When it comes to hair removal methods at home, the most well-known and the most popular of them, there’s one thing that we must make clear from the start: they are all temporary hair removal methods.
None of the hair removal methods that can be performed at home is permanent. Two of them will give you smooth skin for only a few days and the other two hair removal methods at home will offer smooth skin for 2-3 weeks.
There is only one permanent hair removal method, which is electrolysis, and it can only be done by a professionl.
Which are these 4 hair removal methods at home? You’re very aware of 3 of them and maybe you have even heard of the 4th:
- hair removal creams
- epilators (epilation)
I know from personal experience that sometimes it’s not easy finding the right hair removal method.
Every person is different. While most of my girlfriends were going to beauty salons to get waxed, I was buying razors and using my father’s shaving cream.
I also tried going to a beauty salon to get waxed but it was too expensive and too much of a hassle. I liked the smooth skin for more than 2 weeks even with the pain, I didn’t like the rest of the process. And I wasn’t interested in trying waxing at home so I just went back to shaving.
I preferred shaving when I was in high school because it was cheap, fast, painless, and I could handle it at home whenever I wanted.
As I grew older, my needs changed and I ended up using epilators and that has been my hair removal method at home since I was about 19.
Let’s see what are the pros and cons for each of these 4 hair removal methods at home so that you can determine which one would be the best for you.
It’s highly possible that shaving is the most popular hair removal method.
It’s easy to see why. It’s accessible around the globe, it’s pain-free, and everyone can do it without needing too many instructions.
Even I used to shave when I was younger. And I don’t regret it.
Now, let’s see succinctly the main characteristics for this hair removal method:
- it’s an at home hair removal method that can be used on the whole body (there even are do-it-yourself back hair shavers)
- women can also shave their facial hair using special razors, those are used directly on dry skin with no risk of cuts
- time: the fastest hair removal method, it takes around 10 minutes to shave your legs and 1-2 minutes to rinse
- accessibility: pretty much anyone can get a razor and there are a lot of options to satisfy every man and woman
- cost: you can get a good razor for as little as $1 + shaving cream for around $3, both being enough for about 1-2 months, which means that the annual cost can be no more than $30
- it obviously depends on what razor you buy and all the other stuff but I was just making a very rough quick estimate
- there is also another option when it comes to shaving as a perfect hair removal method at home: buying an electric shaver
- electric shavers for women can be quite cheap and they can last a very long time
- smoothness: really amazing smoothness for the first day, not so much two days after
- hair regrowth: stubble can appear as soon as the day after
- ease of use: very easy
- preparation: just soak the skin in hot water (2-3 minutes), apply a shaving gel, and start running the razor across your skin, the opposite direction of hair growth
- for the bikini area, you might consider shaving with the grain to prevent razor bumps
- post-care: apply a moisturizer immediately after
- possible side-effects: ingrown hairs, nicks, bumps, and itchy skin
- mess: not messy, all goes down the drain
My Personal Conclusions
Shaving is easy and fast but overall is not as cheap as it’s believed.
You definitely need a shaving cream/gel. If you use regular soap, the shaving is not as efficient and there’s an increased risk of cutting yourself. Plus, it takes longer.
Shaving is a fast hair removal method when the blade glides easily.
All in all, if you want to get rid of unwanted hairs without feeling any pain, get a razor and start shaving.
1. Soak the skin and hairs for at least a couple of minutes.
2. Get a shaving cream/gel.
3. Change the razor often, a dull blade can cause nicks and bumps and it won’t give you the smoothness you crave.
One last thing:
Women can shave their face, too. It’s not the kind of shaving that men do but it’s one where you need a special razor, like the Tinkle. It’s also called dermaplaning.
Hair Removal Creams
Hair removal creams are the immediate alternative to shaving.
Instead of cutting the hairs at the surface of the skin, the creams dissolve them thanks to those powerful chemicals they contain. It also means that you won’t feel anything. It’s totally pain-free.
Let’s take an in-depth look at this at home hair removal method:
- depilatory creams work best for the legs, underarms, arms, bikini line but there are also hair removal creams for the face
- time: apply the cream on the skin and let it on, usually, for up to 8 minutes, the time differs between different brands so make sure you read the instructions properly and follow them
- to remove it, use the shower and your hands to remove the cream together with the dissolved hairs
- accessibility: easily accessible around the globe, you can find hair removal creams in a supermarket
- cost: a hair removal cream is around $8, it should last for a couple of months
- smoothness: really smooth for a couple of days
- hair regrowth: in 3-5 days you’ll have to repeat the whole thing but overall it lasts a bit longer than shaving
- ease of use: quite easy, the trickiest part is to establish the time that the cream needs to be on your skin and what to do during that time since you’re going to probably spend it in the bathtub
- preparation: don’t take a shower before
- post-care: apply a moisturizer
- possible side-effects: bumps, burns, darkened skin, dryness, itchiness
- when it comes to the bikini area, only use a depilatory cream on the bikini line
My Personal Conclusions
Hair removal creams are a good alternative to shaving. If you’re afraid of cuts and you still want a pain-free at home hair removal method, then you should try hair removal creams.
The only advantage over shaving is that the smoothness lasts a bit longer, by a couple of days.
1. If you’re using a washcloth to remove the cream, go against the grain (against the direction in which the hair is growing). Removing the cream with a spatula takes longer. Then use a shower to clean the skin completely.
