Shaving is by far the most popular method of hair removal among both sexes, and it's not hard to figure out why: it's quick and usually painless, unless you nick yourself. Of course, it has its downsides too. It's far from permanent - hair can grow back within days - and it can irritate the skin, causing red bumps and itchiness. To avoid these pitfalls, always use water when you shave and don't shave with skin-drying soap - use a shaving cream and make sure to moisturize afterward. Also, make sure you change your razor frequently - a sharp, good-quality blade will give you better results than a dull, old one. Check out this video tutorial on home threading for help.
Electric shavers are an even quick alternative to traditional shaving, and they'll likely save you money in the long run as you won't spend so much money on replacing blades. What's more, they won't cause you any pain as they're designed to avoid the nicks and cuts that traditional razors. However, they won't give you the results that traditional shaving does as they just can't get as close to the skin as a regular razor blade. Plus, when choosing an electric shaver, quality matters - be sure to pick up one that you can use wet or dry, and remember to clean your shaver regularly.
The thought of pouring hot wax all over your body and then ripping it off in one quick but painful maneuver might seem crazy to some, but it's the hair removal choice for many women. It may be painful and time consuming, yes, but waxing leads to better results than shaving; since the hair is ripped out at the root, it takes much longer to grow back. Plus, waxing leaves no stubble and, over time, will reduce the thickness and volume of hair. Waxing is available at many salons and spas, but you can also do it yourself at home. The Bliss Poetic Waxing At-Home Hair Removal Kit, available at Sephora, is one good option - it's a gentle, aromatherapy-based waxing kit that's easy to use. After you wax, make sure to exfoliate and moisturize to keep the skin healthy. Or, for a less painful experience, try sugaring your body hair.
Perhaps the least expensive of all hair removal options, tweezing involves using a pair of metal forceps (tweezers) to yank hair out of its root. Sounds painful, doesn't it? Well, it is but the pain is short-lived. Tweezing is a great option for taming your eyebrows and an dealing with occasional stray hair like that one long curly you found on your chin once and have had nightmares about ever since. I mean, you could try tweezing the hair off your legs, but that's only really recommended if you're stranded on a desert island and have about a thousand hours of time to kill. When tweezing, keep in mind that it can cause ingrown hairs and pitting on your skin, but that's usually pretty rare.
Rotawhat?? You may not have heard of them before, but rotary epilators are electric devices that are fairly similar to electric razors with one big exception: they don't just cut the hair, they pull it out at the root. It's like a machine with forty or so tweezers plucking each hair out from the root one by one, and because of this you can expect results that last much longer than traditional or electric shaving - up to six weeks to be precise. The downside? It's painful. Really painful. Some epilators come with some sort of built-in pain reducer such as a piece that you can use to freeze skin, but, even so, expect it to hurt. To ease the pain, try using your epilator in the evening and have a hot shower first - make sure you dry off completely as dry hair is easier to pluck than wet hair. You may even want to try using talcum powder on the spot you're shaving first. Most importantly, make sure you hold the area of skin tight to avoid any painful pinching. Check out this video tutorial on home threading for help.
Threading is a traditional method of hair removal originally from the Middle East that has since become a popular choice in North America. It's typically used on eyebrows, but full-face threading is practiced in some Arab countries. Here's how it works: a thread is rolled and wrapped around unwanted hairs and is then yanked out. Threading is a great alternative to tweezing because it allows you to remove several hairs at once, plus it can also grab finer, shorter hairs that tweezing might miss. It's also quick - an eyebrow-threading session usually lasts five to 10 minutes. Want to try it at home? Threading is something you can do, but keep in mind it will take a lot of patience your first few tries. Check out this video tutorial on home threading for help.
Depilatories - also known as hair removal creams - are easier to use than home waxing kits. They work by dissolving the existing hairs, however, which means they're not as effective because they don't target the root. What's more, they often smell pretty awful - not as potent as burning hair but close. If you're interested in trying a hair removal cream, make sure you test a small patch of skin first to make sure you don't have any allergic reactions to the product. When you use the cream, spread it evenly instead of rubbing it in, and never leave it on for longer than recommended.
Hair removal mitts are made of a rough, sandpaper-esque material that are used to buff away hair while it exfoliates the skin. They're supposedly painless and relatively inexpensive, but according to Makeup Savvy in the UK, they actually do work. The downside? Rubbing off your hair doesn't smell the best, and results don't last very long - hair can grow back within days or even hours. What's more, this process could dry out the skin over time.
Imagine never having to wax, shave or tweeze again - sounds heavenly, doesn't it? That's the benefit laser hair removal provides, but it can come at a pretty steep price. Enter at-home laser hair removal systems - they were approved by the FDA in the United States in 2008, allowing you to permanently remove your unwanted body hair without having to visit a dermatologist. One of these machines will cost you between $500 and $800, which is far less than you'd pay at a clinic. But is it safe? "The FDA approved it's safe, " dermatologist Dr. Doris Day told ABC News, "but I believe it should be done with medical assistance. The risks of any device are burning, redness, even scarring if done inappropriately." If you're considering this option, check out this first-hand account from More.ca columnist Kathryn Hudson.
If you're having issues with unwanted hair and none of these methods is the right fit for you, consider a trip to your doctor's office - he or she may be able to recommend a prescription product that may do the trick. For example, a prescription treatment called Vaniqa has been shown to be effective in slowing the growth of facial hair in women. In some cases excess hair is caused by hormonal imbalances, which can only be treated by your MD.