Buying a product without a recommendation? Not in this economy. In ELLE.com’s series Unexpected Expert, we’re going straight to the source to find out which items are actually worth your hard-earned cash.
If you decide you want to get rid of body hair, it can be a complicated puzzle of products, beauty treatments, and tips from friends. Should I get waxing? Sugaring? Save my money and stick to a standard razor and shaving cream? To get some expert advice, ELLE.com asked seven pole dancers for their secrets to smooth skin.
The Magic of a Loofah
“Being a pole dancer, you must show skin! It’s not just for the appeal, but you actually need skin to grip the pole. I personally like to remove all hair down there. I’ve tried it all, from just shaving to waxing and laser hair removal. I bought a package from Groupon for Infinity Spa for laser hair removal after getting frustrated with shaving and waxing. But if you thought waxing hurt then you’re in for a crazy ride with laser… it hurts. After finishing all my sessions, I do still have hair in those areas but it’s so light, thin, and patchy. I think the key to having no razor burn is to lightly exfoliate; I gently exfoliate with just a loofah and a scent-free soap.” —Cindy Joo, @cindyjoowho
“I keep up with monthly bikini and underarm waxing, and I razor my legs. I try to plan ahead for upcoming shows and performances so I can have a wax closer to the time of show. I also really love to exfoliate to avoid any bumps. I’m currently using the Boie exfoliator that has been amazing. It’s an eco-friendly body scrubber that gently exfoliates the skin. It also is made from BPA-free antimicrobial material, so it avoids germs that can build up on loofahs and washcloths.” —Regina, @reginaamariee_
“I’m well-known on the NYC nightlife and burlesque scene for my work as an opera-singing pole dancer. I’m flying spread eagle in a tiny g-string over people’s heads or shaking my ass in people’s faces six to eight shows a week. Let’s just say I have a very intimate relationship with my Gillette Venus razor and bar soap—that’s it! Aside from a small landing strip, I am completely shaved since that’s how I feel most confident and sexy. I gently exfoliate regularly with a Buf-Puf facial sponge, which seems to prevent ingrown hairs. I want to smell and feel like a celestial goddess when I’m performing so up close and personal for people. For that, I love Herban Essentials towelettes to make sure my most intimate parts are smelling gorgeous before I hit the stage. I also love Brazilian Bum Bum Cream by Sol de Janeiro to give my skin that smooth-as-silk feeling, and its sister scent, Brazilian Crush. (Prada Candy is also great.) I’ve gotten messages from women I’ve lap danced on saying, ‘Not to be awkward, but I couldn’t help but notice how soft your skin is and how good you smell. What do you use?’ So I think it’s working!” —Marcy Richardson, @OperaGaga
The Secret Scrub
“When it comes to hair removal, my go-to is always waxing. It is the most efficient for me and lasts the longest, since I am always in small shorts when I teach. I love Brazilian waxes because they get everything. To avoid ingrown hairs, I use sugar or salt scrubs with loofah gloves to keep my skin smooth and bump-free.” —Dalijah, @dalijahamelia
No More Ingrown Hairs
“Being a pole dancer, I’m mostly hanging out in tiny workout clothes all day, and I prefer to remove as much hair as possible. I did about 15-20 laser sessions five years ago for my bikini zone, which laid a baseline of overall hair reduction. I still shave every three to five days, but it’s much less hair and not really noticeable if I don’t get around to it for a week. Because of the laser, I don’t get ingrown hairs from shaving, which is a big problem when you’re in tight workout clothes all the time. For shaving, I use a Venus razor, and I love the blade for the Venus Swirl. I use Queen V products, the V bar, and the Queen It Up wash for anywhere on my body. They smell amazing!” —Lara Michaels, @misslaramichael
Do It Yourself Laser
“As a pole dancer with dark hair and fair skin, hair removal is a high priority. I started doing laser hair removal eight years ago and have never looked back. It’s semi-permanent, so I never have to worry about razor burn or remembering to shave. I started off just buying different Groupons, but once I got comfortable with it, I bought my own at-home device. It was a little pricey but worth it considering how much time I spend dancing in such small clothes. I purchased the Remington iLight Pro Quartz At-Home IPL Hair Removal System. I would definitely recommend having laser done by a professional first until you can get used to the pain, but now I am loving using my at-home system.” —Zoë Kantor, @zoeinthesky
Shop in the Men’s Aisle
“I got laser hair removal over 10 years ago on my bits and pits, and the areas are still pretty scarce, even though I need to find a new place to get a touch-up. My legs I shave with men’s razors and shaving cream because I prefer unscented things. Funnily enough though, I like my legs to be not freshly shaved for pole competitions—gives a little more texture.” —Samantha Star, @lithiumkitten