Methods

Depilatory creams
Electric shavers
Electrolysis
Friction
Intense pulsed light (IPL)
Laser
Oral medications
Rotary epilators
Shaving razors
Sugaring
Threading
Tweezing
Waxing
Brazilian

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Frequently Asked Questions

Treatments

Hair type and colour

Depending on your hair's colour and type there are a variety of methods that are likely to be effective for hair removal. There are also a number that might not be appropriate. Decide what type you have and choose the right treatment from below. This is a summary of the different systems that you should consider and avoid.

Grey, blonde, and red hair

Different hair colours and hair types might require different hair removal treatments

The methods that use light are not very effective for people with hair of these colours. The 2 common systems that use light are flashlamp and laser treatment. Both these methods emit light which is absorbed by the hair's dark melanin pigment. Non-dark hair colours do not absorb enough laser or flashlamp light, and therefore can not generate the heat necessary to be effective.

The methods that are usually more effective are the ones that do not rely on the colour of hairs. A variety of systems can still be used but the most effective one is electrolysis. Electrolysis is slow and can be painful when treating large areas of the body. Other short to medium term techniques are more commonly used for large areas, such as the back and legs.

Usually effective

  • Creams: choose the most appropriate cream for the body area to be treated, as some products can be harsh on sensitive skin.
  • Depilatories: the easiest and most common methods (e.g. shaving), but also provides the shortest term results.
  • Electrolysis: slow and can be painful, but often provides permanent results.
  • Epilatories: are usually fairly painful (e.g. waxing), so they're not for the faint-hearted.

Not very effective

  • Flashlamp: not very effective on these colours of hair due to the lack of melanin.
  • Laser: hair removal and dotting can cause skin damage as more of the light is absorbed by the skin due to the lower melanin levels present.

Fine hairs

A consistent problem with most removal methods is that they are not very good a treating fine hair. The epilator (pulling) systems rely on grasping hairs, which is more difficult if they are fine. The light-emitting machines (e.g. lasers) rely on the hair transferring heat to its follicle, but this transfer is minimal if the hairs are very fine.

Usually effective

  • Creams: usually effective as they rely on dissolving hairs.
  • Friction: this method is ideal, but be careful on sensitive skin.
  • Razor shaving: quickly removes fine hair for a short period of time.

Not very effective

  • Electric shaving: not effective, as the hairs are difficult to pull and cut.
  • Electrolysis: hard to locate the follicle and can lead to scarring.
  • Laser: less likely to be effective due to the lack of melanin and poor heat transfer.
  • Rotary epilators: not effective as the hairs are hard to pull.
  • Sugaring: the hairs do not stick well to the sugar solution.
  • Waxing: not very effective due to a lack of adherence to the wax.

Dark hairs

The easiest type to be treated are thick, dark hairs on pale skin. Dark hair absorbs light and so responds well to light-emitting methods. Also, the follicle is usually easier to see and therefore easier to be treated by electrolysis. However, if the skin is dark then the performance of these hair removal systems diminishes.

Usually effective

  • Electrolysis: effective on pale skin, as the follicles are easily found.
  • Flashlamp: light is absorbed well if the skin is pale.
  • Friction: will be effective if the hair is not too thick.
  • Laser: effective for removing dark hairs if light skinned.
  • Rotary epilators: will work well as long as the hair's not too fine.
  • Shaving - Electric , Razor: should work well, but only short-term results.
  • Creams: may provide patchy results if the hair is thick.
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