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Hair today, gone tomorrow: Being natural can be beautiful but, sooner or later, you might decide to trade hair for bare. Here's what you need to know about smoothing things out. (GL Beauty).


Gillette for Women Crystal Clear Venus and Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel in Tropical Splash

COST: $7.50 for the razor; an extra blade and a storage case. Refill packs of four blades are $750. The shaving cream is $2.50. The blades and cream will last you about a month or so.

USE IT ON: Underarms, bikini, legs

UPSIDE: Silky smooth skin in a snap. You can shave every day (if you really want to).

WHAT YOU DO: The secret to the best shave? Wait until the end of your shower or bath--warm water softens hair; and you'll have washed off your body's natural oils and sweat. Lather on a shaving gel or cream to help the razor glide and leave skin soft. Using a light touch, go over each area only once. Leave hard-to-shave spots, like knees and ankles, until the end so they soak up as much shaving cream as possible. After your shower; pat skin dry and slather on an alcohol-free moisturizer, If you shave your bikini line, skip the moisturizer--that can lead to ingrowns--and dab on an anti bacterial cream like Neosporin instead.

DOWNSIDE: Nick yourself, and you'll turn your shower into that scene from Psycho. You also need to use a fresh blade every three or four shaves-- and that can add up to big bucks quickly And shaving every day is a huge time commitment. Plus, lumping into a pool or the ocean with freshly shaved skin stings something awful. Ditto for applying sunscreen right after shaving--SPF irritates newly shaved skin.

Bottom line: Despite the cost and the risk to your limbs, shaving with a razor is still the most popular way to fight fuzz.


Remington's Smooth & Silky Teen Shaver

COST: $20, once

USE IT ON: Underarms, bikini, legs

UPSIDE: Like shaving with a razor; you get satiny smooth skin. But, unlike shaving with a razor; those two floating coils aren't going to nick you. Plus, you don't have to spend money on fresh blades or shaving cream. The Remington Smooth & Silky Teen Shaver is battery-powered, so you can use it just about anywhere.

WHAT YOU DO: Couldn't be much easier. Just run the shaver over your skin, shaving in the opposite direction of the way your hair grows. Try to go over each spot only once to cut down on irritation. Finish by moisturizing with lotion. FYI: Some girls like to use their electric razors in the shower--make sure yours is battery-powered and shower-safe!!! Also, some girls like to use shaving cream. You absolutely don't need to do this. Electrics work perfectly well on dry skin and without lather.

DOWNSIDE: Any time you shave (blade or electric), you are cutting off hair that's grown past the surface of the skin. You could feel prickly as soon as the next day Depilatories and waxing are longer-lasting.

BOTTOM LINE: Electric shavers are great if you want something fast and easy-with a pain-free guarantee. If your parents are shaky on you doing the whole shaving thing, electric razors might make them feel more comfortable and confident (no chance of severing any arteries).


Andrea Hair's All Gone Hair Remover Cream Just for Legs

COST: $3.30 for a bottle that'll last about a month

USE IT ON: You can buy specific formulas for underarms, bikini, legs. Some are even gentle enough to use on your upper lip.

UPSIDE: Depilatories use chemicals to dissolve hair ail the way down to the root, so skin stays smoother longer than if you shaved.

HOW TO: Start by testing on a small part of the area you want fur-free to be sure your skin won't react to the ingredients. If, after 24 hours, your skin is fine, apply the cream in a fairly thick layer (like frosting a cake). Now, read GL for four minutes. Gently wipe a small spot with a damp washcloth (don't rub), and if the hair comes off easily remove the rest of the cream with the washcloth. If the hair doesn't come off so easily wait a few more minutes and try again. Shower off any remaining lotion.

BOTTOM LINE: Depilatories produce longer-lasting results than shaving and have the same pain-free prospect of an electric razor. If you've got the time to spare, depilatories can spare you the daily shaving hassle and still leave you smooth.

DOWNSIDE: Depilatories work best right after a warm bath or shower; when the hair is soft and pores are open. So, basically you need to shower; hop out, towel off, use your depilatory, wait four minutes, and hop back in. Not exactly a speedy, time-efficient process. You also can't use a depilatory on sunburned skin or if you have a cut or other boo-boo. And as much as they try to cover that stink with strawberries or some other sickeningly sweet scent, depilatories still reek of chemicals.


Nad's No--Heat Hair Removal Gel

COST: $30 for a kit that lasts approximately three months.

USE IT ON: Underarms, bikini, legs. Can also be used on brows and upper lip (be sure to test for sensitivity first).

UPSIDE: You stay "as seen on TV" smooth for over a month, at least. No nicks, no cuts. Unlike some wax formulas that you have to warm up (and risk a painful burn), Nad's works without heat. It's made with honey, lemon juice and molasses, so it smells pretty darn good, too. Waxing works for girls who want smooth skin but don't have time to constantly shave. Extra great for gals at camp.

WHAT YOU DO: Use the special Kiwi-Chamomile prep soap in the shower to get all the oil and dead skin off your bod. Towel off and smooth on a layer of Nad's special green gel on the area you want fur-free in the same direction the hair grows. Place one of the provided cloth strips over the gel, and firmly pat the strip down. Then, hold your skin taut, and pull the strip quickly and firmly in the opposite direction of hair growth. Once you stop screaming, rinse off the waxed area with cool water and apply the Kiwi-Chamomile "soothing lotion" that comes in the kit. There will be some redness right after but that goes away within 24 hours (plan accordingly).

DOWNSIDE: Eeeooww!! Waxing is hardly pain-free. You also have to wait for the hair to grow back about a quarter inch so the wax has enough to grab on to. That means you're gonna look like Chewbacca until you can wax again. Waxing is also tricky, have someone who knows what she's doing help you out the first few times.


BOTTOM LINE: If you have steady hands and a tolerance for pain (you rip Band-Aids off for fun), go right ahead. If you can't stand the idea of waxing yourself, pros will do the honors for $10 (eyebrows) and up to $35 (for legs or bikini).

Surgi-Bleach 5 Minute Bleach Kit

COST: $4 a kit with bleaching cream, powder activator and everything else you need.

USE IT ON: Arms, upper lip, stomach, anyplace you don't want hair to be obvious

UPSIDE: Do not (and we repeat, DO NOT) even think about shaving areas like your arms, stomach or upper lip. The last thing you want is a lifetime of arm stubble, yuck. Bleaching doesn't remove dark body hair, just makes it way less noticeable...and way more tolerable. Bleach could also be your last resort if the 'rents have nixed your hair removal plan.

WHAT YOU DO: Wash area you want to bleach with soap and cold water and pat dry. You probably want help with the next part, preferably from someone who aced chemistry. Combine one part of the provided ammonium bicarbonate powder with two parts of the cream. Mix the powder and cream well with the cute little spatula. Apply the mix on the area to be bleached (again, about as thick as frosting on a cake). Read GL for seven minutes. Check hair after seven minutes by removing a small bit of bleach with the spatula. If the hair isn't light enough (it should be almost the same color as your skin), spackle the bleach mix back on, and let it sit for another five minutes. Wash bleached area with cold water, and pat dry.

DOWNSIDE: Bleach smells like, well, bleach. And there is always the danger of over-bleaching, which leaves your skin with a charming orange color. Don't ever bleach right before a big event. Still, it's your best choice for dealing with dark body hair. Just invest in nose clips.

BOTTOM LINE: Bleaching is the best alternative for making body hair less noticeable. While a few extremely hairy girls wax off stomach and arm hair, bleaching is fine for almost everyone else.
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Author:Karceski, Rachel E.
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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