Sarah Vine’s guide to cheap, stress-free hair removal at home

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Hair removal : it’s up there with filing your tax return and cleaning the fridge in the list of tedious but necessary tasks that assail the modern woman.

I first shaved my legs around the age of 14 - with a razor borrowed from a school friend. It made me feel very grown-up, even though my ankles looked like I’d had a fight with a rose bush.

It was much longer before I attempted anything more high tech. My generation didn’t really do waxing: it was one of those treatments that only very grand French ladies and film stars were into. As for the bikini line, we just tucked it all in and hoped for the best.

By contrast, today’s young women are rigorous in their hair removal. Ever since Sex and the City introduced us to the alleged delights of the Brazilian, the pressure to be perennially smooth has grown.

Ignore it, that’s what I say. Firstly, it’s too time-consuming, not to mention painful and humiliating (I am past the point in my life where I should be taking my clothes off in front of a stranger); but also, who wants their vagina to look like a plucked chicken?

That said, no one likes having hairy toes. So here, in no particular order, are my top five hair removal favourites:

1.  Braun Silk Epil Epilator

£129.99, Buy online

This gadget has come a long way since it first launched in the late eighties. Back then it made only marginally less racket than a combine harvester, and stung like hell. The modern version is much quieter and a lot gentler, and comes with a range of attachments (including a light) for use on different areas. The main advantage is that it pulls hairs out by the roots, like waxing, and so over time you will find you have less hair overall. It’s also a lot less messy than waxing.

2. Tweezy

£10, Buy online

Simple, quick, cheap as chips: if you have unwanted facial hair, this is the one for you. The principal is the same as threading, only you can do it yourself.

3. Braun FG 1100 Bikini Trimmer

£19, Buy online

Simple, inexpensive, easy-to-use bush-tamer. You can trim and shape with minimal time and effort and absolutely no pain, humiliation or paper pants. Very civilised.

4. Philips Nose and Ear Trimmer

£12.99, Buy online

Gentlemen, take note: you don’t have to be Enrique Iglesias to be into hair removal. If your nose and ears are sprouting, deal with it. This tickles, but it does the trick.

5. Inhibitif

From £8.99, Buy online

A cocktail of growth-inhibiting ingredients slows down and weakens unwanted body hair. Regular use is required, but the results are impressive, and the products have been cleverly designed to make daily use easier, e.g. via a deodorant or a body cream.

Lastly, a tip: take an antihistamine and a couple of paracetamol before you embark on your lady-gardening. It will make the whole experience a lot less unpleasant. As will an old-fashioned tube of aloe vera.