Here are some zero waste hair removal methods. For details on reusable razors and vegan shaving brushes, see the post on zero waste men’s grooming. Note there is no such thing as a natural hair removal cream. Hair removal creams are not just usually tested on animals, but also packed with chemicals that dissolve body hair. Not suitable for sensitive skin, most cause rashes and smell icky too. The first hair removal creams were invented by Native Americans from lye (caustic soda!) One laser hair removal company says that hair removal creams are so harsh, they are simply ‘like using a razor, but with no blade’.
Colibry Threading Epilator (from Italy)
Threading is an ancient Indian technique to pluck hairs from the root, using cotton. Quite skilled to do, a recent invention has made it easier to use this method at home. Colibry Threading Epilator (from Italy) is made from plastic but a one-time purchase. Safe and painless, it uses a durable thread to uproot the shortest of hairs, and a few sessions can remove excessive hairs on the arms forever (store replacement threads away from pets and children). The company recommends letting hair grow to 3mm to 6mm for first use, then shorter for regrowth.
Sugar Coated Wax Hair Removal
Sugar Coated Vegan Hair Removal made from sugar and water. It’s water-soluable and biodegradable, and used with washable reusable strips. Made in Nottinghamshire, one jar lasts around three pairs of ‘half legs! If you are using it for underarms or eyebrows, it will last for longer. The main jar is sold alongside versions for legs (rosehip oil), bikini line (calendula oil), underarm (lemongrass oil) and facial hair (lavender oil). Do not use sugaring for 4 months after acid treatments or dermabrasions, nor if you suffer from vein diseases, acute varicose veins, sunburn, moles, warts, wounds, acne, oedema or weak connective tissue. Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing.
Waxing is not as popular as sugaring, which is less painful and a biodegradable mix of sugar, lemon juice and water, to remove hair for weeks from the root. Hair grows back softer and finer. However it’s painful and expensive unless you do it yourself.
Epilation Hair Removal
This expensive machine (around £140) still works out cheaper, if you regularly visit the salon to wax large areas. It’s a device with tiny electric tweezers that rotate across the skin, to remove hair from the root, with results lasting up to 4 weeks. It can be painful, so choose a wet/dry version that you can use underwater in the bath, to hopefully hurt less.
Although made from plastic, it’s a one-time purchase and can remove a hair of 1mm, as soon as you spot it. Good Housekeeping recommends Braun Silk Epil 9 Flex which you can use underwater and has a flexible head, for ease of use. It also has a kit for the bikini line, and a smart light, for hairs you may otherwise miss. Sold at Argos, it’s unsuitable for the head or eyelashes.
Laser Hair Removal Methods
These are only done by someone who is medically qualified, and you usually need more than one treatment for it wor. It’s very expensive, but good for small areas if you have a real issue with hair growing back quickly. It works best for pale skin with dark hair – let tans fade, before beginning treatment, and your skin will be more sensitive to the sun.
For excessive hair on the face and body (hirsutism – usually caused by a hormonal imbalance or polycystic ovary syndrome), you may be able to get laser hair removal on the NHS (not for certain skin types or pregnancy).
Zero Waste Eyebrow Tweezers
These are used for plucking eyebrows and stray hairs from the face or body. JCH Respect Slant Tweezers are sold in cardboard packaging and made from rust-free stainless steel, with an angled tip. Ideally tweeze after a shower (when hairs will come out easier) or after numbing the area with ice cubes. Or just put a warm wet flannel on the area for a few minutes beforehand.
To tweeze eyebrows, make a straight line up from the inside eye to know where your brow begins. Then fan it out so that the eyebrows ends in a diagonal line from the outer eye. Holding the tweezers like a pencil, tweeze close to the root, following the direction of hair growth. If you have large eyes or brows high on the forehead, it’s best to leave your brows thicker, to help to frame your eyes. Don’t tweeze too much, or your eyebrows may not grow back!