There is no longer a debate: hairless legs are an aesthetic requirement. Whether you wear hosiery or you prefer to leave your legs bare, smooth, shiny, soft-looking legs are the norm in most cultures. Even if you usually wear pants or longer dresses, you probably prefer hairless legs for intimate moments with your partner.
There are several ways to remove leg hair: shaving, waxing, hair removal creams (depilatories), and laser hair removal. We will explore all four options and discuss the pros and cons of leg waxing.
The Anatomy of Hair Follicles
While we are all familiar with the hair shafts that protrude from our skin, the root of the hair follicle, or hair follicle bulb, emanates from below the epidermis. Less than half of your leg hair is visible above the skin. The portion of your hair below the surface is supported by tiny arteries and veins and the sebaceous gland that produces a natural oil. The papilla cells are also at the bottom of the hair follicle. These are the specialized mesenchymal cells that promote hair production. These cells are the reason that your hair grows back when you shave your leg or wax. As long as the papilla cells are present, you are likely to regrow leg hair. Additionally, your leg skin is filled with nociceptors, which are pain-sensing nerves. That’s why it hurts when you cut yourself or pull off a bandaid.
While hair follicles evolved as a protective measure against the cold, they can be removed without harm. And although they provide a modicum of warmth, clothing does a much more effective job.
How Leg Waxing Works
Waxing is an effective way to remove leg hair temporarily. Because it removes more of the shaft than shaving, which really only removes hair at the surface level, it lasts longer. There are two types of wax that salons use for hair removal: hard wax and soft wax. Hard wax needs to be heated in order to be applied to the skin. While it’s still cooling, a strip is applied over it. When it dries, it hardens and contracts around the hair follicles. When the strip is pulled with the wax, the hairs are also tugged until they break or the entire follicle comes out.
Soft wax works similarly, but you don’t need to heat it to apply it to the skin. The wax comes on a strip so that it can be applied directly to the skin. After it has been on for the prescribed amount of time, the strip can be pulled up with a similar outcome described above.
Pros and Cons of Leg Waxing
If you are comparing waxing to shaving, there are many advantages to it. For instance, leg waxing lasts much longer. Depending on how fast your hair naturally grows, you may have to shave your legs twice a week. Leg waxing can last up to six weeks. Also, with leg waxing, you can avoid pseudofolliculitis barbae, which is the scientific name for razor bumps. Finally, if you wax repeatedly, you may eventually not require it anymore. As you damage a greater number of hair follicles each time, the hair becomes thinner and grows slower until it finally stops.
On the other hand, leg waxing can be quite painful. Because there are so many pain receptors in the skin, it has a sensation similar to ripping off a bandaid, but it happens a far greater number of times and over a much larger surface area. For some people, this is a deal-breaker. The juice is simply not worth the squeeze.
Other Methods of Hair Removal
Fortunately, waxing and shaving are not the only options for leg hair removal. Here are a few other options if buying an endless supply of razors or spending a small fortune at a salon doesn’t appeal to you.
Depilatory creams work for some people, but others have allergic reactions. Before you go this route, try a small patch test to see if you have a negative reaction. While depilatories can last up to twice as long as shaving (about a week), they are not permanent hair removal solutions. Depilatory creams also involve the absorption of chemicals into the skin, which many people try to avoid.
Laser Hair Removal
A laser is a thin, directed beam of intense light. When it hits the shaft of the hair, the light is conveyed along the shaft to the root of the hair. This creates heat, which damages or destroys the sac at the bottom of the follicle where the hair-growing papilla cells exist. A laser hair removal treatment can either temporarily or permanently destroy the hair follicles. Laser hair removal usually requires a few treatments before you achieve desired results, but you will require less maintenance in the long run than with other methods.
Frequently Asked Questions about Leg Waxing
If you’re still uncertain about whether leg waxing is the right choice for you or if you’re looking for alternative solutions, these questions and answers may assist you in making an informed decision.
Does Leg Waxing Hurt?
Yes. It is one of the biggest drawbacks of leg waxing, and that’s because the legs have very sensitive skin full of pain-receiving nerve endings. If you are curious as to what it will feel like, place a bandage or piece of medical tape on your thigh and pull it off quickly. The pain is not insurmountable for most, but leg waxing is the most painful of the four options that we’ve listed.
How Long Does Leg Waxing Last?
The amount of time leg waxing lasts depends on a few factors. The kind of soft wax that you buy in retail stores may be more convenient than going to a salon, but it doesn’t last as long. A salon-heated hard waxing can last up to six weeks. Drug store soft waxes may last half that time. The answer to this question also depends on how many times you’ve waxed in the past. The more times you go for treatments, the less hair you’ll grow. Finally, the rate at which you grow hair may decrease or extend the time you’ll have before you need your next wax.
Is Laser Hair Removal a Better Option?
Laser leg hair removal has many advantages over leg hair waxing. To begin with, while some people feel a slight amount of pain with laser hair removal, waxing is universally considered to be painful. Additionally, laser hair removal begins to permanently remove hair follicles during your very first treatment. In fact, due to the shedding phase post-treatment, most people experience a six-week period of hairlessness between laser hair removal treatments. With waxing, hair can become visible again in just two to four weeks. Noticeable reduction in visible hair with laser hair removal is seen in just two to six treatments and the results you achieve are long-lasting. Laser hair removal is also more cost-effective, with many laser hair removal spas and providers selling packages to make it even more cost-effective often matching the monthly cost of waxing when financing the procedure. Waxing is both a perpetual (lifelong) expense and a nonpermanent solution. Laser hair removal when performed by the right provider, particularly one with a free lifetime guarantee is quite the opposite, a temporary expense that provides a permanent solution.
What Does Laser Hair Removal Feel Like?
Laser hair removal is much less painful than waxing. Many people describe it as the feeling of being flicked or a rubber band snapping against the skin. Afterward, you may experience some redness for a day or two, so it’s better not to schedule your appointments on the same day as a cocktail party or other event that you want your legs to look good for. Of course, this only applies to areas that are visible when dressed normally.
How Close Together Can I Schedule Laser Hair Removal Appointments?
Most reputable laser hair removal providers recommend that you wait between four to eight weeks to treat the same area. This is roughly the same period of time that you will have to wait between waxings. Only, with laser treatments, after five to ten treatments, you will generally be able to discontinue treatments and live hair-free. That’s not the case with waxing.
Can I Shave for Maintenance Between Laser Treatments?
Yes. Lasers target hair beneath the surface of the skin and therefore you don’t need to grow the hair out between treatments. It is however recommended that you do not shave immediately after laser treatments, though. For one, you will not likely need to shave as laser treatments basically vaporize hair follicles, but it’s also a good idea to let the skin recover for a couple of days before you apply a razor to it. Try shaving twenty-four to forty-eight hours before your appointment, and then shave as needed going forward.
South Florida Laser Hair Removal Treatment Centers
With a dozen accessible locations throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, Body Details has been providing South Florida residents and tourists with a safe, convenient way to remove unwanted leg hair for years. Cut down on the hours of time you spend on personal grooming and the never-ending expense of razors or waxing. Contact Body Details today to make an appointment.