I’m not gonna lie:
I’ve basically lived my whole life with a little more hair than I would have asked for. Thanks, genetics!
So you can trust that ya girl has tried basically every hair removal method out there and that I’m always trying and comparing new methods - IPL vs. laser vs. waxing, not to mention volunteering myself as guinea pig for the latest in at-home hair removal tech.
Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of permanent hair removal. Luckily, there are a LOT of options out there for gals like you and me. Laser and IPL are both methods that help to weaken and kill hairs at the root, stopping the hair from growing in the first place. How good is that?!
However, solutions like laser and IPL can be a bit of a costly investment - I *need* to know if they’re gonna work out in the long run. And since you’re here, you’re probably looking for that info too. There are a few key differences in laser vs. IPL, and we can go through them together to figure out which one is the best.
Laser hair removal vs. IPL - they’re the same thing, right? No, they’re not and it’s important to understand these differences to choose the one that’s right for you. They both work to achieve basically the same desired effect - using light to zap the root of the hair follicle to stop it from growing, only laser uses an actual, well, laser.
There’s actually a common misconception that they’re just two different types of laser hair removal, but they’re distinct in their own right with their own pros and cons!
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light, which is not as concentrated as laser but still incredibly effective at zapping hair follicles. IPL helps to get rid of unwanted hair by making use of broader wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the hair down to the root, killing the root in the process.
It also tends to be friendlier on the wallet per session (phew!), but requires a couple more sessions compared to laser to get the same results. It’s the best option for covering larger areas like legs and arms - it’s fantastic for getting a bigger area covered per session.
Laser hair removal uses a really specific wavelength of light concentrated on individual hairs to kill the root and prevent it from growing ever again. It sounds super intense, but in the hands of a skilled technician, it’s the speediest option for getting rid of those hairs for good!
It’s perfect for smaller bits that need that concentrated power, such as your underarms, face and bikini area. Also, because it targets each hair individually, it’s the best option for girls with darker skin tones - some light therapies can have unintended side effects by also targeting the melanin in skin, instead of just the hair.
There’s actually a third treatment that gets lumped in with types of laser hair removal - Broad Band Light, aka BBL. BBL works most like IPL, but if you really throw down and compare BBL vs. IPL, they’re still pretty different beasts.
Along with hair removal, BBL is also incredibly effective at brightening sunspots, acne scars, and overall evening out skin tone. Treating these concerns is generally what BBL is used for, rather than hair removal.
Looking at Laser vs. IPL, they’re both amazing options for permanently getting rid of any unwanted fuzz on ya body. I know I’m ready for smooth skin without ingrowns, stubble, or still having to go in for a wax every few weeks! Come through, smooth skin!
The most important things that you need to weigh up when choosing IPL vs. Laser hair removal are things like your:
It’s also so important to note that both of these methods work best on dark, pigmented hair that the light or laser can easily target - unfortunately, they just won’t work on blonde, grey or light red hair!
IPL is going to be best for lighter skin tones, and is generally costs less per session, but takes more sessions and time to work. You can even do it yourself at home - the ultimate budget friendly option.
Laser is more dark-skin friendly and produces faster results, but is a more expensive upfront investment. It is a service performed only by trained professionals, so your results are basically guaranteed.
No matter which hair removal method you choose, you can be totally assured that your skin will remain smooth and hair-free - and you’ll never have to drop another dollar on a shaving razor or wax ever again!
I know can't the only one out there who has ever noticed a few hairs slyly sticking out of your nose in a photo.
It's almost the same feeling that you get when you realize there's spinach in your teeth, and nobody told you - and you’ve been grinning all night. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Noticing more hair in places you didn’t expect (please see: nose, ears, back, shoulders…) is almost like puberty round two - as if the first time wasn’t traumatizing enough!
Luckily, there are a lot of decent options out there for nose hair removal if you’re feeling a little more hirsute than you would like. By the way, have you checked out my ultimate hair removal for men post?
So, now you’ve decided that you want to get rid of these rebellious follicles once and for all. Great!
There are a bunch of different techniques that will suit you if you’ve got a few strays just poking out, or if your nose tufts are already starting to rival those of your great grandpa’s.
This nose hair removal technique is probably best if you have just a couple rebellious hairs sticking out - but be aware that plucking can be pretty eye-watering (some argue even more so than waxing, but more on that later…)
When it comes to plucking nose hairs, using a precise pair of slanted tweezers (these ones from Tweezerman are a solid choice) is going to make a huge difference.
A high-quality pair of tweezers will grip the hair properly and remove it at the root, instead of just breaking it off, leaving you wincing and watery-eyed, but still not hair free.
