The best hair removal products: From ancient practices to space-age techniques
With beach season fast approaching, there’s a decision to be made: Will you choose to shave or to sugar, IPL or laser the hair off? We found the best at-home versions for each hair removal method to leave you fabulously hair-free.
Modern kits have made the age-old practice of waxing a less daunting prospect. The very best formulas seem to “shrink wrap” each hair, no matter how short or coarse, and are brightly colored so you can see exactly what you’re doing. Bliss’s Poetic Waxing kit ($48 at sephora.com), scores an A+ on both counts. Simply heat the aromatic, dark blue wax (it comes in a cute microwavable mug) and apply to skin with a large or small spatula. Remove in a brisk motion (no messy strips in this kit!) and treat skin with the included healing oil.
What to do when your skin’s too sensitive for waxing but you want similarly smooth results? Try the ancient practice of sugaring. Like waxing, the process involves applying a tacky mixture to skin and removing the hair with muslin strips. But unlike wax, when applied correctly, sugar-based formulas won’t burn or adhere to skin, so there’s less potential for irritation. Natural beauty devotees are fans of sugaring’s pure ingredients (many products are organic, and you can even make a custom batch yourself at home). Perfectionists love that every last bit of residue washes off with water. So what’s the rub? You may have to practice a few times before your hands get the hang of the procedure. We love the ease of Moom Organic Hair ($19.95 at folica.com).
Gone are the days when you had to steal your husband’s Mach 3 to get a super-close shave. Venus Gillette’s latest razor innovation for women has five blades, an ergonomic curve-friendly design (especially handy on knees and ankles) and a skin-conditioning strip developed in partnership with the master moisturizers at Olay, $8.99 at drugstores.
Intense Pulsed Light
(IPL) Technology If de-fuzzing is taking over your beauty routine, it might be time to call in the big guns—and go below skin’s surface to zap hair before it grows. Remington’s i-Light Pro ($249.99 at remingtonproducts.com) does just that, targeting hair follicles with light energy. After a few weeks of use hairs begin to fall out, and re-growth gets lighter and lighter over time. Europeans have been using the first-generation i-Light since 2009, and now we get to try our own version stateside. A downloadable i-LIGHT Pro app for iPhone, iPad and Android will even remind you when it’s time for your next treatment—and when the device’s cartridge needs replacing.
Laser hair removal in our own bathroom? It’s true: The FDA has cleared the Tria Hair Removal Laser ($395 at triabeauty.com) for at-home use—and it’s shot to #1 on many women’s beauty product wish lists thanks to its promise of permanent results after as little as six months of use. Just like the lasers employed in salons and doctor’s offices, the Tria can cause sensations ranging from “warm and prickly” to “snapping rubber bands.” But five comfort settings allow you to adjust the intensity to suit your skin’s sensitivity.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.