As the weather heats up, so probably does your hair removal routine. While shaving is a cheap and easy hair-removing process, it's very short term and can leave nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs that can be prone to infection, says Sabrina Taylor, an expert in natural skin care products who regularly shares her expertise on

We asked Taylor about razor-free hair-removal techniques that can be safer and more effective. Here are the pros and cons of each:

1. Depilatories

Pros: If you're looking for a short-term hair-removing solution that you can do yourself at home, depilatories can be worth considering. Depilatories are chemical-based liquids or creams that are applied to the skin to weaken the hair follicles. When you wipe off the solution, the hair should come off with it.

Cons: One downside is that the results don't last long. In fact, the regrowth can start to show within a day or two. The chemicals can also leave a strong smell and often cause allergic reactions in sensitive skin.

2. Waxing

Pros: This is a semi-permanent type of hair removal that you can do yourself or have done in a salon. There are several different waxing techniques, but most will often involve either applying a strip containing the wax, or heating the wax and spreading it directly to the skin. When the wax is removed, it pulls the hair out from the root. The results of waxing can last up to two months. With repeated application, it can also stunt hair growth and discourage it from coming back.

Cons: For an effective wax treatment, you'll need to let your hair grow in thick and long enough to apply the solution. Waxing is also more painful than many other hair-removal techniques.

3. Sugaring

Pros: Sugaring (also known as Persian waxing) is a more natural and less painful hair-removing option that doesn't stick to your skin. It consists of using a food-based paste or gel that's layered on the hair follicles, first in the opposite direction of the hair growth, then following the natural hair pattern, in order to remove the hair from the root.

Cons: Sugaring can be more expensive to get it done professionally than regular waxing because it requires more expertise to layer it effectively. It can also be much more challenging to do this procedure yourself.

4. Laser Hair Removal

Pros: For a more permanent solution, laser hair removal can be worth considering. This procedure, which should be performed by a board-certified professional or highly trained technician, works by directing a beam of light onto the hair follicle to damage it and prevent it from growing.

Cons: It may take a few sessions to completely get rid of the hair, and some people may require laser hair removal maintenance treatments in the future. It's also more expensive than many other hair removing techniques, but Taylor says many people find the investment worth it.

5. Threading

Pros: An ancient Middle Eastern hair removal technique, called threading, uses a cotton thread strand that's doubled around the strand of hair and rolled in order to pull it out all of the way from the root. Taylor says that if you find someone well-trained in this procedure, it can be an effective and inexpensive method to groom your eyebrows and keep your upper lip hair-free for up to six weeks.

Cons: Threading is only recommended for smaller areas of hair removal.

6. Electrolysis

Pros: Electrolysis, a permanent hair removal technique requires a practitioner who has been professionally trained in the process. (Some states require that electrologists be licensed.) Electrolysis relies on a medical device with a probe that transfers chemicals or heat to the hair follicle in order to permanently destroy it so it can be removed from the root.

Cons: One of the most expensive hair removal techniques, Taylor says that multiple sessions are usually required, and they can also be very painful.

7. Prescription Cream

Pros: Some people find that a prescription hair-removal cream a simple solution to take care of their hair removal needs. They help to slow the growth of unwanted hair and works best on small areas, such as upper lip, chin and cheek.

Cons: Prescription hair removal creams can be expensive and very slow to work. They can also be very irritating, sometimes causing rashes or acne in users.

Try Before You Buy

Before you try any of these or other hair-removal techniques, Taylor advises doing a spot test to make sure you don't have any sensitivities to the product you want to use. This will help you any serious reactions as you prep your skin for summer.

Sabrina Taylor reviewed this article.


Sources: "Consumer Updates: Removing Hair Safely." US Food and Drug Administration. 30 June 2010. Web. 7 May 2013.
jxowhWAiRS8C6WI5NunTVQ&bvm=bv.46226182,d.dmQ "Laser Hair Removal." 10 May 2012. Web. 7 May 2013.