Body hair... If only we could snap our fingers and make it disappear!
The main reason we have hair on our bodies is to keep us warm and to maintain good hygiene, but clothes, showers, and modern beauty standards mean we no longer feel the need to be coated in a layer of fuzz.
The problem? Getting rid of body hair and, once we have, maintaining that lovely smooth skin. So, is natural hair removal too good to be true?
Today we're looking at all of the hair-removal options out there, starting with the basic and obvious, and working towards the weird and wonderful natural hair removing remedies - they actually work!
Whether you want to tackle your legs, armpits, facial hair or bikini line, read on to find the best hair removal solution for you...
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in March 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in August 2020.
Using razors to remove hair
Razors are handy, there's no doubt about it. They're not too expensive, easy to use, and perfect for last-minute, emergency hair removal. You can use them all over your body, even on pubic hair. Some would say, they're the best hair remover out there. That being said, there are downsides to razors.
Ingrown hairs, razor rash and increasingly spiky hair will leave you frustrated and embarrassed by the areas hair removal was meant to make you confident about.
How to shave with a razor
1. Invest in quality equipment
Depending on how frequently you're shaving, it could be worth your while to invest in a quality piece of kit.
2. Trim the hair
If you're shaving particularly bushy areas, you should begin by trimming the hair. You can use a pair of scissors or a specialised trimmer. This will help you get a closer shave.
3. Use a sharp blade
When shaving any part of your body, you should avoid using a dull blade. Dull blades can cause skin irritation and stop you from getting a close shave. To ensure that you're using a sharp enough blade, check out our guide for replacing razors below.
4. Wet the skin
Before shaving, it is best to wet the skin. If you're shaving your legs, bikini line or underarm, you can do this in the shower or bath. Simply soak the areas in warm water for a few minutes before shaving.
Exfoliating helps to get smoother results and reduce the chances of skin irritation or ingrown hairs. Use a loofah or a scrub in a circular motion to gently exfoliate the areas you wish to shave.
WARNING: Do not exfoliate or use any products in intimate areas.
6. Use a shaving foam or gel
Lathering on a shaving foam or gel will not only help you to see which areas have been shaved but it will also help the blade to move smoothly across your skin.
7. Shave with gentle strokes
Now, you can start shaving! Always go steadily to avoid cutting your skin and try to shave in as few strokes as possible. The more you go over the same area, the more irritation you will cause. It's best to shave in the direction of hair growth, but this does not always get the closest shave. If you'd prefer, you can shave "against the grain".
To get the best shave possible, it's important to rinse off your blade between strokes. Hair can quickly build up on the blades, making it harder to get a clean shave. Once you have finished shaving, take the time to rinse the blades thoroughly, removing any hair and foam.
You should also take care to rinse your skin, preferably with cool water to help close the pores and soothe the area.
9. Pat dry
Setting your razor aside to dry, you should now pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
Now that your skin is dry, you can go ahead and apply a moisturiser, oil or post-shave balm. The soap in shaving gels and foams can be drying, so it's important to nourish your skin for beautiful results.
How often should I replace my razor?
You may be wondering how long you should use a razor before replacing it. The answer depends on how often you shave, the quality of your blades, and how well you look after them.
As a rule of thumb, a razor should last you between 7-14 uses. It can be hard to keep track of how often you use your blade, so this guide may help:
- If you shave daily, you should replace your razor every 1 to 2 weeks.
- If you shave every other day, you should replace your razor every 2 to 3 weeks.
- If you shave twice a week, you should replace your razor every 4 to 6 weeks.
Other signs that it is time to replace your razor include:
- The blades are rusty
- You notice it pulling on your hair
- You find the area itchier than normal after shaving
Hair removal cream
Have you ever tried using hair removal cream? It's something most of us experiment with at some point in our lives. Unlike razors, hair removal cream won't leave you with a razor burn.
There are some cons to using it, though. Like shaving, hair removal cream will only remove hair above the skin's surface. This means you'll probably see regrowth after a couple of days. Another problem with the cream is that it can be tricky to apply, and the 10-minute wait time can be equally as tasking. Finally, it's not a form of natural hair removal and it can have a bit of an unpleasant smell.
Hair removal cream definitely isn't a quick fix, but it can produce smoother results than shaving if you're prepared to put the effort in.
How to use hair removal cream
To use hair removal cream, you should always follow the instructions on the packet. The process normally involves:
- Evenly applying the cream to coat the hair.
- Washing the excess cream off of your hands.
- Waiting for the recommended amount of time - check the packaging!
- Testing a small area to see if enough time has passed.
- Removing the cream and hair, and rinsing your skin clean.
Waxing can be the most expensive and most painful hair removal option you can go for, but many people would say it's worth it.
Wax pulls hair from the root, leaving you with flawless results that last the test of time. Although it can be painful at first, thanks to a combination of reduced hair growth and your skin becoming used to the process, the pain does decrease over time.
Waxing may provide great results but, as it's a costly and timely process, it's impractical for many of us to get done regularly. If you're short for time and money, you could just get waxed before holidays and special events.
Tips for getting waxed
1. Grow your hair out
You should make sure that your hair is a good length for the wax to grip to. You should aim for about 1/4 inch, which is about the size of a grain of rice. If it's any longer than that, the beautician may trim the hair before getting started.
It takes about 3 weeks to grow your hair to this length, so make sure you stop shaving in advance of your appointment.
2. Prep your skin
It's a good idea to have a warm shower before getting a wax. While showering, you should exfoliate your skin using a body scrub or a loofah. Prepping your skin in this way will help to open the pores and prevent ingrown hairs.
After your shower, leave your skin "naked". Don't apply any moisturisers, fake tan or oils and try to avoid deodorants or perfumes, too.
