Comparing Female Hair Removal Methods
Your guide to taking it off, from Gillette Venus
What’s the best way to remove unwanted hair? The truth is, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
Wherever it grows—legs, underarms, face or bikini—learn about the multiple hair removal methods so you can zero in on what’s right for you. Ready to speed things up? Venus has explained all of the common methods in order of most immediate results and longest-lasting solutions. Use this as your guide to hair removal, so your outer glow can reveal your inner Goddess.
How it works: A set of razor blades glides over wet skin and lathered shave gel to remove unwanted hair. Venus razor blades are spaced close together and spring-mounted to individually adjust to a woman’s natural contours. This way, each razor blade stays in contact with the skin for a curve-hugging, close shave. The Venus Embrace Refillable razor uses 5 blades surrounded by a Ribbon of Moisture for extra glide.
Suggested for: Legs, arms, underarms, and bikini area.
Advantages: A perfect shave gives you irresistibly smooth, sexy skin. Wet shaving is quick, effective, and safe to do daily. It’s also painless and inexpensive. And talk about multitasking! Shaving will even exfoliate skin while removing hair. For those really tight on time, consider the 2-in-1 option, like Venus Breeze Refillable razors or Venus Spa Breeze Disposable razors. For a perfect shave, we recommend using top-of-the-line razors, like Venus Embrace.
Drawbacks: To maintain your softest skin, you have to shave frequently. But don’t worry—contrary to the myth, shaving daily will not make your hair grow back any faster or thicker. In fact, you can choose to stop shaving anytime without any changes in your hair growth. If your hair is coarse—particularly in the bikini area—shaving can cause ingrown hairs. To minimize the risk, exfoliate the area, shave in the direction of the hair growth, and apply a moisturizer after shaving.
Keep in mind: Soak in a warm bath or shower 2-3 minutes prior to shaving, and apply a moisture-rich shave gel for a clean, close shave. Satin Care shave gels come in great scents and different formulas for dry or sensitive skin.
Aftercare: Soothe freshly shaved areas with a moisturizing lotion.
Electric (or Dry) Shaving:
How it works: An electric razor has a fine screen that glides across the skin’s surface, trapping the hair and cutting it off with a moving blade underneath.
Suggested for: Legs, arms, underarms, bikini area
Advantages: It’s simple and efficient to use an electric razor. It’s easy enough to do every day, and can be done just about anywhere since no water or shaving cream is needed.
Drawbacks: Electric razors remove most hair, but they won’t give you the close shave that a razor in the shower would. For that reason, your results may not last as long as you’d like. In anywhere from a few hours to a few days,a you’ll have to reach for the razor again. Electric razors are expensive and keeping up with tangled cords and battery charges might slow you down. If your hair is coarse—particularly in the bikini area—electric shaving can cause ingrown hairs. Exfoliate the area and keep your electric razor in top condition for best results.
Keep in mind: Don’t go bargain shopping for an electric razor. Look for one with a high-quality foil screen and be sure to clean your shaver regularly. Change your blades annually for the best results.
Aftercare: Rehydrate your skin—make sure to soothe freshly shaved areas with a rich moisturizer.
How it works: Depilatory creams, lotions, roll-ons and foams all use a chemical compound to dissolve the hair at the surface of the skin. Approximately 3-10 minutes after application, the hair gets removed by rubbing the area with a washcloth.
Suggested for: Upper lip, bikini area and underarms
Advantages: Depilatory creams work by dissolving the hair shaft, leaving a rounded edge at the skin’s surface—so re-growth appears to be softer and take longer than after shaving.a Because no razor blades are involved, there is no risk of nicks and cuts. New products continue to appear on the market, promising easy application with less waiting time.
Drawbacks: Because depilatory hair removal is chemically based, it can irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions. (More on sensitivity testing below!) Depilatories can be messy and require some waiting time to work, and many have an unpleasant smell. They can also be expensive for larger areas like legs and arms.
Keep in mind: Check your skin’s sensitivity by testing a depilatory on a small skin area at least 24 hours before applying it to a larger area. Rashes won’t go with anything you wear, so this is a step you don’t want to skip.
Aftercare: Remove the depilatory cream completely, and wash the whole area thoroughly.
How it works: Wax, hot or cold, gets applied to your skin in the same direction that your hair grows. Once it solidifies, it’s quickly stripped away in the opposite direction, pulling the hair out with it.
Suggested for: Legs, arms, bikini area, eyebrows and upper lip
Advantages: Waxing gives you up to four weeks of smooth skin.
Drawbacks: You must allow hair to grow out approximately 5mm to be able to wax it, which can be uncomfortable or unappealing to some. Even then, waxing can be messy, painful, and can sometimes leave skin irritated. Waxing can also lead to infection, because any dirt around the exposed skin can enter and clog your pores. It’s important to check out the facility you visit and carefully follow home instructions to avoid any infection or burns from overheating the wax. Of course, the beauty-is-pain philosophy works for some women more than others.
