Hair Removal – Waxing Vs Laser
Hi I’m Monica. As a therapist, I always get asked ‘what’s better, laser hair removal or waxing?’
I work with both methods of hair removal and each have their place but personally, I think waxing is the better choice and hopefully after you read this you can make a well informed decision for yourself.
Lets start with the basics…
What Is Waxing?
Depending on the area and type if hair that being treat a wax (either warm which uses a cotton strip to remove) or hot wax (goes on warm and then sets) once the wax is applied and set (if hot wax) it’s removed in a swift motion pulling the hair’s out of the follicle. This means the hair growth cycle has to start from the beginning which usually gives clients a regrowth time of 4-6 weeks before they would wax again (if it’s your first time waxing, or if it has been a hot minute between waxing, you could have regrowth sooner, this will be because the growth cycle of each follicle is not in sync.
One of the benefits of waxing is that the more you get it done eventually the hair can lessen or take longer to grow back. Think of the 90s when it was fashionable to have thin brows and how any women now suffer from having over tweezed and the hair doesn’t grow back. It’s the same with waxing, now it doesn’t happen for everyone and just like all treatments everyone reacts differently, and I have meet a lot of people who have minimal hair (in the places you don’t want hair) all from having regular treatments.
Is it painful?
Yes and no, it depends on your pain threshold. Most clients tell me after their first visit “oh it wasn’t as bad as I thought.” It kind of feels like a nice warm hug and then someone slapping your skin and then the pain is gone.
Who can have treatment?
Pretty much anyone, if you are sensitive, you could try sugar waxing.
The average cost for waxing is
- Upper lip $25
- Bikini $40
- G-string $55
- Brazilian $60-80 depending on how often you get it done.
- Legs $40-$70
- Underarms $30
- Men’s back or chest $60
Most clients will come back for treatment every 4-6 weeks.
What Is Laser?
When I was training, laser was just becoming fashionable, it was expensive and was being marketed as “permanent hair removal”, this phrase was not correct as it does not destroy the growth cells in the follicle. However, it does permanently reduce the growth of hair so it is now marketed as permanent hair reduction although there is no guarantee on how much hair reduction one might have because every react differently to treatment. Laser hair removal work when a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth. Clients must shave before each treatment and will usually have treatment every 6 weeks and it is usually 4-6 treatments for 70-80% hair reduction. Some people do see permanent hair removal, but it’s not guaranteed. Maintenance will usually be required with 3-6 monthly repeat treatments.
Does it hurt?
In my experience YES!!! If you have terminal hairs (thick hairs) when the laser goes over it, it feels like someone picking you with a very hot needle. This of course can lessen over time as less terminal hairs grow back, and most clinics should do pre and post cooling with ice packs to help and just like waxing everyone’s pain threshold is different.
Who can have treatment?
That depends on the laser available. Most lasers are designed to treat fair skin with dark hairs because the contrast between the color of the skin and the color the of the pigment in the hair follicle is what allows the laser to easily pick out what to target.
In dark skin with dark hair most lasers will find it difficult to distinguish the difference of the pigment in the hair and skin, this meant it can’t accurately target the pigment in the hair which could case loss of pigment in the skin (if this happens there is no way to put pigment back). This doesn’t mean it’s impossible for darker skins to have treatment, There are Certain lasers, on the market that are better at distinguishing between hair and skin on all skin types so be sure to check that the clinic you go to can actually treat dark skin dark hair. The only hair that laser can’t treat is the grey hairs or very blonde hairs, as the hairs have little to no pigment making it almost impossible for the laser to target the follicles.
The average cost for laser is:
- Upper lip $35
- Bikini $59
- G-string $89
- Brazilian $89
- Legs $199-299
- Underarms $89
- Men’s back or chest $149-$299
Plus the cost of razors for shaving
So, what’s my verdict?
Like I said, I prefer waxing. It’s easy, you just rock on up and get treated! Yes it can be uncomfortable sometimes, but over time that can lessen, and you have a good chance of the hair growth slowing down or not being as thick when it grows back.
I would recommend laser if you were wanting to reduce the hair growth, but I feel like it’s quite expensive, you have to shave the day before or the morning of your appointment (some area are not so easy) and you still may have to use another form of hair removal after your recommended amount of sessions anyway.
I have meet a lot of people who swear by laser hair removal, but only to reduce the hair and the frequency that they now come in for waxing instead or every 4-6 week they are coming every 10-12 weeks. Also with laser you Your skin can feel hot for 15-30 minutes after laser treatment. There may be redness and swelling for up to 24 hours and you must be extra vigilant with that sunscreen as laser can cause the skin to be extra sensitive to UV rays, which can lead to skin damage. It is recommended that after laser treatment you avoid sun exposure for at least a few weeks.
Laser also has More serious side effects include blisters, too much or too little skin pigmentation, or permanent scarring if done by an untrained therapist or the wrong settings have been used. Because laser isn’t regulated any Joe Blogg can buy a machine and treat you. That’s not to say you can’t have mishaps with waxing but I rarely see damage done by waxing that the body can’t repair and when I do, it has been from untrained therapists.
So remember when choosing either treatment it pays to do your research because you do get what you pay for!
*Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal treatment as it permanently destroys the growth cells of the hair follicle, preventing treated hairs from ever growing back.
National & Internationally Qualified Beauty Therapist: National Dip. Beauty Therapy ’12. CEDISCO Dip. ‘12