Tweezers also make it super simple to pluck only the hairs that you actually want to - using the waxing method is a little ‘spray and pray’ in comparison since it removes all hairs gripped by the wax, even if they weren’t visible from outside of your nose.
Nose waxing is a pretty good choice if you want to remove a handful of hairs in one fell swoop (per nostril, that is. Or you could yank both at the same time!)
There is quite literally a plethora of nose wax kits out there to choose from - some are dip style where you heat the wax and dip a specially designed nose tip into the warmed wax before sticking it in your nose.
Others are shaped like tiny, waxy lollipops that you pop in the microwave whole before it goes into your nostril.
IMO, one of the best things about nose hair waxing specifically is that it gives you a little more time between grooming sessions - so you only have to think about it every couple of weeks, rather than checking in the mirror every couple of days.
I do have a warning for you, though - while it’s tempting to cut off the guards on the waxing tips and shove it as far up your nose as possible, the guards are there for a reason.
Namely, to protect the more sensitive parts of your nose further into the nasal cavity. Damaging your nose too deep into your actual nostrils can leave you open to chronic runny noses and congestion.
There are a couple ways that you can trim your nose hairs - with a tiny pair of specialized eyebrow and nose hair scissors, or an electric trimmer.
Just make sure that whatever you choose is specialized for such a small area - your scissors should have small, blunted ends so you don’t accidentally stab yourself in the nose with them.
Here’s how to trim nose hair - when it comes to trimming with scissors, I use what I call the ‘pig nose technique’.
Basically, push the end of your nose back to give yourself a - you guessed it - pig nose. It’s the perfect angle for manually clipping back your offending nose hairs.
Electric nose hair clippers, on the other hand, are basically plug and play - insert a battery or plug in your trimmer of choice, and then go ahead and stick that baby in your nostril.
A lot of electric trimmers work well for ear hair, so if you find your ears have a little more plumage than you'd like, you can get a little more bang for your buck with an electric trimmer.
Is there anything else to say other than that this is a terrible idea?! Your nose is way too sensitive to deal with depilatory creams - plus, the thought of having it literally in my nose is the stuff of nightmares.
While this is a tempting solution for permanent removal, it's extremely tricky. You're asking for a laser to be used on such a small and hard to maneuver surface area, plus multiple treatments could be necessary.
“Yes, but what is the best way to get rid of nose hair?” you ask. The thing is, depending on your situation, any of these could be the best for you. How to remove nose hair in the “best” way entirely depends on what you prefer.
You can’t stand the feeling of yanking hair from the root? Trim your nose hairs.
You can’t stand trimming every few days? Wax your nose hairs.
You’re a (relatively) lucky duck that has just one unruly nose hair? Get a pair of tweezers.
Just, for the love of all things holy, don’t put depilatory cream in your nose - you will regret it!
Like many of my fellow hairy girls, I had a very early experience with depilatory creams - mainly because my parents completely forbid me from shaving, telling me that I was too young (and also that I would become hairier! What a lie).
While wistfully browsing the women’s body grooming section at the drugstore, I spotted my salvation (or so I thought) - a can of Veet, promising silky smooth legs, no shaving required.
I could finally stop being Chewbacca’s little sister.
This was it - I was finally going to get rid of my leg hair discreetly and effectively because it wasn't technically shaving. Well, my scheming little self was shocked when I actually used the stuff. I thought I would come out the other end of using Veet cream as a smooth, hairless nymph - but that wasn't the case.
Afterward, my legs were covered tiny, itchy bumps - AND, I still had patches of half-dissolved hair all up and down my legs. Not the look I was going for, obvi.
So what went wrong? Why is hair removal cream not working for me?
I didn’t patch test. Because depilatory creams are extremely basic (as in, alkaline) to dissolve the keratin bonds that hold your hair together, they can sometimes irritate skin. A patch test is the best way to check how resilient (or not, in my case) your skin will be to the chemicals in depilatory creams.
Second, it wasn’t strong enough for my thick hairs - even though it had been strong enough to irritate my skin and stink out my bathroom, I still had some thicker hairs left in uneven patches, something I clearly did not anticipate.
Luckily, this didn’t entirely put me off hair removal creams - they definitely have their advantages over other methods of hair removal, and are one of my favorite go-to products for being hairfree because they’re so easy to use and yield quick, hairless results.
Hair removal creams will use a blend of alkaline ingredients in a moisturizing, lotion-like base to soften hairs, and basically turn them to jelly so that they can be easily wiped away from the skin. Ta-dah!
You can use them pretty much anywhere on your body (legs, bikini, underarm, face) so long as it’s correctly formulated for that area - please don’t use body-strength creams on your upper lip!
