sophie didn't do anything at all.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

/ beauty / shaving vs waxing

Hair removal is one of the banes of my life. Seriously. I have tried most low budget solutions, and sometimes just want to be a boy. But not really.

I also made a video, but here's the post to work through at your own leisure.

The science
Before we get down to it's removal, I thought it was important to go over the boring sciencey bits. Hair grows everywhere (apart from the obvious places; soles of the feet, palms of the hands, lips and eyelids etc.), and the density of the hair varies from person to person. The growth phase of body hair is much shorter than that of the hair on your head (a few months) which is why it is shorter.

When you shave, you are cutting the hair at the surface of the skin, often at a sharp angle. The hair that pushes through the skin is therefore 'thicker' because it hasn't been worn down or softened from being exposed. Shaving can last a couple of days - but as the hair was essentially at the surface anyway you can normally feel it within the day.

Waxing (as with epilating) pulls the hair out from a lot lower down the hair shaft, sometimes taking the entire follicle out. Waxing actually damages the hair follicles under the skin, so over time as you wax more, the hair will grow back less and less (sometimes even a lighter colour and thinner). When you remove hair through waxing, results can last up to several weeks as it takes longer to grow back.

My experiences
I have never tried the whole hairy woman look, and don't intend to. I pluck my eyebrows and pretty much wax or epilate the rest of my body.

When I was younger I used to use a Venus disposable razor - something with one of those moisturising blocks. I was bloody useless and would often end up with cuts all over my ankles and knees - just didn't have the patience. As much as I wanted perfectly smooth legs (and elsewhere) shaving it every 2-3 days was not the best solution. Not only did I make a horrific mess in the shower with those shaving foam products - it also took me forever and I was always missing patches. Hopeless child. 

At somepoint around the age of 16 I came to my senses and realised I needed to find a solution. A friend recommended a local salon for waxing, and on a whim I decided to give it a go. At the time I was performing in a pantomime (..) so went for the whole shabang - full leg, bikini and underarm wax. Essentially naked, the woman assured me the process wouldn't hurt and that I would leave there feeling fabulous. Forty minutes of gritting my teeth later I felt slightly sad. My skin was sore, I'd had to endure a long torturous session and it was slightly awkward.

By the time I got home however, all was forgotten. Inspecting my completely smooth skin I was pleasantly surprised and felt it had been worth it. Sure, at the time it's a bit uncomfortable but being able to experience complete all over hairlessness for 2-4 weeks was amazing. 

Five years later I'm still an avid 'waxer'. I don't own, nor do I intend to, a razor and will continue with this treatment until I can afford a more permanent solution. I have already started to notice the hairs growing back finer and in fewer numbers - fingers crossed this continues!

With waxing it is important to remember that you do need to let the hairs grow sufficiently long enough to get a good grip on each one. That is probably the main downside, along with cost.... but lets not talk about how much money I spend on beauty products. 

Silk Epil Epilator

As an attempt to save money, I bought an epilator (not that exact one but it's close). Wow. Let me just clarify that epilators remove hair by grasping multiple ones and pulling them out. So obviously I just jumped in there and went for it. As a substitute for waxing it does the job, but IT HURTS MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE. After a few attempts I realised the best solution would be to epilate after waxing to prolong the effects, especially because there aren't so many hairs to pull out. 

After the epilator thing went so well, I bought a waxing kit. That also went splendidly. It is so hard to completely wax your own legs - underarms are a maybe and the bikini line requires some determination but its a really stressful and messy process. I wish I was a professionally trained beautician and had the waxing malarky down, but I don't, so I'm not sure why I thought DIY would work. 

Hair care
Waxing and shaving aftercare is exceptionally important if you want to avoid the infamous ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs occur where the hair curls back into the skin, mainly caused by hair which has been left with an uneven and sharp tip or pushed beneath the surface of the skin. 

To avoid them, you need to properly exfoliate - I use a scrubbing brush and sugar scrub, and moisturise regularly. If you wax, it can be necessary to use a spray or gel to help clear and prevent ingrown hairs - I'm currently using Lycon's Ingrown-X-it which is highly acidic... just be mindful when your skin is a bit sensitive.

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect solution, but seem to getting on okay so far!

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