Ways to Get Rid of Underarm Hair at Home

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Underarm hair ranks up there with one of the most annoying places to be fuzzy. We can agree with you when you say ‘it’s the pits.’ Most armpit hair is on the thicker side. This means that once it breaks the skin's surface after it has been removed, it's noticeable and can feel prickly. This makes it one of the places where the hair is removed often.

There are a couple different ways to take care of it right in your own home, and one that is more than just temporary. We help give you some advice for getting the best results and safety tips for each method.

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Laser or IPL Hair Removal

Pulsed light is used to impair the hair follicle. With most systems you need to have light to medium skin tone and hair on the darker side. While you can also get laser or IPL (intense pulsed light) done professionally, there are devices you can use at home, like Tria Laser (compare prices on Amazon) shown here.

(See all home Laser and IPL Hair Removal Systems).

For Best Results: Each company will give you specific instructions on how many sessions to use on yourself, including how many weeks to wait between each session. (Example: Use once every four weeks for six months).
Safety Tips: You must fall within a light skin tone range to safely use either of these models at home; darker skin can burn or blister. These are high-tech devices, so read over all instructions and safety tips very carefully.

Why We Love It: It's FDA approved for permanent hair reduction. With repeated treatments you should see less hair, or hair that comes back finer. You might be able to completely stop having to remove hair in your underarms or greatly reduce the number of times each week.

Those that have dark thick hair really appreciate when hair is totally gone from the follicle. They don't have that 'shadow' that's often left after shaving.

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Depilatories (hair removal creams)

The depilatory basically breaks down the hair above the skin’s surface, so that you can wipe it off. Unfortunately, the hair will still be there, it's just below the skin's surface.
For Best Results: After letting the product do its job, wipe off a small area to see if it’s removing hair before taking off the cream from the entire area (without going over suggested maximum time).
Safety Tips: Do a patch test first before using because hair removal creams are a strong product. Patch test each and every depilatory product you try, even from the same company. To avoid redness, scabbing and peeling don’t leave it on any longer than suggested in the directions. Immediately take the product off if you feel any burning.

Why We Love It: I'll be honest, I can't say that I love depilatories because they can be rather harsh and have a distinct perm scent. But I will give them kudos for being affordable, available at the drugstore, easy to use and not requiring any skill.

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No doubt it’s the easiest and most common way to get rid of armpit hair. Shaving cuts hair off at skin's level.
For Best Results: Shave after at least five minutes into a shower or bath so the warm water and steam has time to soften skin and hair.

If you don't have any redness, pimples or inflammation, lightly exfoliate the underarm area right before shaving. This helps to get rid of dead skin cells, which allows for a closer shave and may help prevent ingrown hair.

Use a good quality razor and shaving cream. Make sure to toss or change blades when they start to get dull. Otherwise you're just asking for nicks, cuts or razor rash.
Safety Tips: Hair can grow in various directions. Make sure to shave in the opposite direction of hair growth to get a closer shave.

Why We Love It: When done correctly, you can get smooth hairless underarms in a couple of minutes.

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Epilators 101

These gadgets do the work for you, removing hair right out of the follicle. Underarms can be hair-free for weeks a time.
For Best Results: Follow all the directions from the manufacturer and use the different features it may have to lessen pain or hair breakage. 

Safety Tips: Clean and maintain your device to avoid pimples and hair breaking above or below the skin's surface.

Why We Love It: Waxing and sugaring also remove hair from the root, but require more skill to do at home. Epilators do take some time to get used to with feeling and technique, but they are wonderful for speedy hair removal and can make a great investment.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Hair: removing unwanted hair. Updated May 5, 2016.

  2. Gold MH, Foster A, Biron JA. Low-energy intense pulsed light for hair removal at homeJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):48-53.

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Removing hair safely. Updated June 30, 2010.

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