Waxing vs Shaving: Which Method is Better?

Last updated on November 27th, 2018 by Garrick Dee

Out of all the hair removal methods for women, two are most popular – waxing and shaving.

Waxing vs Shaving

Both methods have their own good and bad points which we’ll be discussing in this article.

So if you’re torn between which is the better and scroll down.

What’s the deal with shaving?

Of the two methods, shaving is less painful and the much cheaper option.

It is a great option if time is a premium and you need to remove hair ASAP. All you need to do is grab a razor and shave.

How does it work?

A razor is a device with one, two, three up to 5 blades lined up to cut hair on the surface of the skin.

In essence, shaving removes only surface hair so expect it to grow back quickly.

How do you shave?

There is more to it than just raking a razor across your legs. What you do before shaving plays an important role in the success or failure of shaving.

You have to realize that using a razor without any prep will decrease its efficiency. The tendency of it would be going for more passes which will irritate skin more.

To get the best results, you’ll need to have a hot shower or at least exfoliate and the area you’re shaving.

Doing this rids the skin from contaminants and dead skin that could potentially hinder the effectiveness of a razor.

What you’ll need?

The most basic tools for a comfortable shave would be a good quality razor and shaving cream. For post shave, you may need some moisturizer and witch hazel to treat any nicks and cuts.

Why shave?

  1. Using a razor is a much faster method of hair removal between the two. Shaving two legs will take much less time than waxing.
  2. Buying a razor is much cheaper than getting a wax professionally done (a high end wax job can up to a hundred bucks)
  3. Shaving also has a shallower learning curve versus waxing. All good quality razors are pretty much idiot-proof meaning you just need basic know how and some common sense to use it properly.

Why not?

  1. Since you’re only cutting surface hair and not pulling it out from the roots, hair will grow back at a much faster rate. Expect to see hair growing back just a few days after shaving.
  2. Another downside to more frequent shaving would be irritation that it brings. Dragging a piece of sharp metal will take a toll on the skin eventually.
  3. There’s also a higher risk of having razor burn or worst ingrown hair.

The deal with waxing

Waxing may sound intimidating but it shouldn’t be.  There are two options for such. First would be going to a spa or salon and have a professional do it for you.

Biggest downside for doing such would be price and the time commitment since you’ll have to schedule, drive back and forth and such.

But if you have the time and afford such treatment, it may be the best option. You don’t have to deal with learning how to use waxing kits.

Second option is doing it yourself. Wax formulas are available online and capable to remove hair up to 2 millimeters short.

How do you wax at home?

Muck like shaving, preparation is a very important step.

You’ll need to exfoliate the area you’ll be waxing prior. Some say 24 hours before while others say to do it before the waxing session itself. There’s really no wrong method, the important thing is that you’re comfortable.

There are lots of options for exfoliating. You can use a loofah or a towel to scrub and remove dead skin cells. Removing dead skin cells is important to allow the wax to grab on hair and remove it efficiently.

For the best results, you’ll need to take a hot shower, use a gentle soap to clean the skin then exfoliate.

Professionals also suggest using rubbing powder like cornstarch powder prior to waxing. Doing this removes excess moisture from skin and helps the wax have direct contact with hair follicles.

Next step would be applying wax on the skin. Make sure to spread the wax same direction as the hair growth then apply the strip on top.

For dense areas like the leg, it’ll be better to work on small areas.

Are you ready?

This is the fun part, removing the strip.

Pull the skin tout with one hand and use the other hand to pull the strip off in the opposite direction of hair growth.

So if you’re doing the legs, pull upwards. There are products where the wax and strip are together. This cuts the prep time in half because you don’t have to apply wax. Apply some pressure to sooth the pain.

Here’s a video on the guidelines on waxing coarse hair…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMn9T_KKznM

When done right, waxing isn’t really a painful experience. All you need is the right tools and know the right technique.

Why should you consider waxing?

