As a licensed Esthetician with over 17 years of experience in skincare, I get a lot of questions about body hair removal. So today I would like to clear up a few misconceptions. I’ll explain the pros and cons, as well as what makes the various removal techniques different. Then I’ll recommend what I see as the best removal process: sugaring.
First off, let’s clear up some myths.
Misconceptions About Shaving
First and foremost, shaving does not mean your hair will grow back more quickly. It won’t be any more visible, nor will there be any more of it than there was before you shaved. Many women are convinced that these myths are true simply because it doesn’t always grow back the same way. But that myth has been debunked here by Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D. at the Mayo Clinic.
Here’s the truth about shaving and hair re-growth. When you first start to shave, you’ll notice that the hairs are soft and dull. When it starts to grow back, it will be more course because it’s at the root. You’ll probably shave it sooner rather than later, so it won’t have the chance to grow out until it becomes softer and duller, like when it was unshaven.
Environmental factors can also affect the way it looks. Sun light, body wash, and chemical exposure can affect its color and thickness. This applies to your underarms, Brazilian, and legs just as much as it applies to your head. If you wanted to see it get as soft as it was before you shaved it, you’ll need to let it grow out for a solid month. If you really want to, grow it out during the winter!
Misconceptions About Waxing
There are just as many misconceptions here. Waxing does not make hair grow back darker any more than shaving does. But an even bigger myth is that it’s extremely painful. When done properly by a trained esthetician, it should not hurt much at all. It might be more uncomfortable during times when your skin is more sensitive (ahem, that time of the month), so just avoid booking services at that time.
Next, unfortunately, waxing won’t keep you from getting ingrown hairs. The only forms of removal that won’t cause those pesky things are laser treatments and electrolysis.
Your skin won’t wrinkle, either. It’s actually healthy as it removes old, dead skin. You also don’t have to let it grow out more than 1/4 inch before you get waxed again! But, a word of caution: it’s not okay to spend time in a tanning bed right after. This could potentially burn you.
Misconceptions About Sugaring
The sugaring process is a newer form of removal to the spa scene, but I’ve learned that the beauty world is already rife with misconceptions regarding this process.
First and foremost, this is a clean process! Professional sugaring paste comes right off with a soft, moist paper towel or cloth. Sugar doesn’t foster bacterial growth, either. Scientifically speaking, it’s actually the opposite because bacteria can’t survive with the high amounts of sugar in the treatment.
Another strange misconception is that women with diabetes can’t use the sugar process. First, the paste won’t affect your glucose levels. Second, it won’t hurt your skin. Of course, a woman with diabetes should be careful about how much sugar she eats, but you don’t eat the stuff you use to remove your body hair. That would be gross!
Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of the different types of hair removal, I’d like to discuss, from my experience as an esthetician, why the sugaring process is the best option. Bear in mind that each pro I discuss is in the context of a professional setting where the esthetician knows what she’s doing. These pros could easily turn into cons with an inexperienced, or worse yet, unlicensed esthetician. Be sure to check credentials before you book services with anyone!
I want my clients to be happy with their bodies with the least amount of pain and side effects possible. Any type of hair removal can have negative affects, but some processes are better than others. Obviously, any woman will want to avoid having super sensitive or tender skin. You won’t want to have any burn marks. You most definitely don’t want to contract contact dermatitis. You don’t want to bleed from your razor slipping in your hand. You don’t want to deal with pesky ingrown. And you don’t want to deal with pimples or constantly be scratching yourself down there!
I personally recommend sugaring because it’s healthier and better for the skin than other methods. The risk of irritation is reduced for a number of reasons.
First, you don’t have to rip the sugaring paste off your body if there is any remaining residue after your treatment. You can remove it easily by wiping it with warm water. There’s no hot wax to burn your body. You don’t have to brace yourself for it. In fact, sugaring is recommended as a significantly less painful method of hair removal compared to waxing on Esthetician EDU.org. Certainly, I want my clients to be relaxed and not dread their treatment being a painful experience.
Second, sugar is all natural. The paste is made of lemon, sugar, and water. It doesn’t get any more natural than that! So, you don’t have to worry about anything negative happening to your skin by using this process. Unless, of course, you’re allergic or sensitive to lemon or sugar. It might not be the best option for you if this applies to you.
Third, if you’re on a tight budget, you can use a DIY recipe to try the sugar process on your own at home. This is cost effective. You don’t have to buy razors, wax strips, or even a laser device, if you were to try laser removal yourself (which I don’t recommend). You can go as quickly or as slowly as you need to, to feel comfortable as you get used to the process. Additionally, many spas are offering sugar treatments at very reasonable prices, so you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for your treatment.
There’s no one right way or wrong way to go about personal grooming. It really is up to you. If you’re not sure about what you want to do, try different methods and see what suits you best. Just be sure to book services with a licensed esthetician who will take good care of you and your body! Good luck!
About The Author
Aimee is a licensed Aesthetician who graduated from Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver, Canada, in 2002. Since then she has worked in the industry specializing in skincare, which led her into developing a passion for DIYs, essential oils, natural and organic beauty products, and non-toxic living. Her love of all things related to beauty has led into the development of her own beauty blog Luv Lola.