Hannah Morrill, Allure magazine
Bikini season cometh. We asked leading skin experts for their best tips for erasing spots, marks, streaks, and blemishes.
Drink water. Eat right. Think positive thoughts. If we had a dollar for every time we heard a celebrity or model coyly suggest this prescription for keeping in shape, we'd buy a private island-and escape such chimerical fluff forever. The truth is, no one thinks or drinks their way to firmer biceps. Behind every famously taut, toned, and smooth-skinned body, there's a cadre of experts tightening flab, zapping fuzz, and eliminating bumps, lines, and puckers. And now we've brought that team to you. We asked leading dermatologists, aestheticians, and waxers to spill their best tips for tackling every blemish from the neck down. No sugarcoating, no smug assertions, just real, valuable advice. How's that for a positive thought?
Before Cindy Barshop founded Completely Bare 14 years ago, bikini waxes were simply not discussed outside of the treatment room. Four spas, several products, and a zillion services later, she shares her defuzzing secrets.
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For the bikini line...and beyond: Use a hard, stripless wax at a reputable spa or salon. Book your appointment when your hair is at least a quarter of an inch long-otherwise the wax can't grip well and the results will be patchy.
For arms and legs: Soft wax ripped away with cotton strips is quickest. Avoid the sun and exfoliate on the days leading up to your appointment-dull, sun-damaged skin can look uneven and inflamed after waxing.
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For underarms: Shaving is ideal unless your hair is particularly coarse. Do it in a steamy shower to soften the hairs, and never use a dull razor. Draw the blade against the grain for the closest shave possible. (A thin lather of translucent soap will reveal the direction of hair growth better than a frothy shaving cream.) Afterward, be sure to dry your razor thoroughly-it will last longer.
For slower regrowth: Applied twice a day, a moisturizer with hair inhibitors can slow growth by 50 percent. Clinical studies found that Capislow, an ingredient in No! No! Smooth Skin Care After Treatment Cream and Completely Bare Don't Grow There, slowed the anagen (active) phase of growth.
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To treat ingrowns: Exfoliating 48 hours before and three days after waxing removes dead cells on the skin's surface, allowing hairs to push through freely. Chemical exfoliators with a large concentration of alcohol can be too irritating, so look for one that pairs mild sloughers with soothing ingredients, like aloe and soy (both found in Sally Hansen Zero Bumps Bikini Spray). A dab of salicylic or glycolic acid can prevent ingrowns and free those that have already formed.
Between laser appointments: Shaving or using a depilatory cream removes hair on the surface, but won't disrupt the anagen phase targeted by a series of laser treatments. Choose a depilatory kit with a plastic shaving blade, like Sally Hansen Simply Smooth Hair Remover Creme, which minimizes the time the powerful chemicals sit on the skin. But to avoid irritation, hold off on using it a week before and a week after treatment.
Hannah Morrill, Allure magazine