If you’re tired of waxing, here are three alternative hair-removal methods one beauty writer tried
Every year, like clockwork, as soon as I feel a ray of sunshine on my skin, I dart to the nearest nail salon to get a cheapie leg wax. The sun then promptly goes away again for approximately three weeks, leaving the fruits of my pain hidden underneath jeans, yet again. You’d think I’d learn, but I can’t help it! I get the slightest whiff of spring and am fully ready to throw winter behind. This year, however, I’ve decided to skip my decidedly painful leg waxes in search of alternative hair removal methods.
It goes without saying (but I’m a wordy lil boo, so I’m going to mention it), no one should ever feel compelled to remove their body hair if they don’t want to. It sucks that body hair removal is so deeply intertwined with feminine identity when literally all that matters is that we are healthy and happy. I’ve gone through long periods of my life where I haven’t waxed or shaved at all and found it to be incredibly empowering, fulfilling, and delightful! I felt really powerful and womanly when I didn’t shave my armpits or legs for almost six months, and would highly recommend that you give it a whirl if you’ve been a slave to the razor since you were 10, like I was.
That said, these days I feel more comfortable baring my skin after I’ve given it a once-over with a razor, so really you should just go with the flow of what you like! It’s your body, and you should do what you want with it. I decided I would skip the wax this time for three new methods of hair removal that have piqued my interest: sugaring, threading, and lasering.
I’ve been waxing since I was but a wee 10-year-old child — my Mexican mother took mercy on my baby-stache and I’ve been hooked ever since. Waxing gives great results, but I’ve been turned off by it in the last few years because it’s just so harsh on my skin. I don’t know if it’s getting older or what, but my pain tolerance is much lower than it used to be, and it’s much more important to me to use gentle products on my skin these days.
I turned to two wonderful salons, Hibba Brow Studio for threading and Hortus Nailworks for sugaring, and gave my armpits the at-home treatment with my Tria Laser.
I’ve gotten my brows threaded many times before but took a break last year because I felt that I could never articulate what I wanted to my brow technicians. I have very thin, sparse brows, which is directly the opposite of the bold, feathered brow look that has been in style for years. So, I stopped getting my brows done entirely in the hopes that what would emerge would be a brave new world of thick brows. As you can imagine, that didn’t happen. They were sparse as ever, but just a bit…sloppy looking.
See what I mean? Like, oddly furry yet still lacking in oomph. What a mess. This photo is from a few months back when I hadn’t touched my brows in about four months. What is the deal with this picture? My entire vibe is…fuzzy.
When I found out about Hibba Brow Studio, I was immediately intrigued by their commitment to full brows. I knew that if anyone would help me achieve my dream aesthetic while working within the limitations of what I’ve been given, it’s the technicians at Hibba.
I rolled up to their studio on Madison Avenue and was pleased to find that their cozy, no-frills salon was friendly and had an overall happy vibe. Their colorful aesthetic put me right at ease, and I felt immediately comfortable. My appointment was with one of their head brow specialists, Jigna Patel, who listened to my frustrations with my brows and understood why I had stopped getting them done. She assured me that she would only be taking as much as necessary to give my brows a nice shape while encouraging brow growth where I needed it.
The end result left me happily satisfied. I love the shape that Jigna was able to coax out of my odd brows, and think they look pretty full! This is also the best shape I’ve ever gotten from a threading before. Usually, the arch is too dramatic, and that’s just not me. This feels soft and sweet, while still being polished. I’ll definitely be back to Hibba for more sessions!
I’ve been going to Hortus Nailworks for mani-pedis for about two years now and absolutely adore their chic, downtown salon. There’s lovely greenery along the windows and brick walls of the studio, and it’s an incredibly luxurious experience for a totally reasonable price point. Getting a treatment at Hortus feels like a high-end experience, and I love taking time out for myself to visit the salon.