It’s these same alkaline ingredients that are responsible for that signature, slightly nostril-singeing chemical smell that you get with hair removal creams. The smell can be a make or break deal for a lot of girls out there, and I don’t blame them - even hair removal creams that have scent added to cover-up fail to cover anything up at all!
Sometimes, such a strong chemical smell can make you wonder if maybe, just maybe, hair removal cream is bad for you. It’s okay, I can see how one would think that - they absolutely STINK and when used incorrectly, your skin could become very, very irritated. But on the whole, they’re completely safe to use, even during pregnancy! In that case, it’s more about whether or not your pregnancy nose can handle the smell.
Hair removal creams take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to work, and it’s absolutely essential that you stick to the time recommended to you on the instructions. There was a time when I decided that the instructions did not apply to me and again - I was left rashy for weeks after.
IMO, this is the number one advantage that hair removal cream has over basically all other removal methods -
it’s actually painless.
...At least, it is when it’s done correctly. Hair removal cream should only ever be used on healthy, unbroken skin - no rashes, mosquito bites, shaving nicks, nada.
This goes for everywhere that you plan to use it, even on your bikini area - if you can’t handle bikini waxing but still want a smooth bikini line, hair removal cream could be the way to go - here’s my post about the best pubic hair removal cream.
If your skin is sensitive and always seems to tingle or burn (wash that ish off ASAP if it's burning!) then, unfortunately, hair removal creams may not be right for your skin type - luckily, there's a whole world of other de-hairing options out there.
If you’ve used hair removal creams before, dutifully followed all the instructions and still found that you had a few leftover hairs time and time again, you might be sitting there thinking, “Wait, why doesn’t hair removal cream work on me?”
There are a couple tips and tricks that you can use to get the most out of your hair removal creams for gloriously smooth, hairfree skin.
A cream designed for facial hair might not be strong enough to dissolve hair on your underarms, and likewise, a product designed for your bikini area could be too strong for your face.
Like waxing, there’s an ideal length for hair removal via depilatory creams - because they rely on a thick, even layer coating the hair to dissolve it, some hair can be too short for it to be visibly effective.
Doing this helps ensure you’ve taken off as much of the hair as possible down to the root, totally eliminating any chance of leaving any half-dissolved hairs behind. Get ready to feel smooth AF!
Now in comparison, waxing is a whole different ball game. The major difference is how exactly the hair is removed from the skin. Waxing rips hair out at the root for a few weeks of totally hairless skin but can be painful if you're not used to it. Hair removal cream only dissolves the visible hair on the skin, not the root, so regrowth from depilatory creams can appear pretty quickly - so you'd have to use a hair removal cream about once a week for general upkeep.
Improper waxing aftercare can leave you more prone to ingrowns than hair removal creams because the hair root is totally removed, and the hair has to regrow completely. But, there’s no funky smell and it’s over relatively quickly in the hands of a skilled aesthetician.
They’re both excellent ways of managing body hair (believe me, I know) and, at the end of the day, comes down to your personal hair-managing preference.
Here’s to happy hair removal!
If you’re reading this, then I think it’s a pretty safe bet for me to say “Congrats”!
Because girl, why else would you be wondering “What hair removal cream can I use when pregnant”?
And, if you’re a long time reader of my blog, then it’s pretty safe to say that you’re also a self-confessed hairy girl like me - and now you’re doing your due research to see if you can keep up with your fave de-hairing and de-fuzzing treatments now that you have a bun in the oven.
...Or you’re a nosey Nelly and want to know what a difference pregnancy makes on your hair removal routine. That’s okay gal - we can find that out together!
You're pregnant, and your body is changing - and I’m not just talking about the size of your stomach. Pregnancy hormones can kick-start extra hair growth, so you just might find that you have some extra hair here and there - and yes, I mean more than usual! (And in different places than usual…)
When you’re pregnant, there seems to be an endless list of things that you can’t do or can’t eat - have sushi, eat soft cheeses, drink alcohol… (Kudos to all my pregnant mamas out there, by the way - there’s no way I would be able to give up sushi and rosé for 9 months!)
You can’t help but wonder - are depilatory creams off limits too?
Is hair removal cream safe during pregnancy?
If you're super loyal to your depilatory creams, you'll be thrilled to know that they're totally safe for you and bub during your pregnancy. They can totally be used in your regular hair removal routine, as well as for zapping any new hormonally-charged hairs that are coming through in places that you never thought possible…
I’ll just leave that to your imagination.
It’s not hard to see why depilatory creams are one of the most favored hair removal methods - you just apply to where it’s needed, then wipe off once time’s up. I went over some of my favorite creams in my best pubic hair removal cream guide.
(and that's a big however...)
