Ladies (and honestly men too) let’s talk hair removal.
Over the past couple of years, as I have been growing my online passion, I have been exploring the world of social media and blogging and all the “hot topics.” I love seeing what people are passionate enough to talk about and what they love to learn about. These topics, for example, are about weight loss and weight gain, healthy foods, fad diets, “clean” living, skincare, and so much more. Something I have noticed that is rarely talked about: body hair. I have seen Instagrammers and YouTubers talk about the hair products they use in order to keep the hair on their head shiny and fresh, but what about the hair everywhere else on their bodies? I’m not talking about eyebrows here. I’m talking thick arm hair, dark armpits, and hair on your legs so long that you can see it a mile away.
As a disclaimer: you should NEVER feel that you have to remove your body hair to please anyone else or fit into any standards set by society. Your body, your hair, your decisions. If you want to have hairy armpits, YOU DO YOU, live your best life. I just want to inform you guys about the options out there if you are interested in removing the extra hair on your body. For me, it was never about anybody else and what they thought of me and my body. This process was for ME. It was about being confident in my own body and my own skin. I didn’t need approval from anyone else and truthfully I didn’t care what they thought about my lower back hair. I just got to the point where I was finding myself paying endless money for sometimes painful hair removal for very short periods of time. I was going through razors like candy, getting razor burn, dealing with ingrown hairs, hair that would grow back in less than an hour, and in return, I would end up more self conscious then when I started. So let me tell you my story with hair removal, what I’ve learned about hair, all about the pain and money, and hopefully educate you on the different options you have! I am not certified in any way to tell you about the options with scientific evidence, but I have done just about every hair “procedure” in order to feel comfortable with myself so I feel confident that I have enough knowledge to get you started on your hair removal journey.
RAZORS and SHAVING
To be honest, I can’t even remember the first time I used a razor. I just knew that I was growing leg hair like it was my job and wearing shorts made me uncomfortable. I might have been in fifth grade, but even then I didn’t love the extra hair I was growing. So, my mom taught me how to use a razor, and I have never looked back. To this day, I shave my legs a few times a week and the hair never ceases to grow back just the same and just as fast.
How it works: shaving basically cuts the hair at skin level. So you use a sharp blade, and that blade slices past the hair at the skin surface, obviously not cutting the skin, but just cutting the hair. This method of hair removal is great because it’s painless and the result is immediate. However, you might find yourself shaving way more than you’d like. For me, that silky smooth feeling lasts all of a few hours. And if I get goose bumps, even less time until prickly porcupine town. Something else you might not notice is that price. A two pack of a quality razor can be 9 dollars. Let’s say you’re using those two razors a month, that can add up to over 100 dollars a year. Which in the grand scheme of things, 100 dollars isn’t crazy, but shaving that often can drive you insane. Especially when I started shaving other parts of my body (ok ladies) I went nuts. I’d have to run home early before going to the pool to make sure I wasn’t going to be uncomfortable. Then I’d shave fast, end up with razor burn, and be even more uncomfortable then when I started. Basically, shaving is great for the short term, but if you’re looking for longer lasting options, let’s move on.
Fun fact, I started waxing my legs way before I started shaving or waxing any other part of my body. I’d like to think I have a decently high pain tolerance, but no part of waxing is fun or enjoyable.
Let me break it down for you: you can do it yourself, but either way, you pay for some sort of waxing material. Hot wax is applied to your skin and it clings to the hairs on that part of your body. When the wax is removed, aka ripped off your body, the hairs are stuck to the wax, pulling the hair away from the root. Hair regrowth is supposed to be softer and the results last longer. My experience with wax is just not pleasant. You’re applying HOT wax to your body which can hurt on its own, as you apply it, the wax is pulling the air, and then you have to rip it off, literally pulling the hair out of your skin. When I did my legs, it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. When I was getting ready for beach season, I thought I was going to pass out. Girls, we know how sensitive that part of our body is, but then we put steamy wax on it and have someone rip our hairs out. Written down it doesn’t sound fun and in reality, it sucks. I never saw less hair growth either. There are definitely positives and negatives to this procedure so let me share those so you can make your own calculated decision if this is something you’re interested in:
Positive: definitely that the hair grows out much slower. You can get waxed and expect a week or two of smooth skin, and then it slowly grows back. You may find it to be a little thinner than before (but again, I never saw this result.) You have no chance of cutting yourself, like with a razor, and no chance for razor burn. You also almost eliminate the possibility for ingrown hairs which is a blessing.
