May 21st 2021
The best at-home hair removal tools, creams and strips
June 18th 2020 / 0 comment
From epilators to waxing strip and razors, and creams, if hair removal is your thing, then choose your weapon from Sarah Vine's edit
The sun is out and it’s time to tend to the garden. The ‘lady-garden’, that is. Unlike many women who have always engaged the services of a professional and have struggling to manage their 'overgrowth' in recent months while salons are closed, I've always preferred to do my own pruning.
I think it’s just my generation: we grew up in a world without Brazilians and ten different flavours of moisturising wax. A pair of old pants and a quick Immac around the edges did most of us just fine.
Now if so much as a stray hair remains, it’s considered a full-on depilatory emergency. If it’s perfection you want, there are no shortage of specialist waxing establishments willing to offer it (they're set to reopen on 4 July). But unless you’re auditioning for Love Island anytime soon, you can achieve perfectly good results at home – without the trauma of having to make small talk with a complete stranger as they rummage around your undergrowth.
The best bikini line trimmer
Even without the embarrassment and humiliation, waxing the old lady parts is just too damn painful. I find it can also lead to ingrown hairs, which are no fun at all. The solution is to take the hair short, but not so close that the regrowth can burrow beneath the skin and cause problems. By far the best gadget I’ve ever found for this is the Philips BikiniGenie (£25) which is a timmer and shaver.
For the same price as a single waxing session, you can get this no-fuss battery-powered trimmer that works wet or dry and can be deployed safely in ever the most intimate areas. It offers a variety of length settings and is versatile enough for all levels of pruning.
The best razor for legs
As for the legs, personally, I don’t understand what’s wrong with shaving. OK, it’s a bit retro; but it doesn’t hurt, you won’t be left looking and feeling like you’ve just walked through a bed of nettles - and provided you use a good razor there’s really nothing to fear. A genius idea is FFS - Friction Free Shaving - an online subscription service that delivers a fresh monthly supply (a new one each week) of razors directly to your door, from just £9 a month, including postage. And they are excellent quality too, specifically designed for the purpose with a choice of three or five separate blades for extra smooth results.
The best at-home laser hair removal
Shaving may be fine for low-maintenance types like me; but if it’s high-def result you want, then high-tech is the route to go. In this respect, the Philips Lumea series is by far the easiest and most fuss-free IPL system I’ve tried. Sadly, it only works on dark hair and only if you have a Mediterranean or otherwise light complexion. But provided you have the required skin/hair tone, this is a fantastic long-term solution. There are various models; the Lumea Prestige BRI956 - has fully four separate attachments - face, body, legs and bikini - each one ergonomically shaped for the area and calibrated accordingly and has an app to remind you when to do it. It doesn’t come cheap - it's £399.99 from John Lewis currently – but I find it 100 per cent efficient for all three areas and incredibly quick and easy to use.
The best at-home hair removal cream
Hair removal cream has come on a long way since those whiffy pastes you applied in the bathroom that you could smell for days afterwards; V-care brand Woo Woo has *almost* made hair removal creams cool with their Tame It! Hair Removal Cream, £6.75, which took the crown in the best V-care category in our beauty awards last year.
It smells pleasant (subtle, slightly fruity), works in less than five minutes and washes off in the shower for a hair-free down-there area. It says it can be used on "undercarriage, bum and bikini line", in case you're wondering. Hair does grow back at the same rate as it would if you'd shaved but without the prickle and rashes that come from using razors on intimate areas. The formula includes aloe vera to soothe sensitive skin.
The best epilator
Epilators have come a long way since they launched in the late eighties. Back then they made only marginally less racket than a combine harvester and stung like hell. Braun's Silk-épil 9 Flex, £319.99, is much quieter and a lot gentler It can be used on legs, face, and bikini and comes with a range of attachments: a shaver, an epilator, trimmer and a body exfoliating brush too.
The main advantage of epilating is that it pulls hairs out by the roots (same as waxing) and so over time you will find you have less hair overall and regrowth is slower than shaving. The hair spends around two weeks growing under the skin before it pokes through. It’s also a lot less messy than waxing. This tool can pull out hairs that are 0.5mm - four times shorter than waxing – so you don't have to wait to go woolly. It has a swivel head that curves around your body to really get into those curves and crannies.
The best at-home wax strips
Home waxing is definitely the most painful of the DIY hair removal options, but it's not as wretched as you might imagine if you enlist the help of Veet EasyGrip Ready-to-Use Wax Strips, £5.99.
These pre-waxed strips are formulated with sweet almond oil to soothe the skin and you just warm them with your hands rather than heating a pot of wax in the microwave, which saves one fussy step. Cut these in half if you want extra precision.