From threading to epilation, waxing to plucking, creams to your trusty razor, choosing a hair removal method, for the most part, all comes down to personal preference. The problem is, every time you banish those pesky whiskers they seem to grow back faster, thicker, and stronger than before. While it might feel like a never-ending battle, know that there are a few hacks to make your hair grow back thinner. You know, if hair removal is your thing, of course.
Kurt Stenn, a biologist with 30 years of experience studying hair growth, tells Business Insider the idea that hair actually grows back thicker is a myth. Stenn says, "The bottom portion of the hair shaft that's shaved is already thicker." That part that gets shaved first is also the first to emerge as it grows back, so it's deceiving. And according to Cosmopolitan, anytime you see a noticeable difference in your hair's appearance when it grows back, it's likely due to hormonal changes and little to do with the hair removal method you chose.
Of course, how your hair grows back depends largely on where it's located. For instance, if you wax you change the scope of how the hair can re-grow. Once you've begun getting the hair waxed — which is pulled at the hair bulb in the opposite direction of growth — the hairs might come back less dense over time, because the bulb is damaged during the hair removal process.
If you're looking to get your hair to grow back thinner, here's how to get the ball rolling:
The debate over whether or not waxing helps your hair grow back thinner and lighter is a big one. Research in The British Medical Journal study says that, as far back as 1928, shaving had no real effect on hair growth. According to the study, "shaved hair lacks the finer taper seen at the ends of unshaven hair, giving an impression of coarseness," which explains the visual illusion that shaving somehow makes your hair grow back thicker.
But in terms of waxing, some believe the repeated waxing damages the hair follicles and, as a result, discourages them from growing back. Follicles gradually stop pushing hair the way they had prior to waxing, which can make your hair appear thinner. But, as the website ScienceAlert.com points out, getting to a point where you notice an obvious difference tan take years, if at all.
If you tweeze enough — whether it's your eyebrows, chin, or lip line — you'll cause enough damage to the follicles to deter re-growth. If your excess hair is the result of hormonal changes, however, tweezing won't change the thickness of the regrown hairs.
For those who are eyebrow over-pluckers, you might notice it's more difficult to grow back lush, full brows after you've been tweezing awhile. Eyebrow expert Shavata Singh tells The Telegraph that eyebrow hair can take as long as eight to 13 weeks to grow in, and factors like age and metabolism can impact growth rate.
Give Threading A Try
Threading is the hair removal technique that uses a cotton thread to remove unwanted facial hair. This method essentially rips the follicles from the pores. It's best used on eyebrows, and while users report minor discomfort, it's also said to be a good choice for those with sensitive skin, as it produces a minor amount of irritation (compared to waxing).
Glamour describes the after-effect of threading as leaving no "half-grown strays" behind, because this process is a very precise one. As with waxing, or any other method that damages the follicle, the hairs may grow back slightly thinner over time. And because all the hair is taken at the same time they'll grow back at the same rate, making maintenance and touch-ups a breeze.
By definition, epilation is pulling hair out by the roots. And again, as research suggests, if you do it long enough your hair will grow back shorter and thinner because of the damage caused to the follicles. This method of hair removal has been around a long time, yet there are some who still haven't discovered it. As Refinery29 reports, where shaving cuts hair at the surface level, having no effect on its grow-back status except for the appearance of a blunt tip (that gives the illusion the hair is thicker), epilation pulls those hairs out (like waxing) from the root. The same publication goes on to point out that after using an epilator for awhile, your hair is reluctant to grow back in. This means less time worrying about unwanted hair.
See A Pro
If you want to coax your hair into growing back thinner, and all of the above hasn't worked, consider seeing a dermatologist. There are alternative methods a doctor can discuss with you, such as electrolysis (which kills the follicle completely), prescription creams, or hormone treatments. All of these treatments do, however, likely come with considerable side effects that your doctor will urge you to consider.
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