grow back thicker, or even what options are available to us – and if you hear the wrong whisper, you may end up believing something that's completely untrue.
So, to help you navigate your way through the world of waxing, shaving and lasering, here are some common myths and must-know facts.
FACT: Waxing makes hair grow back finer
If you absolutely HATE stubble, waxing is the one. "With regular waxing, the hair will become much finer over time and you won’t get the dreaded stubbly regrowth that you get with shaving and hair removal creams", say the founders of Waxperts Wax, Ellen Kavanagh and Trish O’Brie. "Some of our clients, who we have been waxing for years, have minimal regrowth now that it is so quick, easy and pain-free to remove." Try these home wax kits for silky smooth skin.
MYTH: Hair grows back thicker and darker after shaving
This is one of the most common myths people fall for, mainly due to how the hair feels when it grows back after shaving. "Shaving only removes hair from the surface of the skin, so it doesn't affect the colour or the thickness of the hair, which is determined deep down in the skin, in the hair follicle", says Briar Keen, Co-Founder of Friction Free Shaving. "If you allow your leg hair to grow out, it would be exactly the same as it was originally." It's only because it's shorter that it may feel a tad thicker. These are the best women's razors on the market.
MYTH: If you shave your face you'll grow a beard
The same as above goes for your face. You won't magically grow more hair if you decide to shave it. In fact, dermaplaning has become a pretty popular facial treatment of late, which sees all face fuzz and dead skin cells removed with face shavers for women. Youtubers like Huda Kattan and Chloe Morello swear by it for a smoother-than-smooth makeup canvas.
FACT: You shouldn't trim your hair before a wax
Don't attempt a 'tidy' up before your wax, it's not worth it. "When people trim before an appointment, they often cut it too short so it’s best to leave it to the professionals", say Ellen and Trish. "Ideally, hair should be as long as a grain of rice but don’t worry if it is longer than that." If you've been shaving and are looking to make the switch to waxing, they recommend leaving it for three or so weeks to grow.
MYTH: Shaving removes your tan
Ok, this one is a bit tricky. If we're talking your 'real' post-holiday glow, it's a total myth. "Tanning takes place in the body’s pigment cells, which razor blades never come in contact with because they’re lower down in the skin", says Briar. "In fact, exfoliating and shaving can actually give your skin a healthy glow." However, if you're talking about a fake tan, which develops on the surface of the skin, this can be prone to slight removal, as razors tend to remove any loose dead skin cells.
FACT: IPL isn't suitable for everyone
Most laser hair removal, like IPL (or Intense Pulsed Light) lasers work by targeting melanin, which means people with dark hair, but lighter skin tones, are ideal candidates. It means the laser will target the hair follicle and not the skin. "It is most effective on light to medium skin tones with hair ranging from natural blonde to dark brown or black," explains Dr. Anita Sturnham, Dermatologist, Skin Health Specialist & Media Doctor.
"The device is not effective on very blonde, red, grey or white hair where the smaller amount of melanin would not absorb the light energy," she adds. There are also certain conditions which prevent people from using light-based technology. "Some medications such as antibiotics and topical retinoids can cause light (photo) sensitivity. Therefore IPL is not recommended for those with pigmentation disorders such as melasma or vitiligo and you should avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding," Dr Anita says.
MYTH: IPL hair removal is always very painful
This one depends. It can be painful, but not always, if you choose a gentle device. "With technological advancements for at-home devices, you can now enjoy the benefits of IPL hair removal without the downtime and risks of skin irritation," says Dr Anita. "Whilst clinic IPL machines can be painful, ‘at-home’ devices like the Braun Silk Expert Pro 5, allow tailored delivery of the IPL energy, thanks to built-in sensors that assess your skin tone and deliver the exact amount of energy needed for your skin."
MYTH: You shouldn't shave above the knee
A rumour often started in high school and engrained in the brain, but alas, there's is nothing wrong with shaving above the knee. "Personally, I’m a fan of a full leg shave, but it’s all about personal preference", says Briar.
FACT: Waxing tends to cause more ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs are caused when a hair doesn’t grow out of its follicle correctly and instead grows back into the skin, causing irritation. "On the whole, waxing causes ingrown hairs more than shaving because the hairs get weaker and cannot break through the skin, however they are easily treatable and preventable", says Ellen and Trish. "Gentle exfoliation is the key to preventing ingrown hairs. Salicylic acid is the most effective ingredient as it chemically exfoliates without causing any friction or damage and has anti-inflammatory qualities."
MYTH: If you use a dull blade, you won't knick yourself
Sharp razors may sound scary, but they're actually the best option if you want a free shave. If your blades are dull and worn, they're much more likely to catch on the skin. "Use a clean, sharp razor blade and take care of your skin by exfoliating before shaving and moisturising afterwards", says Briar.
FACT: You shouldn't drink caffeine before a wax
You probably never thought there was anything wrong with having a coffee before your Brazilian, but caffeine can actually make the skin more susceptible to pain, and the same goes for painkillers. "If there's caffeine in them, it will make your skin more sensitive", says Ellen and Trish. If you're looking for the most pain-free wax possible, it all comes down to the professional. "Go to a therapist that uses a quality waxing range and has specific training for intimate waxing", recommends Ellen and Trish.
Written by Samantha Mcmeekin.
This article originally appeared on Glamour UK.