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The Lowdown on Completely Bare's Bikini Hair Removal

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Not long ago, we listed five tips for picking a good tattoo artist. Of course, there are plenty of other beauty and body services this city offers that are equally personal, equally intimate, and equally tough to navigate. So today we're back with another how-to guide: How to find a hair-removal expert who works for you. And this time we've brought in an experienced professional: Cindy Barshop, owner of the Completely Bare chain of salons. (Name sound familiar? You may recall her from a little show called the Real Housewives of New York.)

Not everyone knows what it's like to get a bikini wax, but everyone knows how it works: The wax pulls out the hair. Laser hair removal is a little more complicated. Basically, the laser heats the hair at the root, destroying it but leaving the surrounding skin intact. Here are the upsides and the downsides of each, based on the hair removal guide on Completely Bare's website:

Waxing
Pros: Your skin will be much smoother than if you were to just do it the old-fashioned way and shave it all off, and the results last way longer, too.
Cons: Waiting for the hair to grow back before you next wax can be annoying. If your hair is coarse, and you're bothered by the thick stubble that pops up in between waxings, opt for the laser hair removal. Then, you can shave in between sessions—with waxing, you can't. Also, waxing can cause ingrown hairs, which is another problem in itself.

Laser Hair Removal
Pros: It's less painful, and the hair becomes finer and sparser after each treatment. After a few sessions, you'll reach the level of permanent hair reduction. Plus, you don't have to worry about pesty ingrown hairs.
Cons: It's more expensive—but it's your bikini area, so maybe splurge here a little. Also, the guide warns that you must be sure you're not taking any retinoid medications or accutane prior to the procedure, so best to talk to a specialist if you're not sure about the time-frame.

And here's what Cindy had to say in an interview at her Fifth Avenue salon.

What made you decide to start up Completely Bare?
I had a bikini problem. It's the truth, I really did. And I was going anywhere—I used to go to my favorite nail place, and I realized it had to be a specialist in the field. So that's truly how I got started—my own problem.

How do you know if you should do the laser hair removal, or just wax?
I think it really depends on the type of hair you have and where it is on the body. So for instance, if it's really coarse and it bothers you everyday then I say definitely do the laser. But if it's something light and it doesn't effect your everyday life, you can wax. We have a hair removal guide on the website, going through the type of hair and where it is on the body, so it's easy to figure it out.

Which hurts more?
It really depends. If you have very fine hair...I think waxing hurts more. But not at Completely Bare! But yeah, I'd say waxing hurts more.

Is there any way to prepare for the either?
For everything, I'd say don't be on any glycolics or salicylics, because it makes your skin more sensitive. And also for your body and pain level, whether your waxing or lasering, don't do it around your menstrual cycle, because everybody's more sensitive. Not only emotionally, but physically.

Any tips for bikini wax virgins?
If you're gonna go for a Brazilian bikini wax, I'd say make sure you go to a place that specializes in that. Call up, ask them what they do. Don't go to a hair salon for your bikini wax, and don't go to a nail salon. And you could ask them, what does it entail? Do they have two different waxes? How long does it take?
· So You Want a Tattoo? Here Are Some Tips on Picking a Shop [Racked NY]
· Completely Bare [Official Site]
· Hair Removal Guide [Completely Bare]