Pros and Cons of Popular Hair Removal Methods
A quick walk down the personal care aisles of any health & beauty store is all it takes to see that the number of different options for hair removal is enormous, and it can be a challenge to find unbiased, factual information on which one you should pick or why.
Would you be better off waxing or shaving? Have you considered sugaring? Or maybe a depilatory cream? The list goes on, but it’s important to know that each method is best suited to certain skin and hair types, and each comes with its own set of pros and cons.
In this article, we are going to examine a list of the most common hair removal methods, and explain the pros and cons for each one, examining the advantages of and disadvantages of each hair removal option. Certain areas of your body require different approaches for hair removal in order to avoid undesirable effects, irritation and discomfort, so it’s important to make sure you thoroughly evaluate all of your options before choosing one to try.
The most common hair removal method on this list, shaving has a lot of advantages. It works quite simply by using a safety razor or electric shaver to cut the hair very close to the surface of the skin. Normally, shaving is done on wet, lathery skin in order to produce a smooth, comfortable glide of the razor on the skin. Some electric devices can be used in wet conditions, but most must be used in dry environments away from water for safety reasons. If an electric razor is safe to use in the shower, it will clearly specify this on the packaging. Generally, shaving is a fast and easy hair removal method, but there are a few instances where shaving should be avoided. Here are the pros and cons of shaving for hair removal:
- Products and supplies are inexpensive and readily available at many retailers
- Simple and easy to do with very little practice needed to learn the process
- Can quickly remove hair from large areas such as legs and underarms
- Modern razors and shaving creams or gels often include moisturizers
- Electric razors are even faster and can be done on dry skin
Cons of Shaving
- There is a risk of cuts, abrasions, and razor burn or irritation to sensitive skin
- Potential for ingrown hairs, which can be painful on sensitive areas
- Leaves the hair with a blunt end, which feels rough as it grows back
- ‘Five o’clock shadow’ as dark hair grows back
- Leaves the root intact, so it takes less time for regrowth to be noticeable
- Usually requires wet, lathery skin, while in the shower or bath
Shaving is Best Suited For:
Shaving is Not Suitable For:
- Sensitive skin
Waxing & Sugaring
Usually done at a professional salon by a trained esthetician, waxing is a very effective way to remove hair from a variety of areas of the body and it has long-lasting effects. Waxing and sugaring have similar steps in their process, but use different products to achieve the results. Wax or sugar paste is spread on the skin where hair removal is desired, and then is covered with a cloth or special paper. The paper or cloth is then quickly pulled off, pulling the hair out from the root as it is removed. There are some home kits for waxing and sugaring, but they can require multiple applications for practice before you get the best results, and there are obviously some parts of the body that you won’t be able to reach on your own.
- Complete hair removal down to the root results in longer intervals between noticeable regrowth
- Can be used on virtually any area of the body, including areas that cannot be reached with a razor or other methods
- Saves time on your shower or bath routine
- Waxed or sugared skin is less likely to develop ingrown hairs
Cons of Waxing/Sugaring
- Professional waxing or sugaring treatments can be costly
- Since the entire hair is pulled from the skin, some people find the experience painful or uncomfortable
- Some waxes have been known to cause temporary skin irritation (less likely with sugaring)
- Both waxing and sugaring require some regrowth between treatments in order for the wax/paste to have some length of hair to adhere to
Waxing/Sugaring is Best Suited For
- Bikini area
Waxing/Sugaring is Not Ideal For
- Skin that has piercings
- Damaged skin
Laser Hair Removal
Laser technology has enabled us to achieve permanent hair removal, which is a huge advantage for many people who are tired of removing hair from the same places over and over again. Laser hair removal works by targeting the hair follicles with specially configured lasers to slow down hair growth and eventually prevent it from growing at all. This is done through multiple laser treatments to achieve a permanent hair removal effect. Laser hair removal can only be done at trained and licensed laser hair removal businesses. The effectiveness of laser hair removal is heavily dependent on the patients’ skin tone, with darker skin tones requiring much more caution in determining suitability for treatment.
Laser Hair Removal Pros
- Once treatments are complete, the hair will be removed permanently and will not regrow
- Can be done on nearly every location on the body
- The process is usually less painful than waxing or sugaring
Cons of Laser Hair Removal
- Most laser treatments are done professionally and can be costly depending on the scope of hair removal you desire
- Multiple treatments are needed and the process can take many months to complete
- Some patients experience temporary discomfort or irritation on the treated skin
- Not suitable for skin that has very dark tones
Laser Hair Removal is Best Suited For
- All areas of the body including the face
- Light & medium skin tones
Laser Hair Removal is Not Ideal For
- Certain darker tones of skin
Hair removal creams, also known as depilatories, are not suitable for everyone, especially people who have sensitive skin. Depilatory creams contain chemicals that substantially weaken the hair follicle to the point where it can be easily wiped away.
These creams work by being applied directly to the skin where hair is to be removed, and after a pre-determined period of time has passed, the creams are scraped off along with the removed hair.
Due to the nature of the chemicals contained in depilatory creams, users must exercise caution to make sure the cream is not left on the skin too long. This can result in rashes and irritation, especially for people who have more sensitive skin.
Depilatory Cream Pros
- Easy to use and commonly available
- Can be done at home
- Since the creams help remove hair below the surface of the skin, regrowth takes longer to become noticeable
Cons of Depilatory Creams
- Chemicals contained in the creams can cause irritation and discomfort
- Depilatories are known to have strong odors from the chemicals used
- Risk of ingrown hairs
- Should not be used on sensitive skin areas
Depilatory Cream is Best Suited For
Depilatory Cream is Not Ideal For
- Sensitive skin
At Home, Light-Based Hair Removal Devices
Recent developments in at-home hair removal technology have resulted in compact and easy-to-use hair removal devices that rely on light pulses to effect the growth of hair right at the root and follicle, similar to the results achieved through laser hair removal. Products like the Silk’n Flash&Go Hair Removal Devices allow you to quickly and easily perform hair removal treatments at home. These light-based devices produce effects that gradually slow down hair growth and over time can result in permanent hair removal. These devices are available in multiple designs, including compact models ideal for travel.
Pros of Light Based Hair Removal Devices
- Can be used at home and are very easy to use
- Results in permanent hair removal
- Works on nearly all areas of the body
- Compact and easy to travel with
Cons of Light Based Hair Removal Devices
- Multiple treatments required to achieve permanent results
- Results can vary depending on skin tone
Light Based Hair Removal Devices Are Best Suited For
- All areas of the body except near the eyes
- Light to medium skin tones
Light Based Hair Removal Devices Are Not Ideal For
- Darker skin tones
As you can see, you have lots of options to choose from when it comes to hair removal methods. Some are great at removing hair quickly from large areas, while others are slower and more precise, and some are permanent.
If you’re interested in exploring more information from other health and beauty pros, we recommend checking out articles like this one from Stylecaster blogger Jo Abbie, where you can find more information around the pros and cons for popular hair removal methods.
The more you learn about the different methods, the better equipped you’ll be to choose the ones that work best and what makes the most sense given your skin type and schedule. We hope that you’ve found this information helpful!
- Stephanie Slaptsis