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Body hair is a normal thing. It’s on all bodies. We grow it everywhere, from our brows to our big toes. And whether you choose to keep it or remove it, it’s all about your preference, not anyone else’s.
But here’s the catch: If you have thicker or more abundant body hair and prefer to go bare, traditional DIY methods may not be up to par.
You might have more prominent body hair simply because of genetics. And that includes some conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s disease, or certain cancers. These hormone changes may cause excessive body hair that may be darker or thicker.
Thicker body hair may also be harder to remove or seem to grow back at lightning speed, so the standard tips won’t be as effective. That doesn’t mean you have to spend oodles of cash at the waxing salon or opt for even pricier treatments, though.
DIY tools and solutions still work. You just need our tips on how to nix unwanted hair in the privacy of your own bathroom.
Regardless of what body part you’re freeing of fleece, you need to follow a few important steps.
1. Clean skin
You always want to work with a fresh slate. Suds up with soap in the bath or shower to remove any bacteria or grime that could cause folliculitis or other irritating bumps, especially when removing thicker hair.
Exfoliating helps slough off dead skin cells that have accumulated around the follicles so you can get the best possible hair-removal results.
To keep irritation to a minimum, avoid chemical exfoliants before shaving, waxing, or using a depilatory. Stick to clean loofahs and mitts or even a gentle body scrub.
3. Perform hair removal
Each removal method requires its own technique. If you’re waxing, you’ll want to work with dry skin.
A light powder can help keep moisture at bay. If you’re shaving, wet your skin and use a lubricating shave soap or a light cream that won’t clog a razor. If you’re using a depilatory, apply it to damp skin.
4. Pamper after
Pampering your skin after any hair-removal technique is essential to prevent infection, itch, and other irritations that larger hair follicles are prone to. Moisturizing is key! You can also look for extra ingredients, like AHAs (e.g., citric acid) or BHAs (e.g., salicylic acid) to keep dead skin cells and bacteria at bay to prevent ingrown hairs.
One such aftercare product is the ingrown hair concentrate by fur ($50), which is noted to be actress Emma Watson’s favorite pube oil. It includes an oil with bacteria-fighting ingredients, a spot treatment to tackle any bumps that do crop up, and a cream to soften stubble as it grows back.
Faces can get furry in all sorts of spots, including between the brows, on the upper lip, and along the jawline, chin, and neck — and facial hair can sprout on anyone’s face. Hair removal on the cheek is ideal for people who want a smooth makeup application or maximum ingredient penetration to the skin.
Here are some options for defuzzing your face when you want to.
No matter your hair status, you can totally shave your face. If your hair grows fast, though, and you don’t want to irritate your skin by taking a blade to it every day, skip to our other options below.
Razor brand billie, which features women shaving their faces in ads, is a great option. With five blades tucked in a rounded cartridge, the billie razor is perfect for navigating all your fluffier features, even those with thicker thatches.
Don’t worry. Shaving won’t make hair grow in thicker. That’s a hair-removal myth that’s perpetuated about all hairy parts. What you may notice a day later is stubble, since a razor lops the hair off at the base.
Waxing is the way to go if you want a fur-free effect that lasts for three to six weeks. Waxing may sound complicated or messy, especially for thicker hair, but it’s easier than you think.
Note: Not all waxing styles are made equal! We recommend getting waxing strips to avoid facial burns. Nad’s ($10) has two strips sandwiched together that you can heat up by rubbing the strips between your hands. No messy trips to the microwave.
Another strip that attracts hair away from the face is flamingo ($17), which doesn’t even need to be heated up.
In salons, threading, which lasts as long as waxing, is the process of using a thread twisted on itself to grip hairs and pull them out. Yep, that sounds tricky. But you can achieve similar results at home without needing to study this ancient technique.
There are coiled steel devices that mimic gripping threads that cost around $8 to $18. It may take a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, this tool is an easy and convenient way to pluck pesky facial hair.
