top of page


Before you shave, tweeze or wax, read these must-know hair-removal facts

By Mary Rose Almasi


Every summer, it happens. Women are faced with the inevitable (and unavoidable) dilemma of hair removal. With teeth clenched, they have their body hair yanked, pilled, stripped, shaved or blasted with electrical currents—all so they can bare their bodied on the beach of their legs in a skirt of shorts. Read on to help make it easier (and a little less painful). You may even discover a method that’s better for you.

  1. When it comes to razors, the sharper the blade, the less risk of nicks. Microscopic dings occur on the blade with every use, increasing a blade’s friction on the skin, which ups your chance of getting cut. Stay sharp by changing blades every three of four uses. (If you can’t remember the last time you changed your blade, it’s time to toss it).

  2. Electrolysis is the only permanent method of hair removal. It’s expensive ($1 per minute or more) and time consuming (it takes at least eight 15-minute sessions—for the upper lip alone), but electrolysis remains the only permanent hair-removal method available. (Because it is so time consuming, it’s not ideal for large areas like legs.) But for at least two days afterward, you must stay out the sun and avoid moisturizers or cleansers with alpha-hydroxy acids or glycolic acid, which can sting traumatized hair follicles. Several things can take the sting out of hair removal. 1%-hydrocortisone cream afterward can reduce inflammation and redness. Also, taking ibuprofen 15 minutes before hair-removal procedure can minimize pain and home remedies like applying an ice pack on skin afterward can soothe any swelling.

  3. Lasers (still) aren’t permanent. No matter what the claims are, no existing type of laser can stunt hair growth forever. Still, it you’re willing to pay the high cost (laser hair removal on legs can cost a few thousand dollars) you can get a hair-free summer out of it. (It lasts no longer than three months). Plus, the hair that grows back may be finer and lighter, says New York dermatologist Harvey Jay, M.D. But don’t wax or pluck six weeks before. Both pull out the hair shaft, making the laser (which is absorbed by the hair in the follicle, temporarily disabling it) much less effective.

  4. The key to foiling ingrown hairs is exfoliation, exfoliation, and exfoliation. The best thing you can do to prevent ingrown hairs, say experts, is daily exfoliation, especially in the bikini line. It keeps follicles clear and open by sloughing away pore-clogging dead-skin cells, preventing hairs from getting trapped underneath. Use a loofah, a gentle skin scrub or a salicylic-acid-based toner or lotion. But, since acids may sting, don’t use them immediately after removing hair.

bottom of page