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Saturday, July 11, 2009

#25: Smooth Operator

With images of Gisele in a G-string, Kylie and Liz in split-to-whoa Versace dresses, and teen songbirds showing off their midriffs, sleek skin has never been more in-your-face. Fact: hair removal is a drag and it hurts. So you need to know the right techniques to suit you. Read on... and take off.

Waxing

What's the deal: Waxing yanks the hair clean from the roots

What's good: Your state of hairlessness can last up to six weeks. Plus, the hairs will eventually grow back softer. There are also cases of hair eventually become non-existent on some individuals - but whether or not it does, depends on the individual's genes and chemistry.

What's a drag: One word - ouch! Tip: avoid waxing just before your period. The best time to wax is five days into your cycle. Aspirin can also help. Also, DIY-ing with warm wax can be really messy, but while cold wax strips are more user-friendly, they're not as effective at removals because warm wax grips the hair better.

What's new: Salon-style, beeswax-based hot wax - it hardens as it cools, and is then peeled off without the need for cotton strips. Also, sugar-based waxes are big again. They arrive gooey, require less heating, and the residue can be washed away.

Works best: Before a DIY wax or a session at the salon, it is advisable that you try some dry body brushing plus wet exfoliation and, immediately prior to waxing, sprinkle on a layer of talc to absorb perspiration and help the wax to grip. Therapists will apply a post-waxing antiseptic and soothing lotion.

Salon advantage: You can be guaranteed that the hairs are pulled out in the right direction, which prevents ingrown hair. Plus, there's less pain because it's quicker, and with two pairs of hands you can keep the skin taut.

Watch out: If you're using Retin-A, AHAs, or taking Roaccutane or tablets for high blood pressure, waxing will thin your skin too much. Avoid waxing on cut, sunburned or acne-prone skin, or if you've recently had a laser peel. For varicose-vein sufferers, a therapist should use a self-peel wax, which is more gently.

Shaving

What's the deal: Razor blades cut the unwanted hairs off just exactly at the surface of your skin.

What's good: The sexy, shiny, silky-smooth finish it gives you. Plus, it's exfoliating.

What's a drag: The morning-after prickly feeling. Shaving also makes a fake tan fade faster.

Works best: On primed skin. Exfoliating first will help to prevent ingrowns, and soaking for a couple of minutes before shaving will soften the hairs, making them easier to cut. For the tricky areas, such as the underarms, you may need to shave in two directions.

Lasers

What's the deal: Lasers target the pigment in the hair. They heat up the follicle and destroy the hair, sub-surface. You feel a pin-prick sensation.

What's good: After two years, there has been found to be an 80 percent permanent reduction of hairs.

What's a drag: The cost, which can range from $200 - $500 per session; you'll need between two to six sessions of them. Plus, it's only effective on dark hair, and can cause discoloration in darker skins.

Works best: Unwanted facial hair and the bikini line are popular targets. Avoid if you're pregnant, taking skin-sensitizing drugs or Roaccutane, or using Retin-A.

Electrolysis

What's the deal: A needle is inserted into the follicle; an electric current fries the hair at the root.

What's good: The hairs never return, so after you've had a series of treatments, you're fuzz-free.

What's a drag: It's near torture. And, in the wrong hands, you risk scarring and burning.

Works best: On small areas of dark, coarse hair such as the bikini line or upper lip.

Epilators

What's the deal: Epilator heads feature rows of rotating discs that work like tweezers, grasping hairs and plucking them out.

What's good: They're easy to use - you sweep them over your skin like an electric razor. Plus, they work well on shorter hairs.

What's a drag: It's definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Works best: Do it after dry body brushing and granular exfoliation, to prevent in-grown hairs.

Depilatories

What's the deal: A depilatory cream will dissolve hairs just below the skin's surface.

What's good: The smoothness lasts slightly longer than shaving, and it's particularly handy for the bikini line.

What's a drag: Most creams still have that underlying smell of rotten eggs. Plus, some skins react to the chemicals in the creams.

Works best: When removed with a flannel, which doubles as an exfoliator, and helps to nip those ingrown hairs in the bud.

Bleaching

What's the deal: You bleach the dark pigment out of the hairs. This can be a more carefree alternative to other forms of hair removal.

What's good: It lasts two to three weeks, until the hair drops out - but it can actually last longer if the hair is exposed to sun (sometimes six to eight weeks).

