Shaving, Waxing, and IPL: Which Is for You?

How do you solve a problem like persistent and unwanted body hair? How do you remove all of it when it grows everywhere? Having to deal with such a hairy issue can be a serious hassle, especially when you have to do it regularly. Some people prefer to shave or wax it all off for their accessibility since it is easy to take matters into their own hands by purchasing a suitable razor or a waxing kit for use at home. For these reasons, they often top popularity polls — but are they good enough?

On the other hand, many aesthetic centres in Singapore also offer intense pulsed light (IPL) and diode laser as potential solutions. But what sort of advantages do they have over the rest? Read on to discover everything you need to know about hair removal in Singapore and which one suits you.


4 Steps to Take When Evaluating Hair Removal in Singapore

Shaving, waxing, IPL, and laser ultimately lead to a common end goal. But upon closer inspection, you would realise that each option is completely different. To determine which would best suit you, it would be best to go through these four steps of evaluation.

Step 1: Identify Your Skin & Hair Type

Never underestimate the importance of evaluating your natural skin and hair type when selecting the most suitable means of removing body hair for yourself. This can influence the way your body responds to some of these techniques.

Step 2: Evaluate Each Method’s Coverage & Efficacy

Certain areas of your body are simpler to manage, such as the underarms and even your legs. However, dealing with hard-to-reach areas, such as the bikini line, might not be quite as straightforward. Some techniques like shaving can make this even more difficult for you.

Step 3: Calculate Its Time Efficiency

Given the way Singaporeans are constantly short on time, time efficiency is yet another important factor to take note of. Some techniques are fuss-free and can help free up your busy schedules. This is particularly relevant for those of you who wish to wear sleeveless clothes, shorts, or swimwear freely, without ever having to worry about fuzzy underarms or legs.

Step 4: Rate It on the Pain Scale

Finally, how much the technique would hurt is an equally important factor to take into consideration. If you have a lower threshold of pain, opt for methods that keep it to a minimum.


Step 1: Hair Removal in Singapore for Your Skin & Hair Type

You should always begin by evaluating your skin and hair type before determining which technique works for you. A method that works for someone else may not necessarily work for you since we are all built so differently from one another. As such, dermatologists frequently use the Fitzpatrick scale (from I to VI) to evaluate the suitability of each procedure. Do note that this should be judged based on skin that has not been exposed to sunlight.

If you have a fairer complexion, you may fall under one of the following types:

  • Type I: Ivory skin; tendency to have lighter hair; often freckles, burns and flakes
  • Type II: Pale skin; darker blonde to dark brown hair; often freckles, burns, and flakes
  • Type III: Fair to beige skin; blonde to brown hair, brown eyes; sometimes tans

On the other end of the Fitzpatrick scale are for those with darker complexions:

  • Type IV: Light brown skin; dark brown hair; tends to tan
  • Type V: Darker brown skin; dark brown or black hair; frequently tans
  • Type VI: Highly pigmented skin; dark brown or black hair; tans darkly

Once you have determined this, you may then begin to assess the following methods:

1. Shaving

Shaving is mostly suitable for all skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale since this technique involves shearing off the part of the strand that is exposed at the surface. Nevertheless, those with sensitive skin should still exercise caution whenever they use a new type of razor or lubricant and are advised to moisturise and gently exfoliate on a regular basis.

2. Waxing

Waxing is generally suitable for all skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale, regardless of the specific technique used. Unless you have dry, brittle, or sensitive skin, you should be clear to opt for this method. However, it is still wise to test the product on a small area of your skin before proceeding with this technique to avoid any adverse reaction.

3. IPL

Short for Intense Pulsed Light, IPL is most often recommended only for individuals who fall under Types I to III on the Fitzpatrick scale. This is due to the fact that IPL uses light from a range of different wavelengths, which may affect the natural pigment found in your skin, known as melanin. Therefore, if you fall under Types IV to VI, you may not be considered a suitable candidate for IPL since it may burn your skin. Most dermatologists and aestheticians would discourage you from engaging in such a service or turn you away entirely to avoid causing you harm.

4. Diode Laser

Using laser in cosmetic procedures was once discouraged for those from Types IV to VI on the Fitzpatrick scale. However, recent advancement in technology has enabled the use of diode laser on all skin types by ensuring that the specific wavelength used during the procedure does not harm you. As such, some aesthetic clinics now extend laser hair removal services to darker skin types from IV to VI on the Fitzpatrick scale. Sensitive skin types might experience some slight redness after the procedure, but this usually fades away in time.


Step 2: Evaluate Coverage & Efficacy of Hair Removal in Singapore

After narrowing down your options based on your Fitzpatrick type in Step 1, you may proceed to the next step of evaluating their coverage and efficacy. Most methods should be able to remove hair from a wide variety of areas on your body. However, some techniques may not execute it effortlessly or flawlessly (or both) in certain areas.

