BY AIDEN JEWELLE GONZALES
Navigate the hair-raising world of hair removal with Aiden Jewelle Gonzales, who’ll smooth the way for you with these best options for your skin type, time, and wallet.
While it’s great to embrace our naturally hirsute state as confident – and lazy – women who don’t conform to patriarchal beauty standards (au naturel is trop belle!), sometimes we just crave that silky smooth feel on our limbs and upper lips. However, the hairy truth is, most hair-removal recommendations aren’t optimised for us women of colour – for example, bleaching will just make us look like disgruntled hedgehogs. So shave yourself time and trouble with these top tips on how to shed your fur in Thailand’s perpetual summer.
A classic, and for good reason – there’s no quicker way to get rid of the hair on those two inches of skin peeking out below your capris, and every Boots or 7/11 has a razor handy.
Pros: Fast, convenient, and cheap.
Cons: Watch out for ingrown hairs, cuts, and razor burn. Works for all skin tones, but dark, coarse hair will appear to grow back darker and coarser and you always end up with unsightly stubble. Razor blades should also be replaced often.
Good for: Underarms, legs, and rush jobs before a night out.
- Try buying men’s razors – they might not come in cute colours but they’re sharper and cheaper. The ‘pink tax’ (price add-ons for women’s products) is real, folks!
- Shaving creams and moisturisers will make the whole experience, well, smoother.
- Only shave with sharp blades! Replace them the moment they feel dull.
A handy option that can be carried around everywhere, the epilator basically automates tweezing. Unlike waxing, you can stop and start whenever and wherever you want, instead of bracing yourself for large swathes of skin to be ripped off.
Pros: A good epilator will last you years, is rechargeable, and you won’t have to spend a satang past the initial price. Hair can take weeks to grow back, and grows back fine and sparse. Requires minimal attention or accoutrements – do it while binge-watching the latest season of Money Heist and you’ll barely notice the pain.
Cons: Investing in an epilator can be pricey, and it’s quite painful. Not the best option for darker skin tones, as prolonged use can cause discoloration in certain areas.
Good for: Legs and arms.
- Always clean your device after use.
- Check out the Braun epilators, which are a cut above the rest.
A seemingly magical potion that you slather on your limbs before wiping it off – and your hair with it. The science behind this charm is a chemical reaction that literally dissolves your hair roots.
Pros: Painless and easy, depilatory creams can be bought at most drug stores and will leave you hairless for longer than shaving will. Good for all skin tones.
Cons: A little messy, has a strong smell, and many people have an allergic reaction to the chemicals in the cream. Can cause chemical burns if left too long.
Good for: Limbs, fine hair and small patches that waxing/shaving etc. may have missed out.
- Always test on a small patch of skin before using it – try Veet Gel Hair Remover Cream, which has aloe verafor those with sensitive skin.
- Even if you miss hair out, don’t reapply the cream – it’ll irritate your skin the second time. Just tweeze the remainder.
- Wash all the excess cream off!
There’s nothing that speaks more to the resilience of women than voluntarily slathering ourselves in hot wax or sugar and ripping away our protective coating of hair – and half our skin – in one fell swoop. While we may entrust this monumental task to our waxing ladies, the intrepid few among us may choose to do it ourselves.
Pros: Can last for weeks, with a smoother finish. Works for every skin tone, and hair doesn’t grow back coarse.
Cons: Pain. Lots of pain. Some people with sensitive skin can react to the wax (always check with a test patch first), and you can only wax when there is some significant hair growth. Professional waxing can be pricey, and since your first layer of skin is also ripped off, it can be more sensitive to sunlight.
Good for: Anywhere on your body, but always check your sensitivity first.
- Research recipes and make your own sugar solution so while waxing may be traumatic, you can at least be aromatic! (Also good for those with sensitive skin).
- Don’t wax damaged skin or skin with piercings.
- The sweet spot when your body is less sensitive to pain is 3-4 days after your period: avoid the time before and during your period as your body is already inflamed and more sensitive to stimuli.
- Check out any branch of Take Care Beauty Salon & Spa for an effective, professional option in Bangkok.
A pricier but more permanent option, this new-fangled solution has really taken off in recent years although it must be noted that it promises permanent hair reduction, not necessarily permanent hair removal. It aims to destroy your hair follicles with a light pulse or diode, so your hair should fall out in a few weeks.
Pros: One of the most permanent solutions, and most people find it less painful than waxing.
Cons: Quite a steep price, and you’ll have to go for several sessions to see clear results. Old-generation lasers work best on fairer skin with dark hair, and can accidentally leave light patches, burns, and scars on those with darker skin tones.
Good for: Anywhere on the body.
- Go to a licensed dermatologist to get this done – don’t gamble with your skin!
- For women of colour (especially those with darker skin tones), always make sure you go to a clinic that offers Nd:YAG or long pulse lasers, not diodes, as these are good for all skin tones. A great option in Bangkok that offers this is Romrawin Clinic.
- Those with darker skin tones should avoid the at-home laser removal devices that are becoming all the rage as they’re only optimised for those with fair skin and dark hair.
A less well-known option, this also carries a steep price but comes with the most permanent results. The treatment consists of an electric current being passed through your hair follicle, in theory killing it for good.
Pros: Good for all skin types, it’s a very permanent solution, and is less likely than laser treatments to have side effects. Each subsequent session should cost less than the original.
Cons: Pricey, requires several sessions, and can be painful. Only a small area can be done at a time, unlike laser removal, which can cover larger sections. Can cause scarring when not done by a professional.
Good for: Anywhere on the body
- Always go to a professional dermatologist – some places may use unsterilized needles or can cause scarring when not done properly. Yanhee Hospital offers great electrolysis packages that you can trust.
- For the most permanent solution, use laser treatment on large swathes of skin, then use electrolysis on the leftover hairs (after waiting several months – consult a dermatologist first).