Laser Hair Removal vs Waxing: The Ultimate Showdown

Close-up of Ideal Image YAG laser performing Laser Hair Removal treatment on dark skin for female client’s legs.

5 million. That’s the total number of hair follicles every human being has at birth, from the top of their head to, well, just about everywhere else. During the course of a single lifetime, most women spend 72 days — or approximately 1,728 hours — getting rid of unwanted hair. And men? They spend another 45 days eliminating hair from their beard and neck.

At this point, you’re probably tired of glancing in a mirror and catching the sight of hair here, there, and over there, too. Not to mention, your hands are probably tired from the literal days you’ve spent shaving throughout your lifetime. If you’re looking for a better hair removal solution, chances are, you’ve investigated options like Laser Hair Removal and waxing. But which is best?

Take a look at the pros and cons of Laser Hair Removal vs. waxing to learn which option is better suited for you, and don’t forget to reach out to your local Ideal Image MedSpa to learn more about Laser Hair Removal benefits from one of our friendly Aesthetic Consultants.

How Does Traditional Waxing Work?

When most people think of traditional waxing, images of bubbling purple wax and painful red marks come to mind. And honestly, that’s not too far off from reality. Traditional waxing uses a combination of hot wax, an applicator, and a strip of fabric to quickly remove hair from just about anywhere on the body.

During a waxing appointment, a specialist will use an applicator to spread a thin layer of hot wax across unwanted hair. Then, a strip of fabric — typically muslin — is applied over top and smoothed in the same direction as the hair growth. To remove the hair, the specialist will quickly pull the fabric strip away from the skin in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

When done correctly, traditionally waxing should essentially yank out unwanted hair directly from the follicle. Though this will result in smooth skin for up to six weeks, new hair growth will often begin in just a few days. Since the hair follicle remains intact in the dermis layer of the skin, all unwanted hair will eventually grow back.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser Hair Removal is not only one of the most permanent types of hair removal on the market, but it’s also one of the only FDA-cleared procedures that can directly target the source of hair growth beneath the skin. It uses highly concentrated energy to emit pulses of light that ultimately render the hair follicle incapable of producing more hair.

Once a hair follicle has been destroyed, you will stop growing unwanted hair in the areas that have been treated. Treated hair begins to fall out one to three weeks following each procedure, and most patients see results immediately after their first session. Fewer hairs grow back with each Laser Hair Removal session, until the area is completely hair-free, stubble-free, and stress-free.

Laser Hair Removal is an aesthetic procedure that’s significantly grown in popularity over the past two decades. Additional laser technology has been introduced throughout the years — like the advanced top of the line Alexandrite and GentleYAG© lasers — to perform Laser Hair Removal on virtually any skin color and hair type. In comparison, waxing has… just remained waxing.

Laser Hair Removal vs. Waxing: Which is Best for You?

Now that you know the basics about these popular hair removal procedures, you might be wondering which option is best for you. So, we stacked the main features of laser hair removal vs. waxing to help you decide which procedure matches your unique goals.

1. Treatment Area Goals

Both Laser Hair Removal and waxing can target unwanted hair just about anywhere on the body, from the face and chest to the back and bikini area. However, it’s worth noting that a larger treatment area will generally incur more discomfort with waxing than with Laser Hair Removal.

Plus, if you were to opt for at-home waxing, it goes without saying that it’s impossible to remove all of the hair from your back or bikini area alone. Shaving the area is also a hassle that’s incredibly time-consuming. Laser Hair Removal eliminates the hair in a treatment area for good.

2. Preparation

The hair shaft must be intact for both Laser Hair Removal and waxing, so preparation for either step should never involve a pair of tweezers. Instead, for Laser Hair Removal, you should shave the treatment area within 24 hours before your appointment so the laser can easily target each hair follicle.

For waxing, preparation is a bit more time-consuming — and, depending on the treatment area, a bit more troublesome. You must not shave for at least two weeks before your waxing appointment, even if that means leaving peach fuzz or stubble untouched. However, hair in the treatment area must be at least a quarter-inch to be waxed, so prepare to trim longer hair if you want decent results.

Though you will want to avoid harsh products, like retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid before either treatment, feel free to exfoliate before both. A mild scrub, loofah, or brush mitt is ideal to loosen existing ingrown hairs and dead skin cells before your hair removal appointment.

Though numbing cream may be offered to you at a traditional waxing service, it’s not common. Wax that’s too hot can cause painful burns and wax that’s too cool can cause noticeable irritation, neither of which is enjoyable (especially on sensitive areas like the face). Not to mention, traditional wax can contain artificial ingredients, fragrances, and colors that are potential allergens.

3. Process and Safety

When it comes to Laser Hair Removal vs. waxing, Laser Hair Removal is known to be a safer experience. The treatment area is often prepared with an anesthetic numbing cream and the worst pain is typically described as a rubber band snapping against the skin. Plus, all Laser Hair Removal treatments are performed by highly trained Medical Professionals with best-in-class technologies.

4. Recovery Time

There’s not a noticeable difference in recovery time for Laser Hair Removal vs. waxing. Both procedures typically use a cooling gel or Aloe Vera after treatment and the treated area should be kept out of the sun. However, since waxing doesn’t destroy the hair follicle, there is a chance you can develop painful in-grown hairs, stubbles, and irritation that Laser Hair Removal will not cause.

5. Duration of Results

After waxing, treated hair will likely begin to grow back to full density approximately three weeks post-procedure. The hair is only removed above the surface of the skin, so it will regrow quickly. After Laser Hair Removal, treated hair will begin to fall out one to three weeks post-treatment. Most people require between four and six Laser Hair Removal sessions to be hair-free, after which the results are permanent – and Ideal Image backs that up with a Lifetime Guarantee Membership.

6. Final All-In Cost

One Laser Hair Removal session is more expensive than a single waxing session. Yet, when it comes to the longevity of Laser Hair Removal vs. waxing, Laser Hair Removal clearly reigns supreme. So, while you might pay more upfront, the laser is actually more cost-effective over time. Imagine never needing to pay for a wax or shave ever again—hat’s priceless.

Are you ready to say goodbye to unwanted hair? With more than over 20 million treatments over the past 20 years of which over 6 million were for LHR specifically, Ideal Image is here to help. Click below to schedule your complimentary Laser Hair Removal consultation and prepare to say goodbye to stubborn stubble for good.

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