Hair Removal (Females)

Thinking about removing unwanted hair from somewhere on your body? There are many different ways you can do it. Where there's a hair, there's a way...

You should always only remove what YOU want to remove

Hair, hair, everywhere

We're not talking about a haircut here. This is about removing unwanted hair from elsewhere - also called depilation. Hair typically grows all over the body, more so once you hit puberty.

People want to get rid of some of their body hair for a number of reasons - it could be cultural, sexual, medical or religious.

You should always only remove what YOU want to remove; don't worry about what is considered the 'norm'. There is no norm.

Ultimately, hair is there for a reason, and it doesn't like being ripped out. However careful we are, angry red bumps and irritated skin are a hazard, so read on to make sure you're getting rid of any unwanted hair as safely as possible.

Shaving

Probably the most used method of hair removal; it's quick, cheap and fairly painless compared to some methods. However there is a risk of irritation or razor burn, and you'll need to shave every couple of days to keep yourself hair-free.

Use a clean razor every time and plenty of sensitive skin foam. Never dry shave, and shave in the direction of the hair growth. Then pat with a cool flannel. Moisturise often to keep the skin soft.

Hair Removal Cream

This contains chemicals which dissolve hair at the roots. It's painless and the re-growth is softer than shaving, but it can be messy and the creams often smell pretty bad. It can also burn if it's used in the wrong places. Ouch!

Test a small area of skin first to check your skin's ok with the cream. Follow the instructions carefully.

Waxing

Waxing involves hairs being yanked out and stuck to a wax strip. You can buy it in ready-to-use strips or Hot Wax Kits to do it yourself at home, or you can get it done in a salon. If you're not sure what to do, a trip to the salon is probably better. Although it can be more painful, re-growth is slow and you get great results if it's done properly.

If you're going down the DIY route, read the instructions carefully before you start. Try becoming an expert at waxing legs before attempting under arms and bikini lines.

Bleaching

Bleaching doesn't actually remove the hair. Instead, dark hairs are bleached blonde to blend in with fair skin shades. This is mostly used for that 'tache issue. You get no stubble, no razors and no pain, but it's not great for large areas of hair.

Go carefully - dropping blobs on your best jeans leaves a tell-tale mark.

Plucking

Good old fashioned plucking. It's amazing what you can achieve with a pair of tweezers, a bit of privacy and friday night telly to keep you company. Plucking is cheap, easy and good for those stubborn little hairs that manage to cling on otherwise. But it's no good if you're getting rid of a whole leg of hair.

Pluck in the direction of the hair growth, and be careful not to gouge those in-growing hairs with the tweezers.

Threading

This is an ancient but increasingly popular technique where cotton thread is doubled, then twisted and rolled over the hair. It's a bit like extreme plucking - it doesn't harm the skin and is extremely accurate (good for brows). It only works on flat areas though, and can be extremely painful if not done properly so don't try it at home!

Electrolysis

This is an expensive (we're talking hundreds), but permanent method of hair removal. Once it's done, it's done though and you're good to go forevermore. But it costs and it needs to be done by an expert.

If you're going down this route, find a reputable, recommended salon. Preferably wait until you're over 18, as hairs may fade after puberty.

So which to choose?

It depends on...

  • Where the hair is. Shaving moustache hair is a bad move.
  • How much hair you've got. No amount of bleach is going to achieve a Brazilian down below.
  • Your pain threshold. Waxing is not for the faint hearted.
  • Your skin type. Sensitive skins may react badly to creams and waxing.
  • Your budget. If you're counting pennies electrolysis is probably not the one.

And remember: Just because your mates are waxers doesn't mean you should be. Do what feels comfortable for you.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.

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