Out, Out Damned Hair!
Sunday June 29, 2008
"Beauty is pain, pain is beauty" you mutter through clenched teeth as your unwanted hair is removed. KRISTIE LAU examines the best ways to achieve silky-smooth skin, and tame the pain.Waxing It is about as painful as hair-removal methods get but we can not seem to go past the ever-popular wax. The procedure can be performed within seconds, depending on how much hair you are removing and how ruthless your beautician is, and results last for up to four weeks. Waxing pulls hair right from the root, making it an effective way to de-fuzz. The best thing about waxing is the more often you have it done, the finer your hair will become and this lessens the ouch factor on subsequent visits. But it can take years to achieve a pain-free wax as that strip of cloth rips the hot wax off the skin in the opposite direction to which your hair grows, it hurts. It really, really hurts.Pain factor Fans say that various waxes have less painful results but the procedure is always going to involve some discomfort - and is never pretty.Best for The nether region. From the ever-popular Brazilian (Gwyneth Paltrow is a devotee) to the Playboy (leaves nothing but a narrow "landing" strip down the front of the pubic region) and the standard bikini wax, you are hardly starved for choice down there. Also popular with eyebrows before manual sculpting.Price About $50 for your average Brazilian. However, less extreme varieties are cheaper. Eyebrow waxing generally costs about $15 and, if you can handle doing it yourself, you can pick up a pack of 20 Veet wax strips for $9.70 from Priceline; see www.priceline.com.au for your nearest location.Visit Beauty Grace, Shop 8, Martin Place Shopping Circle, Sydney. Phone (02) 9232 8880.IPL IPL (which stands for intense pulsed light) has become popular for its quick-fix results.Basically, a broad-spectrum light is waved over the targeted section of hair, shooting light beams through the skin's surface straight to the root of each strand of hair. Hair will vaporise at a speed depending on how thick it is and just like that, you are left as bald as a badger. Sharmaine Maxwell from the Facial Rejuvenation Clinic in Sydney says IPL provides long-lasting results. "Depending on where you're getting hair removed [from], hair will stay away from anywhere between four to eight weeks. Facial hair grows back the slowest and so does leg and underarm hair."Pain factor The feeling is often compared to the sting you get when someone flicks you with an elastic band - only imagine copping it constantly for a minimum of five minutes (for a standard bikini line). Yowzers!Best for The bikini line and all areas of the face. Also popular with back hair (so we are told).Price Varies depending on hair and skin type but a standard bikini job starts at about $70. Full backs, including shoulders, can cost more than $300.Visit The Facial Rejuvenation Clinic, Suite 2001, Level 20, 44 Market Street, Sydney. Phone 1300 889 935.Threading The ancient Mediterranean art of threading is receiving plenty of attention in Sydney. As nothing is actually applied to the skin, threading is particularly popular with sensitive skin types. A thin cotton thread is rolled over the rebellious brows and the practitioner then twirls the thread and hair together and yanks them all out at once. Threading is similar to tweezing - however, they are pulling a whole cluster of hairs out as opposed to plucking one at a time. No need to worry about break-outs or redness and ingrowns are highly unlikely as the hair is being removed from the root. Nigella Lawson swears by it.Pain factor Similar to tweezing; short jabs of pain with each twirl but it fizzles out as soon as the hair is removed.Best for Eyebrows and upper lips only. It is far too excruciating to even consider threading an underarm or even worse, a leg. Price Eyebrows generally start from the bargain price of $5.Visit Indian Beauty House, 9A Boomerang Place, Seven Hills. Phone (02) 9672 4669.Depilatory creams For do-it-yourself hair removal, depilatory creams are a quick and easy method. But be warned - although they may specify otherwise, the effects are known to be short-lived. Apply the cream at least five minutes before showering; the cream will harden and singe the hair, leaving you to wipe away the results while in the shower. The downside to this quick fix? Hair grows back thick, just as it does when you shave and, even worse, you are prone to itchy ingrowns. Plus it smells kind of funky.Pain factor Relatively pain-free. There may be some stinging when the cream begins to burn the hairs but it is a very light pain and will only occur if the cream is not removed in the time specified.Best for Legs, hands down. You really should not risk damaging the hair anywhere else.Price Nair's Raspberry Hair Removal Cream costs about $9 and you can pick it up from any Woolworths supermarket. Other brands are about the same price.