...there are a couple of important things to note that might influence whether or not you want to use hair removal cream during pregnancy.
There’s no getting around that most depilatory creams smell.
Like, really smell.
And, we all know that pregnant women are especially sensitive to strong smells (or even not so strong smells).
Even in the most well ventilated, airy room, it’s totally possible that your pregnancy nose wouldn’t be able to handle how strong some hair removal creams are. I mean, there are some out there that even my non-pregnant self can’t handle - so I can’t imagine how strong that would smell to someone that is!
Pregnancy could also make your skin more sensitive, could cause skin issues like dryness and flakiness, even from products that you’ve used time and time again with no issues.
Again, this is down to hormones and how they’re affecting your hair and skin.
But, there is one pretty crucial step that you can take to make sure that you know which hair removal cream is safe during pregnancy - patch testing. Patch testing is something that you should be doing with every beauty and skin care product anyway, but that’s a post for another time.
It’s strongly recommended by pretty much any dermatologist to do before any product, because patch testing will let you know beforehand if your skin can handle what you’re about to slather over it.
The perfect patch test basically entails leaving your chosen hair removal cream of choice on your skin for the allotted time (always follow instructions!) to see how well it behaves on your skin, and if your nose can handle it. If your trusty depilatory cream passes the test - congrats!
If you find that your old reliable just isn’t cutting it anymore, I have some tips on what to look for to help answer the question “What hair removal cream can I use when pregnant?”
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Psst! Before you dive in... I just wanted to make sure that you didn't miss my epic guide to hair removal for men!
As one GQ journalist so rightly put it:
“If, as the old saying goes, the eyes are the windows to your soul, then the eyebrows are the curtains: Get ’em wrong and you screw up the whole view”.
Bad news for the unibrow-prone, your days of pulling off the caterpillar look are well and truly over.
The good news is:
Tuning up your eyebrows is just about the lowest maintenance of all the hair removal concerns you could possibly have.
Precision is what it’s all about when it comes to your brows (lest you end up with about 75% less of your eyebrow than you planned…), which immediately limits your options to just a few of the following...
Here’s the deal:
You can easily keep your eyebrows in check by using a slim sized electric trimmer, one that’s small enough to mow the lawn between your eyes, and whose trim length can be adjusted to cut back those few hairs that grow inexplicably longer and thicker than the rest.
‘What tools do I need?’, you might be wondering:
This shaver from Remington is one of the best one-for-all products out there; it comes with 8 attachments, meaning you can use it as a full sized shaver for the rest of your body and pop on the small-sized head to trim up your brows (and nose and ear hair).
Trimming will give you a more than decent overall appearance, but if it’s a smooth landing strip you’re looking for, better try one of the following methods instead.
Plucking is the age old solution when it comes to eyebrows.
It’s precise, effective, and carries no ongoing cost.
Start small in the middle and work your way in! If you want to continue on shaping the rest of your brows, remember only to pluck the strays, otherwise you’re going to end up with a baby caterpillar chasing momma caterpillar scene right on your very own forehead.
Waxing a unibrow is the best solution for mass clearing the hairs at once.
The truth is:
It doesn’t require a lot of skill to get right the way waxing some of your other body parts does, and because it’s such a small area the pain is over and done before you’ve even realized it. The trick is to position the wax in just the right place.
Be careful of removing hair too far inland and taking away more eyebrow than intended.
You can always mark your skin first with a small pen/make up pencil before you apply the wax so you have some guidelines.
This mini-sized kit from Parissa is ideal.
Too imprecise, and putting those sorts of chemicals near your eyes in definitely not recommended.
Again, too imprecise. Better to tweeze.
No, no, and three times, no. Not only is it very difficult to shave that area with precision, but the stubbly regrowth you’ll get from shaving is not the look you’re going for.
Using lasers near your eyes is a big no-no; even the professional salons won’t treat eyebrows with laser hair removal.
As you can see, there’s really no “best” overall method how to remove unibrow; but based on this article, you should be able to find the right solution for your own individual needs.
Got a question? A hair removal issue? A crazy unibrow story? I want them all - give me a shout in the comments below!
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Psst! Before you dive in... I just wanted to make sure that you didn't miss my epic guide to hair removal for men!
The thing about ear hair is that- more than likely- everyone else is going to notice you have it before you do.
That’s the cold hard truth I’m afraid!
But if you stay on top of it, it’s easily taken care of. Let's have a look at the options available for temporary and permanent ear hair removal.
Ear hairs only look unsightly when they’re really sticking out in most cases, so keeping them in check with a little trim every now and then will often be enough.
It can be difficult to get in there with a normal sized electric trimmer, but there are plenty of ear sized mini-trimmers available (that also work wonders on overgrown nose hairs and eyebrows too).
