Hair Removal – Pros and Cons
Hair Removal is a widely popular service, not only in the beauty world but also across different cultures and professions with a plethora of benefits to be experienced.
Hair removal techniques today are available in many forms offering temporary or permanent hair removal, to include, depilatory waxing and machines, sugaring, depilatory creams, abrasive mitts, shaving, plucking or tweezing, threading, and electrical current methods like Intensed Pulsed Light (IPL) and laser hair removal, to name a few.
Hair Removal Across the World
Forms of hair removal are practised for various and mostly cultural, sexual, medical or religious reasons – here are some we managed to dig up:
- Culture – In Middle Eastern societies, removal of the female body hair has been considered proper hygiene, necessitated by local customs, for many centuries. An increase in women wearing shorter dresses and swimsuits over the years has raised the practice of women removing unwanted body hair, such as on legs, underarms and elsewhere. People also remove some or all of their pubic hair for aesthetic or sexual reasons. Many men in Western cultures shave or wax their facial hair to achieve a clean-shaven or hairless look. Some men shave or wax because they cannot grow a “full” beard (generally defined as an even density from cheeks to neck), because their beard colour is different from their scalp hair colour, or because their facial hair grows in many directions, making a groomed look difficult. Some men shave or wax because their beards are very coarse, causing itchiness and irritation. Some men are known to eliminate or trim pubic hair, a practice that is referred to as “manscaping” (a portmanteau expression for male-specific grooming); this custom can be motivated by reasons of potentially increased cleanliness and hygiene, heightened enjoyment during fellatio and analingus, and/or the desire to take on a more youthful appearance.
- For professional footballers, road cyclists and swimmers – The absence of the leg hair means the injuries (usually skin rash or scarring) can be cleaned up more efficiently, and treatment is not impeded in the case of a crash or tackle. Professional cyclists, as well as professional footballers also receive regular leg massages, and the absence of hair reduces the friction and increases their comfort and effectiveness. It is also common for competitive swimmers to shave hair off their legs, arms, and torsos, to reduce drag and provide a heightened “feel” for the water by removing the exterior layer of skin along with the body hair.
- In the military – A close-cropped or completely shaven haircut is common in military organisations preventing the infestation of lice, ticks, and fleas. It is also more difficult for an enemy to grab hold of a soldier’s hair in hand-to-hand combat. In addition, short hair makes fitting gas masks and helmets easier. The practice also serves to cultivate a group oriented environment through the process of removing exterior signs of individuality. In many military, head-shaving is mandatory for males when beginning their training. Armies may also require males to maintain clean-shaven faces as facial hair can prevent an air-tight seal between the face and breathing or safety equipment, such as a pilot’s oxygen mask, a diver’s mask, or a soldier’s gas mask.
- Medical reasons – Surgical patients are required to have no hair in areas to be treated before surgery in attempts to eradicate lice and minimise body odour due to accumulation of odour-causing micro-organisms in hair. It is common for cancer patients to shave their heads even before starting chemotherapy as it often causes severe and irregular hair loss. In extreme situations people may need to remove all body hair to prevent or combat infestation by lice, fleas and other parasites. Such a practice was used, for example, in Ancient Egypt. Waxing offers expectant mothers an excellent hair removal method that acts as a preparatory step before child-birth with results that last for weeks after for peace-of-mind.
With permanent hair removal methods, regular visits are encouraged to effectively destroy the hair roots which are responsible for the growth of the hairs in the treated areas. Although permanent hair removal treatments like IPL provide faster permanent hair results, a course of treatments is usually recommended and can be quite expensive however competitively priced, with some salons and dermatologists requiring that hair is shaved or shortened in the areas to be treated.
Temporary hair removal treatments such as waxing and threading are the most widely available services on the high street offering cost effective treatments and convenience of use. Waxing and threading treatments remove hairs at their roots so the regrowth is of completely new hairs with soft, fine-tapered tips. Regrowth of hair can be expected again between 4-5 weeks.
Waxing and threading can also appear to reduce the quantity of hair growth due to the natural cyclical regrowth of the hair – this only means that the hair will not all grow back at the same time. Certain bodily changes such as ageing can result in permanent hair removal with waxing and threading.
We, at Endulge Therapy, aim to make your waxing experience as natural, and as pleasant as possible. We use award winning Outback Organics products for all our threading and waxing treatments, not only for their efforts in supporting the Australian Indigenous people, but because their entire product range is free from parabens, mineral oils, artificial fragrances, animal by-products and other harmful chemicals. We use the deliciously scented plum-based Opal peelable wax when waxing the face, smaller areas of the body, and for the hair down under. Freshly scented True blue gel wax is used when waxing larger areas of the body for speedy and clean waxing results.
