11 Different Types of Hair Removal

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Today’s hair removal is made widely accessible in salons, studios, and treatment centers. It’s also considered part of every man and woman’s daily grooming and not necessarily set as an indication of one’s social class or gender privileges.

It’s a different story from the earliest times when the cavemen from more than 20,000 years ago removed their hair for practical and survival purposes. Theorists believe they hairless cavemen used very sharp tools or shells to remove their hair.

The ancient Egyptians invented many of the hair removal methods that still exist today such as tweezers, razors, beeswax, and a sugaring method. It was considered uncivilized to have hair so they removed their body hair except for the eyebrows.

The ancient Romans considered having pubic hair uncivilized so they removed it using flint razors, tweezers, stones, and creams.

Threading originated in Persia over 5,000 years ago and was spread in India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and the US. In Europe, Queen Elizabeth I set the trend for hair removal when she removed her eyebrows to make her forehead appear larger.

The first straight razor for men was invented by Jean Jacques Perret in 1760 while the first razor for women only came about in 1915 by Gilette. The first depilatory creams in 1844 by Dr. Gouraud. Wax strips and laser hair removal were introduced in the 1960s.

Types

Permanent

Laser hair removal as a permanent type of hair removal applied on a woman's legs.

There are a few different options, such as laser hair removal, if you are interested in permanent hair removal methods, and while the treatment will not completely remove all of a person’s hair in one area of the body, it will decrease the amount of hair that grows there and even lighten the color of the treated hair, which makes it much less obvious to other people.

Unfortunately, there are some people who, even when treated correctly with these same options, including laser hair removal, will experience normal hair growth when the treatment sessions are finished, which can be very frustrating.

Other permanent options, such as electrolysis, is much more effective and permanent, which is why so many people opt for this treatment when they want to have their hair permanently removed. Because there can be major problems with skin damage and even skin discoloration, it’s imperative that you go to a professional when you want this kind of treatment.

It’s also important to understand that permanent hair removal is generally much more expensive than temporary hair removal methods and will require a number of treatment sessions in order to be effective. Sessions are spaced out evenly and will generally take around a year to complete, which makes this require both a time and a financial commitment.

Temporary

Waxing as a type of temporary hair removal applied on a woman's legs.

People have a myriad of different options for temporary hair removal, some of which can be done at home, and others which are generally performed at a spa or salon. The type of temporary hair removal that you choose will depend on a few factors, including where on your body the hair is located, how much money you have to spend on hair removal and your pain tolerance.

Over time, there are some temporary hair removal methods, such as waxing and sugaring, that will actually cause your hair to thin out and to reduce its growth, but they are not considered permanent options.

One reason that many people opt for temporary hair removal methods over permanent methods is that it is generally less expensive and can be completed at home. It is important to note, however, that many temporary hair removal methods are much more painful than permanent methods.

People who have very sensitive skin or need to remove an area of hair on a regular basis may benefit from researching permanent hair removal methods to see if there is a better option. Additionally, many types of temporary hair removal methods tend to be painful and can result in problems like ingrown hairs and even irritated skin.

Method

Plucking

A woman plucks her eyebrows with a tweezer.

If you have facial hair that makes you very uncomfortable, then you will likely want to opt for plucking or “tweezing” your hair to remove it. Rather than using other treatment options to remove your hair, it’s important that you not only opt to pluck it but also understand the risks and how to do it correctly so that you do not damage your skin.

Plucking allows you a lot of control in a very small area, which means that you can easily remove the exact hair that you are targeting, but it is very easy to accidentally injure yourself when plucking your hair. Not only can you poke yourself or accidentally pinch the skin and remove some layers of skin, but you can cause an infection if you use tweezers that aren’t sterilized.

While many people love to pluck because it can be done quickly and at home, it’s not a great option if you have a larger space that you want to free from your hair. It really is best when you want to remove stray hairs, and it is the best choice if you have tiny hairs that are too small to be waxed.

When you pluck hair, then you are actually removing the root of the hair, which means that it will grow back a lot more slowly. This hair removal method will generally last around three to eight weeks before the hair will grow back. One major problem that can occur with plucking is when the hair breaks off and isn’t completely removed. This can cause the hair to grow under the skin, resulting in a painful ingrown hair.

Shaving

A man shaves his beard with razor and cream.

There are a few different options that you can choose from if you want to rely on shaving as your main method of hair removal. Not only can you use a razor with shaving cream, but you can also opt for an electric shaver to cut the hair as close as possible to the skin. No matter whether you opt for a razor or choose to use an electric shaver, shaving your unwanted hair has a number of benefits and a few things that you need to keep in mind before getting started.

