The weather has been up and down but we're counting down the days until the kids are off school and summer holidays commence. While you may be able to get away with a few stray leg hairs underneath a long maxi dress, when you're sitting by the pool side in your swanky new swimsuit, it's all on show. Shaving is the easy choice, but depending on how much time you've got, epilation and IPL are also an at-home option.
Beauty Therapist, Nathalie Eleni, talks us through the choices we have when it comes to ridding ourselves of pesky stubble and hair that has gone a full season unnoticed under 30+ denier tights and spring's long dresses…
Before you begin it's crucial to get prepared. ‘For the best summer skin results skin should be well buffed, exfoliated and moisturised. When you buff and exfoliate the skin you also remove any residual dry or dead skin and it serves to instantly revitalise the look of skin. When you’re buffing, always remember to work from the body extremities inwards towards the heart (so from the feet to the hip, hands to shoulder).
The best hair removal techniques
Time it takes: Seconds
Lasts for: 2-3 days, depending on hair growth
Eleni rates the Venus Platinum Extra Smooth, £11.99, for providing a smooth, close and controlled shave.
Shaving in the shower is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to get fuzz-free and can open up a whole new choice of wardrobe options with just a few seconds in the bathroom. Did someone say city shorts? Shaving and hair removal cream work in a similar way in that they cut/dissolve the hair at the surface of the skin. It’s a great quick fix, but if your hair grows quickly it might not be long before you feel the blunt tip of the hair coming through. That’s right, we’re talking stubble! That said, the combination of hair removal and a little exfoliation - razors and creams will also remove some dead skin in the process - gives the smoothest finish of all hair removal options.
‘For the smoothest finish when you’re shaving it’s important to shave against the direction of hair growth. On legs this means working from the ankle up to the knee, and under arms, where hair grows in all directions you’ll get a truly clean shave if you tackle the area from a variety of angles.’
‘To get that smooth, stubble-free finish always shave with a fresh blade as they provide a close, smooth and more comfortable shave - and they help prevent nicks and cuts.’
‘As soon as you notice a blade is dull or not performing as well as it once was - bin it. On average though you should get roughly 10 shaves out of a blade.’
Time it takes: 10-20 minutes
Lasts for: up to 4 weeks, depending on hair growth
Eleni recommends the Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa SensoSmart™ 9/980, £129.99, which is a clever and complete 4-in-1 epilation, exfoliation and skin care system.
Epilating and waxing are fairly similar in how they deal with unwanted hair; they pull it out from the root. While waxing is an at-home and a salon option, epilating is most definitely DIY. The facts are that it does smart at first. Unlike waxing, which is like ripping off a plaster, epilating takes a little getting used to.
‘Epilation offers a long-term hair removal solution as it can last for up to four weeks. It works by plucking hair from the root with a series of tweezers and some are so advanced they can even pluck hairs as short as 0.5mm (that’s about two days growth). What’s great about this is that there are no more in-between days waiting for hair to be long enough to remove.’
‘If it’s your first time using an epilator, or you find it uncomfortable, try one that can be used in the shower as the warm water will open pores and loosen the hair follicle so the hair can be removed more easily.’
‘Whether you’re waxing or epilating at home don’t forget to keep skin taut - it’ll help minimise any discomfort or uncomfortable ‘pull’.’
Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
Time it takes: Up to an hour depending on the device.
Lasts for: Potentially permanently, depending on hair growth and regularity of treatment.
If you're looking for a salon treatment in the comfort of your own home Eleni suggests the Braun Silk-expert that emits a pulse of light every two seconds
If you're looking for a salon treatment in the comfort of your own home Eleni suggests the Braun Silk-expert that emits a pulse of light every two seconds.You may have heard it called ‘laser hair removal’, the salon or in-clinic treatment that zaps hair follicles rendering them useless and unable to generate and grow new hair. This technology has been scaled down into handheld devices that can be wielded, safely, in your own home. All you have to do to prep is shave and clean the surface you want to treat.
‘IPL treatments emit pulses of light that target the melanin in the hair follicle and disrupt the hair growth cycle. When used over a period of time, the pulses disrupt the growth so much that it ceases to grow altogether.’
‘This isn’t a quick-fix though, you will need to start IPL roughly three months before you want to bare your hair-free legs, so this type of hair removal requires a bit of pre-planning.’
3 best prepping products for smooth legs
This is French pharmacy at its finest- no-nonsense, dermatologically inclined and packed with non-irritating skin-improving actives.
Biodegradeable Bamboo Granules and Lactic Acid are combined in this wonder product to provide effective chemical exfoliation both above and below the skin surface, leaving behind softer and smoother skin.
With nourishing ingredients like Shea Butter and Coconut Oil, this self tanner delivers a fast, natural and uniform tan for a healthy glow all year round.