There are many reasons to want to get rid of hair on your body. For one, unwanted hair can be uncomfortable. Furthermore, there’s a freeing, beautiful feeling that comes with hairless skin. Because of this, a large percentage of people are on the prowl for the most effective ways of removing unwanted hair. Laser treatment, waxing and shaving are three such hair removal methods.
The body care and cosmetic industry is growing, and with this growth comes new treatment methods. A decade ago, shaving used to be the go-to method for hair removal — it has been around the longest. However, waxing and laser hair removal offer easier routes to hairless skin.
If you are itching to know more about laser and waxing results, you are in the right place. This article will provide a detailed comparison of these three methods of hair removal. By the end, you will have more information about the different hair removal techniques available to you. Let’s get started.
Laser vs Waxing vs Shaving: Definition and Procedure
Here, we will provide a picture of what to expect from the three different hair removal methods.
Shaving is probably the oldest and definitely the most common means of removing hair from your body. It is a true-and-tried method.
When shaving, you use a razor to remove hair just at the surface of the skin. Essentially, every other part of the hair, except that protruding out of the skin, remains intact.
You can shave any part of the body. The most commonly shaved areas are the legs, the bikini area (pubic region), and under the arms.
Shaving is, however, only a very temporary fix. The effects are very short-lived as hair starts to grow a few days after the hair removal session. During regrowth, the hairs are not tapered. They are also prickly, which then makes them appear rough and thick.
There is virtually no pain associated with shaving — if all goes well. However, there is a distinct possibility you may end up with nicks and cuts on your face or wherever else you are shaving. This is just one of the risks or side effects associated with shaving. Razor burn, ingrown hairs, folliculitis, or sensitive skin may result from your shaving efforts.
Procedure for shaving
If you are planning to get a shave, here’s what you should do:
- First, you must allow the hair to grow out of your skin well enough.
- You may perform an exfoliation before you shave. Alternatively, you may wet the hair to soften it. You may also apply shaving cream.
- Move the razor blade in long, gentle strokes against the direction of growth of your hair.
- Make sure to get off the hairs on the blade with a rinse after each stroke.
- Rinse the body part with warm water to remove any leftover foam. You should then use a cold water rinse to close up your pores.
Shaving is a generally accessible and affordable hair removal method. You can perform it as often as you need. The items you need for a good shave are few: shaving foam or gel and a razor.
There are different kinds of razors, ranging from safety to straight-edge (an exposed blade) razors. There is also an electric razor, which allows for a closer shave.
Compared to shaving, waxing is a newer method of hair removal. It entails using hot wax to pull out the hairs from the roots. As you can deduce, with the hairs’ roots out, it will take a longer time before you can expect to see hair in that area again.
However, there are few restrictions as to the part of your body you can wax. Arms, legs, eyebrows, back, abdomen, among other areas, can be waxed to significant effects.
There are generally two major types of waxing. The first is strip waxing, which employs soft wax. Soft wax is usually made of oils, rosin, and some additional minor items.
In strip waxing, a strip of cloth or paper is placed on the thinly applied wax and adhered firmly to the wax before the wax is applied to the skin. The strip is then quickly pulled off, pulling off the hairs in the process. Strip waxing finds more use for non-sensitive parts: arms, legs, and generally large areas.
Stripless (or non-strip) waxing makes use of hard wax, which is made out of beeswax, rosins, oils, and other substances. This process does not employ a strip of paper or cloth. The wax is spread thickly on the body. Once it cools and hardens, it is quickly ripped off.
People with sensitive skin use stripless waxing since it has less adherence to the skin. More delicate hairs are also better removed since the wax envelops the strands while it hardens.
If you are going to get your body waxed, you can expect the following:
- Your aesthetician cleans the part of the body to be waxed.
- A pre-wax is applied to check for possible skin irritation. This determines if it is safe enough to proceed.
- The wax is then applied to your body, often using a popsicle stick or any other applicator. The application is done in the direction of your hair growth.
- Depending on the skin sensitivity and position, a strip may or may not be applied. Once hardened, the wax is pulled off swiftly, against the direction of hair growth.
- A lotion or serum is applied to calm the waxed area. The cream can also help to develop the formation of ingrown hairs.
After waxing, your skin feels silky smooth and sensitive. However, this feeling lasts just about 3 to 4 weeks before you start to see hair again. This timeline may vary depending on your genetics and how it affects your hair growth.
Like shaving, waxing has some side effects, and the most popular is the development of ingrown hairs. It is also one of the most painful depilatory methods. You may see other side effects like:
- Skin irritation
Waxing is also beneficial because it performs a light exfoliation as it removes dead skin cells when ripped off. It is undoubtedly more expensive than shaving, though not by much.
Laser hair removal
Pitting laser vs. waxing vs. shaving is necessary to find out the one that gives guaranteed results. Speaking of results, laser offers the most effective results for hair removal. We’ll explain what we mean.
You see, laser hair removal treatment is a non-invasive method of reducing or removing body hair. It works using a concentrated beam of laser light energy to destroy hair follicles in the treatment area.
