Hair removal is tricky, and not just because it can be extremely painful (just ask someone about their first bikini wax, and they'll tell you). Some methods are great for facial hair but not for body hair (and vice-a-versa). Others may come with some unpleasant side effects (redness and rashes and irritation, oh my!). Fortunately, there is a solution—or solutions, rather—that will allow you to reach hairless nirvana. We're talking about natural hair removal, friends.
Unlike most depilatories, natural hair removal doesn't rely on harsh chemicals to get rid of unwanted hair. It's, therefore, a great option if you've got sensitive skin or if you're just looking to go green with your beauty routine. To find out more, we turned to experts Dr. Michele Farber and Jodi Shays who gave us the 411 on the best ways to remove hair—sans chemicals.
Meet the Expert
- Jodi Shays is the owner and founder of Queen Bee Salon & Spa. She has over 20 years of professional experience working as a licensed esthetician.
- Michele Farber, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist. She practices at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Philadelphia, PA.
Keep scrolling to check out 10 natural hair removal methods you can try at home.
The most popular hair removal method is none other than good ol' fashioned shaving. For best results, invest in quality products. We can't say enough good things about Billie. The female-first company produces effective, yet inexpensive, shaving products that are worth the subscription (seriously, just get the starter kit already). And let's not forget how a nourishing shaving cream like Dr. Bronner's Organic Shaving Soap ($13) will remove friction on the skin. Post-shave, follow up with a moisturizer or body oil to prevent annoying razor bumps.
In the same vein as shaving, we also like using dermaplaning tools to achieve silky-smooth skin. Take these small razors from Sephora's in-house brand, for instance. They're made for precise hair removal anywhere, although they're especially handy at removing peach fuzz and shaping eyebrows. While Shays strongly recommends using a licensed and trained professional to perform dermaplaning, she does offer some helpful tips if you do decide to give it a go yourself:
- Use only new blades on freshly-washed, dry skin since dirty blades can cause nicks in skin that can lead to breakouts of bacterial acne.
- Hold skin taught at an angle and work tools gently using light strokes, downward.
- Use a gentle moisturizer after dermaplaning.
- Since peach fuzz acts as a natural sunblock, if you remove it, you must apply sunblock when going outside.
- Do not dermaplane if you recently had Botox or fillers.
Dermaflash Luxe ($199) is a dermaplaning device that exfoliates and removes unwanted facial hair. To use, simply press the power button and run the superfine blade across your face for about five minutes. It might sound scary but we promise it's not. Just keep in mind: "Generally, dermaplaning is tolerable in most skin types and skin tones; however, this procedure should be avoided in anyone with a tan, sunburn, or active inflammatory conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis to prevent irritation or worsening of these issues," advises Farber.
Although waxing strips have been around since the 1960s, not everyone has jumped on the waxing bandwagon; fear of pain is often cited as its number one deterrent. Luckily, there are tips to making waxing hurt less, as well as totally non-scary at-home waxing kits. We like Nad’s Original Hair Removal Gel Kit ($13) because it removes body and/or facial hair using natural and hypoallergenic ingredients. Its gel wax formula grabs hair at the root with results lasting up to eight weeks. And since it uses cold wax vs. hot wax, there's no chance of burning your skin. So go ahead and wax on, wax off with ease.
Sugaring is often compared to—and confused with—waxing. Both remove hair from the root with longer-lasting results than shaving; but whereas sugaring extracts hair in the natural direction of hair growth, waxing pulls in the opposite direction. Sugaring also uses a sticky mixture of natural ingredients, predominantly, (you guessed it) sugar.
To try this natural hair removal method out, Shays recommends whipping up a DIY recipe using lemon and sugar or purchasing an at-home sugaring kit. You can't go wrong with Moom's Hair Removal Kit ($18) which counts soothing tea tree oil and chamomile among its ingredients. Once you have your paste, apply it to your skin, press a fabric strip atop the area, wait for it to dry a bit, then pull away. Sugaring can be done on the entire body: legs, face, bikini area, underarms—you name it. Plus, it's water-soluble, meaning, removal is easy if you accidentally apply it to the wrong spot.
From shaping brows to plucking stray chin hairs, tweezing is a crowd favorite for grooming and removing facial hair; but when it comes to getting rid of body hair, it just doesn't cut it. Enter: epilation. An electronic, hand-held device with a rotating head, an epilator can remove large swaths of hair from the root. It's essentially tweezers on steroids. Needless to say, plucking hairs simultaneously isn't exactly a pain-free option; however, it's easy to do at home and the results are long-lasting (read: up to a month).
Hair Growth Inhibitors
If you're looking for a quick fix, you may want to skip over this hair removal method. Hair growth inhibitors limit and reduce hair regrowth over time. "[They] work to slow hair growth at the root of the hair," explains Farber. Formulated with natural ingredients and botanical extracts, Venus Visage Hair Growth Inhibitor ($16) gets raving four-star reviews on Amazon thanks to being effective and non-irritating—plus, it smells great. Apply it to your face or body at night so that it can work its magic. Still, Farber adds, "There is not enough long-term data on the safety and efficacy of these products."
Aside from shaving (with the proper technique), threading is the best natural hair removal method for those with sensitive skin, according to Farber. It's super precise and is ace at removing facial hair and grooming brows, which it does by pulling hair from the follicle using a cotton thread. Get it done by either heading to a professional threading service or acting as your own technician using Slique's Threading & Removal System ($30) at home. Results last up to four weeks.
Consider this strange little device an electric razor for your body. You can use it on hard-to-shave areas (like the knees and ankles), and it will sweep away hair without cuts or nicks to the skin. It has some glowing reviews for sensitivity, too. One reviewer writes, "I have eczema on my legs and a razor is just too … painful. This gave me a close and comfortable shave. It takes a little longer but is totally worth it! I find circular motions work best and it will give a nice close shave. Totally worth the money!"
Laser Hair Removal
Finally, there's always the option for laser hair removal (whether in-office or at-home like with this Tria Beauty laser). It works by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle and stops it from regrowing new hair. While lasers aren't technically "natural," they can be less irritating to some people's skin than traditional hair removal methods (if used safely and correctly) with the promise of getting rid of hair for the long haul. Still, "The only permanent way of removing hair is by electrolysis," emphasizes Shays.