1. Shaving

If you are careful, shaving most even surfaces should be relatively manageable and effective. Certain hair types, such as those found on your underarms, are thin enough to shear off easily. However, if you wish to remove any that are found along more uneven surfaces, including the bikini line, shaving might prove challenging. You would have to navigate the sharp tool along an irregular, hard-to-reach surface carefully. Moreover, this technique often leads to highly visible regrowth since it merely cuts the strand along the surface of the skin. Therefore, you would have to shave more frequently to maintain your desired end result.

2. Waxing

Waxing removes unwanted hair from most surfaces cleanly and efficiently. Although it may be challenging to target hard-to-reach areas on your own, you may enlist the professional help of a trained specialist to aid you with the process. Since waxing pulls out the strands right from the roots, the end result is usually flawless, and regrowth tends to be less obvious. However, waxing may lead to the formation of ingrown hair.

3. IPL

Clinical studies conducted in 2006, published by Lasers in Medical Science, indicate that IPL can reduce regrowth for up to 66.96%, resulting in thinner and less noticeable strands. However, regardless of their effectiveness, IPL is not recommended for hair removal for areas of skin that are higher in sensitivity, including the pubic region. Hence, IPL may not always be the best option.

4. Diode Laser

In the hands of a certified specialist, diode laser is an excellent option for an effortless and flawless finish. The same review that evaluated the efficacy of IPL found that this technique can minimise regrowth for up to 71.71%, making it far more effective than IPL. As a plus, unlike IPL, the diode laser treatment is also a much more feasible option for maintaining all that bushiness down under unless you are menstruating, pregnant or breastfeeding.


Step 3: Calculate the Time Efficiency of Hair Removal in Singapore

The third step takes into account the time efficiency of shaving, waxing, IPL and laser hair removal in Singapore. This would be of value since many Singaporeans struggle with time management.

In 2018, the Ministry of Manpower reported that the average Singaporean worker clocked in around 44.7 hours of paid work per week, adding up to 2324 hours each year. Let’s put this figure into perspective: the Organisation Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) pegs the average at 1724 hour per worker.

Discovering the most efficient technique would help you shave minutes or even hours off your schedule while looking your best.

1. Shaving

Shaving appears relatively speedy enough. However, highly visible regrowth usually forces us to shave more frequently to maintain their appearance. According to a survey conducted by Escentual, women spend approximately 1728 hours in a single lifetime just to shave their legs. This shows how time-consuming this method would be in the long run.

2. Waxing

Compared to shaving, waxing results in less visible regrowth, reducing the amount of time necessary for maintenance. Most salons offer sessions that only takes up 30 minutes of your time and the regrowth typically occurs in about 4 to 6 weeks. We will help you do the math, investing in monthly maintenance for up to 63 years would mean that you would spend just under 400 hours on waxing your legs.

3. IPL

IPL focuses on reducing the number of regrowth of up to 66.96%, which ultimately reduces the amount of time required for maintenance. Since the strands that grow back are far less visible, clients may feel less compelled to remove them. Better yet, most clients will be able to see visible results in 6-8 sessions that each last approximately 30 minutes. That would mean that an approximate of only 240 hours would have to be invested to observe long-lasting results.

4. Diode Laser

Diode laser is by far the most time-efficient technique of all. Compared to IPL, most clients can enjoy up to 71.71% of reduction in regrowth. Within the same duration of 240 hours, you would be able to see far more significant results, making it the superior technique of efficiently and effectively attaining flawlessly smooth skin.


Step 4: Rating Hair Removal Methods on the Pain Scale

Step four involves rating each hair removal method in terms of painlessness. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you should avoid opting for something that may cause you undue pain. Let’s rank the following techniques on a pain scale of 1 to 10:

1. Shaving (Rating: 0-5)

Shaving should not cause any pain unless the razor nicks your skin. Only then would it rate anywhere above 0, up to approximately 5 on the pain scale, depending on your threshold of pain.

2. Waxing (Rating: 8-10)

Waxing can be extremely painful since it involves yanking the strands right from the roots. Some salons may apply a numbing cream to reduce your level of discomfort, but it might still be too much for some, especially when removing strands from highly sensitive areas.

3. IPL (Rating: 7-9)

IPL is yet another method that might be far too painful for some. Although most do not find this procedure as painful as waxing, some clinics might still turn down clients who want to beautify their pubic region as the pain might be overwhelming for them.

4. Diode Laser (Rating: 0-2)

Using diode laser to attain hairlessness is virtually painless — all you will feel is a warm sensation emanating from the device. This is the perfect choice for anyone with a comparatively low threshold of pain.


The Takeaway

You know your body best. Only you can make the final call on which technique is the best one for you. Having said that, if you are on the higher end on the Fitzpatrick scale (Types IV to VI), consider ruling out IPL to avoid any harmful repercussions. If you need help with hard-to-reach areas, opt for either waxing or diode laser for best results. The latter is also the most time-efficient, followed by IPL. If you prefer something painless, choose shaving or diode laser.

Overall, for an option that suits all skin types, effectively tackles hard-to-reach areas, is time-efficient, as well as painless, opt for the diode laser hair removal. Our specialists at Geo Aesthetics can help you with this. Contact us today for an appointment!