Hair Removal How-Tos
Whatever your bridal style, we can pretty much guarantee there's one accessory you don't want—excessive body hair. From good, old-fashioned shaving to high-tech lasers, here's everything you need to know to get fuzz free for your wedding day.
From left: EOS Ultra Moisturizing shave cream in Lavender Jasmine, $4, EvolutionofSmooth.com; Panasonic Wet/Dry women's shaver with pop-up trimmer, $30, Ulta.com; Oui Shave Carrie 14k Gold razor set, $85, OuiShave.com
How it works: Razors cut the hair where it meets the skin, and they're hard to beat for cost and convenience (DIY doesn't get much easier than this). If you use a good shaving cream or gel, your result will be silky smooth skin.
Things to consider: Unfortunately, these results don't last (most people see stubble again within 24 hours). Razor burn, ingrown hairs and the occasional nick are also par for the course. Also, since your hair isn't starting over from scratch, regrowth is coarse.
Best for: Your legs and armpits. Shave slowly and carefully, working against the grain of the hair.
How it works: Hair is coated with (usually hot) wax, then covered with cloth. Both are then ripped off the skin, bringing the hair and root with them. You'll be stubble-free for about two weeks (or more!). Many women claim that their hair grows back finer with repeated waxing.
Things to consider: Ouch! Waxing hurts, is hard to do yourself, and can also cause ingrown hairs. Heading to a salon is your best bet. Also, since the wax needs at least one-third-inch of hair to grab onto, you'll have to grow it out between sessions.
Best for: Legs, bikini line and upper lip. Many women wax their eyebrows as well, but other methods are more accurate. No matter where you're waxing, if you're a first timer, book a test drive six weeks before your wedding. That way, you can deal with any weird reactions to the wax while you've got time (and not while you're on your honeymoon).
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How it works: These creams dissolve the root of the hair, making it fall out when you wipe the cream away. Don't worry, they've come a long way since you were in high school. Those razorless shaving kits you see everywhere? Yep, those are depilatories. And yes, they're less painful than waxing, and they last a little longer than shaving.
Things to consider: If you've got sensitive skin, you could feel the burn with some products. Also, some formulas don't work as well on coarser hair.
Best for: Your upper lip and arms. No matter where you're spreading it, do a test on a small patch of skin to be sure it agrees with you before you go whole hog.
How it works: In this Indian technique, thread is rolled around hairs to gently pluck them out one at a time. It's way less painful than waxing, and can last longer—often up to a month.
Things to consider: It's not quite as accurate as tweezing, and it's pretty much impossible to do at home, so a salon appointment is necessary.
Best for: Brows, naturally.
How it works: Bleaching creams strip hair of its color (it's still there, it's just harder to see). It's relatively cheap, painless and there's no stubble.
Things to consider: This method doesn't work if you have darker skin (the lightened hair may stand out more), and you may have a "calico" appearance as new hair grows in. There's also a risk of accidentally bleaching your skin.
Best for: Upper lip or your arms. Make sure you leave the product on for the amount of time recommended on the box—less could leave the hair brassy and yellow instead of bleached.
How it works: Tweezers lift strands of hair out from the root individually (never try to grab more than one at a time). You'll be fuzz-free for a week or more. And once you've made the investment in a good set of tweezers, you've covered your costs completely.
Things to consider: It's a bit painful, and very time-consuming—definitely not recommended for large areas.
Best for: Brows. Even if you use another form of hair removal, like waxing or threading, you can always tweeze errant hairs in between appointments. If you've got nose hairs that are bugging you, your tweezers can tackle those as well.
How it works: An electronic needle is inserted into the hair's root, burning the area that supplies it blood and allows it to grow. After several treatments, it's not just effective—it's usually permanent.
Things to consider: Electrolysis is time-consuming, painful and expensive. It's definitely not for everyone. Some people also experience minor scarring. Since this procedure takes a while, you should only include it in your bridal beauty plans if you have a year or more to go before your wedding day.
Best for: Small areas, like the patch of hair on your big toes or your upper lip, though you can think bigger (bikini lines are common targets). If you're interested in trying it, your big toes are a great place to start—a small area that's not too hairy makes the perfect test patch.
Lasers and IPL
How it works: Long gone are the days of doctor visits for laser hair removal treatments. There are now a wide variety of laser and IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal products that can be used at home. The intense heat and light cause damage to the hair follicles, preventing regrowth. A single treatment session can cover a large area, so you're not limited to small stuff.
Things to consider: The up front cost has a higher price tag, but the permanent results can be worth the splurge. Also, you'll need to use it multiple times to get the most permanent results. Some people may experience hair regrowth that's lighter and softer; scarring is also a rare but not an unheard-of side effect.
Best for: Bikini line and legs, although theoretically you could zap hair anywhere. Like electrolysis, this is best for the bride who's got some time on her hands before her honeymoon.
Want more wedding beauty tips? Of course you do. Right here!