Negative: it can be painful! If you have sensitive skin, the heat can really irritate your skin. You also have to wait pretty long in between sessions so the hair is long enough to pull out. So while you have some time of smooth, hairless skin, you also have this awkward period of longer hairs that you can’t remove until your next waxing appointment. Finally, the price! Waxing for a full Brazilian can cost upwards of 50 dollars. Let’s say you’re getting waxed every 6 weeks or once a month, you can end up paying 600 dollars or more a year. Again, for feeling comfortable in your body, pay whatever the heck you want! But, the pain wasn’t worth the price for me.
Out of all the options I am discussing in this post, this one is definitely the least invasive and the least painful. When we talk about hair removal we always think about legs, armpits, and most likely bikini area. As someone with an ethnic background, I am naturally more hairy than most, which means I have hair where some women do not. Something I am the most self conscious about is the hair on my happy trail; the hair around my belly button and down the middle of stomach. The hair is long, thick, and black. Shaving it just makes it worse to be honest, and waxing was so uncomfortable. I always had a skin reaction after I attempted to wax it so I needed a different approach. This is when I tried bleaching!
How it works: it’s basically a cream or liquid of some sort that you cover the hair with, let it sit, and the chemicals react with your hair to strip the dark color and turn it that blonde color which makes it less visible and noticeable. There’s really no pain involved, but it can irritate your skin and make it a little uncomfortable while it’s happening
I did this for about 2 years! It was nice because I would buy a box of body bleach, for about 6 dollars, and I could use the same box about three times. I would bleach the hair about once a month or when I noticed the bleach was starting to fade out and the dark hair was really showing. The entire process took 20 minutes from start to finish and I was left with very light hair that you couldn’t see unless I was really standing in the light. This didn’t solve my problem exactly, but it was cheap and easy! I recommend this type of hair “removal” for small areas that you just want to cover a little, like the happy trail!
LASER HAIR REMOVAL
Before I jump into the last form of laser hair removal I feature in this post, I want to say that there are other options available, some I have even tried myself. I didn’t find them worth mentioning because I honestly hated them so I wouldn’t recommend. Maybe those options work great for you, but I want to dive into laser hair removal because it’s something I’m passionate about.
I was born to two Israeli parents with naturally darker and thicker hair. For my head and brows, I have zero complaints. I am blessed with a thick head of curly hair and nice eyebrows and I am so thankful. HOWEVER, this means I have an insane amount of hair everywhere else you can think of. Even when I was really young, I was never happy with it and I wanted to find a solution. I wanted to do something that would get rid of the hair for a very long time, if not forever, so I could get past this hump in my anxiety and live my life. When I was 15 years old I found laser hair removal and it changed my life. I did so much research on the process of laser, where to get it, who to trust, and what it can do for my way of life. I’m sure you know it can be pricey, so let me break it down for you so you can see it’s worth.
How it works: in the simplest of terms, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the hair follicles that produce these hairs. This damage basically prevents or delays future hair growth. So imagine a flower in the ground. If you took a pair of scissors and cut it on the stem, that would be like shaving. If you pulled it from it’s root, the space for the flower to grow is still there, but it would take longer to grow back, like waxing. Now imagine that you pull the flower out, but then also go into the ground where it grew from and completely destroyed the area. This flower may never grow back because you destroyed it’s home, like laser.
