Although we have a love-hate relationship with the tedious art of shaving, many of us can agree that it’s pretty hard to see a life where you shave without a razor. But before electric razors and moisturizing shaving creams totally revolutionized the hair-removal process, there was a time when women removed unwanted hairs with tools like sharp blades, or even pumice stones.
“By definition, you need a sharp blade to shave,” says board-certified dermatologist Lisa D’Onofrio, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “So regardless of whether it's a commercial razor or a knife, the result is still shaving.”
While shaving with knives and blades definitely removes hairs, alternatives like these are not exactly safe or recommended. And sure, shaving takes up a lot of time, but cuts and nicks from your razor are probably nothing compared to those from tools you probably don’t even know how to use.
So before you try DIY alternatives you read about online, know that a razor-free "shave" can be done in a variety of safe ways. Since they're just as effective as shaving, I highly recommend trying any of these much safer methods for smooth skin all year long.
1. Laser Hair Removal
A popular form of hair removal, laser hair treatments can successfully remove hair with ease. And the results last longer than those of shaving. “Hair-removal lasers work incredibly well, and will cause permanent reduction in hair growth,” says Dr. Jennifer Reichel, board-certified dermatologist and Real Self contributor. “In general, laser hair removal targets the dark hair follicle that lies beneath the skin."
Although treatments like these can be pretty expensive, they are highly recommended, since they can work on all parts of the body without any pain or discomfort. However, before seriously considering any of these treatments, it’s best to always consult the expert opinion of your doctor first.
“There are many different hair removal lasers on the market,” adds Reichel. “I suggest that you look for one that is run in a reputable cosmetic dermatology clinic, or plastic surgery clinic where there is important oversight by the physician.”
For a less permanent, razor-free hair removal system, try depilatory creams. Dermatologist-recommended creams slow down the rate of hair growth over time, and work just as well on facial hair as on larger areas.
“Other options include topical depilatories, such hair reduction creams," says Reichel. “There is a hair reduction cream on the market (prescription) called VANIQA. This cream works to slow down the rate of facial hair growth, and is best for the fine hairs (fuzz) that women tend to get on their faces.”
Of course, you can also pick up drugstore depilatories, like Nair, to get that silky-smooth feel. Just make sure to do a patch test beforehand, lest you end up with an annoying rash.
Believe it or not, tweezing your hairs also makes a great option. "You can tweeze your hairs as well,” suggests Dr. Reichel. “This is best for single hair removal (or small areas), and is not permanent, as it lasts about three to eight weeks. Just be careful about ingrown hairs in the meantime."
If you want to maintain a professional-level regimen at home, turning to some hair-removal devices can also be a viable option. But before investing in some high-tech tools, it’s always wise to read product reviews and talk to your doctor first.
“At-home devices, such as the NoNo hair removal device, use heat to remove hairs as you glide the device over the skin,” explains Reichel. “Just make sure to read the reviews before spending money on any home hair removal devices.”
5. Review Your Options
Shaving can totally be done without the help of a razor, but it may not be the entirely safest hair-removing method possible. Before you rush out and try anything new, it’s always best to consult a professional opinion first.