An ingrown hair is like the annoying kid on the playground who just won’t leave you alone. No matter how hard you try to escape, it’s there. And it takes forever to get the hint that you don’t want it there. I’ve had my fair share of ingrown hairs, and they’re always painful, unsightly and downright embarrassing.
I’ve tried every trick in the book to get rid of ingrown hairs (I’m sure you have, too), but I’ve found that prevention is the best way to avoid the heartache and pain of these stubborn nuisances. Here are some easy tricks to help you prevent ingrown hairs from developing in the first place.
I know. I sound like a broken record. But exfoliation really is one of the most important parts of the epilation prep process. Exfoliation gets rid of dead skin cells that play a big role in the development of ingrown hairs. I recommend using an exfoliation glove (a.k.a. spa glove), but you can use any exfoliation method you want. Scrubs are great, too. You can add sugar or salt to your shower gel to create the same effect (at a lower cost). Coffee grinds work great as well (plus your shower will smell like coffee – bonus!).
No matter what method you use, exfoliate before you epilate and do it every other day (or daily) afterwards.
If that layer of dead skin isn’t removed, the hair will have a hard time breaking through the surface, which will lead to an ingrown hair.
Wear Loose Clothing
The most common areas where women get ingrown hairs is the sides of the legs and the bikini area. Why? Because most of us wear tight-fitting jeans.
Believe it or not, tight-fitting clothing is one of the most common causes of ingrown hairs. If you’re throwing on a pair of tight jeans after epilating, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Wear loose-fitting clothing after each session to avoid getting those pesky ingrown hairs.
Cotton is the best option because it’s breathable and promotes better airflow.
Use the Right Technique
Having a good quality epilator is one of the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs, but technique is just as important. Try not to move in rapid circles. Take your time. Use short strokes and move in a slow, controlled way. Move against the growth. Moving quickly will only increase your chances of getting ingrown hairs.
Preparation can go a long way in helping prevent ingrown hairs.
- Trim your hair. Epilators work best on shorter hair, so trim your hair down to 1/8 inch. You can also shave two days before epilating if you don’t want to trim with a pair of scissors.
- Remove any oils, make up or lotion from your skin.
- Use cornstarch or baby powder (the talc-free kind) to soak up any moisture. Remember, moisture can cause the tweezers to slip and breakage to occur, which can cause more ingrown hairs.
Use an antiseptic, like aloe vera or witch hazel, afterward to prevent bacteria from getting into your pores. And after a few hours, apply a generous amount of moisturizer to your skin to hydrate your follicles. Remember, when the hair starts to grow back, you want to make sure that it can break through the skin. Keeping your skin hydrated can help you do that.