I asked the Hortus Nailworks owner, Jane MacColla, to give us the scoop on why sugaring is such a great alternative for hair removal. Jane tells HelloGiggles,
"We offer sugaring for hair removal because it's incredibly effective and gentle on the skin. It is also non-toxic and biodegradable, which we love! Unlike waxing, there is no risk of burning, it minimizes/eliminates ingrown hairs and generates very little waste as opposed to the endless number of strips and sticks that are needed in waxing. There are no harmful chemicals, dyes or preservatives you would often find in wax. Only sugar, lemon juice, and water! It's a perfectly sanitary, effective, and sustainable method of hair removal that is not only kinder on the skin but also the environment."
My aesthetician, Patricia, got to work on my legs upon my arrival — after being asked if I wanted any refreshments, of course. I am usually a huge baby about hair removal and close my eyes and deep breathe the whole time, but I felt so insanely comfortable that I spent the majority of the appointment sitting up and chatting. Patricia put me at ease, all the while explaining exactly what she was doing and all the benefits of sugaring. I’m a convert! And I’ll never get over how funny the sugar looks. I felt like I was just getting a nice little honey treatment.
I was also surprised to find that it doesn’t feel hot on your skin in the same way that wax does. It’s gently warming, and felt cleaner on my skin, too. Obviously, getting your hair pulled from the root stings, but this was nowhere near as harsh as wax is on your skin.
My legs were nowhere near as irritated afterward as they usually are when I wax, and they felt silky smooth. My hair was a bit shorter than ideal, and yet Patricia was able to remove it all. A huge bonus of sugaring is that you can go in with hair that is a bit shorter than with waxing, so you don’t have to wait so long between appointments. I’ll definitely be back soon for my next one!
I had been the most trepidatious about the laser’s pain factor, which is why I’ve been avoiding lasers of all kinds for years. When all the big NYC spas started offering deals on laser hair removal, I looked the other way. I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum on lasering’s effectiveness: that it’s a miracle worker or that it’s a scam. I think the truth lies a bit more in the middle. From what I’ve seen in my research, it’s pretty effective at thinning out hair in the long term, but upkeep is crucial, and it’s pretty rare that you’ll be hair-free for life.
When Tria Beauty sent me the Portable Hair Removal Laser Precision, I knew I was out of excuses and had to try it out. I activated it and charged it up, nervously awaiting the pain that would head my way. Right off the bat, I really appreciated how lightweight it was, and how easy to use. I don’t want to add any further complications when it comes to voluntarily pointing a laser at my skin. You better believed I watched a YouTube tutorial like four times before I got started. I’m not taking any chances with my skin, even if it is just my armpits!
You prep the area by washing, shaving, and drying it, then you’re ready to go. There are three treatment levels — the higher the level, the more effective the treatment. For the sake of my sanity and nerves, I started off at the lowest level just to see what it felt like.
For the most part, I didn’t feel much. There were two or three little zaps that I felt a bit, but nothing major! The second and third times I used the Tria, I had it up on level 2. I felt a more clear zing, but it was relatively manageable. I’m committing to using it on the third level when the fourth session rolls around in a week. Overall, it was quick, easy, and pretty painless.
I’ve noticed a few hairs falling out, but I have to be honest — I’m not one to constantly be checking out my armpits, so I may have missed some hair fallout. It’s definitely growing back slower and thinner than before, and that’s just after three times using it. I’m definitely going to use it throughout the summer and see what I end up with. Even just having less hair to contend with when I shave makes the laser worth it!
It’s nice to know that if we choose to remove our body hair, we don’t need to be slaves to waxing. There are plenty of options available, and you can definitely find the right one for you. They are also all available at a wide variety of price points, so you don’t necessarily need to feel like you’re splurging every time. The trick is to find a technician you are comfortable with and with whom you can communicate well.
Have you ever tried threading, sugaring, or lasering your body hair? It’s funny how these things are so personal and everyone’s experience varies wildly across the board. You just gotta find what you like and stick with it!
P.S. The day after I got my legs sugared, it rained for a week straight. C’est la vie!