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6 Common Waxing And Shaving Myths You Should Stop Believing

Here are the hair removal facts, filtered from the fiction
PHOTO: istockphoto

Let's face it. Most of us still don't find the most popular hair removal methods satisfactory.

To help you understand which will work best for you and whether to go at your facial hair too, Lainey Everett, Beauty Therapist at Charles Worthington has dispelled the common myths to make matters smoother. Don't reach for the razor or leg it to the salon until you've read this:

MYTH 1: Shaving your body and facial hair will make the hair grow back thicker and darker and faster.

FACT 1: Imagine this: Take a stainless steel item, a sharp one at that, now glide the item over your skin, let's just use your forearm. Think about the fact that your hairs' roots are approximately four fairly serious layers lower than the skins surface.

Now, think about this: How does any object, sharp or blunt have the ability when glided over the surface of the skin, to affect the pigment, thickness and stimulate hair growth? It can't, scientifically, it just can't.

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Sometimes people want this to happen, I've known clients who have little or sparse eyebrows and have toyed with the idea of shaving them off so they would grow back thicker, but it won't work! The main reason for hair changing its depth of pigment and thickness in certain areas of the body, is down to hormonal changes (puberty, age, menopause, PCOS), your DNA and in some cases, medication.

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FACT 1.2: About pigment, thickness and growth in relation to shaving: When shaving, the blade cuts a sharp edge, this is often at the hairs thickest point of the shaft, not only does this create a "thick feeling" it also appears darker. In terms of hair growth, your body, facial and scalp hair is continuously growing, shaving only trims the hair and in no way prohibits or stimulates its growth. One should note though, when waxing your arms or legs continuously, the actual direction of the follicle changes from the pulling in the opposite direction to the natural grain of the hair. This can result in a fluffier than normal regrowth–however–not darker or thicker because of it.

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MYTH 2: Waxing from a young age will guarantee you will have less hair as an adult.

FACT 2: There is no guarantee for permanent hair removal. This does help to reduce the hair over the years of very frequent waxing for a lot of skin and hair types however for some, this won't make any difference.

MYTH 3: Shaving is a great way to exfoliate, especially on the face.

FACT 3: Exfoliation and hair removal are two different things and should be kept separate for best results. Remember, only use razors and exfoliators that are designed for the face and because the skin there is delicate!

MYTH 4: I have curly hair, that's why I get ingrown hairs.

FACT 4: Ingrown hairs affect every kind of hair and skin type. Ingrown hairs form when a hair cannot "escape" through the follicle wall, occasionally this results in a pustule like bump that feels painful and looks irritated. In other instances, the hair will just find its way out naturally and fall out as its cycle finishes or it will disappear into the layers of the skin.

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If you find you have a nasty red and sore bump that may look to be festering, then my best advice is to gently exfoliate during a warm to hot bath or shower, if this doesn't lift the hair, then grab a couple of cotton buds, apply pressure as to extract the follicle and have a sterilised set of tweezers to pull out the hair. Try not to break the skin around the follicle, do not pick at it continuously and if you are worried because it's resembling a cyst-like bump, do consult your doctor.

MYTH 5: Waxing my facial hair will stretch my skin, causing wrinkles.

FACT 5: I can understand this concern however; a good technician will hold your skin as taught as possible when removing the wax strip so there is very little amount of skin movement. However, if you did this every day, then I do believe that your skin would stretch to some degree from the continuous action. So no need to worry ladies, unless of course you are waxing daily, then we need to talk anyway!

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MYTH 6: Waxing is always painful, no matter what.

FACT 6: The honest truth is that pulling hair out from the root is going to be painful whether you are waxing, plucking, epilating, sugaring, or threading. Most of all it comes down to the individual's pain threshold but also very importantly, the technician's mastery of technique. When we are tired, run down and stressed, life in general can seem more "painful." This is no different when having your hair removed. Also, three days prior to menstruation, we are known to be more sensitive so take that into account.

The best way to make your waxing experience less painful is to be a regular—you will find that having frequent sessions, every four weeks, will not only allow you to have a better overall effect, but also it will be less painful. Why so specific? Because there are three different stages of hair growth and each stage grows at the same pace. If our hair only had one stage of growth, then all the hair would grow together, fall out together and then, after a month, re-grow. Can you imagine how often we would be bald because, don't forget, what happens on your body, happens on your face—think of your eyebrows!

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.