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Nearly seventy percent of women remove their body hair, according to research from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Most report doing so for sexual reasons or to look good in a bathing suit. But, the saying “Pain is beauty” couldn’t be truer for hair removal. Some women can suffer something called vulvodynia, which is chronic pain around the vagina following bikini waxing and other popular hair removal treatments in this sensitive area. Most women are familiar with razor burn, ingrown hairs, irritation following treatment and even allergic reaction to products. Women put themselves through quite a bit to have smooth, hairless bodies.

Women don’t just sacrifice comfort – they sacrifice funds, too. A bikini wax at a salon can cost upwards of $50 and sugaring can cost upwards of $70. Keeping up with these professional services regularly can get pricey, so many women turn to try it at home. But, without the help of a professional, the risk of discomfort increases. Here are tips for expert-level hair removal at home.

 

Sugaring

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Though sugaring has actually been something that humans have done for centuries, it only recently picked up new steam in modern civilization. Sugaring is now a popular hair removal process for women who have grown tired of conventional options like shaving or waxing. Put simply: it involves rubbing a sugar-containing product against the skin in a rolling motion to pull hair away. You can either make your own product (find a DIY video for a recipe here) or buy a pre-made one.

If you plan on sugaring, be sure to let your hair grow out to 1/4th an inch for best results. The sugar mixture needs something to grab onto. It’s important to moisturize and exfoliate the region you hope to sugar regularly, but stop exfoliating two to three days before sugaring to avoid irritation. You can see a video on how to do the actual hair removal process above.

Following the process, make sure to avoid sun exposure, chlorine or cosmetic products on the treated area for 48 hours. If you sugar your bikini are, avoid sex for 48 hours.

 

Waxing

Close-Up Of Liquid Against Blue Background

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If you prefer waxing for hair removal, there are a few main types: wax strips, hard wax and soft wax. Wax strips will be the cleanest and are good for large areas. If you prefer traditional wax, had wax is good for sensitive areas (like the bikini line or underarms) and soft wax is good for large areas like the legs.

Regularly exfoliate the area to be waxed, but stop 24 hours before actually waxing. Make sure there are no sores or cuts on the area – if there are, wait for these to heal before waxing – otherwise the product can get inside and cause irritation. Cleanse the area immediately before waxing. Remember to pull the wax off in the opposite direction of hair growth for best results and to prevent bruising.

It’s a good idea to use an antibacterial lotion after waxing to remove any bacteria that could have gotten in there. Other than that, don’t put product on the area and avoid exfoliating for four days. Furthermore, avoid the sun, saunas, steam rooms and chlorine for up to 24 hours following waxing.

 

Lasering

Woman taking care of her legs at home

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Laser hair removal has become quite popular because of its effectiveness. It can nearly put a stop to hair growth and most women, once they’ve gotten into a good cycle with it, can go long periods of time without having to do it at all (or ever again). A simple way to describe lasering is that the laser device emits light that damages hair follicles, limiting their ability to grow.

It is important to know that traditional hair lasering machines don’t work well with dark skin tones – they require the contrast between light skin and dark hair to work. Fortunately, there are devices that are designed to work with dark skin, like this one.

It is a good idea to shave a few days before lasering. Getting the hair short helps the device find the root of hair. Avoid retinol and similar harsh products after laser hair removal and don’t exfoliate. As an important note: DO NOT LASER OFF PUBIC HAIR AT HOME. Leave that to a professional.

 

Shaving

Woman Shaving Her Legs

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If you’re into good old-fashioned shaving, there are some tips to help that process go smoothly and leave you with the best results. If it’s been a while since you’ve shaved, take some scissors and a comb to the area first to remove longer pubes – you don’t want these getting caught in your razer.

It’s a good idea to keep that area moisturized between shaving sessions and to use a pre-shave oil before shaving, as well as a shaving gel. For best results, shave right after showering or bathing. The hot water helps soften hair follicles. If ingrowns are a problem for you, look into a product like this one that treats those.

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