Eletiofe The Best Creams and Tools for Removing Hair: Creams,...

The Best Creams and Tools for Removing Hair: Creams, Wax, and More

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Getting rid of hair on your body can be frustrating and painful, especially since no two bodies are the same. Hair can be curly or straight, dark or light, coarse or fine. Shaving is popular because it’s an easy method that provides instant results, but for some people (including me), it’s more of a nuisance.

I have stubborn, sensitive skin that gets razor burn and ingrown hairs. My skin gets so itchy between shaves that I’ve drawn blood by mindlessly scratching. I set out to find alternatives to make my life easier and, hopefully, yours too. I also need to say you absolutely do not need to get rid of your body hair. It’s a personal choice, whatever the norm.

If you’re worried about the hair on your head, see our how-tos on cutting and dyeing your hair at home. Also, check out our ultimate guide to self-care for other grooming tips.

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    Photograph: Ekaterina Panteley/Getty Images

    Things to Know Before You Try

    Hair Removal Tips

    If you’re trying out a new hair-removal process, especially with something harsh like a depilatory (the process to remove hair) cream or a laser, be sure to take a few things into account.

    • Do the proper research. Not all products are suitable for everyone, so just because someone else likes something, it doesn’t mean you will.

    • Read the directions for each product. Even if you’ve used a depilatory cream before, it doesn’t mean you’ve used them all. Make sure to note what length your hair should be before removal. For example, you should only use wax on hair that’s about 1/4-inch long.

    • Do a patch test first. This is the best way to ensure your skin won’t have a negative reaction.

    • Only use products meant for the proper body parts. You want to be especially careful on your face and pubic area.

  • Photograph: Nair 

    A Depilatory Cream for Legs

    Nair Leg Mask

    I didn’t think something as easy as applying cream and wiping it off could work for my coarse hair, but there’s a reason Nair has been around since 1940. Its Leg Mask is my favorite of all the products I tested for this guide. I can now have smooth legs without itching and ingrown hairs, plus it’s easy to use. It’s affordable, but if you use it as your only form of leg hair remover, you’ll go through a bottle fast, as you need a generous layer to cover the hair.

    I’ve tried the charcoal and shea butter masks (the latter don’t seem to be available for sale anymore), but there’s also a clay and seaweed version. I didn’t see a noticeable difference between them—both removed hair just as well—but the charcoal didn’t have as strong a scent. These are only for legs, hence the name, and cannot be used on the bikini area. Nair does have bikini-specific creams meant for more sensitive skin, but I have not tried them.

  • Photograph: Glee

    Wax Off

    Glee Wax Strips

    Waxing gives you a much smoother finish and lasts longer than shaving. Budgeting professional waxes into my life has been a game-changer, but it’s an expensive choice I can’t always make. Thankfully, there are soft-wax and pre-waxed strips that are easy to use at home. For larger areas, Glee’s pre-waxed strips are affordable and are recommended by WIRED staff. Another favorite is Parissa’s Waxing Pen, which is great for eyebrows or your upper lip, because the precision tip can get into those small areas without making a mess (or risk ripping off half a brow).

    I prefer the hard wax used at salons, because it adheres to hair follicles and not skin, so it hurts less than soft wax. But it’s pricier and requires a trip away from home. If you do it yourself, it can be messy. (You can buy a hard-wax kit for home use, but the warmers can be several hundred dollars.)

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