Is Waxing Or Shaving Better For Avoiding Ingrown Hairs?

I’ve been doing some form of hair removal for as long as I can remember. Since I hit puberty, I was always told that shaving would leave me with darker and thicker hair (spoiler alert: it’s a myth), so at some point I turned to waxing. I got so close with my waxer that she knew (and saw) more about me than some of my closest friends. She would tell me that the dozens of ingrown hairs I had were from years of shaving, and waxing would help eliminate those. Her advice went along with what I was told as a pubescent 12-year-old, so I kept going back to her. But finally, after calculating how much I spent on waxing every damn month, I decided to switch to a more permanent hair removal method—laser hair removal. There, the Esthetician told me that waxing is what was causing all my ingrown hairs, and the laser would help eliminate them since I was only allowed to shave from then on.

So now I’m f*cking confused. Does shaving cause ingrown hairs or not? Why was I still getting ingrown hairs when I waxed? This article will break down the truth of whether waxing or shaving is better for you, and for getting rid of those pesky ingrown hairs.

The Basics

To start things off, no matter what form of hair removal you use, you are susceptible to ingrown hairs. But some people (like me) are more prone to them than others. When you shave, you are cutting the hair at the base of your skin (which is the thickest part), which is why it can appear that it is growing back thicker and darker. While this tends to be a less expensive option, you can be left with the dreaded razor bump that is v itchy. (Don’t lie that you haven’t tried to scratch your recently shaved bikini line in public and been scared someone thinks you have crabs.) On the other hand, waxing uses hot wax that is pulled away from your skin and removes the hair from the root. Because of this, results can last longer and you don’t have that 5 o’clock shadow some get from shaving.

The Pros & Cons

There are many upsides to waxing and shaving. They both remove the hair and can leave you with super soft skin. While shaving is cheaper, it does not last as long. And if you have dark hair like moi, you can still see the shadow of the hair follicle immediately after shaving. Shaving tends to last 2-3 days, whereas waxing can last 3-6 weeks. So while waxing is more expensive, you don’t need to do it as frequently. Finally, the pain. Before my first wax, I was sacred from that scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I’m not going to lie, waxing can be painful, but (for me at least) the more you do it, the less painful it is. However, shaving is no walk in the park, either. Like, I still have a cut on my ankle from when I shaved my legs in the sink in college…

Ingrown Hairs

Now, for the reason you’re all here. Those stupid little red bumps that call out to you, “pick me! pick me!” but when you do, you’re left with even more unattractive red bumps. So what is causing them? An ingrown hair is when a hair starts to grow underneath the skin. It can happen with any hair removal technique on any part of your body. Grool. But remember, places with thicker, curlier hair (aka your bikini line) are the most at risk. When you shave, you create sharp edges at the end of the hair strand that makes it more likely to curl into the skin. However, while waxing completely removes the hair from the follicle, you cannot guarantee that it will not curl back under the skin when it grows back.

Waxing vs. Shaving: The Verdict

So when it comes to preventing ingrown hairs, should you wax or shave? Honestly, neither. The best treatment plan is to let everything grow, but if that isn’t your style, it isn’t hopeless. Laser hair removal is a permanent way to remove hair. Since, in the long run, it will eliminate your need for waxing or shaving altogether. However, it’s pricy. So as long as you take the proper precautions when you’re waxing vs. shaving, you’ll be fine. Make sure to exfoliate before whatever hair removal you use and moisturizer after. And whatever you do, do NOT pick at your skin.

Images: Taylor Hernandez / Unsplash; Giphy (2)

Why I Shave My Face For The Beauty Benefits & You Should Too

I’d like to preface this article by informing you that no, I’m not Helga the lunch lady with long black hairs stemming from my chin. In fact, I’m naturally fair-skinned with naturally light brown hair. In other words, I’m not the girl who’s been getting her lip waxed since middle school and has to shave her arms everyday. (Shouts out to those girls, because I can barely bring myself to shave my armpits on a daily basis, let alone the rest of my body, so respect.) Point is, I don’t have to shave my face out of necessity. Rather, I choose to shave my face because of its undeniable beauty benefits.

Now, before I share said benefits, I’m going to debunk the myth that I know you’re all thinking right now: “If I shave my face, the hair is going to grow back thicker, darker, and faster.” False, false and false. I think this is a rumor that the waxing ladies at the salon started so they wouldn’t lose all their business. But, Big Waxing, we see you. 