By destroying the hair follicle, hair growth in the affected area is significantly reduced permanently. You can use laser hair treatment on most of the body. Common target areas for laser hair removal include:
- Bikini area
Furthermore, laser hair removal is more effective for people with darker hair. The skin pigmentation that darkens the hair helps the hair follicle to absorb the laser light. The absorbed light destroys the hair follicles from which the unwanted hair grows out. For darker skin, the shade disparity between the skin and the hair allows the laser to target the hair and leave out the skin.
People with darker skin who want to undergo laser hair removal often need to have the laser modified. Because of the absence of pigmentation, lighter coloured hair also shows less effective results. Therefore, blonde, grey, or white-coloured hair may not be removed by laser.
Laser hair treatment is very fast growing. It is touted as one of the most common beauty procedures done in recent times.
When you go to have a laser hair removal treatment, the aesthetician will do the following:
- The part of the body with unwanted hair is cleaned. A numbing gel is usually applied to reduce the effect of the laser.
- Since a laser is involved, there is a need for protective eyewear to be worn by both you and the aesthetician.
- The laser light is focused on the area in the spotlight. The feeling of the laser is similar to snapping an elastic band on your hand — it’s really not painful.
- You may perceive a sulphurous odour as your hair vaporizes.
- Once the procedure is over, you can leave because there is no downtime after your laser hair removal procedure.
The time it takes to get a laser treatment depends on the area of the part being treated. Laser hair treatments have the particular advantage of being quick. Also, within two to three weeks of treatments, your hair will start to fall out.
The effects are cumulative, and after 3 to 7 treatments, the results start to become permanent. Of course, this is dependent on your hair type and thickness.
Just like shaving or waxing, laser treatments also have some possible side effects. You may experience some redness and swelling, as well as irritation after the procedure.
Other more uncommon effects are infection, burns, scarring, or changes in your skin colour. These side effects come when you get laser treatments at a below-par medical spa. For the best results, you should always get laser hair removal at a professional medical spa near you.
Related article: What is the Best Treatment for Facial Hair Removal in Vaughan?
Laser vs. Waxing vs. Shaving: Which is Best?
Here, we will be answering the question of which is best between laser, shaving, and waxing. To do that, we will analyze these treatment methods under different important talking points:
There is minimal discomfort with laser treatment — the process is described as a slight sting or a snap of an elastic band. Shaving also causes minimal pain or discomfort.
On the other hand, waxing causes moderate to severe pain and discomfort, depending on your skin sensitivity. The pain is usually short-lived but enough to warrant taking analgesics before the procedure.
Here, there is no doubt that laser treatments offer a higher guarantee of results. With shaving and waxing, you will have to engage in continued treatments at short intervals.
After the recommended number of treatments with laser, hair removal starts to become permanent in the treatment area. You may require maintenance treatments, but these may be spaced out over long intervals.
A look at the costs of laser, shaving, and waxing treatments, show that laser treatments are more expensive per session. On the flip side, you can easily pick up razors and shaving creams at your local mart. Also, because you can shave and possibly wax by yourself at home, the intrinsic costs are less.
However, laser hair treatments are counted as a bargain because they are more effective. It can take as many as a few months for the hair to grow back following the treatment. Within this same timeframe, you will pay more for shaving and waxing than on laser treatments.
Before a wax treatment can be effective, the hair must be grown to at least a quarter or a half-inch. This means you must leave time for the hair to grow before undertaking such treatments.
With a shave, the hair must be well over the surface of the skin. However, laser treatment can bypass all these requirements as the hair follicles are targeted. Hair follicles are always present regardless of hair length.
One of the big points of comparison of laser, shaving, and waxing treatments is the accessibility. There are home-made waxing options for you to try. If you follow the instructions correctly, you will do a good waxing job by yourself.
As with shaving, you can always do this at home as it requires no special conditions. Laser hair treatments are only performed at specialized and regulated centers. You will still have to go to a designated center for your treatments.
Precautions for Hair Removal Treatments
Each treatment method has specific steps to take before going for or undertaking depilation. You need to follow the guidelines for the best effects.
- You may do a gentle exfoliation before you start to shave. This allows for as close a shave as possible.
- In the days leading up to the waxing session, you should avoid exfoliation or tanning.
- You should also avoid swimming as it can dry out your skin, making the waxing more painful.
- Don’t put on a lotion or cream on the day of the wax.
- Similarly, you should not consume caffeine or alcohol on the same day – the pain may worsen.
For laser removal:
- Avoid sun exposure as much as you can before the treatment.
- Do not wax or pluck the hairs off before you go under the laser.
- Avoid drugs that increase bleeding, such as aspirin.
- If you have a skin infection, be sure to let your aesthetician know. This may be a reason to stop and postpone the treatment to another time.
It may be challenging to choose between laser, waxing, and shaving treatments for hair removal. But from the information above, it’s easy to draw the conclusion laser hair removal offers more effective results. Also, it’s less painful compared to waxing and shaving (when you compare the possibility of cuts).