The Panasonic ER-GN30-K is my top choice because it’s so cheap and does the job extremely well; plus it’s slim sized and can be inconspicuously popped into my wash bag if I’m going to be traveling.
If you’ve just got a couple of unruly strays sticking out your lugs, a pair of tweezers will do the job. Simple and fuss free.
I like the classic stainless steel slant tips from Rubis Swiss- literally the gold standard of the tweezer world and the only pair you’ll ever need to buy.
Although this method definitely requires a bit of finesse, one well-positioned blob of hot wax in the ear will effectively rip out all the unwanted hairs at once.
If you’ve got a mini forest situation, this is probably the best option for you.
Although this kit is designed for the nose, it can be used on the ears too with the exact same technique.
We need to get serious for a sec:
I’ve already mentioned my concerns about home electrolysis, but I want to specifically stress it here, because I’ve heard several comments from men about this type of treatment.
Long story short:
While electrolysis will provide permanent ear hair removal, it should really only ever be carried out by a qualified physician. Not you, in a mirror, trying and failing to look halfway around the other side of your head while waving around a mini death stick needley whatsit.
Your ear is a canal. You do NOT want those chemicals going for a swim up that river.
So... how to get rid of ear hair? Is there an option for permanent ear hair removal? Well... there’s really no “best” overall answer - but based on this post, you should be able to find the right solution for your own individual needs.
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Got a question? An issue? A crazy ear hair story? Be sure to share with all of us in the comments below!
You may have seen a few frightening articles floating around lately about a new study claiming that there’s a definite relationship between pubic grooming (waxing, shaving, sugaring, trimming, you name it, it’s grooming) and STIs.
I'm not going to lie:
I got pretty freaked out at first... but I knew that there had to be more info, especially if I could find the original study (which I did, thanks to my internet ninja skills.)
It definitely LOOKS alarming on the surface, but when you dig into the nitty-gritty of the study itself, there are actually more questions than answers from the data collected.
Going into this, I’d just like to say that this study doesn’t prove a cause and effect relationship. The researchers literally say so. That is, the results of this study aren’t “If you wax/trim/pluck/shave your pubes, you will get STIs.” *Coach Carr voice from Mean Girls*
But what does it really tell us about our grooming habits and STIs?
The study, which involved asking 7,500 people about their pubic grooming habits (this is considered a good sample size, btw - one of the only things that I remember from my STATS 101 class is that large sample sizes are always better and more likely to help you find useful info!) grouped people into four categories:
They also asked participants about their STI history to try and pinpoint any relationships between the frequency of grooming and STIs. The types of STIs were also split into three categories: those transmitted through skin, those transmitted through body fluids, and lice.
(I guess the silver lining is, if you’re grooming down there pretty regularly, you probably won’t get lice.)
Researchers did find that statistically, if you had ever groomed your pubes, you were more likely to contract an STI in your lifetime. And the chances were even higher if you were a High-Frequency groomer.
But again -this isn’t a causal relationship. There’s no Coach Carr logic here. Let’s go into what the researchers found - and what they need to investigate further.
So, one reason that the scientists hypothesized for the apparent relationship between higher rates of STIs was that more frequent waxing, plucking, or otherwise yanking hairs out of skin left it more vulnerable to STI transmission through skin.
I thought this was pretty plausible - think about how sensitive your skin is after a waxing session. Sore, right? And all those hair follicles that your hair got ripped out from are basically open and vulnerable to attack.
This could, hypothetically, create more opportunities for STIs to transfer through skin-to-skin contact when you’re bumping uglies. Tbh, that’s probably another good reason to use pubic hair removal cream or even better, book in for a laser appointment - not only does laser leave you smooth permanently, it’s literally not traumatizing to skin in the way that yanking lots of hair out at once via waxing or sugaring is. It’ll save you time, stress, ingrowns, and maybe even STIs in the long run.
Any definitive relationship between skin trauma caused by pubic grooming and STIs can’t be proved with this study alone.
We need more info!
Another idea that the scientists had was just that people who groomed themselves more frequently are just more sexually active, specifically with non-relationship partners (read: hook-ups, girl!)
And I don’t blame them - wouldn’t you to look your best from head to toe for that hottie that you swiped right on Tinder? However, this is still only a hunch about the extra sexually-active bunch of the participants in the study. Researchers need to gather more info for - they didn’t ask about condom use, or about grooming habits of people in long-term relationships, or about how frequently people got tested for STIs.
So again... we need more info!
This study is actually a really interesting place to start when it comes to having a look at how we take care of our bodies and what some of the (unintended) results could be.
