Unwanted hair is something that plagues everyone — whether it’s hair on the face, chest, arms, legs, or anywhere else. If you want to remove hair from certain areas of your body, take a look at these eight ways to decide which ones are best for your short-term and long-term goals.
- Length of Results: 1-5 days
- Approximate Cost: Less than $5 per month, $50+ for an electric razor
Shaving is the most common way that people remove unwanted hair from the body, but it’s also the least effective in keeping the hair away. For instance, most men have to shave their face daily, and the average woman shaves her legs and underarms every other day.
Shaving can be done with an electric razor or a handheld razor. Many people prefer an electric razor because it minimizes cuts, doesn’t involve the use of creams or gels, and is more cost-effective than buying a pack of razors every month. However, you can conveniently use a handheld razor in the shower while getting a closer shave.
In this case, an electric razor probably works better for the guys and the handheld razor works better for the gals, being that the former is used only on the face and the latter is used in different areas of the body like legs and armpits.
Plucking / Tweezing
- Length of Results: 1-2 weeks
- Approximate Cost: $5 for a pair of tweezers
Plucking involves using a pair of tweezers to remove hairs one-by-one by pulling them out of the follicle. It’s most commonly used on the eyebrows for routine shaping. However, most people prefer not to pluck because it’s painful and time consuming. Additionally, plucking can cause painful ingrown hairs, especially if you pull the hair out against the grain. Wash and exfoliate your skin before plucking to minimize discomfort.
When deciding whether to use this option, weigh out how much it would otherwise cost to wax your eyebrows instead. Waxing is an effective method for eyebrows, especially because it’s a small area that’s done fast and efficiently. If it’s too much, then perhaps the cheaper alternative is the way to go.
Hair Dissolving Cream
- Length of Results: 1 week
- Approximate Cost: $10-$20 per bottle
Hair dissolving creams break down the protein structure of your hair so that it easily falls out of the follicle when the cream is wiped off. They contain chemicals that include calcium thioglycolate and sodium hydroxide. The chemicals can cause skin irritation, and you can’t use them on broken skin or acne, but the results last longer than shaving.
Hair dissolving creams sound good in practice, but they’re only effective for certain skin and hair types. Thicker hair doesn’t dissolve as well, and areas with a higher saturation of hair are also difficult. Hair dissolving creams can be used all over the body, but the face is the most common area.
- Length of Results: 1 week, but varies
- Approximate Cost: $20+ to buy an epilator for home use
An epilator is similar to an electric razor, but the hair is ripped out of the skin instead of just being cut off at the surface. For an epilator to work, you have to have some hair growth visible, so it’s best used on the legs.
There are different kinds of epilators — some use a spring system, some use a rotating disc system, and others have more of a tweezer design — but they all work about the same way. Many people complain about discomfort when using an epilator. You can avoid this by waxing first and then using an epilator to control regrowth every three or four days.
- Length of Results: Up to a month
- Approximate Cost: $10-$50 per treatment, less at home
Waxing is the preferred method for people who want to remove hair from the bikini line, chest, or back. It can be done at home or at a Salon. You should let your hair grow out for at least five days before waxing so that the hairs can be gripped. There is hard wax and soft wax, but both involved applying the wax to your skin, letting it sit for a short period of time, and then pulling it off to rip the hairs out of your follicles. Over time, waxing thins the hair so that less grows back.
Waxing is painful, especially for people with coarse hair. However, the pain only occurs during the treatment. For areas like eyebrows, the pain happens once, which makes it a great option. For broader areas like chest and back, perhaps trying another method might be better.
Also, there can be hygiene problems with the wax because bacteria can grow inside of it. So, make sure that your salon does not double dip strips.
- Length of Results: 6 weeks
- Approximate Cost: $10-$50 per treatment, plus gratuity
Threading is an ancient technique practiced in Eastern countries to remove facial hair. However, in recent years, it has become popular in the West, too. A trained professional pulls cotton thread along unwanted hairs with a twisting motion that traps individual hairs like a mini lasso. This causes the hair to lift out of the follicle.
Threading is typically only performed on the face and it’s hard to find a salon that does it. You can perform threading at home, but it’s a hard skill to master. Many people claim that threading is the best way to get perfectly shaped eyebrows, but unfortunately the results are not permanent.
Because of how hard it is to find someone who does this method or to perform it yourself, it’s probably best to stick to plucking, shaving, or waxing when it comes to getting hair off your face.
Laser Hair Removal
- Length of Results: Long term and nearly permanent
- Approximate Cost: $200-$500 per treatment, $150-$300 for touch ups
Laser hair removal is when hair follicles are killed by heat, and then the hair falls out of your skin. Most people opt to have this procedure done at a salon; there are some home kits but they are less effective. According to Statistic Brain, the average number of laser hair removal treatments needed is four. Hair regrowth is so minimal that touch ups are only needed every six months.
There are several types of lasers used at salons for hair removal. For instance, one Miami salon and spa may use the Candela Nd:YAG laser system for hair removal because it is regarded as the safest and most effective, but another salon might use a some more intense form of laser beam. Make sure to research the method of the salon before going because you don’t want to put your skin at risk. You can also find laser acne treatments and wrinkle reduction treatments.
In all the permanent hair techniques known, this was is the least consuming and least painful. Although, this treatment doesn’t work as well with people who have lighter toned hair, and you’ll have to go in for multiple sessions. So, if you have dark hair and time, this is probably the best option for you if you want to remove your hair for good.
- Length of Results: Permanent
- Approximate Cost: $500+
Electrolysis is the most effective way to remove unwanted hair and is also the most permanent. During electrolysis, a small needle or probe is inserted into the hair follicle and then an electric current passes through the follicle, killing it. This prevents the hair from growing back.
Even though electrolysis is the most effective, it is also the most expensive and the most painful. It’s not a good treatment for people with low pain tolerance because you must endure a shock for upwards of 15 seconds on each hair follicle. There are at-home electrolysis kits, but people report varying levels of success. Also, if it’s not done correctly it can discolor your skin.
If you have lighter toned hair color, this is the best option for you. Although it’s more painful than electrolysis, it’ll give you guaranteed results. This is also the only permanent hair removal method recognized by the Food and Drug Administration, so that should help with the pain knowing that it’s approved by an authoritative agency.
There’s no one best way to remove unwanted hair; you have to determine which one meets your goals and pocketbook best. Have you tried some of the more permanent hair removal techniques like electrolysis or laser hair removal? Were you satisfied with the results? Share your experience in the comments below.