Hairless & Happy: What Hair Removal Technique Is Right for You?

hair removal techniquesI remember as a young girl being so excited to finally shave my legs… and I also remember my mother cautioning me that my excitement would quickly fade once I got started.

Hair removal techniques aren’t exactly fun, but they’re a necessary evil if you want your skin to feel soft and smooth.

We’re taking a look at the most popular options to help you find the best method for you.

Hair Removal Techniques: Which One is Right for You?

1. Shaving

We’re all familiar with the never-ending process of shaving. You lather up your legs and underarms, remove the hair at the skin’s surface with your handy blade, and then get stubbly again a couple of hours later.

It’s exhausting, but it’s the cheapest method out there.

It’s also pretty much pain-free (unless you get a little careless around your knees and ankles or give yourself razor burn).

Plus, you’re actually exfoliating your skin in the process, so it’s sort of like a beauty treatment.

  • Pros: Instant results, relatively pain-free, inexpensive, good for the skin.
  • Cons: Short-term results, possible nicks and cuts, constant upkeep.
  • Tip: Try a hair growth inhibitor cream to slow down the stubble.

2. Laser

Laser hair removal is Kim Kardashian’s technique of choice, so you know that it works (and costs a fortune).

With this method, a laser eliminates those stubborn hairs by destroying the hair follicles — and that means long-lasting results.

Out of all the hair removal techniques out there, this is one of the most expensive options. (You’re looking at around $100-$200 per session, and you’ll need an average of six sessions to get lasting results.

This is ideal for people with darker hair that’s highly visible against their skin (although it’s not recommended for people with dark or pale skin).

And it’s gentle enough to work well on even the most sensitive skin types.

  • Pros: Long-lasting results, clearer skin, ideal for sensitive skin types.
  • Cons: Expensive, requires multiple sessions, sometimes requires touch-ups, potentially uncomfortable.

3. Waxing

Waxing is not for the faint of heart… let’s put it that way. With this technique, you’re applying hot wax to your skin and ripping it off in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

Since you’re removing hair at the root, you’ll stay hair-free longer (usually for a couple of weeks).

The bad part, though — besides ouch — is that you have to grow your hair out in order to wax again.

Some people report that the pain decreases with frequency, and others swear that salon-quality wax hurts less.

  • Pros: Less upkeep, longer time between hair regrowth, inexpensive.
  • Cons: Painful, messy, time-consuming, hair has to grow out between sessions.

4. Epilation

I bought myself an epilator a few years ago after getting totally fed up with the shaving process.

I hated it at first (because it’s obviously painful to rip your hair out at the root), but then I kind of got addicted to it and did it constantly.

While I admittedly loved that my legs felt smoother longer, I ended up getting my first-ever ingrown hairs.

I tried to remove the hairs with tweezers, but that little mistake left red marks all over my shins. The hyperpigmentation lasted for a year thanks to my pale complexion, and I seriously thought I was scarred for life.

I wasn’t — apparently, the redness does fade — but I can assure you that you don’t ever want to pick at an ingrown hair. Just. Don’t.

  • Pros: Fast, slower hair regrowth, less painful over time.
  • Cons: Painful, ingrown hairs.

5. Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams are like chemical cocktails that you smear onto unwanted hair and then wipe away to reveal hair-free skin.

Some people have wonderful results with these creams. Others (like myself) never end up totally smooth.

These chemicals can also prove a little too harsh for sensitive skin types — and they smell pretty bad, too.

Still, they’re inexpensive, and newer formulas let you use a spray application that’s less of a mess.

  • Pros: Easy, pain-free, longer results than shaving.
  • Cons: Messy, smelly, doesn’t get hair at the root.

6. Electrolysis

Electrolysis works much like the laser hair removal techniques above, but it’s intended for smaller areas.

With electrolysis, each hair follicle is destroyed individually with an electrical current. As you’d expect, this is a time-consuming and costly process (albeit a highly effective one).

This method is usually more appropriate for those with light-colored hair, although improper treatments can result in scarring.

The average cost per session is around $60, and the number of sessions you’ll need varies greatly depending on the area. (Most patients report paying  around $1,100-$1,200 total.)

  • Pros: Effective, long-lasting results.
  • Cons: Expensive, better suited for small areas, not recommended for dark hair types.

7. Sugaring

On the surface, sugaring may look like waxing — but it’s actually far superior.

This all-natural wax is made with sugar (of course), and it doesn’t require any strips. Instead, the sugar wax is spread evenly on top of the hair and then pulled off in the same direction of the hair growth.

This means that the hair has less of a chance of breaking off (and you’ll lower your risk of ingrown hairs as a result).

Also, sugar is a humectant that doesn’t cling to your skin — so the process is more tolerable pain-wise than traditional waxing.

  • Pros: Less painful than waxing, all natural, fewer in-grown hairs.
  • Cons: Less comfortable and more expensive than shaving, have to grow out hair.

Which of these hair removal techniques do you use, and why is it your method of choice? 

Lesley Sheridan is a high-maintenance fashion, beauty and lifestyle writer who thinks she’s low-maintenance. (Yes, she stole that line from When Harry Met Sally.) In addition to writing for The Local Lifestyle, her work regularly appears on Zenni Optical and Slickdeals. Make her day by sending her a tweet.

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