Pumice hair removal is accomplished through the friction of rubbing a rough-textured pumice stone over the surface of the skin, which basically wears away the hair. Indigenous peoples in Asia, Europe, and North America have used this hair removal technique for hundreds of years. Not only does the pumice stone remove excess hair, it removes dead skin, leaving a soft, smooth surface behind. Both men and women can perform pumice stone hair removal, but it must be done correctly to avoid irritation. Generally, the area should be washed with gentle soap, pumiced while wet, and carefully moisturized after the treatment is finished.
Many people perform pumice hair removal in the shower because it is an easy place to wet the skin. Wet skin is softer than dry skin, making the rasping action of the pumice stone less irritating. Supple, wet skin is less likely to rash or tear than dry skin. A gentle body-wash or bar soap washes away dirt and oil that might prevent the pumice stone from grabbing the hair during treatment.
Saving pumicing for the end of a shower or bath usually ensures that the skin is very moist and the hair follicles are open from the heat of the water. Open follicle pores often help keep pumicing from becoming painful and allow the skin to let go of the hairs more easily. It is usually best to start pumice hair removal at the edge of a patch of hair rather than in the center. For instance, a woman pumicing her legs might start at the ankles, while a man pumicing his beard should start at the throat.
The pumice stone should be held gently but firmly against the skin and moved in a circular motion. It should take no more than about 30 seconds to remove hair from any one patch of skin. After that, move to the next section and pumice there. Pumice hair removal should not hurt, so if an area begins to feel irritated or raw, move to another area immediately. Skin often toughens up over time, meaning the first few pumice treatments may cause very minor irritation, but this is normal.
After pumicing, individuals should rinse themselves off in warm water and dry the skin very gently. Applying aloe gel, vitamin E oil, or another gentle moisturizer to the skin should help prevent irritation and help keep the skin soft. Those that experience a severe rash or serious irritation after pumice hair removal should discontinue treatments. Areas of the body most susceptible to irritation are the face, underarms, and pubic areas.