Keep in mind: Do-it-yourself kits are available, but spa and salon treatments can be less painful and more effective, with less chance of hair breakage. If you go it alone, be sure to follow waxing instructions carefully. You may want to reconsider waxing during that time of month—skin is more sensitive due to an increase in hormones, and some women find it to be more painful.b
Aftercare: Be sure to apply a rich moisturizer to soothe your skin and reduce any irritation.
How it works: Epilators look a lot like electric shavers, but they work by pulling body hairs out of the follicle under the skin, rather than cutting them at the skin's surface. (Talk about getting to the root of the problem!) The head of the epilator is placed on the skin and rotating disks remove hair at the root. Treatments can be repeated just as soon as the hairs grow back to a length that can be “grabbed” by the epilator again—between .5 and 2mm.
Suggested for: Legs, arms, underarms, and bikini area
Advantages: Epilators give you longer-lasting hair removal results. Your skin can stay smooth for up to four weeks and new hair appears to grow back finer.
Drawbacks: The process is slower because an epilator can’t pull a lot of hair at one time. Using an epilator can be uncomfortable at first, especially in the bikini area—ouch! The pain does subside with frequent use, though. Like waxing, you’ve got to grow your hair long enough to epilate, so you could have a few days of longer hair than you’d like. The initial cost of an epilator is also much higher than most at-home methods.
Keep in mind: A nice, warm bath prior to use can help with the removal process, since it will soften the body hair and open the follicles.c
Aftercare: Use mild soap and a cool, moisturizing lotion to reduce any irritation after epilating.
Laser Hair Removal:
How it works: A laser passes a pulsating beam of light through the skin to your hair follicles. The intense heat from the laser targets the dark melanin found in hair follicles to prevent the hair from growing.
Suggested for: Legs, underarms, arms, bikini area, and facial hair
Advantages: Professional laser treatment will destroy the hair follicle, but it is not a completely permanent solution, as it is nearly impossible to get to every hair follicle.d Finding a professional certified in dermatology or cosmetic surgery means a more effective procedure with fewer risks. Specialists have the ability to apply topical anesthetic, making treatments less painful than doing it on your own. However, laser hair removal is convenient when you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Newly available at-home devices aren’t cheap—but present a good alternative. They use the same technology as salon equipment, although at a lower power, and will save you thousands compared to professional laser treatments.
Drawbacks: The process for any laser hair removal is time-consuming and has to be repeated regularly for smooth skin. Professional treatments can be painful and scheduling regular appointments is expensive and inconvenient. The strength of the laser used by professionals leaves a greater risk of redness, swelling and skin sensitivity after the procedure. Because at-home devices are much less powerful than professional laser equipment, they are unable to completely destroy the hair follicle. Achieving hair-free results requires using the device regularly to prevent re-growth. Though usually less painful than professional laser hair removal, at-home methods cause a warm, prickling sensation comparable to being snapped with a rubber bande—yikes! Though rare, potential risks to laser hair removal include blisters, scarring, and changes in skin coloration.
Keep in mind: Laser hair removal isn’t right for everyone. Test a small area of your skin, or contact a professional prior to treatment. Home products and professional laser procedures are recommended for people with light to medium skin tones with dark hair.
Aftercare: Stay out of the sun, and avoid touching or scratching treated areas after any type of laser hair removal. The skin may feel similar to a sunburn for several days, and can be soothed with a cold compress, aloe vera, and other medicated ointments.
How it works: A very fine needle gets inserted into the hair follicle, then transmits a mild electrical current designed to destroy the regenerative cells. This is serious business, because electrolysis eliminates the chance of any hair re-growth.
Suggested for: Small to medium-sized areas, particularly on the face, such as the upper lip, chin and eyebrows
Advantages: It’s the only method of hair removal that is permitted to be called "permanent."a
Drawbacks: Electrolysis can be time-consuming and expensive, ranging between $40 and $90 per treatment of a small area. Since each hair follicle has to be treated individually, it may take multiple lengthy treatments over the course of several months to completely destroy all the hair follicles, depending on your hair’s active growth cycle. The process can be painful and your skin may be swollen and tender after treatment. Electrolysis can also cause tiny scars where the needle is inserted, though for most people they heal unnoticed.
Keep in mind: There are no standardized licensing guidelines for electrolysis, so check to see if the person you are considering is a Certified Professional Electrologist (CPE). This is not a procedure for beginners to perform.
Aftercare: Don’t exfoliate, sunbathe, swim, or use a sauna for 2-3 days after an electrolysis treatment.
Take it off your way
Nearly 40 million women think of Gillette Venus as their hair removal experts—that’s why we’re so interested in helping you find the method that’s right for you. Just remember, choosing the best way to remove hair is a highly personal decision, and no one solution is best for everyone. So if one method doesn’t appeal to you, try experimenting with another. It’s even okay to mix and match. Now go reveal the Venus Goddess in you!