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The Importance of Good Preparation Before Removing Hair

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 5 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Hair Removal Method Shaving Waxing

No matter which hair removal method you choose (shaving, waxing, electrolysis, plucking, or depilatories) the key to getting the smoothest, closest, most comfortable result lies in the pre-preparation of the skin.

The Importance of Good Preparation Before Hair Removal

During any hair removal process the skin is subjected to harsh conditions. When shaving with a razor the blade pulls at the skin, and roughs up the surface cells. When waxing the skin is tugged on and cells can be pulled loose resulting in tiny skin abrasions. When plucking is used to remove hairs the cells surrounding the hair follicle can be damaged. Depilatories contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin, and electrolysis can affect surrounding skin cells causing burning, redness, and painful irritation.

Since the skin is at risk of damage during any hair removal process it is best to prep the skin as much as possible in order to reduce or eliminate the extent of the damage. Plus, good preparation can also soften or weaken the hair shaft so that removal is quicker and easier- reducing the amount of time that the skin is subjected to the hair removal process.

How to Prep the Skin Before Hair Removal

A good hair removal preparation process involves three steps- exfoliation, hydrating, and moisturising. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that can block hair growth and allows for a closer, more comfortable shave. Simply massaging the skin with a wet, soapy washcloth in a circular motion can exfoliate the skin. However, there are many exfoliating creams, soaps, and gels on the market that work to soften the skin so that exfoliation is easier and gentler.

The next step- hydrating- helps soften the hairs and plump them up for easier removal. Before shaving or waxing wet the area of desired hair removal with warm water for at least three to five minutes. The hair will absorb the water causing it to thicken and stand up away from the skin. This will help the razor remove the hair lower on the hair shaft for a closer shave. It will also help the wax adhere to each individual hair better. Plus, the water will help open up the pores of the skin making hair shaft removal more complete and gentler.

Finally, applying a moisturising lotion or oil to the skin before hair removal can help eliminate any skin irritations that the process may cause. For example, applying moisturising oil before shaving can help reduce razor friction on the skin and eliminate razor burn. Specially formulated lotions that are applied before waxing can help reduce the "hold" of the wax on the skin cells and eliminate skin abrasions and irritation. Finally, moisturising softens the skin and leaves behind a protective layer of lubricant that helps minimise the effects of any hair removal process.

Added Benefits of Good Skin Preparation

Although good skin preparation before hair removal is essential to a clean, close, more comfortable shave the preparation also helps to eliminate the occurrence of ingrown hairs. When skin is exfoliated regularly dead skin cells cannot build up on the surface and trap new hairs under the skin as they begin to grow out. When skin is well hydrated the cells are softer allowing hairs to easily push through. And finally, moisturisers that penetrate into the cells help soften the hairs and the surrounding cells so ingrown hairs are less likely to happen.

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