Thursday, 4 June 2015

Hair Removal 101 | Methods, Tips & Tricks!

Hair Removal Bellissima Exclusive

There's no denying it, I absolutely love Summer. But, as much as I look forward to this time of the year there is one thing that really gets me down and gnaws away at my confidence. Body Hair. As a fair skinned, dark haired girl freeing my legs from their skinny jean prison is a daunting prospect and it honestly upsets me a lot more than people probably imagine. I suppose I'd classify myself as being on the hairier side of the female population, not in an extreme sense but my hair is definitely thicker and grows much more rapidly than a lot of women that I know. Of course, I've never had trouble getting those Cara-esque brows so it's not always a bad thing!

I've been thinking about writing a post about my experiences with different kinds of hair removal ever since I started my blog. I've tried so many methods but I've never found that miracle hair removal technique. Just over a month ago I was invited, along with two lovely bloggers (Simone from Married to a Geek and Dash from Mode Lily) to the launch event of a wonderful Beauty Salon/Skin Clinic called Bellissima Exclusive and they were ridiculously kind and offered me a free treatment of my choice. So, I jumped at the chance and I can't believe I'm finally getting to try IPL Laser Hair Removal (cue Hilary Duff's This is What Dreams are Made Of)! I've decided to document my experience with IPL Laser and, as an introduction to the series, I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on all my previous attempts to banish those pesky hairs for Summer (because let's face it, we all slack on hair removal during winter!)

If any of you are Leeds local and were wondering where Bellissima Exclusive is, it's situated in Guiseley which is only a 15 minute train ride away from Leeds. I had actually intended to write a post about the Launch Event itself  as the salon had just had an amazing makeover (and I was so excited as it was my first ever blogging event too!) but sadly University deadlines forced me to take a little (*cough* huge) break from blogging. I'm going to be including a few of my photos from the night in my next Hair Removal post on my first Laser Treatment, along with more information about the salon itself as it's such a lovely place and it has the kindest and most professional staff. The range of services they offer are simply amazing - you can get everything from facials and massages to pigmentation removal, derma fillers and treatments I never ever knew existed like non-surgical facelifts! They're also big fans of natural beauty and stock bareMinerals makeup... so obviously they now have a permanent place in my heart!

Bellissima have actually written a similar post to this and they discuss the financial aspects of hair removal and amount of money you can save with IPL Laser treatment. If you're intrigued you can check out their post here which includes all the facts and figures alongside a more generalized overview of different hair removal options from a professional point of view! For my post, however, I'm going to be writing about my personal experiences and sharing a few tips and tricks I've learnt along the way!

Even though it's not ideal, shaving is probably the method of hair removal I opt for regularly. I usually use the Gillette Venus razors with the shave gel bars as I find they give me the closest shave (I would never dream of using those small, multi-pack BIC razors again -  they left my legs in an awful mess!) Although shaving is easy I always find my legs get stubbly so quickly, sometimes even overnight! This leads to me having to shave every day/two days in Summer and this is where my real problems begin as my poor, sensitive skin can't handle it. As I have rather thick, stubborn hair when they grow back my legs are left sore, itchy and red with rashes so I often have to wait a while before I can shave again - not ideal for Summer! On top of all this if I shave regularly I have to deal with ingrown hairs which are painful and not pretty!

Ingrown Hairs? Prevent them by:
- Making sure you always exfoliate! I do this before, after and in between each shave. I love Soap & Glory's Flake Away.
- Never using a blunt razor!
- Rinsing the blade after every stroke.

Time: 10 - 15 minutes (I like to be careful!)
Pain Level: 0/10
Effectiveness: 6/10 (It works, but not for long!)

Hair Removal Creams
Oh Veet how I hate you. I know some people find Hair Removal Creams effective but I have had terrible experiences with them. For thin, blonde hair I can imagine they work wonderfully - you simply apply onto dry skin for 5 minutes then remove the hair with the little spatula. Leaving the cream on for 5 minutes simply softens my hair and breaks a couple of them off, leaving horrible black stubble everywhere and if I leave it for much longer the same thing happens, along with a horrid red rash. And on top of all that they smell absolutely awful. This method gets a big thumbs down from me!

Time: 5 minutes
Pain Level: 0/10 (Unless it starts burning...)
Effectiveness: 1/10 in my personal experience!

Waxing is probably the most effective method I've tried. I've had this done professionally a few times on my upper lip and legs and it is a great method for hair removal! It leaves the legs smooth and silky but the wait in between each wax means it isn't ideal for summer. It does thin the hair growth but my dark hair makes the waiting time unbearable. I usually only opt for this on special occasions/holidays.

Time: 10 minutes
Pain Level: 4/10. It hurts a bit but it's over fairly quickly!
Effectiveness: 8/10
Epilating is probably the hair removal method that scares people the most and I understand why - it can really hurt! I use the Braun Silk Epil 5 which comes a cooling glove, 4 different sized heads and a razor attachment. I have a love/hate relationship with my epilator. For particular areas, such as my underarms/bikini line, it has amazing results but for my legs it simply doesn't do the job! Pain wise, it's one of those those grin and bare it (or scream/curse whatever you feel is appropriate) methods but it does get easier with time. After each epilation the hairs grow back thinner and more sparse and the less hair there is to pull the less painful it will be! But remember -  if you shave again you have to start all over from the beginning!

The underarms/bikini line are probably the areas that hurt the most but if you can cope with the initial pain the results can be brilliant. After epilation the areas are hair free for about 2 weeks and then some growth begins to show. I use one of the smaller heads for these areas and the key is to pull the skin taut and carefully press the epilator onto the skin, moving in the same direction you would when you shave. Not rushing is essential as it can snap the hairs and it won't remove it from the root!

My legs, however, didn't have the same successful result (hence why I'm getting Laser on them!) They are stubborn and even after coping with the pain and applying the cooling mit afterwards I was left with red, dotty legs for an entire day the first time I tried epilating and my legs weren't completely smooth. After epilating my legs had a lot of stubble and it seems like it hadn't pulled it from the root at all, just snapped most of the hair! I persisted nevertheless but after 4/5 separate attempts I didn't have any luck. I do know a few girls that have success with this method and find it an amazing alternative to waxing so I think it really does vary with each individual!

Time: Varies with area/ how long can cope with the pain! (5-15 minutes)
Pain (at first attempt): Underarms, Bikini Line and Ankle Area: 9/10, Legs: 7/10
Effectiveness: 8/10 (apart from Legs!)

If you're interested in finding out how I got on with my first ever IPL Laser Treatment with Bellissima Exclusive make sure you look out for my next post on Monday
* Bellissima Exclusive are providing me with a free IPL Laser Treatment but this post isn't sponsored. 

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