Spa

By Ashley Goldsmith

When I look back at the trial and error that went into this story so many things come to mind. A spaz by nature, it wasn’t hard to unintentionally decorate my bathroom with hardened wax, develop some razor burn and get a little lightheaded from a cream and oil. All this, while stopping at nothing….and I do mean nothing…. to prep myself (and you too girlfriend) for a hairless, bikini-clad summer.
For a background on what I’m working with here: I’m a fair skinned, brunette Jewish girl, which means two things: body hair that can only be described as dark and coarse, and of said body hair… well, there’s a lot of it…

Before reading on, keep in mind that you always want to test products ahead of time on a small patch of skin to see how you’ll react. If the product irritates the area, then it’s best not to use it and to try something a little less harsh. Also, it’s important to read the directions that come with your removal kit carefully. Don’t try shortcuts. The people who write the directions have been doing this stuff for years.

Prep Time

Regardless of your removal method of choice, you’ll want to exfoliate the area you’re planning on working with. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and allows hair to break through the surface. When shaving, it’s a good idea to apply a pre-shave oil to hydrate and protect your skin from the blade while allowing the razor to glide easily.

I recommend:

Fresh Sugarbath Brown Sugar Body Polish, http://www.fresh.com
éShave Almond Pre-Shave Oil, http://www.eshave.com

Waxing

I’ll never forget my first Brazilian wax, which involved several martinis to numb my brain, then Orajel (yes the stuff used for toothaches) to numb my skin, and still ended up screaming at the esthetician using a few choice words. Not wanting to be a quitter, I returned two more times but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the agony. Though I do have some issues inflicting pain on myself, I figured I’d give it another shot in the privacy of my own home.

I Recommend:

Avon Skin So Soft Fresh & Smooth Microwave Wax Kit – Waxing is definitely a messy procedure. So be sure to follow the directions carefully. This Avon kit doesn’t smell funky like other waxes and hair removal products I’ve tried. It has a very clean scent and left my skin oh-so-soft. http://www.avon.com

Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit – Pricier than the Avon kit but a serious cult favorite. This works well with thick, coarse hair like mine and grabs hairs as short as 1mm, which can be typically hard to tackle with wax. Also, the user guide instructs you to lay on the wax “as thick as a banana peel.” Do it! It will make the strip a lot easier to peel off. http://www.blissworld.com

Tips:
When waxing sensitive areas, like your bikini, it’s best to apply your wax in small strips – approximately 1-1.5 inches long. Also, pull the skin taut to make for a solid surface. When you pull on the wax, pull parallel and low to the body. If you pull wax directly up, you take the chance of bruising yourself.

Check out http://www.completelybare.com to see the instructional video on how to wax at home using any wax.

Depilatory Crème

Making advancements from the “cucumber melon” scented creams of my teenage years, the latest depilatories aren’t as messy and work faster than their predecessors. Happily, that means no standing awkwardly and vulnerably in the bathroom waiting five minutes only to have to remove the stuff with a washcloth, inevitably making a mess out of the bathroom.

I Recommend:

Sally Hansen Sensitive Skin Spray-On Shower-Off Hair Remover – A perfect no mess option: shake, spray, wait a few minutes (for me it was about 5) either outside of the shower or inside, but out of direct water flow, and then simply rinse when your time is up. Just be careful when spraying down there, be sure to keep it to your bikini line only. Available at drugstores nationwide.

Veet Sensitive Formula Hair Removal Lotion – The big difference here is that you apply this lotion with your hands rather than spraying it on but it can still be removed in-shower. This particular formula is perfect for those with sensitive skin as it’s packed with shea butter to help soothe your skin. Available at drugstores nationwide.

Tips:

Always test a small patch for progress before cleaning off the cream. This will allow you to determine whether or not the hair has been removed entirely and is important because you cannot reapply depilatories for several days after your first application.
Never rub the product into your skin, it is meant to be smoothed on and rinsed off.

If you feel like there are a few too many strays after you’ve cleaned off, take a wet towel to the area for the hairs that need a little help.

