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Hair Removal Options

Updated on October 30, 2008

As time has advanced we have become more and more particular about our hair growth. Many of us have hair that we want to get rid of and finding a way to do it isn't easy. There are some options, but most have down sides as well as getting rid of the hair.  


Shaving is probably the most common hair removal method. Many men shave their faces and women shave their legs and underarms. Then there are people who shave hair in locations where it grows and they don't want it to. This could be facial hair for women, chest hair for some men, and pubic hair.

What it involves. Shaving uses a razor or shaver (usually electric with several blades inside) to cut the hair close to the skin. Often times products such as shaving cream or gel is used to help protect the skin.

Painful? Shaving isn't usually painful, however you can cut yourself and you can irritate the skin.

Does it work? Shaving gets rid of the hair at the surface of the skin. It starts showing shortly afterward and often has to be shaved again shortly. Some have to shave daily, and most within a day or two.

Shaving is inexpensive, especially in the start. You can pick up a package of inexpensive disposable razors for a couple of dollars. Shaving cream or gels can also be purchased for a small amount and a little goes a long way. However, it becomes quite a chore and often takes a lot of time from one's life.  


Waxing has become a fairly common practice as well and can be used anywhere on the body. Often times it is done in a salon, but home kits in a wide range of options are available to wax the different areas of the body.

What it involves. Waxing uses a wax mixture that is then heated. You place it on the skin and then place a cloth strip over it. You let the wax cool awhile to adhere to the hairs well and then rip the strip off in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

Painful? Usually waxing is painful in the beginning, after all you are ripping the hairs out by the roots. However, over time your skin becomes used to this process and the pain lessens.

Does it work? Waxing pulls the hair out by the root. The hair does grow back but it usually takes two to six weeks. Many choose this hair removal option because it works for a longer period of time and doesn't have to be repeated as often.

Waxing can be a good choice if you have the money for the salon or for doing it at home. You will have to have a fairly good pain tolerance, especially in the beginning. It is a longer term solution then shaving.  


Plucking is the process of pulling each hair out. Tweezers are the most common way of doing this, but in more recent times there have been a few rolling devices that are supposed to do it faster.

Painful? Often times it does hurt some to pull the hair out by the root. However, this hurts less then waxing because it is a smaller area of space covered at one time.

Does it work? Plucking works well for a small area. It is hard to use on an area that grows a lot of hair and is time consuming. The hair does grow back, but it takes awhile because it has been pulled out by the root.

Overall, this works if you are shaping your eyebrows, have a few hairs on your chin or upper lip, but in any area with a lot of hair it is rather hopeless. Even with the devices that are supposed to make it easy, it just takes a lot of time.  


Chemical hair removal options come in the form of sprays and creams. Often times they are applied, let to sit, and then wiped off removing the hair with the product. This only works because the chemical has caused the hair to fall our or dissolved it.

Painful? For most people this is a painless process. However, some are burned by the chemicals or have allergic reactions to it. This can be painful and cause a lot of skin issues.

Does it work? This does indeed remove the hair and usually for a long period of time.

The real disadvantage here is that there are a lot of bad chemicals found in such products. Who knows what side effects they have that we haven't yet learned about. Additionally these products can cost a pretty penny and you won't know if you have a reaction to them till you buy them and try them.  

Hair Removal Mitts and Pads

These products aren't as commonly known. They come in a wide range of options and different names. You can find mitts, gloves, bands, pads, and stones. However they all work on the same premises. The products has a surface that is similar to sandpaper. You carefully rub in a circle to actually sand that hair off (most products claim to "buff" the hair away, but it all works out to be the same thing).

Painful? While this isn't really painful it is indeed uncomfortable. It really does feel like you are sanding the hair away. It leaves the skin a bit tender and sensitive.

Does it work? I haven't used all the products out there and have only tried a few of them. However because of the similarity of the products I feel confident in saying, yes it works, sort of. It takes quite a lot of time to sand the hair on your legs. The finer the hair the harder it is to remove. Plus a direct angle makes it easy to remove the hair on the front of your legs, but it is often hard to get the backs of the legs. If doing this on your own, it is easy to leave patches on the backs of the legs.

