How to Remove Hair Without Shaving

Two Methods:Everyday SolutionsPermanent Solutions

Sick of excess face or body hair, but hate the pain, cost, and wasted time that comes with shaving? Never fear — there are numerous ways to get rid of hair without getting anywhere near a razor. Depending on the quality of your hair and the result you're looking for, any one of these choices may be right for you, so educate yourself about them today to make an informed decision!

Method 1
Everyday Solutions

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    Use depilatory cream. Depilatory creams are products that remove hair by dissolving it at the skin's surface.[1] Usually, these products come in a lotion or shampoo-like bottle and are sold at pharmacies like Walgreens, etc. for fairly cheap. If you use this method, check the ingredients when shopping to make sure that you aren't sensitive and make sure to always follow the directions on the label.
    • Pros: Doesn't hurt. Easy to use.
    • Cons: Requires frequent use (hair grows back at normal speed). Can smell bad.
    • Notes: For best results, apply after bathing when hair is softest. Don't use products labeled for body use on the face — these can be made from harsher chemicals.[2] See our depilatory article for more information.
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    Try hair removal pads. Another product that's useful for getting rid of unwanted hair is the aptly-named hair removal pad. This product basically works like a small handheld buffer: you rub the rough surface against the skin with short, quick movements and moderate pressure and hair is gently rubbed out. The area that the pad can "buffer" at one time is small, making this method best for small patches of hair.[3]
    • Pros: Doesn't hurt when used correctly. No soreness afterward from lotion, aftershave, etc.
    • Cons: Time-consuming.
    • Notes: This product will also abrade the skin, leaving it looking ashen or "ashy." You may want to apply lotion afterwards to re-moisturize. Wash and dry pads after use.
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    Try threading. This method of hair removal, which originated centuries ago in Turkey, is gaining popularity worldwide. When someone has unwanted hair "threaded," a "threader" gathers the hair in a loop of cotton thread, twists the thread, and plucks it out. With this technique, a good threader can clear a decent amount of hair fairly quickly — 15 minutes for a set of eyebrows is considered good.[4]
    • Pros: Healthier for skin than waxing. Good choice for sensitive skin. Lasts for several weeks.
    • Cons: Can hurt. Most useful only on flat surfaces (not joints). Can't be done at home.
    • Notes: Take the time to find a threader with good reviews. An expert threader can make the process much less painful.
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    Try tweezing. An old, reliable tool for hair removal, a pair of tweezers lets you grab and pluck unwanted hairs individually. This somewhat painful method is usually reserved for removing just a few hairs at a time — much more can be hard to bear.
    • Pros: Precise — allows you to remove exactly which hairs you want, one at a time.
    • Cons: Painful. Time-consuming except when plucking just a few hairs. Can cause mild irritation in some individuals.
    • Notes: Wash tweezers before and after use. See How to Avoid Bumps When Plucking Hair for a guide to minimizing skin irritation during a tweezing session.
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    Try waxing. This widely-known hair removal method has a fearsome reputation, but it's often not as bad as it's cracked up to be. Waxing is great for removing stubborn hair from the legs, underarms, bikini area and face (when applied cautiously and gently.)[5] It's also especially good for people with coarse, dark hair that contrasts with their light skin. Waxing can be done by buying kits bought from cosmetics stores or via a professional.
    • Pros: Removes lots of hair relatively quickly. Lasts for several weeks.
    • Cons: Painful, though this reduces after the first waxing. Difficult to do at home; professionals can be somewhat expensive.
    • Notes: If waxing yourself, always apply wax in the direction of hair growth and pull in the direction opposite the hair growth. Follow all directions on the wax packaging, especially when it comes to heating the wax.
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    Try sugaring. "Sugaring" is a method of hair removal that works almost exactly like waxing — a thick liquid mixture is applied to the skin, allowed to set, and pulled off with cloth. The difference is in the ingredients of the mixture: unlike waxing, sugaring uses natural ingredients (often, a honey-like mixture of sugar, lemon juice, and water). This makes it gentler on the skin for some (especially those with allergies).
    • Pros: Removes lots of hair relatively quickly. Lasts for several weeks. Smaller risk of allergies/irritation. Can be made at home (cautiously).
    • Cons: Similar pain level to waxing, though this reduces after the first sugaring. Difficult to do at home; professionals can be somewhat expensive.
    • Notes: See our sugaring article for an at-home recipe and directions for use.
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    Try an epilator. An epilator is a device that more or less works like an automatic set of tweezers, pulling hairs out with a set of mechanical grabbers. However, unlike tweezers, epilators pull on only the hair — not the skin around it — which makes them less painful to some. Epilators are a good all-around tool, as they work relatively quickly, can be used on many parts of the body, and keep pain to a reasonable level.[6]
    • Pros: Removes lots of hair relatively quickly. Lasts for several weeks. Quicker than tweezing manually. Gentler on the skin for some.
    • Cons: Some pain, though this reduces after the first use. Requires minor cleaning/maintenance.
    • Notes: If you can, get a waterproof epilator and remove hairs in the shower when they're softest and easiest to pull out.

Method 2
Permanent Solutions

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    Consider laser therapy. Laser hair removal therapy is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed today.[7] In this procedure, a highly-concentrated beam of light targets individual hair follicles, destroying them. Hair generally stops growing back near-permanently after three to seven sessions.[8]
    • Pros: Quick, relatively painless. Widely available due to popularity.
    • Cons: Causes pain and redness similar to that of a sunburn for several days. Blisters, temporary discoloration, and other, more painful side effects are possible but rare.[9]
    • Notes: Treated hair falls out over about a month, not immediately. Sunscreen usually recommended to protect the treated area.
    • Cost: Varies; about $235 per session.[10]
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    Consider electrolysis. In an electrolysis, a small, very thin probe is used to destroy individual hair follicles with a shortwave radio frequency. After, the hair itself is removed with tweezers. This method causes near-permanent hair loss after several treatments. Electrolysis is suitable for most of the body.[11]
    • Pros: Generally very minor discomfort. Short appointments, only a few sessions usually needed.
    • Cons: Can cause temporary pain and redness.
    • Notes: Be sure to choose an accredited, certified electrolysis expert. Poor technique can cause additional pain.[12]
    • Cost: Varies; about $25-$150 per hour.
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    Understand that even these methods can have minor hair regrowth. Unfortunately, for the time being, there is no truly "permanent" hair removal method. While the methods above can permanently end hair growth, they won't always have 100% perfect results. After a few years, some minor amount of hair regrowth is possible, so repeat "touch up" sessions may be necessary. Be aware of this as you make your decision.
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    Talk to your doctor before pursuing any "permanent" solution. While both laser therapy and electrolysis are considered by the FDA to be generally safe when performed by a professional, there is a very small (but real) chance of danger with these hair removal procedures and others. For example, in a few isolated cases, individuals who used excessive amounts of face-numbing cream for their laser therapy treatment reportedly experienced life-threatening symptoms.[13]
    • For this reason, it's crucial to discuss these procedures with your doctor before agreeing to undergo them. Only your doctor can tell you for sure which treatments (if any) are safe and appropriate for you.


  • When testing a method like waxing for the first time, you may want to use some in a small area that is usually not seen until you get the technique right.
  • With all of the methods above, it's best to exfoliate your skin regularly to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.


  • Pay attention to the way your skin reacts to the product you use. If you develop a rash, itching, or redness, stop using it.
  • Be conservative with permanent and semi-permanent solutions like waxing, especially in highly visible areas like your face. You can always wax again if you miss a spot, but you can't magically put hair back once you pull it out.

Article Info

Categories: Hair Removal