As we start to prepare for sunny weather and summer days, it's time to face what most of us delightedly avoided all winter: hair removal. Some people like to keep it simple and shave. But if you have sensitive skin that doesn't react well to shaving or are looking for something that provides longer-lasting results, you might be thinking about exploring other techniques like laser hair removal or waxing.
Both of these methods have one main thing in common: they can be pricey. While smooth, hairless skin is the goal for hair removal, professional services done at a regular rate can add up over time to cost more than you realize (or are comfortable with).
For those who are comfortable with a DIY approach to maintaining your appearance, at-home waxing kits are an excellent option. Cosmetic dermatologist and owner of Epione, Simon Ourian, told Shop TODAY that waxing at home can be completely safe if practiced correctly.
"For thousands of years, people have done some type of waxing with homemade recipes. But the key like anything else is knowing how to do it so that you avoid burning your skin and can perform at-home hair removal safely and easily," he said.
"Ready-to-use strips are easy to apply and have little mess. Soft wax is gentler on the skin and perhaps more effective for fine hair. However, it is messy," explained Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic & clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Hard wax is easier to use than soft wax, can be applied over a large body surface area. However, it may be more likely to cause skin irritation."
We asked a few more experts, including other dermatologists and salon owners, for their tips and favorite home waxing kits and products.
Expert-recommended home waxing kits
"These nifty little strips are effective, foolproof and safe for sensitive skin. Since they don't require heating, they are great to throw in your purse and convenient for travel," said Elena Marotta, owner of BodyBrite. "The post-wax calming oil wipes help to take off any wax residue and leave your skin baby smooth."
Ourian also notes that pre-ready wax strips are ideal when it comes to convenience. "It’s easier to use. [They're] less messy and removes the guesswork and shorter learning curve."
This wax kit comes with three ounces of salon-quality wax, five applicators, two wax-removing towelettes and a pair of gloves for safe and clean application. It's everything you need to get the job done!
"It uses a hypoallergenic formula to minimize potential skin irritation," noted Zeichner.
This kit includes four targeted bags of wax beads — for your face, bikini, armpit and body — along with a wax warmer, applicator sticks, pre- and post-care gel and whitening cream.
"I have heard recommendations from my patients they like Yeelen ready wax brand because it’s easy to use or near ready strips for at-home hair removal," said Ourian.
These pre-made strips are gentle on the skin and easy to use, said Zeichner. "When applied properly, they cause minimal irritation to the skin barrier. Since they do not need to be heated, you also don't need to worry about hot wax burning the skin — a common problem with many wax systems."
Immediately after waxing, he recommends applying a moisturizer to the skin to form a protective seal and minimize any inflammation.
"This kit, which requires heating up the wax before applying to the skin, removes both terminal (thick coarse hairs) and vellus hairs (fine thinner hairs)," said Lady Dy, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dy Dermatology Center.
When using hot wax, Ourian said, "It is very crucial to make sure the wax itself is not too hot of a temperature. There are many waxes that are used at room temperature, but if you are using hot wax, make sure it is closer to warmer temperature as hot wax will aggravate the skin much more."
“This is as close as you can get to a spa or professional salon wax at home," said Arash Akhavan, board-certified dermatologist and founder of The Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City.
"This wax shrink wraps each follicle to remove even the shortest, coarsest and most stubborn hair from the root so that skin stays smoother longer. The chamomile oil ingredient makes it gentle enough for the most sensitive skin, leaving skin soft without irritation," he explained.
"Be sure to apply the wax against the direction of the hair growth for shorter hair (bikini, lip, chin, cheeks and eyebrows) or with the direction of growth for longer hair (legs, arms and underarms)."
These easy-to-use wax strips are a quarter of the cost you would pay at the salon.
Zeichner said they're ideal for bigger waxing projects. "These large-size pre-made wax strips are easy to use on large surfaces like the legs," he said.
"Hair removal is a personal preference. Generally speaking, if it is in the budget, I recommend laser hair removal to anyone who has dark hair if they can afford it. It is an extremely effective and permanent procedure," said Zeichner.
An in-office procedure like laser hair removal can be costly, but at-home options can help you get rid of unwanted hair too. This compact device uses light technology to safely and permanently remove hair over time. Using the sensors, it adjusts the light's intensity to make sure you're getting the best results possible.
Top-rated home waxing kits
This sugar wax kit also comes with two reusable applicators, a prepping powder to use beforehand and a soothing solution to use afterward for the best possible results.
"I don't think I'll go back to shaving my legs, ever again. SugarMeSmooth doesn't cause irritation or bumps of any kind, when I'd have itchy, painful bumps normally within a day of shaving," one reviewer raved on the brand's site.
Roll-on wax has become a popular hair removal tool since going viral on TikTok with the hashtag #rollonwax reaching over 22 million views. The kit comes with two roll-on wax cartridges, a cartridge warmer, a wax remover oil and 25 strips to remove the wax.
A current Amazon bestseller, this waxing kit includes everything you'll need for a successful salon treatment at home — five soothing wax bead varieties in different scents, 30 waxing sticks, a pre- and post-wax spray, five protective paper rings and a digital wax warmer.
It's no surprise this renowned beauty brand makes an affordable home waxing kit that's also convenient to use. One former Shop TODAY editor even raved about how gentle it is on her sensitive skin.
Waxing for the first time? This sugar wax kit promises to go easy on your skin with naturally derived moisturizing ingredients and essential oils.
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