Hello Ladies ( & Gents who shave) ! Today we’ll be tackling the very delicate and incessantly vexing subject of hair removal, as specifically applied to traveling and the extra challenges that entails.
When at home you have your preferred method, but while traveling, that method might have to just fly out the window, unless you just shave everything daily, you’re guaranteed to have issues.
Shaving when Traveling
Let’s not (and I’ve never meant this more literally) “beat around the bush” here…. if you’re anything like me, the razor and your legs might get along just fine, but the hairy beast (mostly) under your panties would scurry away, if it could, at the sight of the evil, in-grown-inducing, instrument. Does anyone out there actually shave their bikini line? If you do, please contact me and let me know how you deal with the insufferable itch and bumps.
My advice: Carry a razor with you for that last minute fancy dinner party after having just come back from a four-day hike; use it below the knee while awaiting better management. They don’t take up much room and when you’re in a bind, it might be hard to procure one.
So how DO you take care of that pesky bikini?
If you’ve had laser hair removal, and yours didn’t end in a horror story, I’m not sure why you’ve read this far down the post!! I hail to you, oh brave one! You have now entered the realm of the gods, no longer weighed down by the troubles of mere mortal depilation qualms.
No in all seriousness, though. I don’t recommend laser treatment. For starters it only really works for people with light skin and dark hair, not to mention the fact that you’re destroying your hair follicles and messing with your melanin, and occasionally is accompanied by disfiguring side-effects. Some people swear by it, inform yourself.
My advice: I’m biased… I wouldn’t do it, but it might work for you, do your research (ahead of time.. it usually takes multiple sessions)
If you like to wax at home, you’ll have to make some adjustments. A lot of DIY waxing kits need a microwave, which you might or might not have access to. (And if it’s not the microwave it’s a special warmer.) But even if your preferred method is nuke-free, you might not be able to find it outside of your home country. I’ve yet to find a DIY wax kit in the DR, I’ve been here for a year and a half.
If you like the DIY method because it’s cheaper than most other options, you’re in luck! In most of the countries where you can not find DIY kits in the supermarkets, “salon” waxes are very cheap. I use quotes around “salon” because a lot of these places look like decrepit versions of a female barbershop. Do choose your salon wisely. Waxing takes off a layer of skin along with the hair and staph infections have been known to happen, either due to unhygienic facilities, or unhygienic post-care of the skin. (staph lives on your skin)
If you like the DIY method because it’s private… I’m sorry, you’re S.O.L. on this one.
Well, almost, there IS one more option for you.
Before I reveal that option though:
My advice on waxing: if you can find your kit, great, if you can’t, go out and get a wax job. It’s part of the cultural exploration of traveling and you’re most probably going to be just fine. Unless you really think your modest self cannot handle it, give ‘er a shot… These ladies have seen more vajajays than OBGYNs do and assuming yours is average, half of them were in worse condition than yours. This option might not be optimal for members of the LGBT community in some places.
There’s another option you might not have heard about, Sugaring. If you like DIY waxing, for whatever reason, then you might just grow to love sugaring. No, that’s an understatement; once you get the hang of it, you’ll think sugaring is the second coming of christ of the world of hair removal.
This video does a good job of teaching you how to make the stuff:
Although the title is a bit misleading. It takes a lot more than 2 minutes, more like 45, and another 45 to actually take the hair off…. BUT!! It’s sooooooooo cheap, and you can find sugar pretty much anywhere in the world. All you need is sugar, some kind of citric acid, potable water, and a stove. Most hostel kitchens have a stove, and you can get the rest for under a dollar.
Sugaring only adheres to the hair, so unlike waxing, you’re not making yourself vulnerable to infections, also, the stuff is actually GOOD for your skin. You can use it everywhere from your face to your bikini. They sell it online by the name of Moom… but it’s slightly different, using strips instead of just the sugar paste.
There is a bit of a learning curve to making and working the paste. It will probably take you a few times to get it right, but if you mess up, the sugar is completely water soluble (and edible, until your nasty hair and sebum are on it) It hurts a lot less than waxing, but trim the long hairs first.
As I found out the hard way, DIY sugaring won’t work in extreme heat, so unless you have access to air-con, depending on where you are, we’re back to a sticky situation.
You can always go to the salon and get it done if one exists in your proximity, but they’re usually NOT cheap. They are, however, usually more hygienic than wax salons as the sugar can only be used once, so there’s no double dippin’.
My advice: Get acquainted with it at home, as long as it’s not too hot where you are, you’ll never spend more than a few bucks on depilation each month, and you’ll never need to have a stranger look at your un-groomed crotch again. (since I found out about it, I’ve been doing it even on my armpits, which I could NEVER wax, up until the blistering summer hit. In the current heat, the sugar paste melts if I just look at it, so I had to suck it up and fork out the bills to get it done by the pros. I’ll never be able to go back to waxing. This option is definitely better than the previous for the LGBT community in some places. )
Then there are depilatory creams. For those of you who use these, I don’t know how you deal with the stench, or the skin irritation, or the general toxicity of the whole process, but it’s true, when you can find depilation creams, they’re quick and easy. But then why not just use a razor? Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but after using that stuff, my stubborn hairs grow back just as quickly as if they had been shaved, and I have the same itchy-crotch and in-grown hair issues. Plus they’re not that cheap. While traveling, they might be hard to come by, depending on the country.
My advice: Steer clear, there are better options. They melt your hair with chemicals. yuk.
Lastly, you could just not give a darn. Society’s done a great job of brainwashing us, so at first, if you’re beach-bound and not a complete social recluse it might not be an appealing solution for you, but if you’ll be hiking the Alps in the fall, or working on a permaculture farm…. let loose, be free!!
There’s no real international solution for effective hair removal. You’ll have to go with the flow. Test the waters. Be open to the fact that people have been dealing with this dilemma for
centuries millennia, and cultures worldwide have developed ingenious and unique solutions. Allow your hair removal to be another open door into understanding cultures. Carry a razor with you just in case, but don’t be afraid to try new techniques. Let depilation stories make their way into your travel book.
There was NO WAY I was reading all that, can you sum it up, please?
Sure… but you’re missing all the good stuff.
Long Hair Don’t Care:
Pros: Easy, painless.
Cons: Not good if you’re modest and wearing a bikini and want to fit in with a hairless society.
Pros: Easy, Quick, Cheap, DIY, easy to find, painless.
Cons: razor-burn, in-growns, doesn’t last ( hair comes back with the quickness AND with a vengeance )
Pros: Cheap, DIY, easy to find, lasts, (3-4 weeks)
Cons: Learning curve, time-consuming.
Pros: Lasts, (3-4 weeks), relatively painless, easy
Cons: Expensive, not DIY.
Pros: Lasts (3-4 weeks), DIY
Cons: Painful, in-growns, hard to find, learning curve, time-consuming.
Pros: Lasts (3-4 weeks), easy, cheap in some countries
Cons: Expensive, painful, in-growns, possible infections, not DIY.
Pros: Cheap, fast, painless, DIY
Cons: Can (and often does) irritate skin, doesn’t last, sometimes hard to find, STINKS!
Pros: Lasts (forever)
Cons: Very expensive, possibly disfiguring side-effects, needs to be pre-planned way ahead of time.