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Hair Removal: Three Alternatives to Shaving

Posted by Tasha | Tuesday July 19, 201112 comments
Every summer we must face the hard truth that hairy legs are socially unacceptable. We've talked about home hair removal methods before but shaving and taking care of the hair at home can add a lot of time to your morning prep routine. It turns out hair removal doesn't have to be a daily chore. If you have that situation taken care of at a spa, you’re hair removal woes are narrowed down to once a month. Here’s a look at three alternatives to shaving. 

The most common, and fairly painful, method of hair removal is relatively straightforward. Hot wax is spread on the parts of your body you'd like to be hair-free, the esthetician applies the strip, smoothes it out and then rips it off. Everything about that experience sounds painful, but it’s also effective for both large areas like legs, arms and stomachs, and small areas like eyebrows and your bikini line. And after a few trips to the salon, I'm assured you get used to it. 

This treatment is available at Ritual Spa and Lily of the Valley in Toronto and Eveline Charles Salons out West. 

Body Sugaring
This treatment, sometimes called Persian waxing, is less painful than the traditional wax. The practice started in Egypt hundreds of years ago. The sugar, lemon and water mixture attaches to the hair alone, rather than the skin. It’s heated to a lukewarm temperature to prevent any burning.  The esthetician then rips the sugar off in the direction the hair grows in so there’s no need to worry about nasty-red ingrown hair. 

Body sugar has the consistency of Silly Putty, so that the esthetician can get a very precise application and remove hair with or without strips. Here’s a bonus, sugaring also exfoliates your skin, removing the dead cells and leaving your skin super soft and hair free. Think of it as a two-for-one deal. 

This treatment is available at Esthetics by Gilla in Ottawa, Gimme Some Sugar Body Sugaring in Calgary and Sugar Moon Salon in Toronto. 

Laser Hair Removal
According to The Skin Care Guide, laser hair removal aims a high concentration of light at the root of the hair. It targets the melanin, but doesn’t affect the surrounding skin. While most laser clinic claim it feels like tiny elastics constantly flicking at your skin, I know from experience it hurts much much less than waxing. I personally couldn’t keep myself from laughing, the overly ticklish person that I am. 

This treatment is effective, but you have to be willing to shell out for it, it takes 4-8 treatments every four weeks to finally remain hair free. The strange thing is, some clinics request you shave the area you want to remove first. Skeptics will think “won’t that make it grow in thicker?” but the truth is, that hair will fall out in a matter of days so there’s nothing to worry about. 

This treatment is available at Sanctuary Day Spas across the GTA, Electra Laser in Vancouver and Advanced Laser in Ottawa. 

We told you how to get rid of it, but do you have any tips for pre- and post- hair removal care? 
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on July 19, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

Amazon.com is a great place for many products, and that's where I bought my epilator (I think it was also around $50). I know that more and more of the Amazon retailers are shipping to Canada now so you could always check it out!

eBay is another great place (obv!) to pick up new stuff cheap but the prices are very hit and miss.

on July 19, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

I use the epilator for legs, at home wax for under arms and go to a professional for the bikini area. It really depends on your comfort level and what your hair situation is like. If you have courser hair, waxing the delicate bikini area yourself will likely lead to injury unless you really know what you're doing. The epilator can be used there but I'd worry about ingrowns. If you have lighter hair, you can probably wax or epilate it all.

on July 19, 2011  Becky  13,068 said:

Have you ladies noticed that something that cost $120 at the Bay cost about $50 elsewhere? I literally saw a Pyrex storage set that I bought for $25 (from Walmart) for $99 at Bay. It was the same thing. Same exact thing. Same number of containers, lids, sizes, etc. No joke.

So I know I can probably pick up the Braun epilator at the Bay, but do you ladies know of anywhere cheaper?

on July 19, 2011  shiorim  982 said:

I love sugaring! The first time you do it (depending on what parts you get done) will hurt and you may get a little bit of redness, but after that you get used to it and I hardly get any irritation from it. Plus it hurts but not because its ripping at your skin (just getting all the nasty hairs).

on July 19, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

On the topic of Epilators: Ali and I are big epilator fans and both own Braun epilators.

The honest truth is that the first several times hurt. However, if you've been waxing prior to trying the epilator, you get off scot-free because your hair is not only thinner and sparser, but you're used to the sensation of hair pulling out. If you've been shaving or using depilatory creams, you're in for a bit of a rough start.

However, it is very very worthwhile. As Becky says, the key to continued success is exfoliating. I need to improve my habits in that area because I forget constantly so have little bumps where ingrowns happen. Of all the methods of hair removal I've tried (and I have tried them all except for laser), epilating is the worst for ingrowns because it removes only the hair and not the top layer of skin like waxing does.

However, this is a good thing because if you have a tan, epilating will not remove the upper layers of golden skin. For facial hair, this can be a very good thing because post wax you might have a paler upper lip where the wax pulled off the tanned skin. I heard someone on the radio call it a ___ mustache (can't remember the name??).

This is the Braun product Ali and I both have (she has an older model, I have a newer one that has a light - GET THIS ONE!!):

Here are several forum threads with tips:

Good luck!

on July 19, 2011  takoda  28,497 said:

I found this home made sugaring stuff on line if anyone would like to give it
a go at home and save some money.


I had an epilator years ago, but always got in ground hairs so I stopped
using it. It did hurt when I first started using it, but after awhile
that went away and the ingrown hairs started.

Now I just use my Venus rasor.

on July 19, 2011  Becky  13,068 said:

I'm totally hair free for at least 2 weeks, and I start getting some wispy bits around the end of the 3rd week. It does hurt, but it's more scary than painful. The hardest part is to put all those whirring blades near your skin, but once you get over the first bit and put it on and get the first few hairs out, you'll find it hurts less (and gets less scary). What I usually do is use those veet wax strips on a little bit of my leg just to get a smack of pain going on, and then use the epilator so it's less scary and seems to hurt less.

It actually takes me a LONG time to do. Partly because my epilator isn't the greatest, mostly because I'm chicken.

on July 19, 2011  takoda  28,497 said:

I was wondering if it is possible to make your own sugaring stuff. It
sounds like it would be easy enough to make at home and a lot less
costly. I'm a big baby when it comes to waxing, I have enough pain in my
life with out causing myself more. LOL

on July 19, 2011  TammyK  1,073 said:

I hate waxing and shaving gets annoying so I'm starting my treatments of laser hair removal. I've only had one treatment so far so I don't really notice any difference but I'm excited to see how it'll turn out.

on July 19, 2011  TashaZ  58 said:

@Becky, how long does the epilator keep you hair free? I've always wanted to try one. Also, I've tried all three of the above and honest to goodness sugaring is my favourite. No ingrowns :)

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