What I think it does point out is the current norm/expectation for people (obvi, mainly women but some guys too) to remove body hair. I mean, it’s just preference - if you’re all natural and rocking it, you do you! But overall, hair removal has always struck me as something that I (and I’m 100% sure I’m not alone here) do to make myself more presentable - and with pubic grooming, more attractive.
Also, I know I sound like a high school sex ed teacher, but this is a pretty great reminder to ALWAYS USE A CONDOM! Above all, above every single little iota of info in this study, we need to remember what impacts STI transmission the MOST is protection.
So ladies - no matter if you sugar, wax, trim, or do nothing at all, don’t forget to protect yourself - and you won’t have to ever worry if your monthly hair removal sesh is putting you at risk for STIs!
Although I am a no-Hair Evangelist, I feel I should also play fair and look at the not-so-cool facts about laser hair removal.
Okay, the really big question to start with is:
Does laser hair removal cause cancer?
No. It doesn’t, and that is the short and sweet answer, but we’re not going to leave it there on my word.
This research proves that over a twenty-five year research period, there is no evidence to directly link the use of lasers and IPL (intense pulsed light a.k.a. home laser hair removal machines) to cancer, specifically skin cancer.
(I suppose there always has to be a ‘but’)...
...there were a handful of hearsay cases where melanomas were detected after laser hair removal was used for a period of over twenty years (still doesn’t sound nearly as scary as smoking stats).
We need to be realistic though:
Anything you do over a really long time may expose you to risks down the line, but the cancer research and laser hair removal is quite clear-cut without alarm bells, red flags, and dire warnings.
That answers the cancer question, but it doesn’t exclude the fact that there are other possible IPL side effects. So, let’s take a look at those.
IPL treatment side effects include feeling pain, discomfort, or feeling itchy after laser hair removal, but it is temporary and there are tricks that can help for relief. Let's talk in-depth about the most common issues:
After laser treatment, your skin could behave and feel like it’s been sunburned, even with peeling afterwards. This is laser hair removal burn and also why I mentioned in a previous post that it really does help to start applying high factor sun cream from four weeks before treatment and then continuously after treatment as well.
Swelling after laser hair removal is also quite common but not permanent! Just apply soothing gels or take anti-inflammatories if it causes a lot of tenderness and pain.
Firstly, what is hyperpigmentation?
Think of it like having freckles or patches of discolored skin which vary in size and severity.
Laser hair removal hyperpigmentation is a more serious possible side effect, but you can follow some simple rules to reduce this. It is most commonly caused by “over lasering” an area, so don’t sit and text in one hand, while you have your laser in the other. Lasers penetrate the lower skin layers, so overheating in an area under the skin will cause lighter skin patches.
So, if you’re wondering who is more susceptible to laser hair removal discoloration, well unfortunately, people with darker skin tones (like me!) are prone to hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal. I can safely say that to date (touch wood), I have not yet experienced this side effect. If you’re feeling a little unsure, try laser a small area first to see if you are predisposed to developing laser hair removal dark spots.
But, one very important rule to follow before and after treatment is to avoid the sun! It can worsen or even trigger the hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal.
I actually cannot stress this point enough:
Line up those sun cream bottles, keep your hat on, and keep covered. This is also a good reason to start your laser hair treatment in autumn or winter.
Itching after laser hair removal is another common side effect. In fact, I found this to be the worst one of the Brazilian laser hair removal side effects. It is not very classy to keep having to scratch down there so I highly recommend using a cool compress or Aloe Vera gel after treatment.
You could also experience redness or any other skin irritation after laser hair removal... but don’t panic. It does not mean you’re a case study for Laser Hair Removal Gone Wrong, it is just your skin having a laser hair removal reaction. In very rare cases, laser hair removal has stimulated dormant infections and, in that case, you would need to get proper medical creams and advice to treat it.
I want to end off talking about the face.
It generally is a safe, tried, and tested technique but if things do go wrong it’s a bit more difficult to hide.
I have read some credible research where 10% of people could experience crusting of the skin on the face. Again, this is another temporary side effect and proper aftercare will help alleviate the crusting.
Be super careful when using laser hair removal on your face because of the eyes! When I’m brave enough to use the laser on my face, I will invest in a pair of heavy duty factory eyewear.
Pigmentation issues can also affect the skin on your face and it seems quite usual to see your skin going lighter (or even darker) while lasering, but it usually rectifies itself post treatment. But, like I said before, permanent discoloration could occur, specifically in us darker beauties!
Blistering and scarring has been reported after laser hair removal on the face. I would be very worried about the potential of scarring because this is permanent.
How does scarring happen?
By using the wrong settings on your laser device - so make sure you learn everything you can about the device and went through the manual more than once.
