While we’re not disputing the professional finish of an in-salon wax, not everyone has the time (or budget) to book in every few weeks during the summer. Thankfully, new developments in at-home hair removal mean there are more options than ever. From waxing to laser, here’s everything you need to know...
BEST FOR: Legs, arms, bikini line and underarms.
PROS: An epilator removes hair at the root, plucking out the hairs, so you can go over the same area several times if needed. It also works well on stubble, so you don’t have to wait for hair to grow. Results last longer than shaving and a device is relatively affordable.
CONS: While waxing removes several hairs at once, an epilator removes them one by one. However, the more you epilate, the more you’ll get used to the sensation and it will become less painful.
TOP TIPS: Try to pull the skin taut as you epilate to reduce bruising and move against the direction of hair growth.
BEST FOR: Everywhere, including the face.
PROS: Waxing removes hair from the root, so you should be hair-free for several weeks. Regular waxing can weaken the hair follicle, so over time, the hair won’t grow back as thick and coarse as it does after shaving.
CONS: You’ll need to wait at least two to three weeks between waxes for the hair to grow, making this an option that can be planned ahead, such as before a holiday, but not one for last-minute fixes.
TOP TIPS: At-home waxing should be done with care – while cold and hot options are available (hot ones can be heated in the microwave) be careful around the bikini line and on the face. And as waxing removes the top layer of skin, never wax the same area twice and remove any stray hairs with tweezers.
BEST FOR: Everywhere – including legs, underarms and the bikini line.
PROS: It’s a permanent solution. Laser works by targeting the hair’s pigment (melanin) in your follicles; the laser beam converts to heat as it passes through the skin, which is then absorbed by the melanin present in the hair follicle. The heat damages the follicle at its root, which prevents regrowth over time.
CONS: Laser works best on those with dark hair and fair skin (the greater the contrast between the two, the better), so it’s unsuitable for those with pale hair as well as those with darker skin. While undergoing laser, you will also have to avoid any kind of tan – even fake tan – or you risk burning. The rule of thumb is to start around six weeks pre- or post-sunny holiday.
TOP TIPS: Remember that at-home laser devices aren’t as strong as salon machines so don’t expect to see the same results. Many experts recommend using them as maintenance in between a course of professional treatments.
BEST FOR: Legs and underarms.
PROS: One of the quickest and cheapest methods of hair removal, you don’t have to wait for the hair to grow to a certain length before shaving.
CONS: Regrowth can be quick and hair does tend to grow back thicker, darker and coarser. There is also the risk of cutting yourself, which can be annoying before a big event.
TOP TIPS: Try to soak in a warm bath or stand in the shower for a few minutes prior to shaving (this will soften the hair) and always use a shaving foam or some conditioner (trust us, it works) to ensure the razor glides easily over the skin. The general rule is to shave against the grain for the closest results but when shaving underarms, move your razor up, down and sideways as underarm hair can grow in all directions.
BEST FOR: Legs and underarms.
PROS: Although not painless, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is less painful than other methods such as epilation. Like laser, it destroys the root of the hair over time, meaning you’ll need less treatment as time passes.
CONS: IPL targets your skin’s pigment, so only really works for those with fair skin and dark hair. It also requires continuous use for best results. Plus, it’s far less effective than laser as the energy it produces is emitted via a variety of light waves, making it more diffused and less powerful – but this generally makes it cheaper than laser treatments.
TOP TIPS: Due to the way IPL hits the skin, the intensity and speed of results will vary between individuals. The consensus is that if you want effective hair removal, particularly on larger areas and darker skin, laser is more effective, but at-home IPL results are still impressive.