2. I wouldn’t recommend using hair removal creams for removing all the hairs in the bikini area (giving yourself a Brazilian). Use it just on the bikini line.
3. If you have really sensitive skin don’t use this method.
In terms of popularity, as far as I can gather, immediately after shaving comes waxing.
These two are the top hair removal methods at home.
Whether you prefer going to a beauty salon or doing it at home all by yourself, waxing is a hair removal method with a lot of pros as well as cons.
Let’s see some of them:
- can be used to remove unwanted hairs from the whole body and face
- time: it takes at least an hour to wax both your legs; if you’re a beginner it can take up to 2 hours
- accessibility: highly accessible – you can find hard wax basically everywhere and there are beauty salons at every corner
- cost: I cannot calculate the exact price but it’s not a cheap method; a good kit with warmer included is around $40; after that you only buy the hard wax for about $10 and wax applicators
- smoothness: not as smooth as shaving but much longer lasting
- hair regrowth: 2-3 weeks on average (some only need to wax once a month)
- ease of use: I would say that waxing is the most complicated hair removal method at home, it gets easier as you accumulate more experience but it’s definitely that takes a bit of time and knowledge
- preparation: exfoliate before waxing and apply talcum powder, it absorbs the moisture
- post-care: remove the wax residues with baby oil or whatever oil you have in the house(sunflower seed oil, olive oil), take a shower, and then apply a moisturizer
- possible side-effects: ingrown hairs, breakouts especially in the case of facial waxing, and burns if you apply the wax when it’s too hot
My Personal Conclusions
Waxing is painful. There’s nothing new about that.
It’s also a bit messy and it’s not easy in the beginning but it’s worth it because it will be about 3 weeks until you have to wax again.
Instead of using hard wax and having to spend money, you can go with sugaring, which has a basically non-existent cost.
Sugaring can be quite the perfect at home hair removal method if you master it. Some don’t succeed.
It basically means making a paste from white sugar, lemon juice, and water. That paste is the used to pull the hairs from their roots but I find it even more challenging that using a kit with hard wax. Watch some YouTube videos to see what I’m talking about.
1. Sometimes it’s easier to go to a beauty salon to get waxed for the first time. You can see how it’s done by a professional and the second time it’s going to be so much easier and a bit less painful.
2. Generally, hard wax is the way to go. You can get wax strips for the body but mostly for maintenance not for complete waxing. It would just take too long and they don’t handle coarse hairs that well.
3. It’s important to apply small thick strips in the beginning, it hurts less. Remove them swiftly in the opposite direction in which the hair is growing.
4. Exfoliate 2-3 times a week with either body scrubs or exfoliating gloves if you want to prevent ingrown hairs.
5. If you get a good waxing kit with a warmer included after that you only have to spend money on the wax and that’s not expensive. Or you can get the microwavable kind but, in the long run, it costs more.
6. Before applying the wax on your body, test the temperature. It may sting a bit but it shouldn’t burn.
Even though this is the at home hair removal method that I’ve chosen and love, it doesn’t mean that you should necessarily choose epilators.
If you want a cheaper alternative to waxing without all the mess and complications, then take a look at the basic things you need to know about this hair removal method at home:
- epilators remove hairs from the entire body and face, you can even give yourself a Brazilian if you can stand the pain
- time: in the beginning it can take up to 2 hours to epilate your legs however, after so many years, it takes me around 30 minutes to make my legs smooth
- accessibility: there are a lot of models to choose from and every country has at least a few of the best epilators even though the prices can differ widely from country to country; it’s easier to order online
- cost: the cheapest epilator is around $30, the more expensive ones are around $100-$130 but it lasts for at least 2 years (usually that’s the warranty period)
- smoothness: not as smooth as shaving but longer lasting
- hair regrowth: you will have to epilate every 2 weeks on average
- ease of use: very easy, you just need to move the epilator slowly in the opposite direction in which the hair is growing
- preparation: exfoliate before epilation
- post-care: take a shower to remove the hairs and apply a moisturizer
- possible side-effects: ingrown hairs, breakouts in the case of facial epilation
My Personal Conclusions
The first thing that attracted me to epilators was the affordability. I could afford an epilator (my first one still works even though I don’t use it anymore) and get in return up to 2 weeks of smoothness.
For me, it’s the perfect hair removal method at home.
Plus, you can epilate whenever you spot some hairs that bother you.
For these two main things I was able to bear the pain until I got used to it. Once I got an epilator that came with a facial cap, I started to remove my upper lip hair with it, switching from facial waxing strips to epilation.
I must warn you that epilation is a bit more painful than waxing. If you are switching from waxing to epilators, the transition will be pretty easy.
But switching from shaving to epilation, like I did, can be quite hard. Some women can’t handle it and go back to shaving. You must think hard before making a decision.
1. It’s really important to exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week in order to keep most of the ingrown hairs away. Not everyone gets ingrown hairs but most of us do.
2. Move the epilator slowly otherwise you might break the hairs instead of removing them from the roots. Keep yourself busy when you epilate. Watch a TV show or listen to music, it makes the time pass quickly and it diverts your attention from the pain.
3. Always moisturize after each epilation to sooth the skin. Those who, like me, suffer from really dry skin should also maintain a moist skin throughout the year, even though sometimes it’s such a burden.
That’s basically it. I hope this short guide on the 4 most popular hair removal methods at home will help you choose the right one for you.