I want to be smooth.
August 29, 2008 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Question about best practices for hair removal in intimate areas.

What is the best way to get rid of the coarse hair leading from belly button to parts south? Shaving there leaves ugly stubble--is wax worth it? If so, what kind would you recommend? If it matters, I'm a lady. As for my actual pubic area, it is already neat and trim. My question for that area is how to eliminate razor burn/bumps on my actual bikini line. I'd rather not wax there since I don't have a huge amount or anything particularly thick to shave--I'm not extremely hairy, just need to do some light but regular maintenance. Any tips, techniques, products, aftercare ideas are welcome. Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You may want to consider IPL. I would not have it done anywhere but a physician's office. That way you don't have to keep messing with the whole thing!
posted by 6:1 at 4:47 PM on August 29, 2008

I have had laser hair removal done on my legs and hamster. With laser hair removal you have to have several sessions done (5 or more) to get it all since hair grows in cycles and it’s impossible to get it all at once. With my legs I’ve gone 4 sessions and the only hair that remains is so fine and light that it’s not a big deal at all to shave. With the hamster, well after only one session I was surprised how much is gone and frankly it’s a little freaky b/c I wasn’t necessarily hoping to go *that* bald. But it also depends on your hair/skin type. Those with dark, course hair and very light skin will have the best results. IPL is not technically a laser, and I’ve heard differing opinions on that. Depending on your body, these are the lasers currently being used:

• ruby (for very light skin), now an outdated modality… RubyStar, E2000
• alexandrite (for light skin 1-4) such as GentleLASE™ by Candela and Apogee by Cynosure and EpiTouch Plus
• diode (for light skin, finer hair) such as Light Sheer™ laser made by Lumenis, also SLP 1000, F1 Diode, MeDioStar, LaserLite, Epistar, Apex 800, Comet (w/RF technology), Palomar SLP 1000
• Nd:YAG (for dark or tanned skin) such as CoolGlide Excel® laser system by Cutera™, also GentleYAG, Lyra-i, Sciton, Apogee Elite, Medlite IV, Varia, Athos

It’s more money up front, but soooooo worth it in the end!
posted by texas_blissful at 5:05 PM on August 29, 2008 [6 favorites]

I had laser hair removal from my belly button to my pubic hair line. I also had that area cleaned up significantly. Loved it. It was totally worth the $. I think the total cost for those two areas was about $750. I have needed two clean up appointments in the last 18 months of having it done.

As mentioned earlier, the remaining hair is SIGNIFICANTLY lighter in texture and color. My hair was dark and course/ light skin = great results.
posted by beachhead2 at 5:18 PM on August 29, 2008

texas_blissful, may I ask how long it's been since you had the IPL? I'm surprised that hair growth cycles wouldn't come into play there.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:28 PM on August 29, 2008

Waxing is expensive.

A epilator (spend about $100 on it) will pay itself off really quickly (and yes, the good ones are rated for bikini/intimate area hair removal).

I really like my $100 Braun and I get no ingrowns vs. lots of ingrowns from waxing.
posted by porpoise at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I never used IPL; the dermatologist I go to uses a diode laser. For my legs I started in April, maybe even March. For the hamster it was a month and half ago. Don’t get me wrong....there is hair growth.....just not nearly as much as I expected.

Another point, after you have it done, you may think it didn’t work, but there is a “shedding” period where it takes the skin a few days before it spits the hair out. And if it hurts while they’re doing it, that probably means it’s working. Getting a technician who can get the right levels (high enough to get the hair but not so high to burn you) is key.
posted by texas_blissful at 5:44 PM on August 29, 2008

And PS, as porpoise said, Epilator type devices can be great for a quick solution. I would buy one of those before waxing. BUT I did get ingrown hairs with those....according to my OB, that has to do with my skin type. So if you don't have very light skin, that may be a good place to start - it just rips the hair out like a tweezer but a lot faster.
posted by texas_blissful at 5:49 PM on August 29, 2008

