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KEEP YOUR LEGS SMOOTH ALL SUMMER

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LASER HAIR REMOVAL

DO:

First, make sure that you’re a good candidate. “Laser hair removal is best for people with dark hair and light skin,” explains Debra Jaliman, M.D., a dermatologist based in New York City. “It’s not very effective for anyone with blonde hair because the laser has to sense pigment in the hair follicle in order to work.” If you’re having it done professionally, make sure to go to someone who is skilled with laser hair removal and has lots of experience with different skin tones. And expect a financial commitment, since it can be expensive— typically at least six to eight sessions scheduled four to six weeks apart. (The upside is once treatment sessions are done, the hair is permanently gone.) If you’re using an at-home device, be sure it is dermatologist tested. “Read the instructions carefully before using and keep up with the treatments every two weeks or so until you begin seeing results,” advises Mauricio.

DON’T:

Wax or pluck hair before your beauty appointment. “You will be removing the target and your treatment will not be as effective,” says Mauricio.

HAIR-REMOVAL CREAMS

DO:

Avoid a mess by opting for depilatories that can be used in the shower, making them more foolproof and convenient. And look for moisturizing formulas for extra- smooth skin.

DON’T:

Slather it on without doing a patch test. “If you are sensitive, the skin can burn or become irritated,” says Jaliman.

WAXING

DO:

Exfoliate before and make sure that hair is no longer than half an inch long.

DON’T:

If you’re doing it on your own, don’t start without carefully reading instructions. “The hot wax can cause burns if not administered properly, and ingrown hairs and folliculitis can occur,” cautions Mauricio. And whether you’re waxing at home or at a salon, avoid using products that may cause skin sensitivity (such as Retinol, glycolic acid, salicylic acids, and benzoyl peroxide) for at least one week before waxing.

SHAVING

DO:

Try shaving after a long shower, when hair is hydrated.

DON’T:

Use that blade for too long. (Change it when it feels like it’s catching while cutting the hair.) A dull razor can cause cuts, bumps, burn, and ingrown hairs. Avoid shaving right before a pedicure (the products can cause the skin to sting), or going in the ocean, says Mauricio. Finally, don’t shave after applying a self-tanner— you’ll take it right off.

BY CELIA SHATZMAN