If you're looking for the best way to banish unwanted body hair, look no further. We analyzed the at-home methods to find you the best and most-effective options.
TROUBLE SPOT: LEGS
• Experts recommend shaving or depilatory creams.
• Why? Both are relatively convenient compared with waxing, which is also much more painful.
Shaving Pros and Cons:
• The biggest benefit is convenience. You can do it quickly and easily in the shower or while seated on the side of the tub. It works on all types of body hair, and you don't have to wait for stubble to grow out to do it again, as you do with wax. The downside? Hair grows back fast (on average, in one to three days). You're also prone to razor burn and nicks and cuts. A styptic pencil stops bleeding on contact (available at most drugstores for about $4).
Prepare to Shave:
• The best place to shave is in the shower. The warm water softens hair, giving you a closer shave and helping to prevent ingrowns. Wait a few minutes to allow the steam to open pores for smoother results, then apply shaving cream and draw a sharp, clean razor upward, against the direction of hair growth. (Replace the razor after seven uses.) Follow with a moisturizer to prevent rashes and flaking.
Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive razor, $13, and refill cartridges, $20–$24; at mass retailers. Skintimate Mandarin Burst Moisturizing shave gel, $3; at mass retailers
• You don't have to tackle the job as often as you do with shaving. And hair grows back softer, because you haven't cut it off midshaft. Also, no razor means no nicks or cuts, and the results last three to four days. On the downside, the chemical process can irritate sensitive skin, causing a burning sensation or rash. Plus, you have to wait for regrowth before using the cream again. And it might not be as effective on coarse hair.
Prepare to Use Depilatory Creams:
• Make sure legs are completely dry before applying a light coating of depilatory cream. Leave on for at least three minutes. Use a damp washcloth to test whether hair wipes off easily. If not, wait a bit longer but no more than 10 minutes. After wiping away all the cream (and hair), rinse skin thoroughly with warm water and pat dry. Apply the moisturizing gel that comes with the kit.
Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Total Care Body Trio kit, $14; at mass retailers