Be safe, be knowledgeable about what you’re doing, and look after your skin before and after laser hair removal, no matter which part of your body is going hairless.
Happy hair removal!
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If you’ve read any of my previous posts on home laser hair removal, then you’ll know I like to consider myself a trailblazer in the Hair Struggle.
I’ve shared my experiences and research on laser hair removal devices for dark skin, the face, a Brazilian, well, for pretty much any body part that generates unwanted hair. I highly recommend reading those posts before purchasing your choice of weapon!
You’ve read the device instructions back-to-front and your laser is charging, so let’s start with the most basic question:
If it’s your first-time laser hair removal experiment or you just want to learn how to do it better, there are a few expectations you need to set and a few to drop.
Embarking on this journey means being consistent to get the best results. There is no magic to this where you use the device once and then remain hair-free forever. Each hair follicle is on its own mission, in their own growth cycles totally unaware of the guy next to them. It’s a commitment for a few months to really see any noticeable difference.
One time, I had been lasering myself for about six months and over the holidays, I let it slide (happened once, and never again)...
...I definitely noticed the sparse regrowth and I was super happy with that, so I just got back on track to keep it up. One question that I often get asked about Laser hair removal is, how often to do it? Well, I say keep it at every four weeks (consistently) for up to eight sessions.
So, now your head is in the game for your first laser hair removal session (or maybe you’re just improving your technique), but either way, we are ready to go through my tips for laser hair removal.
Set aside a comfortable amount of time. Don’t think you can laser your body in ten minutes before going out on that date. It’s a pamper, grooming session that needs your time and attention.
I also recommend starting in autumn or winter because it’s easier to be tan-free, which is what you want before (and after) laser hair removal. Another thing to consider is avoid laser hair removal around menstruation as this could heighten any pain you may feel.
Different hair and skin types can react differently to laser hair removal because the laser aims at the hair’s pigment. This is why darker hair follicles are easier to laser off than blonde, grey, or red hair. Most laser hair removal devices have settings for various skin and hair types so as I said earlier, make sure you know every function and setting on the device before using it.
An important to-do before getting laser hair removal is shaving. Why shave before laser hair removal? Some people are surprised at this, asking, “Should I shave before laser hair removal because surely the hair should be long?"
The opposite is true.
According to my endless research – and practical application – it’s best to shave about eight hours before you have that laser out nuking your follicles. The more visibility the laser has, the more effective the laser hair removal session will be.
Before laser hair removal sessions, stop all other hair removal treatments such as waxing and bleaching. Waxing before laser hair removal empties the hair follicle and bleaching lightens it, which makes the laser less effective.
I could’ve listed this one first because it is also very noteworthy, but I’m hoping you are going through all these laser hair removal tips as each one is just as important as the other. Tanning before laser hair removal under the sun, sunbed, or using self-tan lotions is highly discouraged both before and after laser hair removal.
My advice is to try avoid the sun about four weeks before and keep applying a high factor sun cream. And remember to follow this advice after the laser hair removal session as well. Saying the words ‘laser hair removal’ and ‘sunburn’ in the same sentence just sounds ouch!
Now that the first laser hair removal session is done, you need to take note of additional laser hair removal tips for ‘after treatment’ because this is just as important.
Tweezing/plucking after laser hair removal (as well as waxing) should be avoided because you’ll be removing hair from the follicle and the next laser hair removal session is going to be pointless because the laser won't hit the target.
If you need to deforest post-laser, shaving after laser hair removal is actually the best thing to do! Ironically, while you are doing laser to avoid shaving, for a short while shaving will become your best friend.
The good news?
Post-shave, there will be little to no regrowth for a gooood while.
On a completely different note, one surprising thing you need to avoid is working out after laser hair removal. Unfortunately, it is best to not exercise excessively (if at all, for at least a day) because when your body sweats it creates a bacterial festival, which could lead to infection and ingrown hairs.
I can’t stress this enough:
You need to apply sun cream regularly specifically after laser hair removal as exposure to the sun can irritate the skin and interfere with the laser treatment.
The same applies for about twenty-four hours to avoid hot showers, deodorants, perfumes, and perfumed lotions that can react when applied to skin that has just been exposed to The Force.
Remember, it is going to be sensitive so you don’t want to make it any worse.
If you’re wondering what to expect after laser hair removal, don’t expect too much (right away) and keep at it for at least eight months! During and after the process, use the laser hair removal tips listed above to make it stress-free and comfortable because, well -
I can vouch for the results at the end of it.
It is worth it and I feel victorious that we are winning in the Hair Struggle.
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Home electrolysis might seem like a convenient solution to permanent hair removal. The only problem is:
Many overlook the lesser-known downsides to carrying out the procedure at home.