What's a drag: It can sensitize skin (and skins being treated with Roaccutane, Retin-A and AHAs are no-gos). And it's not advised for dark skins - unless you want a coating of white or yellow fuzz.

Works best: On fair skins and shorter, thinner hairs. It's also great for the stomach and thighs.

Hairy Issues

Let's get to the roots of all evil to make sure that all your hairy dilemmas are (un)covered.

Nipple Hairs: No, it's not just you that has them! Stray, dark nipple hairs are actually a very common phenomenon. All you need to do is pluck them out - but do so very carefully, to avoid the problem of ingrowns. If they're not too dark, simply trim the hair off at the surface of the skin, with a pair of curved nail scissors.

Snail Trail: There's nothing you want to see less above your hipsters than a line of dark hair. If you're fair-skinned and have medium-hued hair - or only a few dark ones - bleaching will airbrush it out. Depilatory cream and waxes are also safe to use on this area.

Furry Arms: They're a fact of life for many women, particularly those with Mediterranean backgrounds. Some (like Penelope Cruz, no less), see their hairy arms as being natural and very sexy, but for others they're a major issue. If so, bleaching these hairs is a cinch - but is only effective on light skins and fairer hairs - otherwise, an at-home or salon wax is your best sleeveless bet.

Toe Tufts: Why spoil the effect of those meticulous pedicures and summer's sexy sandals with... hair toes? De-fuzz your digits by shaving or waxing with cold-wax strips.

Follicle Flare-Ups: Follicles aren't always too happy about having their hairs ripped out and can sometimes flare up in response. When you get these pimply-looking spots, resist all temptations to pick, squeeze and exfoliate, which could lead to further infection. Instead, use an antiseptic cream or lotion until the skin calms down.

Stubborn Ingrowns: You go to all that de-fuzzing effort and... all you get are in-grown hairs! If you're ingrown-prone, you're probably not exfoliating properly, so start to dry body brush and shower-scrub regularly (keep this up post-wax, but go gently). Regular moisturizing will also help. You do all this and still get the bumps? Either go back to your beauty therapist, who should lance out the trapped hair for you at no cost, or treat it yourself with a dead-cell dissolving lotion (anything with salicylic acid in it should do the trick). When the hair starts to peep out from the bump, carefully flick it out with sterilized tweezers, and dab on antiseptic.

Face Facts

Got a five o'clock shadow to rival your man's? Here are a few face-saving solutions...

"Witchy" hairs: Tweezers can be employed on finer hairs but if the strands are dark and coarse, plucking could lead to ingrowns. In this case, brace yourself for electrolysis. If the hair sprouts from moles, see a doctor.

Major mo: If the hairs aren't too dark and your skin is fair, you can bleach them. Wax is best left to salon therapists, unless you're really confident (in which case, use cool wax strips, or a sensitive-skin hot wax).

Bushy brows: Get a professional shaping from the start. After that, if you're happy with the line, you can maintain it at home by regularly tweezing the regrowth.

"Peach-fuzz" face: De-fuzzing strategies include using facial depilatories and pre-waxed strips. But these methods generally have fast regrowth; you may want to consider longer-lasting methods (laser or electrolysis).

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14 comments:

Dorothy L said...

I love your post. I have tried it all and have returned to the good old razor. I have though learned many tricks just as you have written in your post on how to bypass a lot of the old side effects of the razors edge:)

Nair is actually not too bad either as long as you follow the directions completely:)

reyapot said...

hi,this is nice... very informative.. thanks!

thanks for visiting my blog! see u again!

caloy said...

and also.. forgot to tell u, i like your blog's layout... :-)

Hi! I'm Grace said...

This is another great post, Pu Niao.
Thanks for sharing this to us. :)

nurseabie said...

A great post. Thank you for sharing.. We could exchange links if you want..
http://nurseabie.blogspot.com
Thanks.

♥peachkins♥ said...

Hi. I'm wanting to have a laser hair removal but is afraid of what might happen because there are lots of accidents..

Juliet said...

hello! thanks for the visit. have a nice day :-)

Lisa said...

Nice post!!!, anyway thanks for the visit..have a great day

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reanaclaire said...

great info over here..

doi said...

great post! very informative!

I am Xprosaic said...

Thanks again for the visit!

secretadmirer said...

Nice blog here, how are you, its blog walking happy weekend...

Bogie's Wonderland said...

hello there.. thanks for sharing this one.

 

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