1 - Creams: these creams also known as the « chemical razor » are used to melt hairs. They work fast and are generally cheap. They may irritate the skin, smell bad and can, if used without care, stimulate hair growth outside the original area. The big issue is that they don’t last long. Just a few days and applications need to be repeated constantly. In the end a fortune is spent on these creams.
2 - Wax: it’s fast, very expensive over a lifetime, painful and needs to be repeated over and over again! This technique leads to ingrown hair and skin irritations. You need to wait until hair has significantly grown back (doesn’t look pretty) to do it again. Results usually last 4 to 6 weeks. Not recommended between 2 laser sessions.
3 - Tweezers: cheap. It’s often painful, slow and can cause irritations and ingrown hair as well as hair discoloration. You must wait the hair is well above skin to pull it off successfully. The main problem is that it only lasts a few days and can cause hair stimulation in that area. Results don’t last long and more will come in the treated area.
4 – Portable Electric Hair Remover: hair is pulled in a circular motion, it’s a process similar to tweezing but it’s more efficient because it pulls many hairs at once. It’s quite painful, often expensive leads to folliculitis (bulb infection with big red sore spot) and sometimes to modifications in skin pigmentation (color).
5 - Electrolysis (electric needle): a low voltage electric shock is sent through a needle planted in the hair follicle. The expected result is the destruction of the hair root via electrolysis (destruction through electricity). This is one of the two permanent hair removal techniques currently available, the other being the laser. Electrolysis is slow, each hair is treated separately, then with tweezers the operator pulls each hair, one by one, it’ quite painful and very inefficient. Many sessions are necessary to perform the first pass at a large area such as full legs. So, it’s very expensive. This method could be OK for a small area where hair is blond or transparent (i.e. upper lip). It can be discouraging; the end is never in sight if you need to treat a back or legs. One major side effect can be seen on facial areas treated with needles: scars. If laser is not contra-indicated for you, it will be much more cost-effective than electrolysis.
6 – Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): should not be mistaken with a laser. It’s not even close in physics terms. Some IPL equipments could, possibly, yield to long-term hair removal. These lights are less efficacious than lasers, but they could be used for individuals who can’t qualify for laser treatment.