Strip, seal or camouflage for soft and smooth skin

It’s a fact! Depilatories only serve as a temporary fix for hair removal problems.

There are several ways to deal with the problems of hair growth. In this column, we tell you how to perform a few treatments in a DIY manner. The steps are easy, quick and affordable and do not involve a mad dash to a salon. The ones that are not mentioned here (electrolysis, laser) require the assistance of an expert cosmetologist.

Are you a bleach bum?

The method of applying a chemical to lighten skin colour has been a popular choice among many. The result is direct: it conceals light, fine and fuzzy hair. However, it is a less successful trick for those with dark skin. It also tends to turn into an unattractive shade of yellow or orange over time. One can minimise error and maximise results if bleaching is carried out the optimal way.

Note that your skin runs the risk of reacting to the bleaching agent. So perform a patch test before applying the bleach. A patch test involves applying a smear of the agent on your neck and waiting to catch a reaction in 20 minutes. You are in the clear if there is no rash or redness.

If you subject your skin to bleaching agents consistently, it can damage hair shafts and cause temporary breakage.

Clean sweep

Shaving is the quickest and easiest way of hair removal, but allows for the hair to grow back faster than other methods. Get rid of that prickly feeling by regularly shaving, as often as once or twice a week.

It is believed that using a razor makes hair grow coarser and thicker than before. This is not true. Shaving only leaves an oblique tip which feels coarse until the sharpness wears off. Never dry shave with a razor. If your skin is sensitive, apply some almond oil or moisturiser, and then lather with soap or shaving cream for a closer finish. Use long upward strokes and an upward stroke for the underarms.

While shaving, the top layer of skin is loosened, which is why an underarm deodorant can cause irritation right after a shave. If hair growth starts early, smoothen it out with a pumice stone.

Tweezing

It is an effective method used for removing  hair on the face and eyebrows. It is not recommended for larger areas since pulling hair roots can be painful and time-consuming. Plucking out hair has no adverse side-effects as with other methods of temporary hair removal.

However, keep in mind:

- That constant and repeated tweezing leads to tiny, pitted scars.
- That it is important to sterilise the tweezer to avoid infection.
- Not to pluck hair from moles and warts.

Tip: Rub ice cubes over the area before and after tweezing to ease pain.
Waxed!

Ideal for larger areas like such as the calves, arms and underarms, waxing pulls the follicle from its root and hence, growth is delayed by about four to six weeks. The more often you wax, the less likely is hair to grow back in the same manner.

Apply the wax to the skin in the direction of hair growth. Place a special strip or muslin cloth on top of it and smooth it out with your palm. Always pull the strip in the opposite direction of hair growth for best results. The redness that forms over the skin will fade away quickly. In case it doesn’t, change the strip or wax. You could be allergic to either material. If the redness worsens, pop an anti-histamine to control it. Apply a body lotion after waxing. Hot wax is best for facial hair. All you need are wax strips, hot wax and 15 minutes to spare, for a quick DIY routine.

Depilatories (Hair removal creams)

These creams dissolve hair chemically at the surface. Depilatories are available as semi-liquids or creams. This method is a quick fix and cannot hold for more than a day or two. Wash and dry the area to be depilated. Apply the cream and leave it on for the specified time. Wash the area with soap and water and pat dry. Use a moisturising lotion after depilation.

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