This myth is based on the illusion that the hair is growing back thicker and darker. According to a salon specialist in an article from InStyle, this is due to the fact that cutting off the hair at its thickest point leaves a blunt edge, giving the appearance of thicker hair as it starts to grow back. Like, think about the hair on your head. As you get to your ends, your hair becomes thinner because that’s just how hair grows. If you cut off the thin ends, your hair looks thicker, even though the actual hair follicle hasn’t changed. If you need more proof, just look it up.

Anyways, now that we’ve settled that, I’ll tell you why I choose to shave my face.

1. Bye, Bye Peach Fuzz

I don’t have a thick mustache. What I do have is some not-so-cute peach fuzz above my lip that becomes super visible in broad daylight. I’ve tried plucking and Nair-ing it, but both resulted in a new mustache of red bumps. So I shave my face. By shaving it, I don’t have to hide away like a vampire at the slight chance of sunlight (or risk having a red bumpy ‘stache in its place).

2. Exfoliation

If you’ve ever gotten a spray tan or used self-tanner then you know that when you shave your legs, they all of a sudden look a lot less tan. This is because shaving removes dead skin cells, acting as a means of exfoliation. Shaving your face has the same effect. Not to mention, exfoliation is ESSENTIAL to anti-aging because it removes the build up of dead skin cells, leaving the skin brighter and more even looking.

exfoliate

3. Product Penetration

Due to the effectiveness of the exfoliation aspect, shaving your face allows your skincare products to penetrate deeper and more effectively into the surface of the skin. Which, considering I spend enough at Sephora to be VIB Rouge for the rest of my life, is vvv appealing to me.

4. Smoother Makeup Application

Besides the removal of unwanted hair, smoother makeup application is the most noticeable immediate effect. Since your skin is exfoliated and hairless, your foundation will go on smoother than ever. Like, legit, you can expect airbrush flawless, Olivia Culpo-smooth status.

I shave my face with a Tinkle razor, and I recommend it, although different people will say different things. You want to make sure you shave in the same direction that the hair grows and to only do it on clean skin. Some people suggest using shaving cream; however, I find this unnecessary and personally don’t want to risk clogging my pores and causing a breakout. Rather, I use a face oil and, from my own experience, this has worked phenomenally. 

Note, if you have acne-prone skin or have any current breakouts, you shouldn’t try face shaving. But, if not, grab a (new) razor and get to it!

Images: Kevin Reinaldo / Unpsplash; Giphy (3)

Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It? What To Know Before You Book

I’ve literally always wanted laser hair removal. It seemed completely unattainable; an urban legend of hairlessness reserved for celebrities (or like, Corinne). Then things changed. Instagram influencers started publicizing the “secrets” of their beauty routines. (Hint: many involved laser.) Laser centers multiplied (at least in NYC/LA), and prices dropped. And, most importantly, I graduated college, got a job, and started paying my own bills (*sob*). The only silver lining of that last change? I suddenly had free reign over how I wanted to irresponsibly blow spend my money. So on a day I was feeling particularly brazen (read: my paycheck had just hit), I went for it. I bought five Brazilian laser hair removal sessions at the “special discount price” of $800. Having gone through the process, here’s what you should know before getting laser hair removal.

The Cost Of Laser Hair Removal

Obviously, the cost of laser hair removal will vary depending on what you want done, where you go, and whether you’ve heard of Groupon. Groupon is a must (especially if you live in NYC or LA, where you’ll get the best deals), but don’t go crazy. You should always research facilities by reputation first—a hack lasering job can leave you with scarring, burning, and a whole host of other nasty consequences—and then see what deals are available. It’s also important to note that most areas will take a minimum of five sessions to see lasting results. (If you have particularly thick hair, it can take a few more). So, most places offer packages of 5 or 6, which I highly recommend if it’s your first time.

All told, you should be able to buy a set of underarm treatments for around $200, bikini/Brazilian for around $500, and lower leg for upwards of $700. (Disclaimer: I live in DC, so my options were more limited. Hence the $800 payment). And while I found myself paying off my laser hair removal treatment over several months, I haven’t regretted it. I’ve been getting Brazilian waxes since high school, usually at around $50 each. So I went to a very dark place thinking how much money I could’ve saved by getting laser earlier. On the other hand, the cost of shaving my legs is so relatively cheap (financially—the emotional toll is enormous). So I couldn’t quite justify a laser leg treatment since a razor is like, $20 every few months or whatever. You ultimately need to decide what makes sense for you.