Shaving is an incredible option if you want to be able to remove hair from large areas of your body quickly and without a lot of hassle, and since it can be done in the shower if desired, there isn’t a lot of cleanups that you will need to do afterward. Even though shaving is great for removing hair from areas like your legs quickly, it can be used on your head, face, and even underarms. Shaving is also very inexpensive, fast, and can be done on the go.

It’s important that if you do decide to shave, you make sure to have high-quality products to use so that you don’t accidentally injure yourself. Disposable blades or razors make shaving incredibly convenient, but they will dull quickly and need to be changed on a regular basis so that you don’t accidentally cut yourself.

Additionally, shaving can often lead to ingrown hairs due to the way it causes the hair follicle to actually change the direction of its growth. If you have very sensitive skin, then you may want to skip shaving as it is likely to cause irritation. Finally, shaving is not a great option for hair removal if you do not want to have to remove your hair on a regular basis. After shaving, your hair will begin to grow back right away, which causes many people to shave every day for the desired effect.

Sugaring

Sugar waxing applied on a woman's hip.

While many people think that sugaring and waxing are the same things, they do have a number of differences that set them apart from one another. The gel or paste that is used in sugaring doesn’t contain any resins, which wax does. When performed correctly and the root of the hair is removed, sugaring can last up to six weeks before you will notice that you need to remove your hair again. Users need to make sure that they decide whether they are interested in being sugared with a gel or a paste, as the user is a little different for each, even though they both remove hair from the body.

One of the major benefits to sugaring is that it can actually lead to permanent hair removal if you complete it often enough. Since the product used for sugaring is water soluble, you can easily remove any that is left behind on the skin without causing any irritation or relying on an oil-based remover like you need to remove leftover wax from waxing.

Sugaring is also great if you want to remove a lot of hair all at once, as you can apply it to large areas of the body without worrying about it drying out before you have a chance to complete the hair removal. Because sugaring paste is so gentle, you can easily sugar the same area twice if you miss hairs without worrying about causing irritation.

Unfortunately, sugaring does have some downsides. While it is generally a less painful option for hair removal, sugaring does require a certain amount of hair growth to work correctly and can be problematic for people who have very sensitive skin.

You can complete sugaring at home, but it can be tricky to get the consistency correct, and there aren’t a lot of salons that offer this service. Finally, any contraindications need to be taken seriously, as sugaring can cause major skin irritation and damage if the person being sugared is on certain medications or has very sensitive skin.

Waxing

A man undergoing chest waxing.

Waxing is a great temporary way to remove hair and can be performed either by an expert in a salon or at home with a quality waxing kit. Unlike plucking, which only removes one hair at a time from the area, waxing is a much better way to remove a lot of hair at once, making it comparable to sugaring in that it’s great for larger areas as well as smaller ones, such as around the eyebrows.

There are a few options that you need to consider when you opt for waxing as a hair removal method, and one of them is the type of wax that you are going to use. Hard wax, soft wax, and wax strips are all available and all have their own pros and cons, requiring you to determine which option is the best for you.

One of the biggest reasons that people opt for waxing for their hair removal as opposed to other options is that it will last for a long time before the hair grows back and can even result in your hair not all growing back if you wax regularly enough. It is important that you only wax if you do not have very sensitive skin, as you do not want to cause a reaction that can be difficult or painful to deal with.

If you want to wax yourself at home, then make sure that you choose a wax that you can easily remove or have a product on hand to help you remove any leftover wax. Since wax is not water-soluble, you need to make sure that you have a product that will be able to remove leftover wax from your skin. Other things to consider when opting to have someone wax your body for you are how clean the location that you will be visiting is, your pain tolerance, and whether or not your hairs are long enough for the wax to grip and remove.

Threading


A woman holds a thread on her eyebrow for threading.

While not as common as other types of hair removal, threading is becoming more and more popular as people learn about it as a great way to remove unwanted hair. During threading, an expert pulls and twists a thread along hair to trap it in the thread and pull it out of the skin. This is a great removal option for a number of reasons and is popular among some people because the hair will not grow back for around six weeks. Another benefit of threading is that it is incredibly sanitary.

Only the thread will touch skin, and since it is thrown away after being used, there aren’t any concerns about the thread not being completely sanitary. Threading is beneficial for people who have very sensitive skin, as there aren’t any chemicals or products applied to the skin, so there isn’t any chance of a reaction. Because threading is so precise and can be completed very quickly by an expert, it’s easy to see why so many people are turning to threading when they want to get rid of problem hair, specifically around the eyes.