In efforts to avoid any undesired results in your hair removal journey, I’ll be uncovering my top seven reasons to reconsider home electrolysis and the preferred alternative when it comes to permanent hair removal (spoiler alert: it's home laser hair removal. Cheaper and easier!)
But firsts things first: what exactly is electrolysis?
Electrolysis is a form of permanent hair removal, carried out through inserting a fine needle or probe into the hair follicle where a short current of electricity is released directly to the root. This process effectively renders the follicle incapable of regrowth as the root is destroyed completely. The dead hair is then removed with a tweezer.
It is important to remember that there are minor details that need to be considered for the effectiveness of the procedure, such as the life cycle of the hair. Hair needs to be targeted during the period known as the anagen phase. When this is done correctly, the hair should not ever grow back - or at least not grown back for a long time.
While this may sound technical and complex, like most hair removal techniques, electrolysis has too developed to become a self-administered procedure that can be carried out in the comfort of your home. However, just because a procedure can be done at home, doesn't mean it should be and I’m about to let you know why.
Just because electrolysis CAN be done at home, doesn't mean it SHOULD be!
Here are some of the drawbacks to consider when it comes to home electrolysis.
If you take into consideration exactly how the procedure is done, you will understand that this is in fact a hair-by-hair technique. Each hair needs to be treated individually, and if you happen to be a rather hairy person/treating an especially hairy area, this process can prove to be extremely time-consuming. As in, you'll feel like you've been doing it...
This procedure is not only time-consuming but also draining on the pockets. The cost of electrolysis is something to consider before getting started. This is a procedure that requires multiple sessions to cover the concerned area, and as a result electrolysis costs can add up.
There are a number of hidden costs associated with home electrolysis - or quite possibly medical bills that could pop up along the way should you gain first-hand experience with any of the other drawbacks I’ll be mentioning later on.
Plus: cheaper at-home electrolysis machines can become defective, and constantly replacing these is not exactly cost-effective.
You should also consider the amount of time you spend on your sessions personally; value your time accordingly.
The treatment is inherently painful given its invasive nature. The procedure is exactly as described above, only in this case you will be pricking yourself with a fine probing needle, instead of being pricked. This might be a tricky one for those with a low pain threshold.
Remember what I said about having to poke yourself with a fine probing needle? Well turns out it’s actually not that simple. The person handling the electric hair removal procedure, in this case - you, needs to be skilled in carrying out the treatment effectively.
Undergoing electrolysis at the mercy of unskilled hands (even if they are your own) can lead to a string of undesired outcomes - like nasty infections as a result of unsanitary equipment, or worse – electrocution.
It may not come as quite the shock as electrocution does, but permanent skin damage is still something that can occur. This is especially the case with a lack of know-how when it comes to carrying out the procedure.
Permanent skin damage such as scarring is not only physically painful but can also take an emotional toll on you, especially if these scars are clearly visible, like on your face for example.
As with many hair removal treatments, home electrolysis hair removal can be a tough one to do alone. The major reason why this is a red flag for me is because when performing electrolysis on yourself, especially in hard to reach areas, the consideration must be made that a higher risk of error exists.
As the previously mentioned disadvantages note, a lack of accuracy in this regards is far more than just a miss-prick of the needle. There are very serious complications at risk.
Home electrolysis machines are essentially mimics of the professional equipment. This often means that they can be less effective that those found at beauty salons and operated by trained professionals. An example of this is the lower voltage found on at-home electrolysis machines.
The resulting consequence of this is a lesser effectiveness with regards to the current of electricity that is released and thus, a lesser level of effectiveness in terms of destroying the hair.
Clearly there is more to electrolysis hair removal that one would initially expect. The drawbacks outweigh the benefits. I for one, would advise against home electrolysis, especially with so many simpler and safer options on the market.
So what do I recommend instead? When it comes to permanent DIY hair removal, in my opinion there is no better option than IPL machines - you guessed it, I’m talking about home laser hair removal products.
Now after going through a comprehensive list of side effects and warnings when it comes to home electrolysis, it’s important for me to put your mind at ease and let you know that home laser hair removal is completely safe.
Opting for home laser hair removal can save you a whole lot of money in the long run and it may also lead to permanent hair removal.
At-home laser hair removal is done with a handheld device through which pulsed light is release to break down hair at the follicle. Once the hair has been treated enough times, it will be too damaged to regrow.
Choosing the right laser hair removal device for you couldn't be simpler, as the market for laser hair removal and home-based laser hair removal has grown substantially. This growth has led to technological advancements that cater to darker skin tones and very light hair - there are now models to cater to everyone!
Thoughts? Comments? Crazy hair removal stories? Share with us in the comment section below!
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