The Experience

As I said before, I’ve been getting Brazilian waxes monthly for a little under a decade. So compared to that, the pain of laser hair removal was NBD. It’s kind of like a hot, sharp pinch, but it passes quickly and they give you a cooling pad after. It’s obviously not the most relaxing experience in the world—I’m naked from the waist down and talking about my weekend plans with a stranger, after all. Other cons include some redness/swelling for 24 hours max (not every time), the terrifying comment that I might find “ash in my underwear,” and the time my time my technician shaved me instead of giving me the option to do it myself. But it only takes about 15 minutes per session (legs take longer), and honestly, no hair removal is fun.

Disclaimer: If your skin is particularly sensitive, or if you’re at a facility that’s using shitty machines, you may have a more painful experience. Never be afraid to ask questions about what to reasonably expect from treatment, or more information about how the procedure works and what they’re using.

I’m sorry in advance to any @laseraway staff member who has to listen to my life story while you laser me #ImSoAwkward

A post shared by Alexis Waters (@alexiswaters_) on

The Results

To be honest, I’m not as blown away as I thought I’d be. Five sessions later, I’m still growing hair—thin and fine hair, granted, and it’s mostly invisible unless you’re six inches away. Then again, I’m really only doing this treatment for the people who are six inches away, and I’d been hoping for a full-on Beyoncé bikini line. I also have some ingrown hairs, and hoped laser would heal those marks. And it did—but again, it didn’t eliminate them entirely. It just made them less obvious.

Since having a few fine hairs on my lower legs would bother me less than having them on my bikini line, I don’t think I would have these complaints with lower leg laser treatment. I’m just still trying to justify the cost to myself. Which brings me back to the original question: Is laser hair removal worth it?

In certain cases, like replacing a waxing habit, I say just do it. Even if it’s not quite the swath of Barbie skin I had in mind, my bikini line is effectively clean. I won’t have to put mental energy into whether I’m bikini-ready all summer, and I’ve already saved $250 and three hours of my life from waxes I no longer need. On the other hand, buying laser for areas where the alternative is shaving (like my legs) is still something I can’t commit to. In the end, it all comes down to your current needs. If you’re someone who shaves her legs every day, is sensitive to razor burn, and freaks out at the first sign of stubble, then laser might be for you. It won’t turn you into a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but it will take unwanted hair off your mind for a long, long time.*

*(Touch-ups after a few years are common.)

Images: Tumblr (3); @alexiswaters_ / Instagram

What Do Guys Think Of Pubic Hair? I Grew A Bush To Find Out

Everything about the 90’s is coming back right now: Choker necklaces. Jean skirts. John Stamos. People are essentially dressing like Bruno Mars, but unironically. Also, the bush is maybe coming back in style? No, not the George W. kind. (I’m talking about pubic hair.) In the 70’s and 80’s, it was all about the apple bottoms jeans and cooch with the fur. In the 90’s, women would trim and clip-clip-hooray. By the early 2000’s it was the landing strip, which also served as an arrow saying “come on down!” in a Bob Barker voice.

Then the dot com boomed happened, and porn was no longer something men stumbled upon by finding an old Playboy magazine with the pages stuck together. Millennial men learned how to have sex from Kim Kardashian and Ray J, which actually explains a lot now that I think about it.

It’s estimated that around 25% of all internet searches are for porn. Why is this relevant? Because of the rapid rise of internet porn, directors started having their talent shave everything down to baby smoothness. It started out as a visibility issue, because if you remember the late 90s and early 2000s, online video wasn’t exactly HD. But with bald bits, audiences could clearly see every salacious angle.

So boys grew up jacking it to fully exposed clitorises (yet can never seem to find them). Eventually, they went from Boyz to Men and grew up expecting women to mimic their porny counterparts. We fucking did it for some reason, and didn’t question how weird it was—like Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart’s friendship.

Anyway, six weeks ago I put down the razor, saved the bikini wax money, and grew out a bush. Note to all bushy betches looking to try this at home: it takes well over a month to really get the bird’s nest aesthetic, or at least it did for me.