Shavers, depilatory creams and abrasive mitts come in a variety of forms offering other cost effective methods of temporary hair removal that can be performed at home. These methods of hair removal involve the removal of unwanted hairs at the surface of the skin.
When using depilatory creams at home, we recommend not to use these on sensitive areas, like the groin and underarms as these creams are usually heavily alkaline based which can result in an instability of the natural pH level of the skin, giving rise to severe breakouts and skin discoloration. If you have thick course hairs in these sensitive parts, we strongly advise against shaving in these areas as you are most prone to suffering with these conditions as a result from friction to the areas – consider waxing instead please and be kind to your skin!
Receiving a wax for the first time can be a little daunting and painful at the beginning but becomes less painful when you keep up with your appointments. It is useful to know that some slight soreness, small bumps and redness are common and perfectly normal temporary reactions, especially if this is your first wax experience. These symptoms usually subside over the 24-48 hours following your treatment. We advise that you get in touch with us if you experience any persistent redness or irritation. We usually advise that you allow at least one week, preferably two, between any home shaving or other depilatory service to let the hairs grow to a length sufficient to be waxed.
A woman’s pain threshold is at its lowest immediately before and during her period as the hormones which stimulate the regrowth of hair are also at there most active during this period. For these reasons, we advise to avoid waxing at this time if possible.
Preparation before a wax is of the utmost importance! Exfoliating your skin before your wax treatment also ensures that any trapped hairs are exposed for a better wax. Dead skin cells are also removed from your skin, promoting better hydration levels for your skin. Book in for a Shaping Body Peel treatment before your wax appointment for an invigorating yet relaxing skin smoothing body treat with an added anti-ageing effect. Other gentle ways to exfoliate at home are by using exfoliating mitts or gloves up to 3 times a week prior to your waxing appointment. For a 2 in 1 wash and skin exfoliator, Outback Organics do a great Face and Body creamy scrub, enriched with Bergamot orange, sandalwood, patchouli, rose and organic cucumber extract combined with jojoba micro-beads to give a gentle yet effective exfoliation that leaves your skin soft, hydrated and deeply cleansed.
If you use retin-A products or are taking a course of tetracycline medication, we advise that you wait at least a month before after to attend a waxing appointment as these products are known to cause more sensitivity to the skin making it more prone to irritation and tear.
On the day of your wax appointment, we recommend that you wear loose fitting clothes to prevent friction and allow for proper circulation and healing for the areas to be waxed – this means no sport, gym or other vigorous exercises after your appointment! It is also important to keep the waxed areas clean, avoiding heat from hot baths or showers, saunas or hot tubs, and tanning of any kind. To cool and calm the skin after a wax treatment, we recommend the use of Aloe Vera or Outback Organics Post Wax Spray to the legs, arms, chest and back twice daily for 5 days. For sensitive areas such as the face, underarms and bikini area, we recommend using a small amount of Outback Organics Bush Balm 2-3 times a day until all redness and soreness has subsided – don’t let us leave you without your complimentary Bush Balm sample after your underarm and intimate wax treatment!
Showering daily using an antiseptic skin wash such as Outback Organics Tea Tree Skin Wash is a perfect way to cleanse the pores, helping to eliminate bacteria that cause spots without stripping or drying the skin. This skin wash double-up as an excellent facial wash for anyone who prefers using a facial wash than a cream cleanser; oily skin is controlled and vitality is restored revealing fresher and more vibrant skin without leaving it feeling taught and dry.
A great wax is never complete without some added moisture! Follow-up your wax with a good moisturiser enriched with vitamin E such as Outback Organics Hand and Body Lotion. This lotion is rich in anisata and macadamia oil that acts to quench and sooth dry, itchy skin even after hair removal leaving the skin silky soft, supple and deeply hydrated enabling the new hairs to grow through easily.
You may notice a small amount of regrowth after a week or so; please bare in mind that it can take up to 4 treatments for the hair to get on a cycle that gives the best results. In some cases, an angled follicle may cause the hair to break off at the angle during waxing which also causes hairs to reappear at the skin’s surface within a few days of a wax treatment. This can result to the regrowth of hairs to be frizzy or curled where previously they were straight. We advise that you avoid shaving, tweezing or use of hair removal creams between appointments as this interrupts the hairs removal growth cycle. To maintain your smooth appearance, we recommend regular waxing treatments every 4-6 weeks.
Take advantage of our 3 for 2 waxing special offer and save money on your waxing treatments with us throughout June! To book your wax appointment, or for more advise on our waxing services, call us on 02380 111 621.
Sources: Wikipedia, Beauty Therapy – The Foundations (The Official Guide to Level 2 5e) Lorraine Nordmann, Outback Organics.