Finding ways to shed unwanted hair has led some Utah women to move away from traditional waxing and try longer lasting methods like threading and laser hair removal.
Evidence of hair removal dates back to ancient Egypt when pumice stones and beeswax were used to rub or rip off hair, according to Elle, a popular fashion magazine. Several alternative to waxing have become acceptable and popular in Western cultures in the last few decades.
Many newly popular methods, such as laser removal — using a laser to damage hair follicles — and microblading — a semi-permanent tattoo used to fill in eyebrows — are more lasting and permanent than waxing, and may be more economical in the long run.
Laser Hair Removal
Spa Trouve in Orem is a full service medical spa offering services including laser hair removal. Whitney Herrera, a master esthetician and instructor at Spa Trouve, said laser hair removal is their most popular service and makes up the majority of their market. She said there are multiple reasons women might be interested in hair removal.
“A lot of women have a lot of hormonal issues,” Herrera said. “They’ll get hair on their face, and so obviously as a woman you don’t want to have to deal with that, so they’ll get that lasered. People that get ingrown hairs get lasered because it helps with that too.”
For those looking to permanently rid themselves of unwanted hair, laser removal may be their best option. Herrera said laser hair removal has improved significantly in recent years and is not as scary as many might have once thought.
“It’s permanent,” Herrera said. “Once you do the 18 months (of treatments) it’s gone, and you don’t have to worry about it. The laser has come a long way, so it’s not as painful as it used to be.”
The decision to have hair removed by laser can be expensive. Spa Trouve prices range between a few hundred to over $1000, depending on the size of the area being treated. Herrera said Spa Trouve cautions patients can’t be pregnant when being treated, can’t artificially tan two weeks before their appointment and can’t be on certain medications when being treated.
Herrera also said there are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to start laser hair removal.
- The pain felt can be compared to a quick rubber band snap, and cool air is used to cool the skin as the laser is working.
- Shaving the day of or the day before the first appointment is mandatory.
- Treatments can last anywhere between five minutes and half an hour, depending on the size of the area.
- Numbing cream is no longer used since treatments aren’t as painful as they used to be.
- Hair will grow in slower and patchier over time, but it takes 12–14 treatments to permanently stop hair growth.
Another popular but less permanent answer to hair removal is threading. Threading is a process of removing hair by twisting cotton threads together to pull out the hair follicle and originates in Asia and the Middle East. It’s relatively inexpensive, with the average eyebrow threading session lasting only about 6 minutes and costing around $12, according to The Brow Botique.
Threading may be an option for those looking to avoid allergic reactions to chemicals used in wax. Aria Crawford, a BYU student studying human development, prefers threading to waxing for a couple reasons.
“(Threading) lasts for a long time, and to me it doesn’t hurt,” Crawford said. “With waxing, I always got a lot of bumps afterwards, so I’m all about threading now. It’s my go-to.”
Crystal Hershey is a Provo resident who uses threading to get her brows shaped. She said she prefers it because of how good the results look and how long they last compared to waxing.
“I think threading really hurts, but I feel like I don’t have to get it done as often, which is nice,” Hershey said. “I would do it again, and I would recommend it. I think people might be interested in threading more because they think it’s less painful or more effective than waxing, or for a better eyebrow shape.”
The cost of removing unwanted hair can add up, but it may be worth it to some. BYU human development student Sarah Stringham said the money doesn’t matter to her if the end result makes her feel good about herself.
“I honestly would spend any money (on hair removal),” Stringham said. “It’s worth it to me.”
Microblading is a longer-lasting option compared to getting eyebrows regularly threaded or waxed. Method Brow Co. owner Ash Lundgreen said the process of getting brows semi-permanently tattooed isn’t as scary as it may seem.
“Microblading is the process of drawing hair-like strokes into the first layer of skin to create a realistic, semi-permanent brow,” Lundgreen said. “It feels somewhere between a faint pressure and a paper cut, depending on how well the client takes numbing.”
Lundgreen said microblading isn’t nearly as scary as it seems though it uses a needle to insert the pigment into the skin.
“We have amazing numbing cream,” Lundgreen said. “So most of my clients say ‘did you just do it?’ when I make the first stroke.”
Lundgreen said microblading is the way to go if looking for a long lasting brow shape and color solution.
“I love it because you can make such a real-looking brow and create whatever shape would look best on their face, regardless of whether they have hair there already or not,” Lundgreen said.
Hair removal is a multibillion dollar industry around the world, according to a report from IBIS World.
Crawford said she thinks hair removal is popular because culture still looks down on body hair.
“I think that hair is embarrassing in this culture and is kind of looked down upon,” Crawford said. “Even though it’s really not, I guess that girls just naturally kind of want to be more hairless. I have friends who are hairy, and they are really self-conscious. They wear long sleeves all the time, and so I think (women remove hair) just to feel prettier and fit in.”