Hairy or Hairless: No Pain, No Gain

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Cultural relativity is to be considered in this context: hair. Most cultures accept hair growth in different areas of the body, however from where we belong, that is not the case. If you have the same situation as I do, I think you would relate very much to this article.

waxingHair, in the biological and evolutionary perspective is adaptation. Even plants have their own version of hair which serves them good. It is there to protect any organism both from the cold and from predators. There have been no proper education for the common person to understand the importance of hair and so it has been always regarded as something to be diminished. Either way, keeping hair or removing hair is not a debatable matter. Any should be accepted far and wide if we are to consider ourselves cultured. It is personal preference to get rid of body hair. And we may have our own reasons like conformation to the social constructs of beauty or even for functional purposes (e.g. swimmers remove hair to avoid slowing them down in the water). If hair indeed impedes your regular routines or keeps you from being confident, so be it. Remove all the hair that bothers you. It is a matter of perspective anyway.

Having dealt with hair since I was in my teens, I have explored an alternate universe exclusive for the hirsute. When I look back, I remember the struggle I had to go through to finally find what works best for me. Lucky you, I will give a mini lecture on how to deal with body hair. My first bet was shaving. This was a no-brainer. It felt like magic at the time. But then the clogged pores and ingrown hairsmade it difficult. I constantly cut myself accidentally and it did not feel good at all. I had bits of scars everywhere and they were not pretty. I wish I could go back and let alone the hair, but it’s too late. Once you decide to shave, you would have to do it constantly, I thought. It turns out, that is not the case. You can always change up your routines the way you like it. Shaving can be effective if taken with great care. The best time to do it is when you are not having your period. During your period, you tend to bruise easily. Bruising is a natural reaction of the body to keep up with the stress that have been introduced. As we shave, we unnoticeably remove a layer of skin. This may cause darkening or hyperpigmentation. Hence, dark underarms are common. Ingrown hairs and clogged pores are another problem. Make sure to exfoliate at least three times a week to avoid growing hairs from being stuck underneath the epidermis. Moisturise frequently, every day, if you can. A sheet of dry cells that should have been shed will trap the hairs inside. Hence, you have to moisturise and exfoliate regularly.

Depilatory creams are the next best thing to shaving. No pain and scarring but prepare your pockets for this will not be cheap as you thought it would be. This is quite wasteful since the hair will grow back after 2 or three days. It cuts the hair that grows out but will not pull it out from the roots so they grow back fast similar to shaving. There are accounts that say these can actually darken skin especially folded skin like the underarms. I say, this should be taken as a case to case basis since everyone will react differently; I did not encounter any sort of darkening from depilatory creams. Take note that you should do a skin test before slathering the creams all over your body. An allergic reaction may occur. Always read directions before application or purchase even. Every other day of using this took a bulk of my routine and I had to quit it.

I resorted to waxing instead. The pain was tolerable than I expected, surprisingly. A low pain tolerance won’t help in addition to sensitive skin. By this time, you should already know the skin type you have. Going to a salon is best if it’s your first time to undergo waxing. They can do it really quick so they don’t prolong your agony. Once it’s done, it will feel a little hot then prickly. In some salons, they offer creams to avoid the redness but I have never experienced any that could eliminate the prickly feeling. This is where ‘no pain, no gain’ applies best. Just breathe deeply every time and it will feel less. I tried to wax myself and it took a lot of courage to do so. I slapped my legs repeatedly to introduce the numbing effect. Dry brushing my legs also helped before waxing. The pain was lessened drastically. Prepare some ice and put them on freshly waxed skin to close the pores immediately and prevent contamination of seemingly ‘open wounds’. Again, this will make you feel better. Prior to waxing, take a bath and try to exfoliate. Exposing freshly waxed skin to water, either bathing or swimming, is not advised. As I’ve said, these are open pores, do not expose them to infection. After a few sessions of waxing, the pain will not amount much like the first or second time. It will fade to a much tolerable level; so tolerable that it will feel like nothing. A few slaps on the skin would be the best way to describe it. The hairs will also be less adhered to the skin that you can pull them off easily with a freehand and not really feel it anymore. It might be different for everyone but in my experience, removing my leg hair is a breeze.

Plucking and threading, on the other hand, have quite the same effect. Plucking is manual removal of the hair with the use of epilators (for larger and hard to reach areas) and tweezers (for very small hairs). Threading, as the name implies, uses thread to pull a line of hairs all at the same time. After waxing, both are usually done for very small hairs that the wax can’t hold on to. It is suggested to shift to plucking or threading when your skin is already used to waxing. The hair follicles tend to be loose and so it is easy to pull hair out. The heat from waxing can sometimes burn and darken the skin. Also, the sudden pulls may remove a layer of skin and may cause bleeding. Eliminating the sudden pulls and heat will definitely benefit the skin. Epilators may be intimidating at first glance but later you should feel comfortable using them. They are quick and easy to use. No scarring should happen since there are no sharp edges.

Which hairs are worth removing? Eyebrow, nose hairs, facial hair, ear hair, underarm, arms, legs, pubic and anal hair (Yes there is such thing.) are just some I know of that are commonly waxed. If the places where hair is not really bothersome, I suggest to leave it alone. For areas that you think you really have to, go on try the methods discussed above. You may go about these methods in the order that they are discussed. Also, shaving may be skipped.

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