Health & Beauty > Body Care > Removing Superfluous Hair

PLEASE NOTE:

Although all the ingredients in these beauty recipes are natural, remember that it is still possible to be allergic to anything applied to the skin. DO NOT USE ANYTHING NUT BASED ON YOUR SKIN IF YOU HAVE A NUT ALLERGY. To test other ingredients make up a very small amount of the recipe you intend to use. Wash and gently dry a small patch of skin inside your elbow. Apply a little of the mix to the skin and leave for 48 hours. If you experience any redness or swelling DO NOT USE THE BEAUTY RECIPE AT ALL.

We strongly recommend that you do your own research before using any of the ingredients in these recipes since some ingredients should be avoided by certain groups of people. Mountain Rose Herbs' website has a wealth of information on herbs, their uses and possible side effects. Many essential oils and herbs should always be avoided by pregnant/nursing ladies. Always check with a qualified health advisor if in doubt.

Removing Superfluous Hair
Excess body or facial hair is seldom welcomed by anyone these days including the increasing numbers of men who go in for chest, back or even full body waxing. Despite all the radical stances of women's lib and Julia Roberts' armpits, the majority of women want rid of fuzz and fluff wherever it appears.

In spite of thousands of years of hair removal, methods have changed very little, mostly relying on plucking with tweezers, shaving or mass 'plucking' by the application of something sticky like wax or sugar which can be ripped off, taking the hairs and hair roots with it.

More modern methods include chemical removal which relies on dissolving away the hair just below the skin, electrolysis which cauterises individual hair roots allowing the hair to be tweezed out and laser which can remove patches of hair at a time.

For large areas of hair such as under arm hair or leg hair, chemical removal, waxing or shaving are the most practical. Some people can be sensitive to hair removal cream so it is always best to test a small patch of hair first. Various brands of hair removal cream make different claims for the amount of time the hair will stay away but in reality the method is very little different in terms of hair growth to shaving. Waxing can be painful at first but it is a very long-lasting and effective method of hair removal. In some cases it even appears to discourage hair growth (after several treatments). Waxing is widely available in beauty salons but a lot of the home waxing kits are very easy to use. Salon waxing is usually done with warm or hot wax. For home use there are hot and warm wax kits available and also very useful cold wax strips. There are also sugaring kits available for home use and they work very well. The sugar mix does not need to be heated and washes off easily.



Electrolysis is very effective for smaller areas of hair like the upper lip and chin. It can also be used on tummy and nipple hair. The treatment consists of passing a current via a fine needle into the hair follicle. The hair can then be lifted out with tweezers. Electrolysis depends on the skill and speed of the individual operator and it can be painful. It is, however, a successful method since the treatment aims at the total destruction of the hair rather than just removal. Bear in mind that it can take several treatments before thick black hairs become finer or disappear altogether.

Laser light can destroy superfluous hair but only works on fair skin and then not always. There are certain risks attached to it like burning and skin colour change. The main drawbacks are that the long term effects are as yet unknown, it is very expensive and more than one treatment is needed.

There are various implements for home hair removal in the form of special razors and electric shavers for women,  electric epilators which are like automated pluckers (very painful) and electric 'sanders' which rub away hair. An old-fashioned version of these sanders is the abrasive mitts which are still available. These can be effective but can cause a nasty burn if used too vigorously.

For long term effectiveness it is probably best to go to a salon regularly and have any large areas of hair waxed away. It is difficult to remove large areas of hair with home kits and the process can get very messy. Similarly, if you can find a competent electrolysist, they can really get problem facial hair under control once and for all.

Admittedly some people are not remotely bothered by any excess hair they may have and that's fine but if superfluous hair makes a person feel unhappy or self-conscious then it is comforting to know that there are quite a few options to try, at least one of which, is likely to help.