It was not until the 1940s that it became normal for women to shave their legs. By 1964 in the United States 98% of women between the ages of 15-44 were shaving regularly.
Today the majority of females begin shaving when they hit puberty, usually around 10-14 years of age. Almost everyone at some point in their life tries alternative hair removal methods. This may be chemical removal lotions or depilatory creams to sugaring and waxing.
When considering hair removal alternatives, the most common debate is should you shave vs wax legs? What is the difference between waxing and shaving? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both methods.
The Difference Between Waxing and Shaving
When shaving the hair off your legs, you remove the hair at the skin’s surface. While this may cause hair to appear thicker and darker when growing back, this is not a change created by shaving. Your individual hormones and genetics determine how thick and fast your hair grows back.
Waxing involves applying hot wax to the surface of the skin where you want to remove hair. After waiting for the wax to cool, it is then lifted from the skin in a firm manner, pulling the hair follicles out of the skin with it. Hair grows back slower and is usually thinner and softer when it returns.
The Truth About Shaving
Shaving is the easiest, most economical, and common method of removing hair from the legs. The process needs to be done frequently and becomes tedious.
It is important to use either soap or shaving cream when shaving. You must make sure you change your blades frequently. Dull razor blades will create more cuts, nicks, and skin irritation than a sharp blade.
This is because a dull blade will pull at the body hair and drag on your skin. The result is skin irritation. A new, sharp blade skims across the surface of your skin smoothly and only a light touch is needed to efficiently cut the hair.
Some people believe that you need to press hard on the razor to achieve a close shave. If that is necessary, it is because the blade is dull. Using a new, sharp blade allows you to press lightly and the blade easily cuts the hair.
The same is true if you need to go over the same area more than once. If shaving gel or soap and light pressure do not accomplish a clean shave, change your blade.
A myth about shaving is that it causes your tan to fade. This is not true. Shaving exfoliates by removing dry, flaky skin.
It is not good hygiene practice to use another person's razor. Razor blades can spread numerous infections including warts, folliculitis, and even jock itch if it belongs to a man. Viruses such as hepatitis and herpes can also linger on razor blades.
For a close shave, you need to purchase the proper type of razor for your legs.
Use the Proper Razor
Men’s and women’s razors are different. A man’s razor design is for cutting facial hair. The razor design for women allows it to traverse over large, curvier areas of the body such as the legs.
When shaving, make sure you purchase a razor appropriate for the type of hair you will be cutting. After shaving applying a moisturizing lotion will help keep your skin hydrated. Some believe you should not shave in the winter, but the process helps remove layers of dead skin.
Properly shaving and hydrating is healthy for the legs. The only real negative to this process of hair removal is that the results only last 1-3 days. Some people with fast hair growth need to shave on a daily basis to keep their legs smooth.
The Truth About Waxing
Waxing will leave the skin on your legs feeling smooth. Over time the hair that regrows will become thinner and softer.
The waxing process can be painful depending on your level of pain tolerance. This is because the hair is removed at the root by pulling it out. Depending on your sensitivity, the hot wax may also burn your skin.
To prepare for waxing you need to clean the area prior to applying the wax. You must have hair growth of between ¼” to ½” for the wax to grab and remove the hair.
The wax is applied in the same direction as hair growth. The waxing strip is removed by pulling it in the direction opposite of the hair growth. It is possible for waxing to cause inflammation of hair follicles, redness, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation.
After waxing your legs you will need to wear clothing that fits loosely against the skin. You also need to avoid high heat, including exercising, saunas, and hot tubs because the area you wax will be sensitive.
Waxing serves as a type of exfoliation, so do not use any exfoliating products on your skin after waxing. Avoid skin-to-skin contact for 24 hours, due to the sensitivity of the area. The bonus is the results of waxing last 3-4 weeks, so for a few hours of discomfort, you do not have to deal with hair removal for about a month.
In addition to waxing, there is a process called sugaring. The process is similar to waxing and you need about 1/8 to ¼ of hair growth for the removal to work. The hair is removed from the root and weakens the follicle, resulting in less growth over time.
Waxing is the more well-known method and can be done in the salon or at home using a wax warmer.
Is Waxing Better Than Shaving?
When it comes down to making a determination on which method is better, it is really a determination in which factors are most important to you.
Shaving is convenient and easy. You hop in the shower, cover the legs with some shaving gel or soap, and grab a razor. Within a few minutes, the process is complete and you are ready to go.
The downside to shaving is that you will need to repeat the process every 1-3 days, depending on how fast your hair grows. That makes this a tedious process you must undertake several times a week.
With waxing, there is more preparation time. You need to allow the hair to grow to about ¼” so the wax can grab and remove the hair. Depending on how fast your hair grows, there may be an awkward time of dressing with the legs covered or sporting some stubble.
If you are using a salon for the waxing, it will take about 30 minutes. If doing it yourself at home you need to factor in the time to heat the wax, apply, and then remove. The bonus is that this removal procedure lasts between 3-4 weeks, essentially a once-a-month ritual, and you are done.
The Cost of Shaving vs Waxing Legs
Shaving is inexpensive. The cost for a single women’s razor, such as Skintimate, will run about $8.00 and a package containing four blade refills is about $8.00. Disposable razors are very inexpensive, such as the BIC Silky Touch Women’s Twin Blad which runs about $12 for 40 razors.
Professional waxing kits are budget-friendly. Running Between $115 to $144 the kit is perfect for salons or at-home use and includes everything you need to get started in this process:
- Italian full-body wax
- Glitter strip wax for a beautiful sparkle while waxing
- Professional wax warmer with a multi-level dial for the perfect temperature
- Brazilian bead wax—great for sensitive string, no wax strips required
- Pre-wax lotion
- Post-wax cleanser tea tree oil
- Non-woven hair removal wax strips—quantity of 100
- Medium wax applicator—quantity of 100
- Large wax applicator—quantity of 100
After waxing your hair will begin coming in softer and thinner, making hair removal easier.
Is Waxing or Shaving Better—A Look at Side Effects
Every hair removal method has some risks. When you think about waxing you want to take into consideration the following possible side effects:
- Ingrown hairs
- Sun sensitivity
- Allergic reaction
Which side effects you experience will depend on the sensitivity of your skin and your tolerance for pain. The experience of the technician performing the procedure will also impact how comfortable the removal is.
There are also a few risks with shaving:
- Ingrown hairs
- Razor burn
- Nicks or cuts
The sharpness of your razor and how sensitive your skin is will impact what side effects you experience.
Folliculitis is a common skin condition. This happens when the hair follicles become inflamed, usually due to a fungal or bacterial infection. The appearance of the condition is white-headed pimples or small red bumps around the hair follicles.
Though not life-threatening the condition may be sore and itchy. If the infection becomes severe it may cause permanent scarring and hair loss. The condition will likely clear on its own in a few days but if it does not you may need to seek treatment from your doctor.
Benefits of Waxing Hair
Both methods have their benefits and drawbacks. When debating between shaving vs waxing legs the benefits of waxing are apparent. Waxing eliminates the burdensome task of hair removal every 1-3 days, and instead, it becomes necessary about once every month.
Lash Stuff hair removal wax provides a smooth experience, whether removing hair from the legs, arms, eyebrows, or any other part of the body. Our professional hair removal products are the #1 choice for beauty parlors seeking a professional hair removal system. We even offer a glitter wax that looks awesome and clients love.
We offer free shipping on all U.S. orders and a 30-day return policy. For great tips on using our product check out our blog and our social page.