So after so much research, I found WIFH in Atlanta, Georgia. The people seemed nice, the location looked clean, and I felt comfortable. I went with my mom on day one and I was SO ready to get rid of my body hair. I wanted to start with a place on my body that everyone saw so I was very self conscious of: my arms. I spoke to the team and they deemed me perfect for laser hair removal.
What does “perfect for laser hair removal” mean? Dark hair! The laser is attracted to the dark pigment in your hair. So when you have dark hair, the laser is more likely to take. It’s also better if you have lighter skin so they can use a higher setting on the laser for the hair and not burn the skin. But, they do have different types of lasers for people with darker skin, so don’t worry about that! The only people laser might not work for are the people with blonde hair so be aware of that before making your decision. To talk more about laser I figured I would just answer some commonly asked questions from my Instagram. If you have any more, feel free to comment and let me know 🙂
Does it hurt? Like I said earlier, I have a decently high pain tolerance. I have never found laser hair removal to be painful at all, but sometimes can be a little uncomfortable. At this point in my life I have done laser hair removal on my arms, armpits, lower back, butt, full abs, and Brazilian so I feel pretty secure in saying that I’ve tried it all over my body and I can say what it feels like in different areas. When I got my arms and lower back done, I literally felt nothing. No joke, they might as well have not been touching me. My armpits, butt, and abs were a little more sensitive, but nothing unmanageable. It kind of felt like little pokes. It’s hard to explain, but it’s such a small pain and it only lasts for half a second that it’s over before you can even think about it. The last was the Brazilian and it was where I felt the most uncomfortable, but still NOT BAD at all. The only part where I really felt those little pokes was the upper area, closer to my lower belly, but that’s it. In this case, I say the pain is worth the gain. In waxing, I felt so much pain and I was so uncomfortable. This was so quick and painless in comparison that I find it worth it.
Is it safe? Does it leave a mark or cause a reaction? Again, I have no in depth knowledge of the history of laser. I assume with most anything, there might be side affects. I have had absolutely zero, not even an ingrown hair. I have felt no post procedure pain, no skin reactions, nothing. Sometimes you’re left with little brown circles which are known as hyper-pigmentation. Hyper-pigmentation is the temporary darkening of the skin. This can occur in lighter skinned patients if they have had sun exposure and their skin is tan. This is rare! It sounds terrifying, but I promise it’s not. I have had those a couple of times; I felt no pain while they happened and they were gone within a day or two.
How much does it cost? How many appointments do you get? This is probably the most common question I get, and truth is, it depends on the place, but it can get pricey. There are hundreds of places that have groupons for cheaper deals and discounts, but I wanted to go to a place I trusted fully which is why I chose WIFH. You can check out their website for more exact prices, but the bigger the area, the more it will cost! They have packages so when you get one area, another may be cheaper, so just do a little research and stay up to date. When I got my Brazilian, I paid around 1000 which included the entire happy trail and a little around it too. For 1,000 dollars I get 8 sessions, which allows the laser to work through the hair cycles and regrowth, and then I’m left with basically no hair. No more shaving, waxing, bleaching. Just a hairless gal with a smile on her face.
Is it permanent? The simple answer is laser hair removal provides long lasting hair reduction because the destroyed hair follicles do not regenerate. You will never get rid of 100% of your hair follicles, but laser hair removal offers dramatic hair reduction that lasts.
To end this long post all about body hair, I just want to say that there are SO many different options out there and not one is right or wrong. Just find the option that works best for you and stick with it. Personally, I have fallen in love with laser hair removal. I felt that I was investing this money in myself right now and I won’t have to worry about it later. When I got my happy trail done, I literally cried tears of joy. I have been crazy self conscious of this part of my body for longer than I can remember and it’s amazing to let that part of me just go! The freedom I feel right now is worth any price tag, even if it’s something as seemingly minuscule as body hair.