From eco-waxing and organic sugaring to laser hair removal
Like any other salon service or product, there’s no one-size-fits-all method of hair removal. “When it’s time to choose how you’ll go hair free, from your face down to your toes, it’s important to consider your total aggregate chemical exposure,” says Dr. Taz Bhatia, founder and medical director of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. “You need to look at the food you eat, cleaners in your house, the products you put on your skin, whether you use hair dyes—hair removal becomes a part of that,” she explains. “Where you can be less chemically dependent, do it.”
Eco-waxes, made with a range of natural and organic ingredients, are a great solution, since conventional waxes usually contain paraffin, resin or petroleum-derived oils, which can cause irritation for sensitive skin or for those using Retin-A or other anti-aging products that slough off layers of skin.
Organic sugaring, a form of hair removal that uses a paste made of water, sugar and lemons, typically has the fewest side effects of all eco-hair removal options, according to Bhatia, because it mostly pulls hair from the surface. It is ideal for the bikini area because it is less painful, too. Raquel Souza, the owner of Sweet Peach Wax & Sugaring Studio in Atlanta, applies her organic formula against the hairline, but pulls it off against the direction of hair growth for less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs.
Hard waxes go deeper into the skin’s surface, pulling out ingrown hairs as well as surface hair growth. This method is best suited for people who aren’t on medicines or anti-aging regimens that make skin more sensitive, says Bhatia, and works well for the bikini area, as well as body and face.
The Uni K Wax Center, with locations in California, Florida and New York, offers an all natural, gluten-free product made from natural beeswax and essential oils. It consistently makes for even and easier application over large areas of skin, like the back and legs. Bella Fiore Organic Med Spa, in Seattle, WA, uses both soft and hard waxes made of only nonsynthetic plant products. “Many traditional waxes contain histamines, which cause redness and bumpiness,” says Spa Manager Erin Norberg. “Typically that irritation isn’t a result from the waxing procedure, but the synthetic ingredients, which is why we advocate a natural product.”
At Vida Organic Wellness Spa in Seal Beach, CA, customers can even try an organic chocolate wax, the salon’s most popular service. Using organic cacao and cocoa powder and other natural berry oils, the wax is so gentle that customers often leave the spa without a hint of redness—it’s best used on sensitive areas like eyebrows and the upper lip. “They look like they haven’t even been waxed because the formula is so nourishing that it leaves skin smoother,” says Owner Julia Sackis Donovan. “And that’s really how all waxing experiences should be.”
Laser Hair Removal If you want to avoid the waxing experience altogether, laser hair removal is an increasingly popular, although expensive, option of getting rid of unwanted hair, from small areas like the upper lip to larger areas like underarms and the bikini line. The procedure beams concentrated laser light onto hair follicles in short time periods. The pigment in hair follicles absorbs the light, which then destroys the follicles. “If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, or want a more permanent hair removal solution, laser may be your best bet,” says Bhatia.
Natural Hair Removal > Products to try at home
Parissa Wax Strips Face & Bikini Perfect for quick touch-ups before a trip to the beach, these convenient strips come in sizes ideal for the upper lip, bikini line and cheeks. Don’t forget to rub on the complimentary Azulene Oil that comes in the pack after waxing to prevent ingrown hairs. $10; parissa.com
Moom Organic Hair Removal Kit with Lavender Made with organic and natural ingredients like calming chamomile and lemon juice, this sugar-based formula removes hair at the root, leaving skin soft for up to eight weeks. Lavender leaves skin soothed and nourished. $20; moom.com
BodyHonee Sugar Wax Using the simple natural ingredients of lemon, salt and pure sugar, this chemical-free formula is made for fine to medium hair. Apply a thin layer to skin and wax off with the epilating strip for hair removal that’s easy and mess-free. $19; bodyhonee.com