The most popular methods of hair removal today are shaving and waxing, but when it comes to waxing vs shaving, which is better?
Women have been removing body hair for centuries. In Ancient Greece, women would pluck out each hair one by one, (I tried this and can confirm that it is smooth and lasts. But it takes forever and is rather painful.)
OR they would singe off their body hair using hot ashes or a burning oil lamp. (This one I did not try.)
The burning method certainly didn’t make it into modern day society. However, we do still use the same methods as the Romans, who shaved, and the Ancient Egyptians, who waxed.
Both these techniques have stood the test of time. But which IS the best hair removal method?
I decided to take a deeper look into the matter and see if I could find out. Is waxing better than shaving? Or vice versa?
I quickly discovered that there is no definitive answer of which is more effective when it comes to waxing vs shaving. It depends on what you are looking to achieve, where you want to achieve it and how much money you want to spend. (And your pain threshold.)
So here is the low down (pun slightly intended)…
- What is The Difference Between Shaving and Waxing?
- Which is a better hair removal method?
- Is Waxing or Shaving Better For Ingrown Hairs?
- Is it OK to Shave After Waxing?
- How Do I Make Shaving Last Longer?
- Sugar Waxing vs Shaving, Which Is Better?
- Can Waxing Remove Hair Permanently?
- Does Hair Grow Back Thicker After Waxing?
- Does Hair Grow Back Thicker After Shaving?
- Does Waxing Cause Dark Spots?
- How Do You Prevent Bumps After Waxing?
- Is It Normal to Bleed After a Wax?
What is The Difference Between Shaving and Waxing?
Waxing is a form of hair removal that pulls your hair out by the root. Wax is applied to your skin on the area of unwanted hair and is then pulled off. Thus ripping out the hair.
Just like ripping off a Band-Aid. Only more painful.
There are a few different types of waxing:
This is what you will often find in a salon. Warm gooey wax is poured onto your skin, then pulled off with strips of cloth in the opposite direction of your hair growth.
You can also get a hot wax to use at home, but it can be very messy, and sticky, and (if you don’t get the temperature right,) burn-y.
This is used on smaller, more sensitive areas of the body. The wax is placed on the skin, then left to cool and harden. It is said to be less painful than hot wax, but it can only be used on small areas.
I have never found much luck with them for the bikini area or legs, though. They just don’t seem quite strong enough to pull all the hair from these areas. Resulting in a very patchy finish.
This is the wax Ancient Egyptians used. Sugar wax is a wax made from, you guessed it, sugar.
A sugar paste is applied to the skin and is pulled off in the same direction as hair growth. The sugar only attaches to the hair strands and the dead layer of skin on the surface, so it is a much gentler option than conventional waxing techniques. (Which can pull off live skin!)
Shaving is a method of removing body hair with a razor blade. The hair is cut at the surface of the skin, (as opposed to being ripped out from the root). This is a far less painful method than waxing.
Although it can still take some getting used to, so at first you can expect a few cuts here and there.
Personally, I’ve found my holy grail by investing in one of the best safety razors.
Women tend to wet shave. This is when you dampen the skin and then apply a shaving foam or gel and remove hair with a razor. This gives a much closer shave than an electric shaver (which is more commonly used by men).
So, we understand the difference between waxing and shaving, but is it better to shave or wax?
Which is a better hair removal method?
Well, that will depend on a few factors, such as…
Waxing vs Shaving: Regrowth
How long does waxing last vs shaving?
Apparently, it takes 3-4 weeks for hair to grow back after a wax. This is always what is said, but in my experience, I can feel the hairs prickling back in just a few days.
And really what I am looking for when I want to know how long hair takes to grow back, is how long it will be smooth for.
So for a silky soft skin, I think you have a maximum of 2 weeks. Then it’s just a waiting game until your hair is long enough to get another wax.
The feeling of smoothness doesn’t seem to last as long when shaving vs waxing. Shaving can grow back as quickly as later that same day. Hence the phrase ‘5 o’clock shadow.’
Shaving regrowth has a more stubbly, scratchy feel. The hair is not coming out as a new hair with a thin tip, but a hair that has been cut at the thicker part of the strand. So it can be harder to the touch and also APPEAR thicker and darker.