Next came the highly scientific experiment: What would guys think of my bush? I’ve gone through wintertime dick cleanses where my leg hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love, but this was the first time I had really had left my grass uncut in a decade. My semi-slutty sorority days are long gone, so it’s not like Chad from Sig Ep (who has Pornhub as his homepage) is going to give a shit. The guys I’m dating are in their late twenties and early thirties. I learned they like their woman to look like just that—a woman.

No guys said anything about my furry wonder down under while we were fooling around, but I brought it up during pillow talk. You know, romance. I was slightly nervous before the big bush debut, but I also knew no man was going to be super into me and suddenly change his mind and decline his exclusive invite to club shrub.

The first time was late at night and the lights were mostly off, so the big reveal wasn’t that dramatic. I’m sure he felt a difference, but he was a happy camper. The next time, the guy started fingering me with my jeans still on and tried to be sexy and said, “oh, you have hair down there. I’m low-key into that.” One guy actually said he liked it better than fully shaved, because the resulting stumble is apparently unpleasant when he’s down there doing the Lord’s work.

The verdict is in: one dude said he was a little surprised but definitely happy with it, one dude thought it made me super cool and confident, and one dude might have a fetish he’s not owning up to. They all kept calling though.

Verdict: I suggest experimenting with hair down there as much as you did with purple eyeshadow in the seventh grade.

What Is Dermaplaning? 5 Things To Know About Shaving Your Face

Another day, another way to improve myself. Whether it’s eating or skin care or wearing things that don’t make me look fat, 2018 is already so full of advice. Well now, there’s a new way to get baby smooth skin—it’s called dermaplaning and it involves shaving your face. *Shudders* Every day we stray further from God’s light.

OK, so, like, first off, I didn’t even know wtf dermaplaning was until last week. I should probably tune in to the trends more often, since I’m the voice of a generation and all. Turns out, shaving your face to exfoliate is big business. Whether you’re doing this shit yourself or paying a fancy doctor to do it for you, chances are it’s totally good for your skin. Allegedly. But you, the average Betches reader, probs doesn’t know wtf I’m talking about. Allow me to explain and like, enlighten you.

WTF Is Dermaplaning?

So, dermaplaning—according to Cosmo—is literally using (or having a doctor use) a surgical scalpel to gently scrape off any dead skin cells or “peach fuzz” on the surface of your face. It’s a super effective exfoliating treatment and is apparently all the fucking rage these days. It’s like shaving your face, but more bougie.

Lemme just exfoliate, betch.

 

Can I Do This Or Will It Fuck Me Up, Fam?

Yah, pretty much anyone with any skin type can dermplane. Myths abound that, like any kind of “shaving”, your hair will grow back thicker, darker, and scarier. This isn’t fucking true, according to Bustle, and your hair will grow back exactly the same as before. Also, it doesn’t hurt and won’t cause breakouts.

 

How Much Will This Shit Cost Me?

I meaaaaaaaaaan, it honestly depends on where you go and how you do this shit. For a REAL dermaplaning tool (no, you can’t use a regular razor), it’ll set you back around $75, and you totally can’t put a price on beauty. If you’re nervous, go to a dermatologist for a real appointment. That’ll probably set you back a couple hundred bucks, but every place is different. Maybe they’re having a sale—idfk. Given that I cut my legs every time I shave and I’ve been doing that since I was 11, I wouldn’t trust myself with a razor to the face, but ya know, to each her own.

I identify a lot with this cat

 

Why Am I Shaving My Face?

There are literally tons of benefits to dermaplaning. According to Elle, hairless skin helps all the shit you’re layering on your face—from anti-wrinkle creams to acne shit to moisturizer to even your makeup—go on smoother. Plus, you’re literally unclogging your pores by dermaplaning since it’s getting rid of that dead skin buildup we all know and love.

Moisture is the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty

 

Will My Skin Be #Flawless?

Yes and no. If you’re going for a legit treatment, like, at a doctor’s office, chances are your skin is going to be hella red and dry for a few hours after. It’ll be a good night to sit in solitude, is what I’m saying. This is the time to rub in some vitamin C serums and other good-for-you shit since your face is like, super prime to absorb it. Afterwards, though, you’ll have mega-soft skin that you may not even need an Insta filter for. PRAISE JESUS.

 

May the odds and your skin be like, ever in your favor.

