The Best Way to Remove Body Hair
Nobody likes shaving and that’s a fact. But there’s a special kind of pleasure in the feeling of smooth legs against clean sheets. Common alternatives to shaving include waxing, laser hair removal, and chemical depilatories such as Nair. A less common alternative hair removal method is epilating. If you haven’t heard of epilators before that's okay because I’m about to give you the whole spiel and hopefully convert you.
I’m always looking for the best (and least expensive) way to remove hair on my legs and underarms. It’s hard because I’m such a hairy person and my hair is black! So far, epilating has been my favorite. I haven’t shaved once in the past 6 months since I started epilating!
Hair Removal Methods
To understand what epilating is, we’ll first look at some of the more common hair removal methods.
Shaving works by cutting the hairs as close to the skin as possible. This means all the hairs will continue to grow and will all grow in at once. It also means that you’ll end up with stubbly legs soon after. Furthermore, the hairs that continue to grow will be blunt on the ends due to being cut and will seem darker and thicker.
Chemical depilatories are most commonly referred to by the brand name Nair (the same way facial tissues may be called Kleenex or toothpaste may be called Colgate). They contain chemicals that break down the hair, allowing it to be wiped away. Earlier Nair products used a harsher chemical called sodium hydroxide (lye) which could cause chemical burns, but products now use calcium hydroxide which is safer.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal uses pulses of laser light to destroy the hair follicle so that overtime hair will stop growing back. The laser can only target hairs that are in a specific stage of growth, and all hair is in different stages; most people need at least 8 sessions to get all the hair. The average cost per session is about $285
Waxing involves laying a layer of wax over the skin, in the direction of hair growth, allowing it to attach to the hairs, and then pulling the wax strip off against hair growth so as to pull out the hairs along with the wax. Over time this can damage the follicle. Since the hair is pulled out from the root, it grows back a new hair that won’t appear dark and blunt the way hairs look after shaving.
An epilator is an electronic device that works to remove unwanted hair by mechanically pulling out multiple hairs at a time similarly to tweezers. Epilators can either be corded, rechargeable or battery powered. Some epilators have other features such as working in water or having different attachments.
They’re able to grab hair shorter than waxing can, so there's no stage of growing out your hair. Additionally, epilating will save you money in the long run, as the cost per use is lower than waxing, Nair, and shaving.
If you can afford multiple sessions of laser hair removal, then it is one of the best ways to permanently stop hair growth. If you aren’t able or don’t want laser hair removal, your best bet is removing the hair from the root, which is done by waxing or epilating. However, since the former is much more cost-efficient and can be done easily at home, I think epilating is the best way to remove body hair.
How To Epilate
If you use an epilator incorrectly in can be painful; you’re tweezing a bunch of hairs really fast, all at once! Here are some tips I’ve picked up over time:
Don’t epilate hairs that are more than 1 cm long! You end up pulling on a lot more hair since they’re all getting stuck.
Start on the lowest setting of your epilator and do quick, short upwards strokes if you have a lot of hair in one area. Once you reduce the number of hairs, you can start moving the epilator more slowly to grab more hairs.
Take breaks. It took me weeks to fully epilate my legs the first time. But it was so worth it! Taking breaks makes the process less painful since going over and over an area hurts more each time.
Stop shaving. Even though it’s super annoying to have missed a patch of hair, shaving it only takes you back to square one. It hurts more to epilate hairs that have been cut by shaving.
Exfoliate before and make sure you’re warm! You don’t want to epilate over goosebumps, trust me.
My first epilator was an inexpensive battery-operated one since I wanted to make sure epilating actually worked before investing in an expensive item. I really like the small head on this one, and it works pretty well, but I found myself having to change the batteries almost every time I did my legs! I still use this one is hard to reach parts under my arm, but I mostly use my new epilator.
My new epilator is still under $50 and it’s rechargeable which is what I was looking for! The bigger head seems to speed up the process a little bit since it covers more area, which is something I can appreciate. It even comes with a bunch of bonus accessories!
I really like the exfoliating head and I think it would have a good place in a skincare routine. It exfoliates so well you have to be careful not to over-exfoliate. It also comes with a massager, which I haven’t quite figured out how to use, and an electric trimmer. It also has a guard which makes the epilating surface smaller, but I still found it hard to get into little spots. It may be for your face, but I just use the whole thing since I’m basically a werewolf anyways.
Let me know if you’ve tried a higher end epilator and if it worked for you! I haven’t quite gotten around to shelling out a lot. If you try epilating after this post, leave a comment to let me know how it goes for you!