Epilator and Home Laser

With Editorial Director Candice Sabatini’s recommendation, I gladly tried this device, which essentially pulls hair from the root in a constant rolling motion. “I’m practically hairless – a typical redhead – but I’ve been using an epilator on my bikini line and underarms for 15 years. No goopy wax to mess around with!” I also gave the new electronic device no!no! a try. It’s different from an epilator in that it heats and gently destroys the hair follicle rather than rapidly plucking. Both these methods remove hair from the root, which means long lasting results.

I Recommend:

Remington Smooth & Silky Epilator - If you’re practically hairless like Candice, we definitely recommend giving this a try as hair will grow back finer with each use. For those with thicker hair, like myself, I would recommend testing out another method. As mentioned before, I find it hard to inflict pain on myself so I had to stop this pretty quickly. Though it did remove the hair it hurt like hell and left the area a bit irritated the next day. It’s definitely not for everyone but if you’re more like Candice, I would give it a whirl. http://www.target.com

no!no! – Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, and once you get the hang of it you’ll be obsessed!  It works very well and it doesn’t hurt at all.  It does take longer than most other methods since you’ll go over it once with the “long hair blade”, and then sometimes have to follow with the “stubble blade” and buff away the more stubborn hairs. (buffer comes with it) It’s definitely worth the time though! One minor detail, there’s a burning hair smell that you’ll have to endure.   no!no! gets a yes!yes!  http://www.sephora.com

Tips:

You’ll want to be sure to consult the user guide before attempting to use either product. Both are very specific methods and leave no room for carelessness.

Shaving

My most trusted method of hair removal. If executed with the proper tools, shaving is perfect for every skin and hair type. Invest in a good razor (disposable razors are disposable for a reason!) and some not-tropical-scented-but-full-of-skin-soothing-ingredients shave cream and you’ll be on your way to a hairless bikini line, the old fashioned way.

I Recommend:

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Shave Gel – This shave gel is perfect for those with super sensitive skin. It contains feverfew, a natural ingredient that helps reduce redness and is shown to calm irritated skin. The nourishing formula provides a close, smooth shave and helps protect against razor bumps. Drugstores nationwide.

Terax Complete Shave – A great shave cream for so many reasons. It’s got menthol to soothe your skin and caffeine to help decrease your skins sensitivity. You also only need to use a thin layer to see results and since it’s so soothing you don’t have to rinse off whatever remains post shave, you can just massage it into the skin as a moisturizer to continue its soothing effects. http://www.beauty.com

Tips:

Always shave in the direction of hair growth and if you’ve properly prepped your skin this will work perfectly.

Replace your blade often, approximately after 2-3 uses. Dull blades cause razor burn.

Don’t apply pressure to the razor when shaving this won’t help grab hair any better. Simply allow the blade to glide along your skin.

Post-Shave

You’re on the final stretch, but before admiring that perfect landing strip you’ll need to practice a little post-shave love. Treating your skin post-shave will help to prevent against razor burn and ingrown hairs and in some cases help to decrease hair re-growth all together.

I Recommend:

Completely Bare Completely Smooth Body – This is perfect for those of us who apply lotion daily. Simply incorporate this into your routine and thanks to a plant know as capislow, the lotion reduces hair texture, density, length and growth, making it that much quicker and easier during your next at-home salon sessions.

http://www.completelybare.com

Kiehl’s Razor Bump Relief – After you’ve finished your preferred method of removal, apply a small amount of this on areas you know are prone to irritation or just to the area in general. The ginger root will help absorb excess oil, which can cause a razor burn related heat rash during the warmer months. http://www.kiehls.com

In true BN style, I’ve had some pretty interesting hair removal experiences (even an ill-fated attempt to wax my boyfriend!) and came out with the knowledge to help you determine the best method to keep you looking smooth and sexy at the beach this summer. So what are you waiting for? Start practicing; you’ll want to learn some serious skills before hitting the beach this summer!

Originally published June 2009
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