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Hair removal: What’s best for you?

Consumer Reports News: February 07, 2008 10:23 AM

How you remove unwanted body hair—manual or electric shavers, creams, hot wax, epilators, electrolysis, or lasers—is mostly a matter of preference. But some methods make particular sense for certain individuals, and our tests show that not all products are created equal.

Blades tend to be easiest for most people, and they shave slightly closer than electrics. Two- or three-bladed razors may offer some advantage. If you develop razor bumps—caused by shaved hairs curling back into the skin—stop shaving for a few days, then apply a preshave lotion and shave with the grain, without stretching the skin. Or consider one of the options below.

Electric shavers rarely cause razor burn or cuts, a particular advantage if you take a blood thinner or have a bleeding disorder. But all models tested on women’s underarms—including some men’s shavers—caused skin irritation.

Electric epilators (with hundreds of tiny tweezers) and hot-wax treatments pull hair out. Most of the ones we tested performed well, though some women found them painful.

Depilatory creams dissolve hair just below the skin surface. But they produce an unpleasant smell and can cause skin reactions in some people, so test a small amount on your forearm first.

Lasers and electrolysis permanently remove hair by destroying the follicles. But they’re costly and time-consuming, and should be done only by licensed practitioners. Even then, they can sometimes darken, lighten, or scar the skin.

   

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