Get summer ready: Our smooth skin guide to hair removal
Summer is the season of shorts and sundresses, meaning legs are bound to be on display, and for most women, smooth skin is the name of the game. When it comes to hair removal, the possibilities today are endless – but how do you know which method is for you?
It turns out, it’s not necessarily one size fits all, although the majority of us will want a painless, affordable and effective solution for bikini season. Let’s face it; nobody wants to have to worry about underarm fuzz whilst away on a summer holiday, so we’ve rounded up all the need-to-know information for you to help you towards finding your perfect match.
Still the most common means of hair removal, the razor provides a cheap, easy and convenient option, and can be stowed in your handbag for touch-ups at a moment’s notice, should they be required. But shaving is also provides the shortest lasting results, and women with thicker, coarser body hair may find themselves having to shave on almost a daily basis.
Regrowth of hairs can bring itchiness in all the wrong places; let’s face it, nobody wants to be scratching their bikini line whilst lounging by the pool! Razor rash can also be a problem, particularly for those taking a dip in the sea shortly after their morning shave.
However, done right, shaving can provide a simple solution, and for those with finer or sparser hairs, it does a fine job of keeping body hair at bay. Soak skin in warm water for a few minutes and shave with the grain and then again against for the smoothest results – and be sure to exfoliate and moisturise regularly to keep skin smooth.
Try the Gillette Venus Swirl Razor, which boasts a flexible head to fit to bodily contours, and water-activated MoistureGlide™ serum for incredible glide
Epilation is a great choice for those in search of longer lasting results, but have neither the time nor the inclination to pay costly and time consuming repeat visits to the salon.
Keeping you hair free for up to four weeks, epilation works by gently plucking the hair from the root with a series of tiny tweezers that can pick up hairs as short as 0.5mm long.
Of course, it is not the most painless option, but epilators have come a long way since the early days, making it an easily bearable process if done right. Hold the skin taut, and tackle a small area at a time. Softer areas such as the bikini line and underarms can be especially uncomfortable, so it’s a method we would recommend reserving for legs.
Start by epilating every couple of days for two weeks, for smooth skin that lasts for up to a month afterwards. For a more gentle experience, choose an epilator that can be used in and out of the shower, such as the Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa. The warm water opens pores, and loosens the hair follicles so the hairs come out more easily. The Braun SkinSpa also has interchangeable exfoliating heads, which help achieve best results by lifting the hairs away from the skin’s surface.
If you suffer from sensitive skin, then epilation is a better choice for you than shaving, as there is little chance of irritation – though again, be sure to exfoliate and moisturise regularly to minimise the chance of developing nasty ingrowing hairs.
The best thing? Any discomfort whilst epilating will diminish with regular use. Don’t be put off after just one go, as the chances are, the worst of it will already be behind you.
For those with coarser, thicker body hair that grows back quickly, it may be worth in investing in a longer lasting solution, and IPL systems such as the Braun Silk-Expert IPL are a good investment, offering permanent visible hair removal.
IPL stands for “intense-pulsed light”, and the device emits pulses of light that target the melanin in the hair follicle beneath the surface of the skin. The Braun Silk-expert IPL features intelligent SensoAdapt™ technology which continually reads and adapts to your skin tone throughout use, and emits gentle pulses of light tailored to your individual needs.
When used over a period, the pulses disrupt growth so much that the hairs stop growing back entirely, and some women see a change in hair growth after just four weeks of treatments.
A good choice for those with sensitive skin, the IPL treatment can be quickly and conveniently completed at home – just use it weekly for the first four weeks, then top up on a monthly basis to keep skin hair free.
To use the Braun Silk-Expert IPL, simply turn on the device and place it against an area of shaved skin. Wait for the white lights to light up on the side, indicating that the gadget is in full contact with skin, hold down the middle button, and wait for a flash of light. Move the device up onto the next area, and repeat, covering all parts of the target area just once.
This particular tool is great for larger areas like the legs and underarms, but can be difficult to use on the bikini line – and thanks to the bright flashes of light it emits, use on the face is best avoided.
Devices that use diode laser technology offer permanent hair removal – not just reduction. It’s the perfect solution for those who want to get rid of their body hair once and for all – and best of all, there are now devices on the market that can be used on every part of the body, making permanently smooth bikini lines and upper lips a reality.
Diode Lasers produce a single spectrum of intensely concentrated pure light in one single red colour and wavelength. The laser precisely targets the dark pigment (melanin) in your hair follicle in order to heat the follicle, disabling its ability to regrow hair without heating the surrounding skin.
The laser beam allows for very deep, more powerful and precise penetration as the energy is targeted directly to the hair follicle, achieving accurate, permanent results. Once the hair follicle has been disabled, it loses its ability to regrow hair.
With devices such as the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, you can control the intensity of the treatment, so there is always a gentler option. Even on the highest level, the discomfort is little more than a warm, prickling sensation, but you will find that some parts of the body are more able to withstand this than others.
The Tria Hair Removal Precision Laser is a great option for those who endure a constant battle with unwanted hair on the upper lip or chin, as its small surface area means it can easily treat these areas. Unlike the IPL system, it doesn’t emit a flash of light, either, making it a safer choice for use on the face.
It is also an easier choice for those wanting to maintain a Brazilian (or to treat a larger portion of the bikini area), fitting easily into and around the curves and contours of the body thanks to its small head.
For best results, use the devices fortnightly for three months. Because diode laser technology is proven to permanently remove hair, users may find they can stop regular treatments all together after 3-6 months, while others may require the occasional top up to maintain results.
Still undecided which method is for you? If you’re thinking of investing in a hair removal device, then we’re reviewing the very best on the market. Check out our in-depth write-ups of the Tria Hair Removal Laser Precision and Braun Silk Epil 9 Wet & Dry Epilator, and stay tuned for more. Next up, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Braun Silk-Expert IPL and Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X.