8 ways to remove hair at home
Some methods you can try for hair removal at home include:
This is an inexpensive, easy-to-use, and pain-free method for hair removal on both the face and body. Shaving, however, does not provide lasting results and needs to be done every day. Moreover, there may be a risk of injuries such as cuts and burns. Avoid reusing the blades, as it increases the chances of ingrown hairs (face bumps) and infection of the follicles.
Shaving can also remove hair from larger areas of the body, such as the legs. It is advised to lubricate the skin with shaving gel, shaving foam, soap, or shower gel before shaving to achieve better results. Small nicks and cuts may occur, but they usually heal quickly without scarring. Those with extremely sensitive skin may develop razor bumps. Using a lubricant while shaving, especially one that has natural anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera, can reduce the risk of razor bumps, nicks, and cuts. Because shaving only cuts the hair above the skin, it grows back very quickly. Hence, you may need to repeat shaving every few days.
2. Depilatory creams
These creams can remove facial hair without causing any pain. They contain chemicals that break down keratin bonds of the hair, making the hair so weak that it can be wiped or rinsed off. They are inexpensive and easily available. Most depilatory creams take less than 5-10 minutes to work. (This varies with each manufacturer; hence, it is advised to strictly follow the instructions that come with the product.)
There are gentler formulations specifically available for sensitive areas such as the face. You need to apply them to the target area and wipe them off after a few minutes to remove the hair. These creams can cause skin irritation in some people. Thus, you must try them on a small area of your skin such as the back of the ear to check for skin sensitivity before using them.
Most types of depilatory creams can also be all over the body and are best for parts of the body with coarse, thick hair such as the arms, legs, and underarms. Because depilatory creams only work on the surface of the skin and not on the roots of the hair, the hair grows back quickly. Therefore, you may have to repeat every week or every few days depending on your hair growth rate.
Depilatory creams often have an unpleasant odor, which some may not be able to tolerate. Those with sensitive skin may develop redness or allergic reactions after using this hair removal technique. In case of an allergic reaction, depilatory creams should be avoided, and consultation with a dermatologist may be required.
Waxing is not as easy and painless as shaving or depilatory creams, but results last 3-4 weeks. Both hot and cold wax are available in the market for hair removal. Ensure that the wax is not too hot before applying it on the skin to prevent skin burns. Waxing should not be done on the face if you are on certain medications such as tretinoin, isotretinoin (current use or used within the past 6 months) and antibiotics. Waxing may leave your skin irritated for some time. Applying ice or aloe vera gel after waxing can help the skin get better.
Waxing can be done all over the body, including the face. Warm, melted wax is applied to the skin in strips and pulled off in the opposite direction of the hair growth. The wax adheres firmly to the hair and heat causes the hair follicles to dilate slightly, resulting in the entire hair, including the root, to be removed.
With regular waxing, the new hair that grows out would become weaker over time. Hence, it becomes easier and less painful to wax. Those with extremely sensitive skin can develop significant redness, irritation, and swelling after waxing. Waxing may be contraindicated if you are undergoing other skin treatments such as skin peels, topical medications, or laser treatments; hence, it is advised to consult a doctor regarding the same. There is a risk of ingrown hair with regular waxing. This can be minimized by thoroughly exfoliating the skin before waxing to remove the dead cells and impurities that can block the hair follicles resulting in ingrown hair.
There is also a risk of infection following waxing if proper hygiene practices are not followed. The hair must regrow at least a quarter of an inch before waxing can be repeated, which means a person would have to go through a period of having body hair before they can wax again. However, shaving and depilatory creams may be used because they work with any hair length.
Threading is ideal to remove hair from small areas such as the face—whether the upper lip or the eyebrows. It removes the hair by the root and is very precise, hence ideal to shape the eyebrows. The process is fairly quick; it involves using a cotton thread to pluck out several hairs at once. The thread is held between the fingers and twisted and turned on the area where hair is removed. It is typically done by a professional, but you can learn the technique of threading from a professional or watching instructional videos online.
Results can last 3-6 weeks but can vary depending on the hair growth. Pain, discomfort, and redness are common during threading. Those with overly sensitive skin may develop skin irrititation such as significant redness, swelling, and irritation.
Sugaring is an ancient technique of hair removal that has now regained popularity. It may be done at home or by a professional. Sugaring can be done on both the face and body.
You can use a simple recipe of sugar, lemon juice, and water to create a paste. The paste is applied over the skin and then pulled off in the opposite direction of hair growth. Like waxing, the hair is pulled off from the roots, results last 3-4 weeks, and the hair has to regrow to at least a quarter of an inch before sugaring can be repeated. Sugaring is less painful and damaging to the skin compared with waxing.
6. Prescription medications
These medications retard the growth of new hair. They contain the substance eflornithine hydrochloride. You can consult a board-certified dermatologist to get this prescription medication.
7. Egg, sugar, and cornstarch mask
Although there is no scientific evidence, certain homemade hair removal masks may help remove unwanted facial hair. You can make one by mixing together two to three teaspoons of sugar, an egg and a spoonful of cornstarch. Apply the mixture to your face for 15 to 20 minutes and peel it off. Doing this regularly can make your skin supple and possibly reduce facial hair growth.
Turmeric is a natural spice that is believed to have hair removal properties. It contains natural chemicals that may be able to slow or stop hair growth by weakening the hair roots. The results are slow and not dramatic like shaving or waxing, but it may be used alongside other hair removal techniques for its potential long-term benefits.
Turmeric is safe for most people; it also reduces pigmentation and inflammation and has antimicrobial properties. Turmeric may be applied over the face and all over the body every day in the form of turmeric oil (which may be washed off after an hour) or homemade masks. Turmeric may be mixed with lemon, honey, gram flour, and milk or yogurt and made into a paste, applied over the skin, and allowed to dry. Once the mask dries out, it can be gently scrubbed off.