It is easier to shave more often though. Giving you the freedom to have smooth skin whenever you want. This is a definite bonus when considering waxing vs shaving regrowth.
Waxing vs Shaving For Sensitive Skin
Both shaving and waxing can be a problem for sensitive skin.
Waxing can be especially irritating. Wax can pull on the skin, causing inflammation, a burning sensation and can sometimes pull the skin clean off, causing bleeding. (This sounds a lot scarier than it is, but it can be rather unpleasant and not very attractive.)
Some people can also be allergic to the wax itself. So it is best to do a patch test first.
So is waxing better than shaving for sensitive skin? I would say no. Try shaving first.
Shaving can also cause irritation though. You can get razor bumps, folliculitis, and dry or itchy skin. Always use a sharp blade and a good shaving foam, you need the best razors if you have sensitive skin.
Waxing vs Shaving: Ingrown Hair
Waxing and shaving can both cause ingrown hairs. It really seems to depend on the person in terms of which is better or worse. I have curly hair and get more ingrown hairs from waxing than shaving.
Ingrown hairs happen when strands of hair can’t break through the skin’s surface, so start to grow back in the direction of where they came. They often present themselves as little red bumps and can be painful to touch.
Try to avoid picking them! It can be very tempting (and weirdly enjoyable.)
But you will probably irritate them more and may cause infection. Use a warm compress and sterilized tweezers to coax them out instead.
But the jury is out on shaving vs waxing when it comes to ingrown hairs. It is down to the individual.
Waxing vs Shaving: Bikini Area
The bikini wax comes in many different styles. The Brazilian, the Hollywood, the French Wax, the Landing Strip, the Full Monty, the Classic Bikini Line, the Bermuda Triangle, the Desert Island, the Edgy Mojo, the Butt Strip. You get my drift.
Salons have many different words for different styles, and they don’t all necessarily mean the same thing in every salon.
So, find out EXACTLY what you are getting BEFORE you get it.
(We all remember the episode of Sex in the City when Carrie got robbed of all her hair getting a Brazilian in LA right?)
Next thing you know you’ll be legs akimbo with a stranger, who is probably asking you about your holidays.
I always find this interaction completely surreal. One minute it’s “So what do you do for a living?” The next it’s “Can you please get on all fours and spread your bum cheeks please?” Weird.
The less awkward and cheaper option is to wax your bikini area at home. I think this works fine for a simple bikini line wax but if you are planning something more ‘thorough’ you may have to get into some pretty bendy positions. Which can be tricky – and sticky!
Either way, (I am not going to lie to you) it hurts. But the more regularly you wax, the less it hurts, apparently.
I must admit, when it is waxed smooth, I love the feel of it. It is very sensitive though, so you have to take some care afterward.
You’re supposed to avoid too much friction or perspiration after a wax. Which means you shouldn’t have sex within 24 hours. So if you are planning a special something-something then it is best to wax a day or two before.
Shaving the bikini line is by far the easier and less awkward option. You can achieve smoothness whenever you want, and the aftercare is much simpler. Pop some moisturizer on afterward and you are good to go.
So when it comes to bikini waxing vs shaving, I’m a big fan of shaving. Waxing is just far too much hassle!
Although I got fed up with the time in the shower just to shave my whole body, so I made a decision to start laser hair removal, full Brazilian!
Waxing vs Shaving: Face
When my boyfriend hasn’t shaved for a few days and comes to kiss me, I often push him away complaining, “You’re too spiky!”
To be honest, that is not how I would want someone to react to my face. That, (and the fact that shaving makes the hairs appear thicker and darker,) means I would never take a razor anywhere near my face.
For the face, I would say there are definitely more benefits of waxing vs shaving. When the hairs grow back they are going to appear much thinner and feel softer than shaved hairs.
Your face can be sensitive though and can turn red after a wax, so don’t do it just before you go on a night out!
When it comes to waxing vs shaving your eyebrows, there is one factor to consider – waxing can permanently damage hair follicles and stop hair from growing back. This is great for some areas of the body.
But when Cara Delevingne brought back big eyebrows, not everyone could follow suit. If you think you may one day want fuller eyebrows then think carefully about how often you want to wax, or maybe more importantly, how thin you go!
Waxing vs Shaving: Legs
Both shaving and waxing work for legs. I would swing towards waxing for thighs though, as I personally hate the feel of a stubbly thigh.
