Bare Necessities

Wearing a high-cut leo without tights is sure to give you that coveted legs-for-days look. But when it comes time for a grand plié in second position, or a slow sustained tilt to the front, you may find yourself wishing you’d spent a little more time with your razor.

Unwanted body hair is a nuisance—and it’s especially rough for dancers who wear all kinds of revealing costumes. DS turned to the experts for the scoop on a variety of solutions to hairy situations.

(Photo by Alexander Yakovlev/Thinkstock)

Shaving

Shaving takes the cake when it comes to hair removal on a budget: You only need to pay for razors and shaving cream. That said, shaving yields very short-term results, so you’ll probably need to do it a few times a week to stay hair-free.

“If you shave, you also need good technique to avoid razor burn,” says Dr. Neil Goldberg, a dermatologist in Bronxville, NY. He recommends shaving in the shower, or immediately after. The steam helps soften your hair and open up the follicles, giving you a closer shave. And never shave dry skin. “Use lubricants, like shaving cream, to soften the blade,” Goldberg suggests.

Shaving leaves you with sharp follicles close to your skin’s surface, so ingrown hairs are a common side effect. To avoid them, shave in one direction—against the direction of hair growth—and be sure to exfoliate. “Dead skin has to be shed on a daily basis because hair can’t grow through it,” says Sandra Cossa-Ortiz, an esthetician who specializes in hair removal and skin care. She suggests using a simple scrub.

Waxing

Jessica Wells, spa director at Bliss Boston, recommends waxing your legs, bikini line and underarms. “Unlike shaving, which cuts the hair off at the

surface, waxing removes hair from the roots,” she explains. “This gives a smoother and longer-lasting result. Depending on hair growth, you can expect to go four to six weeks between waxes.”

Here’s how it works: A salon specialist spreads warm wax over your unwanted hair and covers it with a cloth strip. She then yanks the strip off your body in the opposite direction of hair growth, pulling hair out at the root. It can be painful, and it’s more expensive than shaving (each visit can cost between $20 and $80). But it’s a winner when it comes to efficiency and results. If you’re super-sensitive, there are different kinds of waxes—like hard wax—that can help ease the pain.

Hair-Removal Creams

Depilatory creams (like Nair) can be used at home for quick hair removal. Creams don’t remove hair from the root but get close to it, which makes the method last about as long as as shaving. As the cream removes the hair, it takes some of the dead skin cells blocking hair growth along with it, so ingrown hairs are less common.

Depilatory creams are budget-friendly (around $10), and a variety of brands can be found at most drugstores. Cossa-Ortiz offers two suggestions for depilatory cream: Use it toward the end of your shower, because the more hydrated your hairs are, the more effective the cream will be; and pay attention to the amount of time it stays on your skin. The chemicals are very strong, and they can harm your skin if left on longer than the recommended time.

Laser Treatment

If you’re willing to put in a bit of time and a good deal of money, laser treatments will ultimately give you the best results.

Laser treatments beam concentrated light into your hair follicles, damaging them. In time, this damage kills the hairs.  It usually requires treatments every six to eight weeks for approximately eight months to zap all of the follicles.

But laser isn’t for everyone. Cossa-Ortiz says laser candidates must have already hit puberty. The hormone shifts that occur with puberty interfere with the hair follicles, altering the process and, ultimately, the results.

Goldberg adds that the best laser candidates have very light skin and dark hair. While girls with other skin/hair combinations will experience hair reduction, it’s typically less effective.

Tip: If you’re on the fence about laser treatment, start with your armpits. It’s a small area that doesn’t hurt—and it’s relatively inexpensive.

The Final Word

Each person’s skin and hair are different, and what works best as a hair-removal treatment for one person may be the worst option for another. Keep this in mind when considering the different methods of hair removal for yourself, and consult a dermatologist or other skin-care specialist if you have further questions.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search