No ingrowns from waxing at all, for me, and tons of ingrowns from epilators. I'm going to laser a lot of places once I save enough funds - it's the best solution.
posted by Bakuun at 6:39 PM on August 29, 2008

i think for light growth, home waxing is worth it. i find it better than epilators, which hurt more and tend to grab fewer hairs in a pass. it sounds like you'd do fine with those at-home pre-waxed strips and following up with a tweezer for the few remaining strays.
posted by thinkingwoman at 8:12 PM on August 29, 2008

Seconding an epilator. The effect is like waxing, but cheaper, easier, and more private and convenient.

Some tips:
-Take an anti-inflammatory (like ibuprofen/Advil or naproxen/Aleve) before epilating.
-Wash and dry the area before and perhaps after (with (antibacterial) soap).
-Dust area with baby powder or Gold Bond before epilating.
-Post epilation and optional washing, cover area with vaseline if you don't mind being greasy for a while (overnight is best), or baby powder/Gold Bond if you do mind being greasy, in order to prevent bumps/irritation.
posted by sentient at 8:38 PM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh, and make sure to exfoliate the area in the shower (with loofah, poof, washcloth, whatever) in order to prevent ingrown hairs.
posted by sentient at 8:41 PM on August 29, 2008

Beware: if you use an epilator, don't get cocky and start on the highest setting. After seeing the gruesome scabby aftermath of such an error on a friend's calf, I wouldn't recommend letting that shit anywhere near your average household hamster, or any other barnyard animals for that matter.
posted by granted at 9:10 PM on August 29, 2008

I don't do any below-the-neck hair removing, but my partner does. At this point, she's used pretty much all the really common techniques (shaving, waxing, plucking, epilator, and laser), with much the same mixed results as reported above.

Her recommendation is to do the laser if you can afford it, with the second best being the epilator (but get a good one and start slow). Waxing is good if and only if you can find a good waxer — many are not very good and break the hair off rather than yank it out. Small areas are easy to just pluck with tweezers, either by yourself or with someone's help.
posted by Forktine at 6:18 AM on August 30, 2008

Go for the IPL or laser, then you can forget the hair was ever there.

I used to work at a day spa, and had the opportunity to get IPL sessions for 75% off retail. I had 4 sessions and am left with maybe 5-10% of the hair I used to have on my lower legs and armpits, and my bikini line is near enough to non-existent. The remaining hair is very fine and sparse. I tended to get lots of ingrowns, regardless of how much exfoliating I did or what products I used, so I love the results I've had from IPL.

Get recommendations for a good therapist in your area. The therapist that did the treatments on me cranked the machine up to it's highest setting since she initially thought I was a beauty therapist and said "you people don't feel pain". I know another salon that charge a fortune & get crap results, because the newly trained staff aren't confident enough to use the machine to it's full potential. What I'm saying is you need a therapist who is experienced, knows their equipment and is confident in their use of it to give you the best results in 4-8 sessions, so ask around.

I thought having IPL was about the same pain level as waxing/epilating. You may feel like the area is mildly sunburnt for up to 24 hours after. I loved seeing the frazzled little dead hairs grow and fall away over the ensuing days - very satisfying.
posted by goshling at 4:06 PM on August 30, 2008

Due to the horror stories...

*Before* you epilate, trim the hairs down to ~ 1cm or less.

The closer to the root you make these things work-their-thing (tweeze), the more effective it'll be.
posted by porpoise at 10:06 PM on September 1, 2008

Nobody ever seems to know this, and I only read it as a weird tip in a Vice magazine article, but deodorant/antiperspirant TOTALLY prevents ingrown hairs, especially around the bikini line. I was disbelieving when I first read about it, but I tried it, and seriously, it works. You might get one or two bumps, but nothing like you'd normally get. It's incredible.
posted by timoni at 1:58 AM on September 22, 2008

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