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Creams, sugaring, waxing, plucking, shaving. The methods for hair removal are seemingly endless and it can be tricky to determine which option is best for you. When considering laser hair removal or waxing vs. shaving, many factors come into play. While each method is effective in its own way, you should also consider the texture and thickness of your hair and how long you want the area to stay smooth.
How Does Waxing Work?
Let’s start with waxing — what does waxing mean? It is a simple yet effective method of removing unwanted hair in a variety of locations. There are only three simple tools required for waxing: hot wax, an applicator to apply the wax, and a fabric strip. In a matter of seconds, you can remove your unwanted hair. The applicator is used to apply a thin layer of hair removal wax to the skin in the direction that the hair is growing. The strip is placed on the wax and pulled firmly in the opposite direction to remove the hair.
Pros and Cons of Waxing
There are many pros of waxing to consider. First, it is affordable compared with other hair removal treatments although it requires regular treatments to keep up with the results. Other waxing pros include that it is suitable for all skin types and skin tones. While you can complete waxing in the comfort of your own home, many people opt for a professional to do it.
The biggest con of waxing is that it hurts. It also only removes the hair and not the follicle, meaning the hair will grow back. Keep in mind that you cannot wax short hair. How long should hair be to wax? At least a quarter of an inch.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Another option is laser hair removal, and patients often wonder if laser hair removal is permanent. While no method of hair removal is 100% permanent, your best bet is the use of a high-power laser to see a permanent reduction in hair regrowth and texture. The laser can permanently destroy the hair and hair follicles if done in a series, but there is no guarantee that there will be no regrowth. Our Advanced Practice Estheticians are laser-trained professionals who will use the laser to remove unwanted hair. When it comes to how many sessions for laser hair removal are required, patients typically need multiple treatments to see lasting results. Typically 4-6 sessions spaced about a month to six weeks apart. After that, some patients require occasional touch-ups.
Pros and Cons of Laser Hair Removal
Perhaps the biggest pro of laser hair removal is that it causes a permanent reduction, to the point where often there is virtually no regrowth. It is also fast and easy even when treating large areas of the body. It is a safe procedure that doesn’t cause long-term skin damage, even suitable for those with sensitive skin. Also, you will need to shave the treatment area before the appointment, but this is usually preferable to having to allow the hair to grow as you do before a waxing appointment.
There are some cons to consider as well. It is not as effective for certain skin or hair types. It is usually the most effective for those with light skin and dark hair because the laser targets the pigment in the hair follicle. In addition, laser hair removal is more expensive compared to waxing, but the long-term impact is often worth the price.
How Does Shaving Work?
Another hair removal option is shaving. This is one of the oldest and most common hairs removal methods. The benefits of shaving are appealing to many as all that’s required is a razor, soap, and water. You can shave any part of the body but the most common areas include the legs, underarms, and the bikini region. The effects of shaving are short-lived as hair begins to grow a few days after it was removed.
Pros and Cons of Shaving
If you need an immediate hair removal solution, shaving is an excellent choice. It doesn’t require leaving the home and it is suitable for any length of hair.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, shaving has many cons. It only cuts the hair at skin surface level. As soon as the hair begins to grow back, the need to shave arises again. Many people find themselves shaving daily to keep up with how quickly their hair grows. It can also result in ingrown hairs and razor burn.
How Does Electrolysis Work
Electrolysis hair removal is similar to waxing and laser techniques in the sense that it is moderately painful. It works by tiny needles being inserted into the hair follicle, killing the root. After that, a small tweezer pulls the hair out. Hair electrolysis requires frequent treatments compared with laser hair removal, but once the treatments are complete, the hair removal is guaranteed to be permanent. Pros and Cons of Electrolysis
One of the major pros of electrolysis is the fact that it is guaranteed to be permanent. While laser hair removal is highly effective, it is not guaranteed to yield lasting results. Another upside is the fact that electrolysis can treat all types of hairs regardless of their color or location.
Pain is often the most mentioned con for electrolysis. In addition, the treatments need to be frequent to produce results, a frustrating deterrent for some patients. Sessions need to target each hair follicle making this option more time-consuming.
Laser vs. Waxing vs. Shaving vs. Electrolysis: Which Is Best?
When it comes to laser hair removal vs. waxing vs. shaving, the choice can be difficult. Here are some factors to help you make your decision.
Laser hair removal comes with minimal discomfort compared with other options. Many note that the feeling is similar to a slight rubber band snap. If you have had laser hair removal before you may be surprised to know that the newest lasers are faster, use a sweeping motion rather than a stamping motion, and are much less painful than before. Waxing also comes with moderate pain and discomfort depending on your pain tolerance. While shaving doesn’t hurt, it is the most temporary of the hair removal options.
Time is another important factor to help you make your decision. While shaving takes less time in the short run, consider the long-term investment. Generally, shaving will take 7 times longer than waxing and 24 times longer than laser. Over 10 years, you will spend roughly 17 days shaving, 2.5 days waxing, or .7 days getting laser hair removal.
The results of each method should be a driving factor in your decision. Both laser hair removal and electrolysis have the longest-lasting results. Laser hair removal may take multiple sessions to see lasting results. When it comes to shaving and waxing, the results are temporary.
Consider the cost of laser, shaving, waxing, and electrolysis. Laser treatments and electrolysis are undoubtedly more expensive per session. But don’t forget about all of the money that you may spend on razors, shaving creams, or at-home waxing kits throughout your life. Think about whether you want to make an up-front investment or if you prefer to continue to pay for hair removal methods throughout your life.
Shaving is suitable for everyone regardless of hair color or length. Waxing can be effective, but the hair needs to be at least a quarter or half-inch long. This means you’ll need to let the hair grow before getting it waxed. Laser hair removal is the most effective for those with light skin and dark hair while electrolysis is suitable for all hair colors and types.
Accessibility to each treatment is another point to consider. Razors and at-home waxing kits are easy to come by. Both laser hair removal and electrolysis can only be completed with access to the right treatment centers.
|Time Per Treatment||60-90 minutes||15-30 minutes||20-60 minutes per area||15-60 minutes per area|
|Return Growth||3-4 weeks||2-3 days||4-6 weeks or 6-8 weeks.||Every week but permanent when treatments are finished|
|Best Areas||Everywhere||Underarms, legs||Everywhere, especially where there are darker hairs||Everywhere, especially face and underarms|
When faced with the choice, we highly recommend laser hair removal to get rid of unwanted hair. It is less painful than waxing, it has the potential for consistent results, and the cost is moderate compared to what you’d spend on a lifetime of temporary treatments.
Interested In Learning More?
The Metropolitan Skin Clinic is proud to serve the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas! If you’re interested in learning more about our offerings or you’d like to get a consultation on laser hair removal, please contact our knowledgeable and friendly team today!