  1. Biggest advantage of waxing would be the frequency. Since hair is pulled from the root, hair will grow back much slower – as much as a couple of months.
  2. Less risk of irritation and zero risk of razor burn.
  3. Waxing leaves a smooth and hair free skin for weeks.

Why not?

  1. When done professionally it can get expensive.
  2. DIY kits are available but it’s still more expensive versus a razor
  3. Waxing takes much longer than shaving. If you’re in a hurry then shaving will be a better option.

Other things to consider

Hygiene

Waxing

Depending on the salon or spa you go to the levels of hygiene will vary. Obviously a high end salon will offer the best hygiene possible and the opposite goes for a so-so salon. But remember that you’ll have to pay more for better service and sanitation.

DIY kits can be a bit messy. Between heating the wax beans and cleaning of residue from the heater and all that stuff.

The least messy options are wax strips because you don’t have to worry about heating wax beans. Just remove the strip, stick it on the skin the pull. However, these options can be the least messy.

Shaving

With or without shaving cream, shaving is hands down less messy method. You can do the dry shaving route if you’re skin isn’t that sensitive. Even with sensitive skin, clean up afterwards only involves rinsing and that’s it.

Winner: Shaving

Suitability to sensitive skin

Waxing

If you have sensitive skin, waxing may not be the best option because it does remove a layer of skin. Using a hot wax can leave burn marks and goosebumps afterwards. Poor technique can also cause further irritation.

But with the right type of wax it is possible to use it on sensitive skin. Judy writes in GetTheGloss that a hard wax like Minitry of Waxing’s products will not rip off skin. Their waxes contain natural ingredients like strawberry and chamomile that leaves skin soft and irritation free.

Shaving

With the proper technique and prep, shaving will be more suitable for sensitive skin. Prep includes doing stuff like taking a hot bath or at least exfoliating before shaving.

Using a moisturizing shaving cream helps immensely at protecting skin from direct blade contact.

Also make sure to use the right kind of razor for sensitive skin like the Venus Embrace for sensitive skin.

Another option you may want to look at is using an epilator. It is a device that plucks out hair like waxing but minus the hot wax and strips.

Winner: shaving

Cost comparison

Waxing

Waxing would be the more expensive option if you go the professional route and have someone do it for you.  According to CostHelper.com a salon will charge between $60 and $70 for a full leg wax.

A Brazillian wax will even be more expensive. Should you go the DIY route, it would be cheaper than going to a salon. But that would depend on the type of waxing kit you’ll get.

The cheapest option would be wax stripes with the wax already on the strip. These are great options if you’re just starting out. Cost will vary between $5 to over $10 depending on the brand. You may need two of these to cover both legs.

Even if you don’t have to wax for a month the combined cost of these wax strips will still be more than a razor.

Shaving

There are two basic things you need when shaving – a razor and a good quality shave cream. Good news is razors and shave creams are cheap. A BIC Soleil 9 pack will cost less than $10. And a good quality shave cream costs less than $6.

A good quality razor will last for up to 4 uses before needing any replacement. So a 9 pack BIC Soleil razor will last for up to 2 to 3 weeks. Shave cream will last even longer. Add all that up and it’ll still be less than the wax strips.

Winner: shaving

Pain level

Traditional waxing can be painful but newer products that have come to the market have made it easier for the beginner to try it. Since you’re pulling out hair and skin, it can be painful depending on the type of wax you use.

Shaving on the other hand, is less painful with the correct technique and sharp blade. But there is a bigger risk of nicks and cuts if you’re not careful. One of the biggest risks shaving would be razor burn and ingrown hair.

To wrap up

Both of these techniques have their good and bad points. Shaving is a great option if you need a quick solution to rid yourself of hair. It’s cheap, easy to do and when done properly, relatively pain free. The obvious downside would be the frequency since hair grows back faster.

Waxing is a great option if you’re looking for something that’ll have longer lasting results. It will cost more money and take a lot longer. But the results will be well worth the hassle and money.

Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.

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