Hair removal can be a hairy topic. From underarms to legs, and everything in between, it can sometimes feel like a full-time gig to manage it without the side effects of razor burn, ingrown hairs, or stubble. Things get even more complicated when you consider the sheer number of DIY hair removal products out there (razors! depilatories! waxes!). So how do you narrow down your choices? Check out our guide on some of the most common options and a primer about the products that will work most smoothly in your quest to remove unwanted hair at home.
Shaving is by far and wide the most common when it comes to hair removal, especially for legs. Results can vary and maintenance can be a near-daily endeavor, but it’s still a pretty painless method to use — literally and figuratively. And razors have come a long way, too. Even among the most common drugstore options, you can find the latest models that feature up to five blades for the closest, most comfortable shave for your legs (and underarms and bikini line, if you so choose) with fewer nicks and bumps.
Try the Gillette Venus Embrace Razor collection, which also has blades suitable for sensitive skin. And don’t skimp on a moisturizing shaving cream or lotion with essential oils, which will help further reduce irritation when soap simply won’t do. For on-the-go touch-ups, especially regarding the underarms, the Sphynx Travel Razor is a good bet, as it’s handbag-friendly and comes with its own spray-on water pod and a built-in shave balm.
Of course, shaving isn’t without its drawbacks, the first one being the issue of ongoing maintenance. “Tight clothes such as leggings, stockings, and jeans can cause ingrown hair and bumps because they compress the hair against your body, increasing irritation,” Noemi Grupenmager, founder of Uni K Was, told Good Housekeeping. “Exfoliating twice during the week or up to two days prior to any form of hair removal will help.”
2. Depilatory creams
Yes, they have something of a bad reputation, but depilatory creams have come a long way since their poorly scented, harsh, and messy potions of the past. New and improved formulas are less cumbersome and less irritating — and they smell far less intrusive, too. What remains the same is the creams use chemicals that break down keratin in the hair, causing it to weaken and dissolve. That means those with sensitive skin still might experience problems and adverse reactions. A patch test is best to rule out any skin sensitivities.
Try Veet In Shower Hair Removal Cream, which is water–resistant, so you can use it in the shower to save time. It won’t rinse off until you wipe it with a washcloth. Plus, it’s formulated with aloe vera to help nourish and moisturize skin. Another option is the Sally Hansen Extra Strength Spray-On Shower-Off Hair Remover, which includes moisturizing shea and cocoa butter to nourish the skin.
Waxing may not be the most painless method for hair removal, but it’s the longest lasting DIY method. For that reason, it’s particularly popular for the bikini area. While professional waxing is always an option (and recommended for more complete Brazilian bikini waxes), it’s easier now than ever to wax at home. Sugaring is a good place to start; the natural hair removal treatment is often more gentle on skin than standard commercial wax and still offers results. The Parissa Chamomile Body Sugar kit is a natural, washable hair remover infused with soothing chamomile that gently lifts away hair from the root for clean, salon-smooth results for up to six weeks. Plus, it comes with azulene oil to help prevent ingrown hairs.
Wax strips are another option to consider. Completely Bare’s Hypoallergenic Wax Strips work for body, bikini, and face and are custom-shaped for each area of the body. The no-heat strips are designed to be warmed with only your hands, so they’re easy to use anytime, anywhere, and they remove even the shortest of hairs.