While this method isn't all that expensive, it is a bit pricey. Hair is removed at the surface level and grows back fairly quickly. On the other hand, you can't remove it until it has a little length to it. This means you will have a bit of stubble in between removing it and it is hard to get hard to reach places.  

Home Electrolysis

Home electrolysis is done with a small machine (purchased for about $40 or more). There are several types on the market. Some work with a pad and gel which is supposed to make it so the electricity travels down the hair and electrocutes that hair follicle. These systems aren't recommended though. Instead a good system will have a small probe that is inserted into the hair follicle and is used to electrocute the hair follicle.

Painful? Yes, most definitely! While the systems claim to be painless, there is some pain associated with the system. You electrocute yourself, which does hurt. But can be managed and lessens over time.

Does it work? This definitely works. In fact, it is permanent. However, it takes a long time for great results. This is primarily because hair grows at different rates and hair in an area that you thought was finished will grow in and surprise you. Many people think it isn't working when this happens, but the truth of the matter is you just have lots of hair.

This works, but takes a ton of time and can't be done all by yourself. While some of the hairs can be removed without help, most can't because of the angle the probe needs to be inserted in. Additionally, starting cost can be expensive and you will probably need to buy additional probes (they are really fine and easy to bend). For removing all the hair on your legs, you are looking at a little bit of work each day for a long time, plus needing to keep the hair long enough to grab it with tweezers.  


Electrolysis is usually a salon method of hair removal. A trained electrolysis will insert a tiny metal probe into the skin and zap the hair follicle. It is fairly expensive procedure to have done and results depend on the skill of your technician, the type of hair you have, as well as your pain threshold.

Painful? This method of hair removal is indeed painful. It is the same method as home electrolysis only you are paying a trained professional with larger equipment.

Does it work? Often times your technician will have better results then you will at home because they will zap the follicle and not just the hair. Usually it still requires several trips to the salon and a lot of money.

Over all this is an expensive option, but with the work that is done you will see a dramatic decrease in the numbers of hair that grow and may find that you don't have hair growth in that area anymore. However, you usually pay your technician either by every 15 minutes or every 30 minutes and it is an expensive fee.  

Laser Hair Removal

This is a salon procedure where hair is removed by zapping the skin with a laser. The process usually takes six to ten treatments spaced six to ten weeks apart. This isn't listed as a permanent hair removal option, but rather a permanent hair reduction option.

Painful? It is described as feeling like a rubber band snap with each pulse. A single pulse will cover an area of skin about the size of a nickle. So depending on your pain threshold and the size of the area you are having removed you may or may not need a topical cream to numb the area.

Does it work? This is a much more complicated issue. Darker skin or lighter hair makes it harder for this method to work. All of the treatments are needed for it to work because of the way hair grows. However, for most light skinned people with dark hair this will remove about 90% of unwanted hair. Which makes it appealing for those that would like less hair to deal with (back hair, chest hair, and such), but will mean some other option needs to be used on a woman's legs, arm pits, or such areas.

This is also an expensive procedure and doesn't work for many people because of their hair type or skin color. A thorough discussion of options should be discussed with a professional before treatment begins.  


In reality, there is no perfect hair solution. Most are either expensive or time consuming and most are painful to some degree or another. Choosing the one that is best for you is going to be a personal choice with how much you can spend, how much pain you can handle, and so on. Good Luck!  


Submit a Comment
  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    Jannet. I have never actually had laser hair removal. I do have problem hairs on my face and have been working with electrolysis at home. It is painful, but it does work when the instructions are followed and one understands hair growth.

    I have heard that laser hair removal feels like the snap of a rubber band. In that case, I would assume that it is definitely going to be uncomfortable to mildly painful on the face. It is also supposed to get better/hurt less as the process goes on. Effective laser treatments require more than one session and each one is supposed to be more comfortable than the one before that.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    does laser hurt on your chin and upper lip! how does the pain feel like is it like pluckin of the eye brows

  • Moon Daisy profile image

    Moon Daisy 

    11 years ago from London

    A good review of the main hair removal options, and nice that you've considered men as well as women!

    Up until recently the mitts were my favourite way of removing hair, but like you say you only get very short-term results.  My favourite method now is my epilator, which isn't so popular as it's quite painful, but for me is quick and easy and worth the pain!


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