Time it takes: minutes
Lasts for: 1 or 2 days
Grow-out time: none
Feels like: Painless! You won't cut yourself unless you go to fast or use a men's face razor - bad idea.
Best for: Legs - other methods can remove the hair but only shaving will make them feel silky smooth.
Products needed: a razor (duh). Shaving cream is good but not necessary in my opinion, some brands can just dry your skin out more.
Cost: basic ladies disposable razors are normally around $1 each and you should replace them at least once a month so that's $12 for the whole year.
WAXINGRemoves the entire hair from the root. Always smooth on the wax in the direction of hair growth, followed by the wax strip in the same direction, warm the wax by rubbing with your hand and then quickly peel back in the opposite direction parallel to your skin. Never pull at a right angle!
Time: 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the area. You will need to prep your skin by cleaning, exfoliating and drying it before you apply the wax.
Lasts for: 4-8 weeks
Grow-out time: at least a week - hair will need to be 8mm or longer.
Feels like: ripping of a band-aid. It's really not that painful at all.
Best for: Small areas - waxing larger areas like legs could become quite tedious as it is time consuming. Waxing is especially good for stubborn, thick hairs that normally look stubbly with shaving.
Products needed: Pot of wax, cotton wax strips, spatula and ingrown hair treatment - your wax will usually come with strips, a spatula and some cleansing wipes. I have tried Nad's Natural Hair Removal Gel as well as their Natural Warm wax and much prefer the latter. The gel isn't designed to be heated but is just way too solid to use as is. The warm wax, however, is very effective and much easier to use. I love the ingredients in these waxes as they truly are natural - honey, dates and sugar.
Cost: Nad's wax kits are about $15. This is actually quite economical as the pot lasts for a really long time and the cloth wax strips can be cleaned and reused.
EPILATIONThe head of an epilator has numerous rows of tiny rotating tweezers that roll along the skin and pluck out hairs. Always hold the epilator perpendicular to your skin. This option is a more convenient way to get the same results as waxing.
Time: about 5 minutes for legs
Grow out time: a couple of days - hairs only need to be about 5mm long.
Feels like: very faint stinging but not painful
Best for: non-sensitive areas like legs
Products needed: an epilator. When shopping, think about the areas you want to use this product on - underarms or bikini areas will usually require an attachment and not all models will have one.
Cost: Basic epilators start at around $70 but you do get what you pay for. I have the Braun Silk-Epil 1170 which is one of the cheapest models and has only 20 tweezers. This means that it just doesn't pick up all the hairs and I end up going back to shaving. I would definitely consider buying a more expensive one to get better results.
DEPILATORY CREAMSHair-removal creams use chemicals to break down hairs above the skin surface.
Time: 4-10 minutes depending on the strength of the cream and the thickness of the hair. Never leave it on for more than 10 minutes max.
Grow out time: about 3 days. The shorter the hair, the easier it will be for the cream to work.
Lasts for: 1 or 2 days
Feels like: painless
Best for: small areas with very fine hair.
Products needed: Just the cream. At the moment I am using Nad's Sensitive Hair Removal Creme.
PLUCKINGThis one is clearly best for very small areas with short hairs!
Lasts for: a week
Grow out time: one week
Feels like: Slight itching sensation but no pain.
Best for: perfect for eyebrows
Products needed: Tweezers only
Cost: This one is a one off buy so invest in a quality pair of tweezers that will get a grip on even the smallest hairs.
EXFOLIATING GLOVESYou know the ones, they're advertised in teen girl's magazines and on TV infomercials and promise to gently buff away hair from the skin.
Time: a few minutes for large areas
Grow out time: at least 3 days
Feels like: rubbing your skin with fine sandpaper
Best for: non-sensitive areas
Products needed: Exfoliating glove only
Cost: about $7 for a pack of 3. Not very economical as they wear out quickly and have to be thrown away.
Here are the exact products that are in my vanity right now...
Braun Silk Epil 1170 Epilator | Priceline
Nad's Sensitive Hair Removal Creme | Priceline
Nad's Natural Warm Wax | Priceline
Nad's Natural Hair Removal Gel | Priceline
Nad's Ingrow Solution | Priceline
Schick Exacta 2 Disposable Razors | Priceline
Silky Mit Glove | Priceline