With the lower legs, I like to be seasonal. When it comes to waxing vs shaving during winter, I prefer waxing. Cold goose pimples can be painful after you have shaved your legs.
Plus, waxing lasts longer, and your legs are more likely to be covered up, so the waiting time between waxes is less annoying.
When it comes to waxing vs shaving in the summer, I prefer shaving. That way you can have smooth legs every day if you want to. Also, the sun can aggravate skin that has just been waxed.
Waxing vs Shaving: Underarms
When it comes to underarm waxing vs shaving, I say, shave them. It’s quick, easy and PAINLESS. Also, skin that has just been waxed does not like perspiration. If you don’t sweat the small stuff then try waxing, but I, for one, cannot.
Waxing vs Shaving: Savings
When it comes to the cost, shaving wins hands down. Especially if you are going to a salon for wax treatments.
Prices for waxing and razors vary in different countries but competitively speaking, shaving seems to come out considerably cheaper.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I just invested in a good safety razor, and now I only have to buy new razor blades, rather than new packs of razors. Did you know a pack of razor blades is super cheap?
Another thing that is cheaper is men’s shaving foam. (Don’t get me started on the Pink Tax!) But if you don’t want that classic male aftershave smell then you may want to stick to women’s. Although, a good feminine moisturizer after the shave can change that.
Is Waxing or Shaving Better For Ingrown Hairs?
It depends on the person, the hair type and the state of the surface of the skin. But exfoliating every few days can help either way.
If you are having issues, avoid tight clothing in the area. And use a warm compress before attempting to get ingrown hairs out.
Is it OK to Shave After Waxing?
You can, but it will set you back in your waxing routine. You’ll have to wait for your hair to grow out again to get a wax. It can also be more painful waxing shaved hair. So try not to do it.
How Do I Make Shaving Last Longer?
How to make shaving last longer is about the care you take around the shave.
Exfoliate. Use a fresh, sharp blade and a moisturizing shaving gel or foam. Use a gentle pressure so you don’t aggravate the skin. Moisturise after.
These things will lead to softer skin and smoothness that will last longer.
Sugar Waxing vs Shaving, Which Is Better?
If you can find a good sugarer it may well be worth spending the extra money over shaving. It is much better than common waxing for sensitive skin, and it is said to be less painful.
Also, you only have to wait until your hair is 1/8th of an inch long. (As opposed to a 1/4-1/2 of an inch for normal waxing.)
So if you are not a fan of shaving, this is a very desirable option.
Can Waxing Remove Hair Permanently?
Yes, but it is not a guarantee. Waxing can destroy hair follicles and so stop hairs growing in certain places.
So you may find that you have less and less hair growing through. But it hasn’t been the case for my dark, coarse hairs.
Does Hair Grow Back Thicker After Waxing?
No, if anything it can seem thinner as your hair follicles can become destroyed, meaning that hair doesn’t always grow back. Giving the appearance of thinner hair.
However, once you start waxing often and all your hair is pulled out at the same time in the hair cycle, it will also grow back at the same time, which can give the appearance of being thicker, simply because there is more of it.
Does Hair Grow Back Thicker After Shaving?
No. When you shave hair it is cut at any place in the hair strand. Sometimes that’s the middle of the strand where the hair is thicker. So it can LOOK thicker, but it is not.
Does Waxing Cause Dark Spots?
Not directly, but after waxing the sun can damage the skin. Waxing can take off the top layer of skin, leaving a very sensitive and exposed layer, and that can lead to dark spots.
How Do You Prevent Bumps After Waxing?
Wear loose clothing. Try not to sweat (easier said than done) and avoid friction if you can.
Put a cold compress on the area and enjoy the cool sensation. Ahhh.
Is It Normal to Bleed After a Wax?
Kinda. Waxing can pull off the upper skin (dead skin cells layer), not just the wax. Which can sometimes result in bleeding, but, hey, at least we’re not still burning our hair off though right?
So when weighing up waxing vs shaving pros and cons, it really depends on the area you are removing hair from, and what are the results you desire, as to which method is better.
I think a good mix and match is the way forward.
Or alternatively, forgo all pain and suffering and grow your hair out natural and free.
The choice is yours. But don’t pick your ingrown hairs!