Buried knee-deep in Spring, the whole world (sorry, Greenland!) can finally salute the global movement towards sleeveless dresses and ankle-revealing skirts. Boat shoes, worn without socks, here we come. Flat sandals and one-piece swimsuits, we have a date soon.
But first, let’s take a moment and think about our long, silky legs, our smooth armpits and our perfect bikini like. That’s right, imagination is the key ingredient here. If you’re like so many women we know, winter’s not the best time for taking care of that excess hair on your body. And that’s perfectly fine. But if you do feel like pampering your skin when those golden rays hit your face midday, you should know you’re part of a bigger historical context.
A Brief History of Waxing
Baby skin isn’t new. Back in the Roman Empire, no body hair was a sign of wealth. Everything had to go, which is one of the reasons we don’t see too many ancient statues of nude, hairy women.
As time passed, habits died not, but changed. Queen Elizabeth the first was one of the most important smooth skin endorsers of her time, and women followed in her quest for beauty. But Elizabeth had little patience for her body. Instead, she focused on what she showed the world every day — her face. Thus, the Middle Ages were greeted with no eyebrows and a shaved forehead.
Fast forward 300 years later and we’re in depilatory cream and modern day razor land. Hair removal, as we know it, is slowly starting to make a name for itself. And, with the introduction of wax strips in the 60s and the laser revolution of the 90s, smooth skin is becoming more of a norm than ever.
Of course, we’ve got more hair removing possibilities now than ever. At-home options are super-popular, and women are queuing to buy shaving creams, self-waxing kits and better, more efficient razors.
While that might seem great at first — we get to include hair removing in our busy schedules and manage to do so in the privacy of our own homes — home waxing, shaving and epilating are often accompanied by unpleasant aftereffects: razor bumps, rashes, irritation and more pain than gain. The reason’s easy to anticipate: we don’t do this for a living and we don’t know as much as we’d like to about our skin.
The Message from the Skin
Like making cake, getting your hair removed is often best when left to the professionals. This is mainly because they know more about the subject than the average Jane and they can address any questions you have better than Google can.
Two hair removing methods shine on in the mass of options we seem to have, and those two are the age-old waxing and the decade-old laser treatment.
Waxing, The (Hot) Road to Perfect Skin
The Good: Waxing is a beautiful thing. This ancient beauty ritual takes your legs from hairy to flawless in minutes. When done in a professional salon or spa, it’s fast, efficient and it keeps your skin smooth for up to six weeks. Not to mention it’s effortless — getting an aesthetician to do it for you has its perks, right?
The Bad: It hurts, though it’s not as bad as you’d think. It might feel worse at first, because you’re nervous, but we know plenty of women who actually enjoy waxing and feel minimal pain. If you don’t take care of your skin after waxing, you might get an irritation.
Get Smooth: To get the best out of waxing, start at home. Don’t drink alcohol before hitting the salon, because your skin will be extra-sensible when waxing. Exfoliate, to remove dead skin cells and get a better shot at perfect skin, and consider mild painkillers that can take the edge off the whole experience. Another important thing to consider is letting your hair grow. If it’s too short, wax will do nothing for you. Finally, let your cosmetician know if you’re using any topical creams or if you’ve had trouble with hair removing before. What she doesn’t know can hurt you.
Works On: the face, legs, arms, back, tummy, bikini area, armpits. Basically, the whole body.
Laser The Hair Away
The Good: Women who try it usually love it, and that’s because it’s like no other hair removing better they’ve used. Laser treatment gets rid of unwanted hair permanently. Sometimes, without being a permanent solution, it makes your hair sparse and fine. You’ll probably have to go through it again years later.
The Bad: It digs deeper in your pocket. Still, it’s likely to be a worthy investment if you’re waxing regularly anyway. On the long run, you might even save up (for a new laser treatment).
Get Smooth: If you’re a fair skinned, dark haired gal, you’re the best candidate for laser treatment. Still, with new, emerging technologies, other complexions are getting the hair removing package as well. With that in mind, don’t tan before a laser session, because your skin might be lightened from the treatment and it might even interfere with the efficiency of the procedure. Shave as instructed and keep your skin free of cosmetics.
Works on: the whole body. Women usually get it on areas they don’t want to wax all the time — under the arms, above the upper lip or (like Elizabeth the 1st) on the face.
For many women, shaving at home is a built-in pain — they’ve gotten so used to it they don’t even think about it anymore. And, while shaving your legs might be acceptable from time to time, the bikini area’s a whole different story.
We know women who started going to a salon to get their hair professionally removed relatively late in their lives. But not many go back to their old razor, because the spa gives you more than your own bathroom can — it turns hair removing into a pampering ritual. It gives you access to beauty gurus who have the answers to your questions. And it doesn’t let you leave until your skin’s as smooth as money can buy.