Complete hair removal guide: methods and precautions to take
Discover the advantages and recommendations for the most common hair removal methods and types used by women.
If you want to keep your skin smooth and hair-free, there are several hair removal options. The method used will depend on the type of hair and your beauty routine. Tatiana Jerez, a dermatologist and member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology, explains that although identical terms are often used to refer to them, there are two categories of techniques: epilation and depilation.
"Depilation consists of removing the visible, outer part of the hair. Razors, depilatory creams and scissors are depilatory methods," explains the dermatologist. She goes on to say that the process of removing all the hair from the root is called epilation and this includes waxing, tweezers, lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices. Both categories are effective and the choice will depend personal preference.
Daily care for epilated skin
All types of epilation and depilation can cause minor irritation. This is why it is important to apply moisturising care to combat these factors.
"To make hair extraction easier, it is a good idea to lightly exfoliate the area to be epilated once a week, this also helps to avoid ingrown hairs. However, make sure you don't exfoliate the day before epilation to avoid over-sensitizing the skin", advises Silmara Hoepers, a Cosmetology lecturer at the University of Vale di Itajaí (Univali) in Santa Catarina.
"Also avoid exposing the epilated area to the sun for 24 hours to prevent the appearance of blemishes. "After epilation, it is advisable to massage a soothing product to the epilated skin", concludes Léia Salesfrom Scenario Beauty Salon in São Paulo.
Advantages of each hair removal method
Professor Silmara and beautician Léia explain the advantages of the techniques most frequently used by women.
A favourite with Brazilian women. "Hot wax causes the pores to dilate slightly, making it easier to remove the hair. It is recommended for sensitive areas and thick hair. Cold wax is more suitable for long hair in resistant areas, such as arms or legs, as it adheres strongly to the skin", Silmara points out.
If you opt for hot wax, make sure the equipment used is hygienic. "Wax must not be reused, to avoid the risk of infection" explains Léia.
Cheap and painless, razors cut the hair at the base without damaging the root. As a result, hairs grow back quickly. "Women can use this method all over their body, except on the face" , says Silmara.
To protect the epidermis when you shave, our expert suggests applying a moisturising cream before you begin depilation, holding the razor firmly and shaving in the direction of the hair growth. Keep an eye on how long you have been using the razor: ideally, change the blade after three uses.
Suitable for all skin types and allows hairs to be removed one by one. Beautician Léia says this is the best way to finish and perfect hair removal on small areas and to tidy up eyebrows. Because it involves hair by hair removal, this technique takes longer and is more painful.
4. Depilatory cream
This is a DIY solution for last-minute hair removal."It's a chemical process that is applied to the skin. The cream removes the hair close to the root", explains Léia. It is critical to test a small area of your skin before applying the product to larger areas. If you notice any irritation, do not use the product.
This technique, invented in Eastern countries, is carried out with a 100% polyester thread that pulls the hair out by friction; it is more suited to the face and neck area. "One of its positive points is that it removes hair without altering the structure of the skin. In addition, it extracts all types of hair, from the finest to the thickest", Silmara explains.
6. Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
These methods are considered to be effective given how long they last; they can sometimes even be permanent. Nevertheless, Silmara explains that this technique is recommended for areas with darker hairs and preferably for lighter skins as "on white or blond hairs, the light emitted is not attracted in the same way, making it hard to achieve the desired effect [hair removal]".