Images: Giphy (3)

What Your Hair Removal Technique Says About You

Currently, I have four different methods of hair removal in play—threading, epilation, shaving, and waxing (I’ll let you guess which one goes where, if you’re into that). I’m something of a hair removal expert. I introduced most of my friends to their first waxers, had a socially scarring moment when I was caught dry-shaving in my freshman year dorm room, and no longer even flinch during Brazilians. While all of this could probably be traced back to the high school ex who would literally check my legs for hair the patriarchy, the point is that by now, I am a motherfucking expert in hair removal. And while my hair removal routine clearly suggests that I’m a fucking psycho I have a little too much time on my hands, we’re not here to talk about me. Let’s discuss what your hair removal choices say about you.

Monthly Wax: Booked In Advance

Okay, you’re either hairy as hell or you have your shit together like Samantha in Sex and the City. If you have the patience and fortitude to grow out all your hair to a wax-able length, get it all waxed at the same time, and know your hair follicles well enough to know when you’ll next need an appointment, you are everything my 13-year-old self thought I once would be an inspiration. You’re the kind of type-A bitch who goes to the gym at 5am and packs a lunch every day, and I respect it. I would never fucking hang out with you, but I respect it. TBH those girls are typically actually a little fuzzy, because they’ve decided things like “being healthy” and “saving money” are somehow more important. Whatever.

Shaving 3-5 Times A Week

This level of frequency means you definitely care about not having visible hair, but not quite enough to invest more time and money in structuring it. The shitty thing about shaving this often is that every few weeks, your hair will reach a point where it’s too short to shave but just long enough that you can feel it, and you have to put the razor down and ride out the stubble purgatory. If you’ve tried other options and never moved past shaving by choice, these few days are probably low-key annoying, but a fact of life you’ve accepted. If you’ve never moved past shaving because women hate you you just “prefer guy friends” and don’t have anyone to teach you these things, these few days are probably a terror-ridden razor-burned nightmare in which you take your failure to be hairless extremely personally and wear jeans three times a week in mid-July. (Definitely not speaking from experience.)

Shaving 1-2 Times A Year

Ugh. I don’t know why, but I think the type of person who only shaves on special occasions, like a beach trip or a wedding where her neutered boyfriend can maybe get laid for the first time this year, is just the worst. If you don’t care about having body hair, then fine. Lean the fuck into it. Post artsy photos of the sunlight streaming through your #fullbush. Get a sponsorship from Burt’s Bees. Live your best life. But if you secretly really, really like how it feels those two times a year that you shave, just shut the fuck up and SHAVE—you’re not going to turn into Kellyanne Conway if you do. Similarly, if you hate the two times a year that you shave, then just stop—no one has the illusion that you’re hairless anyway. This halfway nonsense is just admitting to the world that you’re too insecure and/or lazy to actually make the body hair choices you want year-round.

Nair/DIY Waxing

Look, we all had a desperate moment in high school when the waxing bills added up, or we got razor burn somewhere you really don’t want it. We all thought there had to be a better way, and maybe those microwaveable Sally Hansen jars or tubes of cream that smell like ass were it! Our ticket to freedom! But if you seriously continued with any of these techniques after a first try, you’re probably more than a little broke fuzzy, consistently have weird patches of hair, and are always the one who jumps into the group chat four hours too late to contribute to the conversation. You’re not great with time management, and you pick up a pack of at-home wax strips when you have a party in two hours and realize you haven’t touched your leg hair in six weeks. You tell yourself you can totally get it done in time, then end up on your bathroom floor until midnight, covered in stray bits of wax and that weird little bottle of “removal oil.” Yikes.

Laser

This is obviously the gold standard, and it means you have more money than me. If you’re even close to the public eye, you better have this, or go ahead and hibernate for your six months of carefully spaced-out treatments so you can debut your Barbie bikini line in all its glory. If you’re a grown-ass woman with a busy (well-paid) job who cares the amount about hair removal that I do now, then I sincerely hope you have laser, because no one past the age of 30 should be tasked with balancing work, life, and waxing when you have the option not to. Honestly, I’m just going to go ahead and call this entire post a plug for laser hair removal so I can try and demand a brand ambassador discount. Everyone go get laser, and you’ll never have to click on articles like this again.

 

READ: The Betches’ Guide To Unwanted Hair