Are you a waxing or shaving kind of gal? Perhaps you’re a laser lady? No matter what your choice for hair removal this is the bottom line — you want to be smooth and hair-free this summer! ELLE shows you how with the help of aesthetician Angela Bishop of Remedy Facial Bar & Spa in Halifax.

Shaving 101

The deal: A do-it-yourself way to get rid of pesky hairs. All you need is a razor and some soothing gel!

Cost: $

Expert’s tips:
• With disposable razors you should shave in the direction of the hair growth. They aren’t quite as sharp and can actually pull and tug on hairs.
• If you’re wanting a much closer shave, shave in the opposite direction, but don’t repeatedly go over the same area. It will cause major irritation, in-grown hairs, and redness.
• If shaving against the hair growth make sure you take the time to soak the area.
• Always use a soothing shaving gel.
• Rinse the blade often, or every few strokes. Hairs on the blade will interfere with shaving, causing pulling and missing some spots.
• For a stray hair you can’t catch, use tweezers to gently pull it out.
• Exfoliate! You will also be removing layers of dead skin as you shave, so be sure to get it smooth again by exfoliating.

Expert’s advice: “Try to give a few days in between shaving,” suggests Bishop. “Otherwise you will really irritate the skin and cause red bumps!”

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Waxing 101

The deal: By placing strips of warm wax on the skin and pulling back, hairs are removed from the root, leaving a baby-smooth finish.

Cost: $

Expert’s Tips:
• To ease the pain try taking a Tylenol 40 minutes before waxing. Avoid taking Aspirin because it thins the blood and could cause bruising.
• Wear loose clothing — your skin may be irritated after and will need room to breathe.
• Don’t hit the gym beforehand — it can cause irritation.
• Because the area will be sensitive after the waxing, don’t tan for at least 48 hours, or it could leave you with a nasty burn!
• If you do experience discomfort after waxing, apply gentle pressure to the area with your fingertips. Ice also works to decrease sensitivity.
• Use a loofah or gentle exfoliant before waxing to get rid of dead skin cells.
• Because pores are very soft after a shower, wait several hours to allow pores to close before waxing.
• Try not to shave in between treatments — it will cause in-grown hairs.
• Because skin tends to be more sensitive right before and right after your menstrual cycle, waxing can be more painful. Try to avoid waxing 3-4 days before and 3-4 days after your period
• Make sure the hair in your bikini area is at least ¼ inches long so the wax can grab a hold of it. If it’s longer, trim it back.

Expert’s advice: “The best wax to get for wearing a bikini is definitely completely bare! When laying on the beach or by the pool you want there to be no chance of any hair peeking out of your bikini in the front or the back!” says Bishop. You will also feel much more sexy and confident in your teeny-weeny.

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Laser 101

The deal: A technician will use a laser to penetrate the skin at the follicle to disable or destroy the root. In most cases the hairs are disabled in the first treatment, not destroyed. So expect to get three or more treatments done for desired results (expect more if you have waxed a lot in the past, as stray hairs may grow back in). Not to worry the laser doesn’t have enough power to harm the surrounding skin.

Cost: $$

Expert’s Tips:
• Always have an initial consultation with the technician. This will help determine your needs, sensitivities, costs and how many treatments you will need.
• At least 2-3 days before the procedure, you should shave the area and grow stubble. Shorter hairs work best for this procedure.
• Do not hit the tanning bed before or after. Your skin will be sensitive and could have a bad reaction or become irritated.
• Ask about the different types of lasers they offer to help determine which is best for you.
• There may be some pain and discomfort with this procedure. To help avoid discomfort apply a thick layer of over the counter anesthetic cream at least an hour before the treatment, then remove beforehand.

Expert’s advice: “If someone was nervous about getting lasers for the first time I would assure them if it was the pain they were worried about it is not going to be as bad as they thought,” assures Bishop. “And, always ask friends or family for referrals of a good place to go.”

Final tips on getting ready for bikini season:

“To get ready for bikini season people should start booking their appointments a month before they want to have it done,” advises Bishop. “If getting waxed, I recommend having it done 2-3 days before going away. If you’re getting a laser treatment make sure you start a few months in advance to have the results you want for the season.”

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