Waxing vs Shaving: What’s The Best Way To Remove Hair?

Published on: 07/18/2022 12:27 pm

Personal grooming is just that – personal. When it comes to hair removal, there are as many ways to accomplish your end goal as there are ways to wear said hair. 

Maybe you want to completely remove hair on some parts of your body, but let it grow naturally and untouched in others. Maybe you want to shape that growth or give it defined parameters. Waxing and shaving have stood the test of time, emerging as the go-to method for all of the above. That is, unless you’re going au naturale (and if so, heck yeah!)  

While one technique is not inherently better than the other, one might be better for you. This primer covers the benefits of waxing vs shaving, as well as some key considerations to make before doing any sort of bodyscaping.

The Difference Between Shaving and Waxing

While the end result may be the same – in this case, smooth, strand-free skin – the process from hair to bare is actually quite different. 

When shaving, hair is removed from the surface of the skin using a razor. Since the hair is just getting a trim, you have to shave more frequently. According to Medicine.net, “Most hair strands grow at an average rate of about 0.3 to 0.4 mm a day. So, this means it may grow up to one-tenth of an inch or a little more in a week.” Shaving also provides mild exfoliation, which can lead to irritation, breakouts, and ingrown hairs if skin is sensitive or not prepared correctly. 

Waxing, on the other hand, moves the hair follicle entirely. The wax can be applied warm or cold and has been known to eliminate ingrowns and thin hair regrowth in removal areas. In order for the wax to “grip” the hair, it needs to be grown out about 1/4th of an inch. The grow out process can be uncomfortable for some people, and takes some advanced planning.

Hair Removal Techniques and Considerations

Whether you wax or shave there are some things to keep in mind. Take a moment to think through these factors before you start the removal process. 

  1. Cost. You can get a nice razor for under $10. However, keep in mind you’ll need to keep consistently buying fresh blades to cut down on bacteria growth and shaving cream to help minimize razor burn. Waxing can range from $35-100+ depending on which part of the body you’re looking to target. 
  2. Areas. Though you can technically achieve your hair loss goals with either method, each is better suited for certain parts of the body than others. For instance, if you are removing hair anywhere on your face, start with waxing first. Otherwise, you’ll have to lather up and shave daily and hair could become more coarse over time. The bikini line is another delicate area. Shaving not only puts a razor in close proximity to such a tender spot, it can invite more ingrown hairs and leave rash-like bumps. Waxing may also temporarily irritate the skin, especially if it’s sensitive, but it typically doesn’t last. Having your bikini area waxed professionally can help you avoid injury, which is important given how notoriously difficult it can be to see the entire area. 
  3. Longevity. If you’re looking for a hair removal method that lasts, treating yourself to a professional body wax is a no-brainer. Results usually last for at least three to four weeks. With consistent waxing, hair regrowth may slow to six weeks or more. Unlike shaving, which can grow back in as little as two days since it doesn’t disrupt the growth cycle.
  4. Risks. Plan to complete the waxing process at home? Beware. If you put the wax on too thick, removing the strip can actually create bruising. Too hot and you may burn or remove some skin – eep! In a salon, much of the minor irritation you could experience can be reduced by gently exfoliating the area the day before and taking an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen 30 minutes prior to your appointment.  

Shaving vs Waxing FAQ

Still deliberating? See if these help move the needle.

Is it better to shave or wax?

That depends on several factors, like those listed above, as well as your personal preferences. 

What are the disadvantages of waxing?

Some folks don’t enjoy the time it takes to grow hair out before a waxing appointment. Others h

Does waxing darken skin?

Though rare, experts at Be Beautiful share that, “Post-inflammatory pigmentation may occur on your skin after your waxing session, which may lead your skin to appear darker. This means that due to the hot wax being applied on your skin and ripping action, your skin may react by producing pigment that cause dark spots.”

Can waxing stop hair growth?

While waxing is unlikely to stop new hair growth entirely, it does tend to substantially diminish the appearance and amount of hair over time.

Regardless if you’re shaving or waxing currently, it can be helpful to consult a professional about the best hair removal methods for your goals and skin type. Have questions or find yourself in a hairy situation? We’re here to help! 

Gina Rivera

Gina Rivera

Beauty Icon and Expert

Gina Rivera skyrocketed to success when the company she founded in 2007, Phenix Salon Suites, became the fastest-growing salon suite company in the beauty industry. With more than 300 locations nationally and international expansion occurring in the UK, Entrepreneur Magazine named Phenix Salon Suites a Top 500 Franchise list seven years running.