Comparison of at-home hair removal methods

Hair removal comparison

At-home methods

For some people, privacy is their utmost concern. For others it's convenience of treating yourself when time is available. Others do their own to save money. These are methods available for those who want to remove hair on their own.

How to read this chart

Methods that can work cost speed pain lasting skin
injury
safety
Shaving

A-

A

A

D-

A-

A-

Shaving (electric)

B+

A

A

D-

A

A

Tweezing

A

D-

D

C

A-

A

Waxing

B

B-

C-

C

A-

A

Depilatories

B+

B+

B

D

B-

B+

Rx topical (Vaniqa)

C

A

A-

B+

A-

A-

Shaving powders

B+

B+

B

D+

B-

B+

Friction

A

B+

B+

D+

B+

A

Sugaring

A-

B+

B+

D+

B+

A

Threading

A

B

C-

C

A-

A

Rotary epilators

B+

C

D-

C

A-

A

Pro needle unit at home

D

D+

D+

A

D+

C-

Home use electrolysis unit

A-

D-

D

A

D

D+

Doubtful methods
Topical "hair inhibitors"

B+

A

A-

F

B-

B+

Food or dietary supplements

B+

A

A

F

A

B+

Electric tweezers

D

D-

A-

C

B+

A-

"Transdermal electrolysis"

D

C-

A-

C

B+

A-

"Transcutaneous hair removal"

D

C

A-

C

B+

A-

 
Notes

Shaving is by far the most popular hair removal method.

The only proven permanent methods available for use at home are the Inverness One Touch and General Medical's home electrolysis kit. It's possible to buy a professional unit for home use, but they are more expensive and more likely to cause skin damage in untrained hands.

I do not recommend attempting your own electrolysis at home unless you have only a very small number of hairs to remove, due to the likelihood of causing permanent skin damage. Even then, you should only attempt it if you have absolutely no other option financially, because it is extremely difficult and time-consuming. The failure rate for at-home electrolysis is very high.

Inverness One Touch is the most popular brand of needle-based home units. It's available at most drug chains, some department stores, and beauty supply stores. General Medical's Perma-Tweez is the same type of device, but is not as widely available. They cost around $30 and run on a 9-volt battery. Many people (myself included) have found it excruciating and impossible, and wish they hadn't even bothered trying. At least I was only out thirty bucks, where a professional unit costs from hundreds (used) to thousands (new). Remember, if the device doesn't have a needle, it hasn't been proven permanent. A few have had success with this; most have not.

See the section on do-it-yourself electrolysis for details

To minimize the risk, go to a certified electrologist after getting a recommendation from a client who is done and happy.

See choosing an electrologist for details.

Beyond the at-home needle units, nothing here has been proven to be especially lasting, so you end up making other trade-offs. You must prioritize these according to your own needs. For instance, waxing and electric tweezers last about the same amount of time, so you have to decide if you'd rather endure pain in a quick waxing session, or avoid pain in a longer, more expensive electric tweezer session.

Charts in this section:

Comparison of methods done at home

Comparison of methods done professionally

Comparison of proven permanent hair removal methods