Leg hair removal – which products are best: shaving, depilatory cream, or perhaps laser?

When it comes to hair removal, it’s often our legs that we’re keen to tackle first – especially during those hot summer months when they’re freed from the confines of those tights and trousers you’ve been hiding them in all winter. With a whole host of leg hair removal products out there, which work best and which should you reach for? Let’s look at the leg hair removal options:

Shaving

OK, probably the method most of us will try out before anything else, let’s not knock the humble razor. Shaving’s quick and easy and razors are generally cheap. So far, so good. There’s the issue of stubbly regrowth though. Let’s face it, that sandpaper feel isn’t particularly desirable. Shaving doesn’t keep leg hair at bay for long either, especially if you’re ‘blessed’ with hair that grows back at a frankly alarming rate. So what else is there to try?

Hair removal creams

As an alternative to shaving, leg hair removal creams can claim to give you smooth pins for longer. Again, they’re relatively inexpensive and can be a good option if you’re prone to shaving rash. That said, hair removal cream can irritate sensitive skin, be messy to use and (let’s not mince words) stink.

I’ve never got on all that well with creams – I’ve always found shaving gets smoother results and creams don’t always touch every last hair, but if you fancy trying them out, Veet’s Gel Cream and Mousse have had plenty of good reviews, so seem to be amongst the best. Just make sure you test them beforehand to make sure you’re not sensitive to the ingredients.

Waxing

If you want a longer lasting leg hair removal method, waxing can be a brilliant option. It’s good for larger areas so, when done well, can give you hair-free legs without too much hassle and normally keeps them smooth for weeks. Costs can add up if you head to a salon to have it done, but there are plenty of kits out there that make leg waxing at home pretty simple. It pays to practice and make sure you get the technique right, but once you’ve got it sussed it can make leg waxing wonderfully inexpensive, not to mention convenient.

Warm wax is generally recommended over the cold wax strips you can get, as cold wax doesn’t always manage to cling on to every last hair. I’ve found things can get a bit messy with warm wax kits and have actually been really pleased with the super smooth results I got using Veet wax strips, but it’s really a matter of personal preference. I’d stay away from ‘sensitive’ versions though, they often just don’t have the sticking power and are next to useless!

Waxing does have its drawbacks – aside from the pain (ouch!) you need to wait for your hair to reach a certain length for it to be effective, meaning you’ll be stuck with semi-hairy legs between waxing sessions. Skin can be tender and red for a while after waxing, and it can lead to those tiresome ingrown hairs, but overall it’s effective and great to do before holidays, so you don’t need to worry about battling with troublesome leg hair while you’re away.

Laser hair removal/IPL

Another longer lasting way to rid yourself of your leg hair that’s growing in popularity is to reach for the lasers.

(Just a quick note to mention that laser and IPL hair removal don’t work in exactly the same way, it’s important to note the distinction between the two. Laser treatment uses a focused beam of light that can be filtered to a single wavelength, and this can be adapted for specific skin and hair types. IPL uses a broader spectrum of light, delivered through flash bulbs, so there’s less control and it’s generally considered weaker overall.)

Laser hair removal is thought to be effective at leading to reduced hair growth over time, though results can vary from person to person. You’ll usually start to see your treated hairs come loose around 10 days after treatment, but will need repeated sessions for a noticeable long term result. Laser treatment can target multiple hairs at once, though it can still take around an hour to treat both legs. You’ll also need at least five or so treatments in all to target the hairs while they’re at a certain stage of their growth cycle.

Laser hair removal isn’t for everyone either – it generally works best on those with light skin and dark hair (though certain types of laser are kinder on dark skin), and you need to make sure you visit a fully qualified technician to minimise the chance of any side effects. And what’s the cost? At $500 – $1000, sometimes more, per session for legs, laser hair removal isn’t cheap either. So although the long term results can make it worthwhile for some, be wary of falling for claims that sound too good to be true. Not everyone’s leg hair is beaten into submission by the power of the laser.

Permanent leg hair removal

Permanent hair removal, does such a thing exist?! I’m afraid you’ll have to hold back your excitement for now, only electrolysis can claim to remove hair permanently and, as this targets each hair individually, you can imagine how long this method takes on legs, especially those that are particularly hairy! If you’re desperate for a hair removal technique that will mean no more shaving or waxing those legs ever again then it’s worth looking into, but the cost, pain and time of the procedure mean electrolysis is usually best reserved for smaller areas like the upper lip.

Leg hair removal for men

Though we tend to assume it’s women who care about getting rid of their leg fuzz, there are all sorts of reasons that men may also want to keep their legs hair free and smooth, and why not. The available methods for men are exactly the same as for women, though you’ll find hair removal cream marketed for men in more manly packaging and less feminine scents. Nice.

So when it comes down to leg hair removal, it boils down to personal preference and budget. As a cheap quick fix, shaving’s hard to beat, but if you’ve got more cash to splash then it may well be worth dipping your toe (well, legs) into the world of laser hair removal to see if it can give you effective long-lasting results.

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2 comments on “Leg hair removal – which products are best: shaving, depilatory cream, or perhaps laser?

  1. Hair Removal on said:

    When you have your leg hair removed professionally, you won’t ever have to worry about missing a spot because you won’t have to shave at all. Laser hair removal targets every hair follicle on your legs, eliminating the hair at the root, and will help keep every inch of your legs nice and smooth.

  2. I prefer the Karmin electric epilator :)

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