While threading is usually as painful or uncomfortable as tweezing, it is over very quickly, which means that the pain doesn’t last as long. There are a few cons to threading, and most of them revolve around finding someone who is skilled in this practice and will be able to provide you with the high-quality results that you want.

Most cosmetology schools do not teach this practice, and finding someone in your area who provides threading can be difficult. Additionally, if the person you choose to thread your hair isn’t skilled, then the hairs can break off, which won’t just cause the regrowth to appear sooner, but can actually cause ingrown hairs, as well.

Depilatory Creams

A woman applies depilatory cream on her leg.

These creams work by actually dissolving the hair and then allowing it to be wiped away when the cream is removed. The product needs to be applied in thick layers to the skin where the unwanted hair is located and then allowed to sit so that it has time to fully dissolve the hair.

While these products generally do a great job removing fine and thin hair, they are not the best option for people who have very coarse or thick hair. One reason that many people steer clear of depilatory creams is that they tend to have an offensive odor and can leave the skin feeling slick when they are washed off.

While they do generally have a very slight tingling sensation, these creams don’t hurt. Any sign of pain means that you have either left the product on for too long and need to remove it right away or that your skin is very sensitive and you need to choose an alternate hair removal method.

Because these products are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased in many stores, they are a great option for people who are in a hurry and need to remove hair right away. They don’t take any special skill or care the way that plucking and shaving do, and they do not need to be heated or removed with strips, which wax generally does. One major issue with these creams is that they only remove the hair at or right below the surface of the skin, which means that it will start to grow back in just a few days.

Electrolysis

A woman undergoes electrolysis.

This is the only permanent form of hair removal that has been approved by the FDA. Electrolysis works by actually destroying the root of the hair, which will make it impossible for the hair to grow back. By passing an electric current through the hair, the person can easily pinpoint and remove individual hairs for a smooth patch of skin.

One problem with electrolysis is that since each hair is targeted one at a time, it can take a very long time to remove all of the hair in a specific area. The treatment sessions themselves may not be very long, but there are generally a lot of treatment sessions to go to, which makes this hair removal option expensive and time-consuming.

There is generally a small stinging sensation when each hair is targeted, although the amount of pain that a person actually feels will depend on their pain tolerance. Unlike other types of hair removal options, this treatment can be used on anyone, regardless of their type of skin or hair, which makes it a great option for people who have very coarse or thick hair that otherwise may be too difficult to remove.

Smaller areas of the body, such as the face, will obviously show results faster than larger areas, such as the legs. Following through with all of the sessions will usually result in permanent hair loss, but there are some people who still have hair that grows back, even after completing all of the treatments.

Laser Hair Removal

A woman undergoes armpit laser hair removal.

This long-term option can end up being permanent for the same reason that waxing and sugaring can sometimes be permanent. Usually, however, laser hair removal simply lightens the hair on the body and makes it finer and less obvious. This treatment is best for people who have lighter skin and darker hair, as the laser actually is able to detect the difference in pigment and target the hair. A combination of lighter skin and lighter hair or darker skin and darker hair makes it much harder for the laser to detect the hairs that it needs to remove.

Unlike electrolysis, which can take dozens of sessions to get the results that you want, with laser hair removal you generally only need around six to twelve sessions for the best possible results. Additionally, there are now machines that you can have in your home to perform your own laser hair removal without the help of a professional.

This type of treatment isn’t without pain, however, and many people say that the sensation is similar to being snapped with a rubber. Once you have completed all of the required sessions, you will generally want to have regular touch-ups every six to twelve months to make sure that the hair is not growing back faster than you can control.

Medications

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While most doctors will require their patients to try other hair removal methods before prescribing them with a medication to remove unwanted hair, if regular methods do not work, then there are certain drugs that a doctor can prescribe. These medications will inhibit the growth of new hair so that you can decrease how much hair is growing on your body.

Since there are a few different types of medications that you can choose from, it’s important to work with a medical professional you trust who can determine what type of treatment is right for you. One of the most common medications used in hair removal is Spironolactone. This pill is used to reduce or slow the growth of hair in areas where you do not want it to grow. It has the added benefit of actually stimulating growth on the scalp so that you don’t have to worry about losing hair on top of your head.

Another popular option for some people is a cream called Vaniqa. This is a prescription cream that has been FDA approved to slow the growth of facial hair in women. While this cream is great at slowing down how quickly facial hair grows, it is not able to actually remove hair and needs to be applied twice a day. If the cream is not applied as required, then the hair will begin to regrow right away, but when used properly, it can decrease the need for women to wax, pluck, or shave the hair on their faces.





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