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Waxing vs Shaving: Which Hair Removal Method Is Best?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jul 08, 2023

Waxing vs Shaving: Which Hair Removal Method Is Best?

Many girls and boys in their puberty or adolescent years start to notice the growth of unwanted hair in several parts of the body. Whether it be on their armpits or on their legs, the common question is how to remove it. While there are different ways to remove unwanted hair, many people consider two common techniques — waxing and shaving. This article helps you differentiate waxing vs shaving to help you choose the best option for you.

Getting To Know Your Hair 

Hair is found in almost every part of the body to provide the skin with covering,  protection, and even thermoregulation.

Hair growth originates underneath the skin’s surface at the hair root inside a hair follicle, which is a tiny tube in the skin.

There are two types of hair present in the body. One is the vellus hair which refers to fine, short, and silky hair situated on the face, chests, and backs of many women. In some cases, it may appear darker and more obvious than usual. 

Meanwhile, your terminal hair is longer, darker, and coarser as compared to vellus hair. Terminal hair refers to the hair on your head. During puberty, it also begins to form and grow in the armpits and pubic region.

Men may also notice some hair growing on the face. Other regions such as the legs, back, and even the chest area also have some terminal hair for cushioning and protection.

Continuous hair growth in some areas may be uncomfortable to some men and women. As a result, some people resort to hair removal treatments with waxing vs shaving as a top consideration. 

Waxing vs Shaving: How It Works, Pros, Cons, and Tips

When it comes to waxing vs shaving, there are several things a person should take into consideration. 


A sticky wax, either in hot or cold form, is applied to the skin area where the hair will be removed. Afterward, a cloth strip is placed over the wax and immediately taken off. 

This process helps remove the hair root and dead skin cells along with it. You can do this at home or in a waxing salon. 

It is effective on the legs, bikini area, and brows.

Waxing vs Shaving: Waxing Pros

Waxing can provide you with the following benefits:

  • After removing the unwanted hair, your skin may feel smoother and your hair may begin to grow thinner over time.
  • This process can be used to exfoliate the skin.
  • Waxing results last between 3 and 4 weeks.

Waxing vs Shaving: Waxing Cons

On the flip side, waxing has some disadvantages. Many people stay away from this option as it can lead to some discomfort. 

  • Depending on a person’s pain threshold, it may feel uncomfortable. Some people believe waxing is more painful than shaving since the hair is removed at the root. 
  • If you’re not careful, hot wax can potentially burn your skin, which sometimes results in inflammation, redness, and/or bumps.
  • Waxing can irritate the skin and produce irritated hair follicles, discomfort, redness, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation.
  • Female facial hair removal when taking any acne medications or retinoid can result in abrasions, infection, and even scars.
  • Hair should be approximately 6 millimeters long for waxing to take effect. 

Teenagers who take oral acne treatments such as tretinoin and isotretinoin should avoid the process as it can cause the skin to be more sensitive. In the same way, you should also avoid the parts with sunburn or those with moles during the treatment.

Professional waxing is more expensive than other methods of hair removal. However, professionals know how to do it better, so it would be safer for you to have waxing done by them. 


With shaving, a person eliminates the tip of the hair shaft that has grown out by the skin with a razor. Some razors are totally disposable, while others contain a disposable blade or are operated with electricity. 

Men frequently shave their faces, whereas women frequently shave their underarms, legs, and bikini areas.

Waxing vs Shaving:  Shaving Pros

Many people choose to shave because of the following reasons:

  • It is quick and simple to include into a regular routine at home.
  • Razors and shaving cream are inexpensive in comparison to salon waxes.
  • Shaving is not painful since it simply removes the hair follicle from the skin’s surface and leaves the root intact.
  • Hair can be of any length. You do not need to wait for hair to grow to a minimum length for it to be effective.

Waxing vs Shaving: Shaving Cons

There are also some negative effects of shaving:

  • Shaving can cause hair follicle inflammation, irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor burn.
  • The effects only last 1 to 3 days.
  • Irritation and cuts can result from dull blades.
  • A good tip to have a closer shave is to never dry shave. If your skin is sensitive, shave slowly and use moisturizing lotions. 

    It can also be a good idea to shave in the middle of bathing yourself to have your pores open and your skin relaxed. 

    Shaving “against the grain” is one of the most common shaving mistakes, therefore shave in the direction that your hair develops to avoid ingrown hairs. 

    Key Takeaways

    Both shaving and waxing do their job to remove unwanted hair and leave your skin feeling smooth. However, you have to be mindful of removing hair in sensitive places, such as the bikini line
    In terms of waxing vs shaving, it is really up to you. Your preferences, lifestyle, and your pain tolerance are all part of the answer to what method is best for you.

    Learn more about Skin Health here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jul 08, 2023

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