Your beauty salon might provide you with an after-wax gel or lotion to soothe the area. If they don't, we'd suggest buying some in advance. It'll help keep everything smooth and free from irritation.
It's a good idea to wear loose clothing to allow the skin to breathe, and you should also avoid sunbathing, saunas and steam rooms for a couple of days after.
Natural hair removal remedies
Natural hair removal? Yes, you heard that right!
Believe it or not, there are some natural remedies that can slow down hair growth, reduce body hair, and even remove it completely.
We've rounded up 6 of the best below for you to try yourself, in the comfort of your own home.
1. Hair removal using sugar wax
Sugar wax has been used around the world for many years, but it's only recently become popular in the UK.
What exactly is sugar wax? Exactly what it says on the tin...only there is no tin because it's completely homemade. In fact, you can whip up your own sugar wax at home using:
- 200g sugar
- 60ml lemon juice
- 60ml water
Before you get started, check out our tips for waxing above. Even with a natural, at-home method, the same tips still apply.
- Add the ingredients to a saucepan on the hob, and stir to combine. Begin to heat, slowly bringing the mixture to a boil.
- Once it boils, simmer the ingredients on a low to medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has turned golden brown in colour, it's time to remove the pan.
- Pour the ingredients into a jar and leave to cool for around 30 minutes.
- Spoon some of the wax into your hands, and roll it into a ball.
- Make sure the area of skin you want to remove hair from is clean and dry, then begin to spread the wax over it.
- Let it sit for a minute, then lift a corner of the sugar wax (enough to give you a good grip).
- Get ready...and rip the wax off in the opposite direction of your hair growth.
- Post-waxing, clean the area to remove any residue.
2. Natural hair removal at home using a pumice stone
Turns out there's another use for your pumice stone that doesn't involve feet at all (unless you have very hairy feet that is!) - natural hair removal.
The rough texture of pumice stone is great for catching hairs and removing them from your skin. Better yet? This is a 100% natural hair removal remedy.
To try it yourself, use a dry pumice stone on clean, dry skin in small circular motions. The pores will cling onto hairs and pull them out.
Be sure to moisturise afterwards, as the texture of a pumice stone also provides an exfoliating effect and may leave the skin dry.
3. Natural hair removal remedy using egg
Want to remove facial hair naturally? Eggs are not only extremely nutritious, but they have some useful properties when it comes to beauty, too.
Perhaps you've seen egg dry before and noticed how it creates a film-like substance on the surface it sets on. It's this power you're going to harness when using egg for hair removal.
To try it yourself, you'll need:
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp cornflour
- Mix the ingredients together to combine, then apply a thin layer to clean, dry skin.
- Leave the mixture to set on your face (around 15-20 minutes). It should form a film.
- Begin to peel the mask off from the out in. The mask will not only extract impurities, but it will also lift light facial hair.
Eggs are an inexpensive and gentle way of treating unwanted facial hair. It's especially popular for getting rid of that unwanted peach fuzz above your upper lip. Why not give this natural hair removal remedy a try today?
4. Remove unwanted hair using papaya paste
If you're looking for a long-term solution, you may want to consider Papaya.
A study by the International Journal of Pharmaceutics found that the enzyme called papain has a "depilatory" (hair removing) effect. This enzyme is found inside Papaya. Although it won't remove hair overnight, it could reduce regrowth over time.
Sound too good to be true? Try this natural hair removal remedy at home and see the results for yourself.
- 1-2 tbsp mashed, raw papaya flesh
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- Mix together the papaya and turmeric to form a paste.
- Rub onto the skin liberally, massaging the mixture in so it reaches hair follicles.
- Leave for 15 minutes.
- Wash off with water.
- Repeat regularly to see a reduction in hair growth (2-3 times per week).
Papaya not only smells delicious but could be a permanent solution to your unwanted body hair too. Who'd have thought it!
5. How to remove hair at home using turmeric
Turmeric is a bright yellow, fragrant spice, often found in Indian recipes.
Outside of the kitchen, Indian women have used it for many years for all sorts of natural beauty remedies. One such remedy is the removal of unwanted facial hair, and it's surprisingly easy to do!
We know what you're thinking... does Tumeric really remove hair permanently? A 2017 study in Phytomedicine found that curcuma, the active ingredient in turmeric, slowed hair growth and lightened the skin.
Want to try this DIY?
- Mix 3 tsp turmeric powder with 1 tsp milk.
- Spread the paste onto the area of skin with unwanted facial hair in the same direction as hair growth.
- Leave until dry (about 20 minutes).
- Add a small amount of water to hands, wet the paste slightly, and begin to scrub the skin using small, circular motions.
- Wash with lukewarm water and pat dry.
Like papaya, turmeric paste must be used regularly to reduce the rate of hair growth over time. Keep at it, and you'll be facial-hair free before you know it.
How many days do these methods take to remove hair?
The results will vary from person to person. In the case of waxing, the results are instant.
Can these methods be used for removing chest hair?
Yes, these methods are suitable for chest hair.
Where can I buy turmeric powder?
Turmeric powder can be purchased in the spice section of most supermarkets.
How can I fix dark underarms?
Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with equal parts baking soda. Apply the mixture to the darkened area, leave to dry and then rinse off.
How can I remove turmeric staining?
Apply coconut oil to the skin to remove the yellow stains.
What is the best natural hair removal method?
The best natural method depends on the results you want to achieve. If you want fast results without the mess, using a razor will be the best option. For a long term solution, you might want to consider the papaya treatment.
Do you have any magic natural remedies for removing unwated body hair? Share your tips with us in the comments below or head to our socials to share your before and after pictures!