Hair Removal Methods – Pros & Cons

By | December 27, 2015

Hair removal has been performed by humans, since antiquity. In many cultures having body hair was considered dirty and primitive. Romans and Egyptians, for example, used to remove all their body and facial hair using sugar waxing or knives. Since then, we have come up with many more hair removal methods, here is a comprehensive list with their pros and cons.

Shaving

ShavingShaving is one of the most popular methods of hair removal, specially for male facial hair. It removes the hair at skin level by using a sharp blade or razor.  It can be done with different implements with the most effective being the barber knife because it gives you the closest shave. It is also the most risky for an inexperience user as it is very easy to cut yourself. Electric razors are great for a quick and safe shave.  Disposable razors are now the most popular and offer a degree of protection against cuts and abrasion.

Pros

  • Quick
  • Cheap
  • Painless

Cons

  • Cuts
  • Razor burn
  • Razor bumps
  • Hair gets stronger
  • Smooth skin doesn’t last but a few hours

Plucking or Tweezing

Plucking each individual hair with a tweezer.

Pros

  • Hair take 3-8 weeks to grow back
  • Cheap
  • Easy to do

Cons

  • Slow: suitable for small areas such as eyebrows and face
  • Painful

Waxing

Waxing Hair RemovalWaxing is also a very popular hair removal method. Waxing uses a paste made out of resins which is applied hot and removed against hair growth. There are different kinds of waxes with the most popular being the strip waxing: a thin layer of wax is applied to the skin and removed by pressing a cloth strip on top and pulling it swiftly.

Pros

  • Most of the hair is pulled from the root
  • Long lasting: skin can remain free of hairs for 2-4 weeks
  • Over time, with regular waxing, the follicles weaken and hair can become thinner and sparse
  • Fairly quick, removes large patches of hair at the same time

Cons

  • Ingrown hairs
  • Can cause trauma to the follicle and lift the skin
  • Can cause allergies and skin irritation
  • Hair can break and grow back very quickly
  • Expensive if performed at a salon
  • Painful

Sugar Waxing (Sugaring)

Sugar WaxingSugar Waxing or Sugaring is one of the oldest hair removal methods. It uses a natural paste made out of cooked sugar, water and lemon. The paste is spread on the skin using the hand and then pulled in the direction of hair growth. The hair is removed complete with root and sheath.

Pros

  • Hair is pulled complete from the root
  • Long lasting: skin remains smooth for 2-4 weeks
  • Regular sugaring leads to permanent hair reduction
  • Fairly quick
  • Gentle on the skin
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Very cheap if done at home
  • Antibacterial

Cons

  • Although less painful than regular waxing, it is still painful
  • Expensive if performed at a salon
  • Can be difficult to master

Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams (they also come in various forms: gels, lotions, aerosols, and powders) are chemical preparations applied to the skin in order to dissolve the hair on the surface of the skin. Common active ingredients are calcium thioglycolate or potassium thioglycolate that break down the keratine in the hair.

Pros

  • Fast
  • Painless
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to do at home

Cons

  • Can cause skin irritation
  • Hair grows back quickly 1 or 2 days
  • Bad smelling

Threading

Threading is an ancient hair removal method originating in India and Central Asia. It involves the use a cotton thread to pull hairs from the root. It is ideal to shape eyebrows because it gives a better definition than waxing or sugaring

Pros

  • Offers great control and definition specially good for eyebrows and other areas of the face
  • Fairly quick

Cons

  • Not suitable for large body areas
  • Painful
  • Can nick the skin if not done properly

Epilators

Epilators are electric machines that work by hooking and pulling a number of hairs at the same time.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Fairly quick

Cons

  • Hair tends to break at the skin surface
  • Painful

Growth Inhibitor Products

Hair growth inhibitor lotions and creams can decrease the amount of hair and thin hair overtime. It is used in conjunction with waxing or other depilation methods.

Pros

  • Long term permanency
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Painless

Cons

  • Need to be used multiple time and in combination with other hair removal methods
  • May need indefinite weekly maintenance
  • You are using chemicals on the skin that may have yet unknown side effects

Electrolysis

In Electrolysis the therapist inserts a thin needle into the follicle which delivers an electric current destroying the root.

Pros

  • Permanent
  • Works in all hair and skin colours

Cons

  • Needs to be performed by a trained therapist
  • Painful
  • Slow (mainly suitable for small areas such as lip and chin)
  • Expensive

Laser / IPL

Laser hair removalLaser hair removal and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) use a strong light beam to permanently destroy the hair follicle.

Pros

  • Permanent
  • Almost painless
  • Very rare side effects
  • Treatments are quick although hair free skin is achieved after 8+ months
  • Treats ingrown hair

Cons

  • Works best for brown or black hair
  • Needs multiple treatments (6-12) spaced every (4-8 weeks)
  • Expensive
  • Although rare, burns and pigmentation are a possibility
  • Not suitable for eyebrows

 

Any feedback is most welcome