A derm weighs in, and her verdicts might just surprise you.
One method of hair removal does not fit all: Waxing, shaving, lasers, and depilatories all have their place (and their problems), depending on which part of your body you're trying to bare. We asked New York City-based clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center Whitney Bowe, MD, for the scoop on what to use where for the best hair-free results.
Stubble along the bikini line can be a constant struggle during the summer months. If you're tempted to zap it for good, consider laser hair removal treatments from a board-certified dermatologist. You'll need about 5 to 8 of them, and then you'll be practically hair-free down there, barring any stray hairs that pop up down the road (those can be removed in quick yearly touch-up visits). The next best thing (and for a lot less dough): Shaving. Contrary to popular belief that a bikini wax is a must, Dr. Bowe says that shaving is actually better suited to the delicate skin in that area, and will cause less ingrown hairs than waxing. The Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle Razor ($14, ulta.com) includes a razor and trimmer in one for all your ladyscaping needs.
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As with your bikini line, the skin under your arms is thin and sensitive, making shaving your best option. Be sure to use a hydrating shave gel like eos Ultra Moisturizing Lavender Shave Cream ($4, target.com) and shave in multiple directions. That's because hair under your arms grows in a whirled pattern, meaning the hair is pointing in all directions, Dr. Bowe says. So in order to get a close shave, swipe your razor up and down and corner to corner to make sure you snag every last hair.
There's no secret here: Old-fashioned shaving is still your best bet. If your leg hair is very coarse and thick, though, a few rounds of laser hair removal can thin it out for more manageable upkeep (you'll probably still need to shave, but not as much or as often). Dr. Bowe's trick for better-looking leg-hair regrowth: Make two passes with the razor in each spot as you move across your leg. The first pass should be in the same direction as the hair growth; then swipe in the opposite direction, against the grain. This gives the hair a pointed tip (as opposed to a blunt, square tip) which will make it appear thinner as it grows back in. Look for a razor like Gillette Venus Swirl ($10, target.com) that swivels over bodily curves so you get a closer shave all over.
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Kiss fuzz goodbye forever with laser treatments, especially if your hair is dark and coarse and difficult to remove—just a few sessions are all you need to score a hairless lip. For a more immediate solution (or, Dr. Bowe says, if you have fine, blonde hair, which is harder to pluck out), try a depilatory cream like Bliss "Fuzz" Off Facial Hair Removal Cream ($24, blissworld.com).
Because each brow encompasses such a small area of fine hairs, Dr. Bowe recommends plucking or threading. These two methods give you more control than waxing or shaving, and the results last about three to four weeks. The right tool can make plucking a lot easier: The Tweezerman Mini Tweezer ($16, tweezerman.com) has a slanted tip to grab every little hair more easily, and it's just the right size to keep in your purse for touch-ups on the go.
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