It’s summer time, which means that hair removal season is at its peak. No one wants to be put into a situation where body hair makes an unwanted appearance. Between the dresses, tank tops and bathing suits, not to mention the prolonged hours of daylight (no more dark haunts to provide cover for your overgrown brows) unsightly stubble is a no-no. But the options – oh, the options! – when it comes to getting rid of your unwanted hair are getting to be more and more.
To help make the call on which
hair removal technique is best for you, we’ve called in a roundtable of experts to give us the pros, cons and the pain associated with waxing, threading and sugaring to help you on your way to a summer of smooth skin and manicured hair.
Who: Lindsay Brown
Owner of Cutie Pie Wax Bar Inc. cutiepiewaxbar.com; West Vancouver, BC
Master of: Hard and Soft wax
Who: Ravy Mehroke
CEO/co-founder of Bombay Brow Bar bombaybrowbar.com; Vancouver, BC
Master of: Threading
Who: Paola Girotti
Owner of Sugarmoon sugarmoonsalon.com; Toronto, ON
Master of: Body Sugaring
How does each technique work to remove body hair?
Soft wax: Soft wax is applied in the direction of hair growth, covered with a cloth strip and pulled quickly in the opposite direction to remove unwanted hair out from the follicle.
Hard Wax: Hard wax is applied thickly to the skin, and it hardens as it cools. It is removed by flicking up an edge of the hardened wax and pulling it off – so it is strip-less.
Threading: Threading is an ancient Indian technique that is used for hair removal. It is used widely in India and the Middle East. The thread is made of 100% cotton and twisted and rolled along the surface of the skin entwining the hairs in the thread, which are then lifted out from the follicle. Traditionally, threading is used on the entire face, including upper lip, chin, eyebrows, sideburns and cheeks.
Body Sugaring: Removes unwanted body hair using a paste made of sugar, lemon and water. There are 2 types of processes: the main "strip method" and the "hand technique" which is what Sugarmoon uses. This method uses a small ball of paste, applied over the entire body, to remove the hair.
More ways to get rid of unwanted body hair (and the pain factor) on the next page …
Which technique for which body part
Wax: Anywhere that unwanted hair grows.
Threading: Traditionally, threading is used on the entire face, including upper lip, chin, eyebrows, sideburns and cheeks.
Body Sugaring: Sugaring can be used to remove hair anywhere on the body.
What sort of street cred does your technique have?
Wax: Waxing dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece when ladies would use a paste made of beeswax and cloth strips to remove hair from the eyebrows down. Since then, despite hair removal going in and out of style (from the Bush to the Brazilian), waxing has been there!
Threading: Threading is available throughout North America and various other countries. However, threading requires a lot of practice as it takes years to master. We only hire those who have two plus years of experience, as it really is an acquired skill because of all of the quick, gliding movements required of the technician.
Body Sugaring: Sugaring is still a niche. It is not an easy technique and the product itself is much more expensive than wax so many salons tend to stay away from it. Sugarmoon has pioneered sugaring in Toronto and will continue to do so in other provinces as we expand.
Which technique to go with?
Wax: At Cutie Pie Wax Bar we use hard wax on the more sensitive, thinner skin such as the face and under arms. Because hard wax adheres to the hair itself, and not the skin, it is a more gentle wax. For the
bikini region we can use whichever wax the client prefers. Both types are effective so it really comes down to personal preference. You can’t wax if you’re on an acne medication or other skin-thinning or blood-thinning medications – waxing while on these medications can cause the skin to lift. Steer clear of waxing any area with varicose veins, sunburn, an STI or contagious skin infection.
Threading: Threading is an extremely natural method to remove hair as it only glides across the surface of the skin and able to effectively remove the hair from its follicle. It does not remove any layers of skin and is especially recommended for those with sensitive skin or on skin medications. At Bombay, we offer all three techniques as it really depends on our client needs and preferences.
Body Sugaring: Sugar biodegrades so our carbon footprint looks much different as there are no strips. It is more gentle on the skin as it only adheres to the dead cell and hair giving a lovely exfoliation. The process also of applying against growth and removing in its natural direction also prevents breakage.
Two of the most important aspect … pain factor and regrwoth time on the next page …
Rate the pain experienced by an average client on a scale of one ("I felt nothing”) to ten ("I may pass out")
Wax: For the average, first time waxee the pain is likely around a 4 or 5 ("Not as bad as I expected"). Regular waxers – those who wax every 4 – 6 weeks – notice a dramatic reduction in pain, more like a 2 or 3 ("We’re done already?"). At Cutie Pie Wax Bar, we use a numbing gel before a Brazilian wax, which helps relieve some of the discomfort while waxing. Hard Wax: Hard wax doesn’t adhere to the skin itself; rather, it “shrink wraps” around the hair without sticking to the skin so there is less irritation and sting so it’s often described as the more comfortable option, although many clients prefer strip wax for their bikini.
Threading: At Bombay, our customers probably experience somewhere between 3 – 4 (Definitely tolerable). It really depends on the skill of the technician, your pain tolerance, and the thickness of your hair The thicker the follicle or longer the brow hairs, the more pain you may experience. At Bombay, our brow sculptress are trained by us to ensure the least amount of pain as possible.
Body Sugaring: I would say we are average. Some find sugaring much less painful as the product is not hot and does not stick to the skin; however, hair being pulled is never easy so clients need to be prepared regardless of the technique.
How is the ingrown hair situation?
Wax: At Cutie Pie Wax Bar we recommend a regime of exfoliating and moisturizing to combat dreaded ingrown hairs. Our favourite exfoliation technique is dry brushing. We love the Merben Bikini Brush, which is made out of soft Jute bristles and ideal for sensitive skin.
Threading: Threading is extremely effective for preventing ingrowns as it pulls the hair out, right from the root. Ingrown hairs are normally a result of the hair being broken because it is not removed properly from the follicle. This can happen with any technique if the technician is not experienced.
Body Sugaring: Sugaring pulls hair in its natural direction. Removing hair this way avoids breakage, so sugaring definitely has an effect on diminishing the amount of ingrown hairs someone gets.
Average Re-Growth Time?
Wax: For regrowth time (time required for hair to be long enough for re-waxing) we suggest between 4 – 6 weeks and have a 5-week maintenance program that works for most of our clients. Smoothness time is closer to 2 – 3 weeks.
Threading: It really depends on how fast your hair grows but on average, regrowth is between 2 – 4 weeks.
Body Sugaring: Four weeks, on average.
Once you’re completely hair-free where you need to be, whip out the sundresses, skimpy bikinis and hit the pool with confidence!
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.