Hair Removal Methods: Which Is Best for You?

Updated on November 22, 2019
Jayne Lancer profile image

A beauty consultant by profession, Jayne has been advising on correct skin and hair care, makeup, and other cosmetics for almost 20 years.

Which hair removal method will work best for you depends on how much pain you can endure, how long you want to remain hair-free, and where the hair is. Eight methods explored, from shaving to IPL, all of which can be carried out at home.


When to Remove Hair

You'll find hair removal, or depilation as it's properly called, a more comfortable experience if you take a warm bath or shower beforehand to open the pores and soften the hair. It's best done in the evening in order that your skin can recuperate while you sleep; it's bound to be sensitive, so spraying it with deodorant and perfume, or exposing it to blazing sun or bitter winds should be avoided.


Shaving is quick, easy, and painless. But because it needs doing at least every other day, it can lead to irritations—especially if you wet shave.

Wet Shave

Although safety razors were invented to minimize the risk of cutting, you still need to be careful.

Shave in the shower or bath and, instead of a soap-based product, use oil as a lubricant, which has several advantages:

  • Oil is transparent, allowing you to see exactly what you’re doing
  • It's a great moisturizer
  • You’ll get a closer shave
  • You’ll be less liable to cuts and nicks
  • It reduces or eliminates the probability of razor bumps and rashes, even if you shave daily

There's no need to buy a product labeled "shaving oil;" any cosmetic or edible oil is appropriate. If you shave in the bath and your back and shoulders are prone to acne, use jojoba oil, which is non-comedogenic.

For best results, shave against the direction of hair growth using a razor ergonomically designed for the body rather than the face—in other words, don’t use a man’s razor.

Dry Shave

Dry shaving eliminates the risk of cuts and nicks completely, making it a good option for the bikini area and armpits, as well as for sufferers of varicose veins, warts, eczema, and other conditions that affect the skin.

Always use a device designed for the contours of the female body—that means, never borrow a man’s shaver. For a finish as smooth as you'd expect from wet shaving, invest in a wet and dry device that can be used in the bath or shower.

If dry shaving (not in the shower or bath), sprinkle the skin with body powder or cornstarch beforehand. This allows for a closer shave and prevents irritations.

Always shave in the direction of hair growth, and trim longer hairs before you begin.

Dry shaving eliminates the risk of cuts and nicks, making it a good option for the bikini area and armpits.
Dry shaving eliminates the risk of cuts and nicks, making it a good option for the bikini area and armpits. | Source


The extraction of hair at the root is called "epilation," and is done with an epilating device or by waxing and sugaring. Precisely how long you'll remain hair-free after epilating depends on body area—e.g., underarms might need doing every two weeks, and legs every five weeks.

Epilation is only effective on hair that is at least 1/8 inch (3 mm) long, but, even then, it may not be absolutely thorough. For perfect results, you'll probably have to finish off with a pair of tweezers.

Owing to its abrasive nature, epilation is unsuitable for sufferers of varicose veins, warts, eczema, and diabetes. It's also not recommended directly after tanning, whether in the sun or a solarium.

Hair Removal With an Epilator

Epilators extract hair with a mechanism resembling multiple tweezers, which is why they're also referred to as "electric tweezers."

More expensive epilators have an integrated massage function, as well as the ability to hold skin taut in order to lessen pain. A wet and dry device used under the shower can further minimize discomfort.

Epilators are safe for all areas of the body and face, with the exception of the eyebrows.

To use, place the head against the skin at a 90-degree angle without applying pressure, and work slowly against the direction of hair growth. Don't forget to hold the skin taught to reduce pain.

Waxing and Sugaring

Because waxing and sugaring only work on skin that is dry and oil-free, dust the area to be treated with body powder or corn starch before you begin.

Excess wax left on the skin after treating should be wiped away with either vegetable or baby oil and a cosmetic tissue.

Cold Wax

Cold wax is available on ready-to-use strips of various shapes and sizes, depending on where it is to be applied. It's easy to use and most suitable for large areas, like the legs.

Just warm a strip between your palms, pull its two layers apart, smooth onto the area to be treated in the direction of hair growth, then quickly rip off against the direction of growth.

Results last for up to four weeks.

Hot Wax

Because hot wax opens the pores, it tends to cause less pain than cold wax, which makes it more suitable for sensitive areas like the bikini line and face.

To use, gently heat the wax until it’s soft but not quite fluid: the ideal temperature is about 90 F (30 C), so you may not have to heat it at all during hot weather. Using a spatula, spread thinly in the direction of hair growth, press on a fabric strip, then quickly rip away against the direction of growth.

If removing facial hair, hold the skin taut when you pull the strip away to minimize discomfort.

Results last for up to six weeks.


Sugaring (sometimes called "sugar waxing" or "Persian waxing") is done with a substance called halawa—a sticky mass of lemon juice, sugar, and oil or water. It’s been around for thousands of years and, according to legend, was used by Cleopatra in ancient Egypt. Nowadays, it's marketed as "sugaring wax."

There are several methods of applying sugaring wax, but it works best if used in the same way as hot wax.

If the sugaring wax is of a firm consistency, you'll need to warm it before applying in order that it's spreadable.

As with hot wax, spread a thin layer in the direction of hair growth using a spatula, press on a fabric strip, then quickly rip away against the direction of growth.

Results last for up to six weeks.

Legs can remain hair-free for up to five weeks after epilating.
Legs can remain hair-free for up to five weeks after epilating. | Source

Hair Removal Cream

Depilatory cream provides a painless, non-abrasive method of hair removal suitable for sufferers of varicose veins. Results last for up to ten days, which makes it a better option than dry shaving.

Unfortunately, in spite of being heavily fragranced, it smells less than pleasant and is liable to irritate sensitive skin. This is due to thioglycolic acid, its active ingredient, which can dissolve hair right down to the root.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Permanent Hair Removal

Permanent hair removal by IPL can now be carried out at home for a fraction of the salon cost. You'll find devices marketed for home use for between $200.00 and $500.00.

Not only is it the easiest method of depilation, but it's also absolutely painless.

It works by heating the hair at the root, causing it to shed. After the first treatment, you'll notice that the hair grows back more slowly and sparsely until, after a further eight or nine treatments, it ceases to grow altogether. Use the device about once a month.

Because the efficacy of home devices is still controversial, arm yourself with plenty of information before purchasing, and read as many reviews as possible.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Jayne Lancer


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Jayne Lancer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jayne Lancer 

      9 years ago from West London, UK

      Thank you, DjBryle!

      Oh, I'm often stuck for ideas that might be useful to others, but I suppose I should think of writing a Hub on permanent hair removal. There, a new idea!

      Thank you, once again.

    • DjBryle profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

      I find this hub useful... you never really run out of useful hubs my friend! =) I am sharing this on my FB and voted up too!

    • Jayne Lancer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jayne Lancer 

      10 years ago from West London, UK

      Yes, Halawa really is great for home use. I favour it for its long lasting results, and because it's a completely natural product. Thank you for coming by, Bianca!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      love the sound of halawa, thank you for some great suggestions and even product brands!

    • Jayne Lancer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jayne Lancer 

      10 years ago from West London, UK

      You poor thing, Zac. Yes, it is more painful for men, and they usually have more hair. Try it with an epilator after the shower next time. Don't forget, the hair should be trimmed beforehand, also when you wax. And don't forget the talc.

      Thank you for your kind words, and for coming by.

    • Zac828 profile image


      10 years ago from England

      Oh my god! I waxed my chest once and that was painful, I don't envy you more intelligent species of the human race. This was really interesting and you write really well, glad I caught it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)