“HONESTLY, I’m so hairy – it’s disgusting,” my friend cried out to me as she plucked a single fair hair from her chin. I felt somewhat annoyed by her unintentional insensitivity.
You see, while I appreciate that everyone experiences unwanted body hair, I genuinely am an extremely hairy person, and its impact on my life goes well beyond having to deal with the odd stray tuft.
But I’m not alone. In fact, 10% of western women suffer with hirsutism – the excessive growth of dark, thick hair.* And while it can be linked to conditions that cause your body to produce more male hormones, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), not all cases are caused by a medical condition.
From the age of seven, I remember comments being made by other children in the playground at school about my monobrow. I started shaving my legs at 10 after persuading my mum to buy me a razor and teach me how to use it safely. Soon enough, I was plucking away at my bushy brows and waxing my upper lip. By the time I started growing pubic hair, the rest of my body was virtually fuzz-free.
As I reached adulthood and my working days got longer, my hair removal regime started to take its toll. I had to cut down.
My moustache grew back, my bikini line would sprout out of swimsuits and my leg hair peeped out at my ankles. However, as well as making me feel less glam, my body hair is uncomfortable and I just wanted it gone, so I began researching new options. It turns out there are more affordable quick fixes than ever before.
So, while the end of summer would usually mark my return back to “au natural” growth, this year I’ve found my summer body hair regime so easy, I’m vowing to keep it up all year round.
And even if you have regular body hair, you still need a helping hand – so from shavers to lasers, here are the easy-peasy new- gen hair removal tricks keeping your body smooth.
Waxing no longer means you have to make frequent and time-consuming trips to the salon.
“In terms of speed, in-salon treatments have come a long way and can now be done in a matter of minutes.
- Sugar Coated Full Body Hair Removal Kit, £12.99 – buy now
Likewise, at-home treatments have advanced from the days of skin-tugging and broken hairs,” explains Aniqua Younis, therapist at Ministry of Waxing.
For quick, easy, at-home results, try the Sugar Coated Full Body Hair Removal Kit, £12.99, which is water-soluble and is suitable for all skin types.
Just heat the formula in the microwave then apply to skin before waxing away with the strips provided (although I’m not quite brave enough for a DIY bikini line job just yet). And as far as aftercare goes, it’s pretty stress-free.
“For 24 hours afterwards, I advise you don’t go swimming or expose the area to too much heat as this could cause irritation,” says Aniqua. “Plus, in the colder months your hair grows a lot slower so you can wait longer between waxing.”
Of all the forms of hair removal, shaving is the most fuss-free. However, Dr Anita Sturnham, GP and Gillette Venus ambassador, warns: “If you’re not using the right tools you can expect some irritation when shaving sensitive areas.”
A well-designed razor with a minimum of four blades helps reduce pressure and trauma. Dr Sturnham advises: “You’re far less like to cut yourself with blades designed to deliver smooth shaves without irritation and handles specifically moulded for extra control.”
- Gillette Venus Platinum Extra Smooth Razor, £11.99, Superdrug – buy now
- Superdrug Studio Eyebrow Razor Brow Trimmers £2.99 for three – buy now
Gillette Venus Platinum Extra Smooth Razor, £11.99, has five blades that make for an easier shave with less irritation.
If, like me, you’re a bit lazy when it comes to changing your blades and suffer nicks and cuts as a consequence of using old, blunt ones, why not consider a shaving subscription service? British brand FFS supply high-quality razors straight to your door from just £9 a month.
And it’s not just your legs that can benefit from shaving. Dermaplaning is the process of using a single blade to remove dead skin and peach fuzz from your face.
Superdrug Studio Eyebrow Razor Brow Trimmers £2.99 for three, is the ultimate no-fuss dermaplaning tool.
When I see the words “hair removal cream”, I get flashbacks to slathering my upper lip in a pungent-smelling lotion that left scars, both physically and emotionally. However, new, more innovative formulas are now available, and they’re a lot more pleasant to use.
“Historically, cheap depilatory creams feature a lot of synthetic alkaline chemicals to break down hair, and applying them to sensitive areas can cause redness and irritation. To avoid this, opt for a product that contains natural oils to soothe the affected area,” explains Lucy Anderson, WooWoo CEO and founder.
- Nair Ultra Hair Removal Sensitive Cream, £6.19, Boots – buy now
- WooWoo Tame It! Intimate Hair Removal Cream, £6.75 – buy now
For legs and larger surface areas, Nair Ultra Hair Removal Sensitive Cream, £6.19, contains camellia oil and ylang ylang to calm skin.
For more sensitive areas, WooWoo Tame It! Intimate Hair Removal Cream, £6.75, not only delivers a hit of soothing aloe vera, but it smells divine, too.
Remember when laser hair removal was a mythical procedure that only A-listers could afford? Nowadays, you can treat yourself to in-salon laser hair removal for as little as £50 a session. How many you’ll need depends on your hair type, but it typically takes around four to eight sessions. Or you can now do it yourself at home.
“Laser treatments work to permanently reduce hair growth. At-home light devices usually use IPL, whereas in-clinic treatments use medical-grade lasers,” explains Pippa Osbourn, director at Nova Aesthetic Clinic.
- Braun Silk-Expert 3 BD5003 Corded IPL, £199.99, Argos – buy now
“While both techniques work to reduce hair growth, the intensity of the in-clinic lasers provide much quicker and more noticeable results.”
Despite a lifetime of waxing costing you more than a course of in-salon laser treatments, the initial expense can be hard to swallow.
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I dipped my toe in with an in- salon course of the painless Soprano Titanium laser on my underarms, which costs from £45 per session.
And while the results are seriously impressive, for larger, more costly areas I advise investing in an at-home IPL device, such as Braun Silk-Expert 3 BD5003 Corded IPL, £199.99, which can treat one leg in just 10 minutes.
Source: *British Skin Foundation
Stockists: Braun (Argos.co.uk), FFS (Ffs.co.uk), Gillette (Superdrug.com), Nair (Boots.com), Sugar Coated (Sugarcoatedhairremoval.com), Superdrug (Superdrug.com), WooWoo (Woowoo.fun)