Surface hair removal methods

Hair removal methods

Wet shaving

Works by:
Blades gliding over moistened skin cut hair at the surface.

Best for:
Legs, underarms, bikini area

Advantages:
Fast, effective, painless and also gently exfoliates dry, flaky skin on legs to keep them looking extra-smooth.

Disadvantages:
Whilst shaving does reveal beautifully smooth skin you have to keep on doing it frequently in order to maintain the smooth results.

Beauty rating:
A great option for busy women.

Dermatologist’s note:
“Shaving is a convenient option – but it’s important to do it properly. Just using soap and water is not ideal as it often leaves skin with a dry, scaly appearance. It is better to use a moisturizing shave gel.”

Electric shaving

Works by:
Passing a small electric machine with a fine screen at one end across the skin’s surface, trapping hair. Blades move laterally and cut the hairs against the edge of the screen.

Best for:
Legs, bikini area, underarms

Advantages:
Quick, safe and because you do it ‘dry’, it’s easy to do on the go. Also a good option for those with very sensitive skin.

Disadvantages:
The ‘hairless’ effect doesn’t last as quite as long as wet shaving. The razor also needs looking after properly, which means regular cleaning and changing the blade annually.

Beauty rating:
Great as a gentle and quick hair removal method.

Dermatologist’s note:
“This is a convenient hair removal option that’s gentle enough to be suitable for most people. Don’t use it if your skin is already irritated by cuts or rashes, though.”

Depilatory creams

Works by:
Chemically dissolving the hair at the surface of the skin. Once applied, the cream is left on the skin for up to 10 minutes then removed by gently rubbing away at the hair.

Best for:
Upper lip, bikini area and underarms

Advantages:
Pain-free, inexpensive.

Disadvantages:
Can sometimes be messy and difficult to apply. Traditionally, products have had an unpleasant smell, though some are better than others. Skin irritation can be a problem, too, so it’s best to do a patch test 24 hours before you want to apply.

Beauty rating:
Best for small areas like face and underarms

Dermatologist’s note:
“If you have sensitive skin, depilatory creams may not be the most appropriate option, because the chemicals contained in them can cause both irritant and allergic reactions. Always carry out a patch test, ideally on the inside of the arm and better still on two separate occasions, before using it on an entire leg or face.”