You’ll have to replace these as the coils loosen up. When that happens depends on frequency of use.
It’s no secret that your pits sweat and that underarms are a prime area for chafing against clothing, especially during exercise. Plus, armpits have curves and folds. For all of these reasons, underarms can get easily irritated from hair removal. They deserve special care.
The trick to shaving thicker armpit hair while minimizing irritation or ingrowns is to use the right products.
Seek out a decadent cream or shave soap that combines bentonite clay with grapeseed oil or tea tree oil. The clay creates glide-able texture and goes to work with the oils to banish bacteria.
Pit hair can grow in all directions, so you might have to make multiple passes. For this reason, using a single-bladed razor rather than one with several blades will help keep irritation to a minimum and lessen the chance for ingrown hairs.
Grab a safety razor, like the raved-about Edwin Jagger ($26), for this sensitive area.
Hot-waxing the underarms is a great option if shaving brings on irritation and leaves you with an armpit shadow from stubble, or if you just want results that last longer. Note: For hot wax, you’ll likely need to purchase a warmer ($15 to $30) as well.
You can’t go wrong with Vidasleek’s Spa Wax ($16) for thick, coarse hair. As it hardens, hard wax adheres to the hairs, then you peel off the wax itself. It works wonders if you have deep pits, where strip wax wouldn’t quite work.
Although you might be used to shaving your legs, hair removal from your torso can be tricky for the simple reason that it’s hard to reach all your parts for shaving or waxing maneuvers. Plus, shaving larger sections of your body can leave you feeling itchy when the stubble starts to grow back. That’s why a depilatory is your best all-in-one bet.
A depilatory can be easily applied and then rinsed off in the shower so you can be on your way and hair-free for days.
You can find depilatories at your local drugstore, but test before you use. These creams are known to be irritating to the skin as they work to dissolve the hair and need to be kept on for a while. If your skin is sensitive, we suggest skipping this method.
Hot wax or strips: It depends on your body. We think hot wax is the way to go for the legs, but on the arms, toes, fingers, or even stomach, strips may be the answer. No matter which method you choose, remember to pamper after.
The billie razor ($9) is an excellent choice because it has five blades encased in charcoal soap for an unparalleled glide experience. Ample and even spacing of the blades prevents the usual clogging you’ll see with many other razors when shaving denser hair.
If you’re game for a DIY groin glam-up, hard wax rather than strip wax is going to be the easiest option. Hard wax will form to your thigh creases and the curves of your butt cheeks.
Yes, you can use the same tub of Vidasleek’s Spa Wax ($16) for thick, coarse hair that you may have purchased for your pits. Just make sure you’ve never double-dipped your applicator sticks.
2. Shaving and grooming
If you’re a pube shaver, you need a dedicated razor for this. The tool you use on your rug shouldn’t touch your mug and vice versa. Don’t use it for the rest of your bod.
The Men’s Schick Hydro 5 Groomer ($10) is one of the best options for hair down there, regardless of gender. It’s got multitasking talents and the ability to tackle bushier business. One end is a waterproof-powered trimmer with three adjustable settings for grooming tasks. Then, if you want a closer shave of your sensitive parts, just flip it around to access the five-blade razor.
As you can see, you’ve got many options for defuzzing if the mood strikes, even if your body hair is on the thicker or more abundant side for whatever reason.
Of course, you don’t have do to anything with that hair at all. This is simply a how-to if you want to.
You can keep it in some places and remove it in others or opt for removal some months and then go through a growing period. And you can just own it altogether all the time, like the inspiring Rose Geil.
Body hair is a natural part of every person. No one else but you should determine your preferences or practices regarding it.
Jennifer Chesak is a medical journalist for several national publications, a writing instructor, and a freelance book editor. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill. She’s also the managing editor for the literary magazine, Shift. Jennifer lives in Nashville but hails from North Dakota, and when she’s not writing or sticking her nose in a book, she’s usually running trails or futzing with her garden. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.