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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prisca McGuire looks into the latest hair removal options A woman's hair may be her crowning glory, but not when the hair is on other parts of the body other than the head. For example, excess hair under the armpits, on legs, thighs and arms can be very embarrassing, and the problem can be made worse if you don't choose the appropriate hair removal method. Before you start to think about trying to remove unwanted hair, you first need to be aware that there is no such thing as permanent hair removal, because the hair inevitably grows back. And those that do offer permanent removal are very expensive. You also need to be aware that removal is a 'high maintenance' activity, and once you've started, you have to keep going. Because of our genetic make-up, Black people tend to have coarser and curlier hair follicles than anyone else. Which means that the hair has to be removed from the root to prevent it curling inwards. Black men suffer from the well known problem of in-growing hairs, but the problem can also affect women. You face two basic choices when it comes to getting rid of unwanted hair - either you do it yourself or you go to a salon. Salon treatments Beauty salons offer a variety of hair removal treatments, including waxing, sound wave and laser treatment. If you decide to opt for a wax treatment, you need to check that you are not allergic to the wax used for the treatment. If you decide to go for laser treatment at one of the many laser clinics, don't expect miracles. Tiffany Still, beauty therapist, from the London Laser Clinic told us, 'Whatever the hair removal technique, it can only ever be temporary, because the hair will eventually grow back. This is why we recommend top-up treatments, once the course of treatments is finished.' A course of treatment at the London Laser Clinics to remove unwanted hair on the upper lip costs £300 for a course of treatments, and £10 for top-up treatments. Legs cost £1,500 and top-ups £50. (London Laser Clinic. Tel: 020 8770 9311). The Harley Medical Group also offers laser hair removal, and have perfected the procedure for removing hair on Black and Asian skin. They recommend an initial consultation, followed by a test patch to confirm suitability for the treatment. Popular areas for treatment are sides of the face, upper lip, underarms, arms, legs and bikini line. Prices for these areas are: Upper lip, £71; Face, £330; Underarms, £73; Arms £329; Legs £868 and Bikini Line, £73. (Harley Medical Group: Tel: 0800 917 9000.) If your pockets aren't deep enough for laser treatment, you can always try wax treatment, providing you are not allergic to the wax. At Style Performers salon in North London, the cost of waxing for a full leg starts at £12, and £8.50 for half a leg. Bikini line waxing starts at £6, lips at £5 and underarms, £7. (Style Performers: Call: 020 8808 2091.) Another option is the Epil Pro system, which uses sound, rather than light energy, to remove unwanted hair. The procedure shatters the hair at the root, causing the damaged hair to drop out. The technique is completely painless, and doesn't cause any burning or trauma to the skin. Like most other hair removal procedures, it requires a course of treatments to weaken the hair, until any regrowth stops completely. For details on salons and prices call: 01628 674644. Home treatments If you prefer a bit of DIY hair removal, then there are various options open to you. You could opt for shaving, or alternatively try home waxing or sugaring. But before you dive in and start tearing away at your unwanted hair, always remember to read any instructions carefully first, and most importantly, follow them to the letter. Don't ever take shortcuts, otherwise you will only have yourself to blame if it goes wrong! Shavers For a long time, women made do with shavers designed for men. But times have changed, and now shavers are becoming more sophisticated and 'sensitive' to women's needs. For example, Gillette has recently launched the Venus Shaver (£5.49), which comes with three blades, so you can shave progressively closer with each stroke. The shaver also has protective cushions around the blades to make the shaving safer, while a lubricating strip is impregnated with aloe and vitamin E to help soften the skin. Before shaving, you must first lubricate the skin. Two such products specifically designed to do just this are King of Shaves Express Shaving Spritz (£3.99) and Shaving Oil (£3.59). For something a bit more fruity, Original Source offer a collection of unisex foaming shaving gels, which come in combinations of: Tea Tree & Mint, Tea Tree & Lemon or Pure Lime (£2.99 each). If you prefer a more technological approach to shaving, Philips have launched two new shavers to help women. The Philips Ladyshave Skin Comfort uses Nivea Body moisturiser which is released whilst you shave. It has interchangeable shaving heads which can be used wet or dry and all over the body. There are two models in the Skin Comfort range, a battery model (£30) and a rechargeable model (£40). Philips have also brought out the Beauty Satin Ice Epilator (£58) which can be used as an epilator or shaver. Waxing and sugaring For women who want to try a professional treatment at home, Immac offers a whole range of hair removal products. These include Warm Wax (£8.49), which you heat up in the microwave and smooth over your skin with the spatula, then using fabric strips, which you press on, you quickly remove them and rinse off with water. There is also the Warm Wax Roll-On (£9.49), which achieves the same results, but instead of using a microwave, you use hot water from the tap. The Immac range also includes a Bikini Kit (£6.29) and an Underarm Stick (£4.19). The Babyliss Institut Wax Depilator (£40) is a self-heating appliance that you plug into a wall socket. It then heats the wax up to the correct temperature, you then roll the wax on and remove it with strips. However, if you're not too keen on waxing, try The Body Shop's Sugaring Kit (£10), which consists of a tub of sugar and cotton strips. You heat the sugar, apply it to the desired area, then apply cotton strips and pull them off, with the unwanted hairs. Other options If you find yourself pushed for time, Nair offer two products for busy women who need to get rid of hair quickly. The first is 3-in-1 Hair Remover (£5.49), which you smooth on, shower off, and it removes unwanted hair, while exfoliating and moisturising at the same time. The second is 5-Minute Hair Remover (£5.49), which removes hair from anywhere, in just five minutes. For a 'no fuss, no frills' approach, try Lady Touch'n Brow Facial Razors from Mister Mascara (£5.00 x 3), which can be used to remove hair on your face, legs or arms

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