THE GREAT HAIR REMOVAL EXPERIMENT!
Yes, ladies, you read correctly. Even little ole blondish-reddish me has to remove unwanted hair. Even on my chin and neck, and other places that shall currently remain unidentified (ok, I'll tell you , since you are dying to know. My CHEST.). I decided to do this because the commercials on TV for women's hair removal are so blinkin' patronizing and sexist, and because the only other alternative is late-night infomercials. Since you won't read an article like this in a typical women's magazine, and because I have already done the personal research, I feel you deserve to hear it first hand!
- Salon Wax - Salon waxing is perhaps the most painful thing I have ever endured, next to childbirth. There is nothing more relaxing than being led into that little massage room with the neat bed and serene music, just about drifting off to sleep while the beautician ladles warm wax on your legs and then having SEVEN LAYERS OF SKIN ripped off in an instant by five-foot-tall Typhani with a PHI. Ouch. Pros: fast, hair stays off for weeks, really. And doesn't grow back in quite as thick. Cons: Pain. Oh, and the price. I paid (last summer) $35 for legs and $15 for bikini, the underarms cost $15 too. And that place was fairly reasonable. Your typical salon costs $75 and up on average.
- Home hair removal/waxing: Ok, this is something that should never be sold over the counter for many reasons, but I will give you two. Firstly, it is a gosh-awful mess. Even if you try to be neat and clean it ends up between cracks in the tile and all over the spigot. If it is the kind that you have to warm up and stir, it is even worse. Reason the second, if it is the kind that comes on neat little "cold wax" strips, it is really only good for your eyebrows! Forget the underarms, too hard to do and too painful. Pros: Price is good! Most people can afford $5 or so for a few weeks of not having to shave. It is does work very well and very quickly on the eyebrow area. Cons: Painful to remove. Unless you are a masochist and WANT to hurt yourself, or if you have a willing participant, which makes your significant other a sadist. Oh, and then there is that little thing about the mess...
- Aussie Nads Hair Removal System: Ok, I have seen the infomercials for years and had to try it myself. This stuff seemed too good to be true. I mean, how can it possibly work that well? So when I saw it on the shelf at Tarzhay, I had to give it a go. It is expensive (to me) at $16, for something that you have to do yourself. So, last week I had the required 3-5 mm of hairgrowth, and gave it a whirl. It says you have to follow the instructions to the LETTER, which I did. And it still didn't work. It is basically gooey, smelly, slimy wax. It is made with "natural products" so it is supposedly better for your skin (thank goodness for that!). But, it was incredibly messy and sticky. And ripping it off yourself ain't no fun. See the "Cons" in #2. Pros: It is made in Australia. And who doesn't love the Down Under? Cons: Works like hair wax. That is a con to me. I hate wax.
- Cream Bleach: My sister swears by it. But she is a red-head with snow-white skin, so she doesn't have a reason to shave, since she has no body hair anyway. But for the few little strays she gets, she uses this cream bleach stuff. It is inexpensive ($5 or less) but burns the skin if you leave it on too long, or at all, really. And, it doesn't remove the hair, just bleaches it. Pros: Quick and easy, good price. Cons: doesn't remove hair, so for the average person, this will not help the unwanted hair issue!
- Veet or Nair: I used this once in summer camp as a teen and it burned the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of my legs and bikini area. I forgot all about it until this week when I once again ventured into Tarzhay. I figured that for $4 it would be worth trying again. Besides, I am an adult now, I follow directions, right? In actuality, it worked fairly well. I started with the underarms first, then worked to the legs. The only drawback is that I no sooner started the legs and I had to remove the first bit already. And, it did miss a few very resistant hairs, so you either have to go back and touch up or get out the dreaded razor. Pros: Cheap, fast and easy. Doesn't smell that bad. Cons: tingles a bit and I had to sit on the toilet naked, feeling like and idiot, until it was time to scrape it off.
- Electric Razor: Last winter I bought myself a fairly expensive electric razor. Darling got a Braun-watchamacallit for Christmas and he LOVED it, so he let me try it and I was hooked. Problem is, I bought the ladies version and it was AWFUL. Talk about time consuming! It took more time than a traditional razor, I had to be doubly sure to go against hair growth. The knees were the worst part, nick city! And that is one of my main reasons for buying it! Pros: this particular model, the Rembrandt Ladies razor, had a hair catching system so it was little mess. It had its own little recharger, too. Cons: If you are going to go through the trouble of buying something that costs $50-$100 to shave your legs, get the male version. And don't be surprised if it totally craps out on you in 3 months, since you have 3X the square footage to shave compared to your mate. Or not, depending on how hairy he/she is.
- Manual razor: The old standby! This is what I have gone back to in between every other method. It is the cheapest and easiest, since I do it in the shower. Problem is, I only get to do it once a week, and that creeps Darling out. In the summer I am better at it, but that is when I usually resort to a more painful hair removal method. Costs anywhere from $2 up t0 $15, depending on the type of shave gel and razor you use. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT get disposable razors. And don't buy a lady razor, they are more expensive and don't remove the hair as easily. They are designed, "For more delicate skin" but we all know that women have MORE hair on their legs, and the majority of us have VERY THICK hair. Plus, the bikini and underarms. Need I say more? Pros: Easy and cheap. Can be done fairly quickly in the shower with little time. Cons: Nicks. They hurt, and bleed. And the worst ones are on the back of your knee. OUCH!
- Epilady: Yes! I did buy this and try it! And, it worked VERY well! But I have to tell you, it is NOT worth the pain involved. Epilady works like this: There are these little rotating coils that act like tens of pairs of tweezers simultaneously ripping/plucking the hair out. Once again, 3-5 mm hair growth is necessary. And it does grow back in much finer. Because you have killed the top few layers of skin and hair in the first place. It huuuurrtttsss. And my legs were left covered in teeny, painful, red bumps. Ouchy. Price was about $30 two years ago. They may have "improved" it with technology, but I do not recommend. Pros: Fast, minimal hair regrowth. Cons: Can't use on bikini (The pain!) or underarms (skin gets caught!).
- Laser and electrolysis: I have never undergone these methods, that is my disclaimer. But, I have read about them. From what my dermatologist says, after a few treatments you barely have ANY hair growing back. But it is really for problem areas, whole legs would be expensive and would require many trips to the esthetician. Can't do underarms, apparently it stops you ability to sweat under there. So, bikini is ok, maybe the funky hair you get on your cheek like Aunt Carol (am I the only one that gets these?). But not whole legs. Pros: Total hair removal, rarely grows back! More permanent solution. Cons: Very pricey. Can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars PER session, depending on who you see and what you have done.
I know there may be a few of you who have seen other methods and tried other things, please feel free to let me know, and I will add them in. Of course, there is one method that I didn't post that is teh most obvious: Don't shave. Depending on how picky your mate is (mine is tolerant for a few days, but I honestly wouldn't shave if it weren't for him) you can just call a moratorium on hair removal. That might be a good way to get your kitchen painted, for example. It is all about negotiations, I mean, compromise, right?