Body hair removal is something that has been done for many years across different countries and cultures. Whether it’s for appearance, convenience, or that silky-smooth feeling, removing unwanted body hair has become a normal part of many people’s lives. In a survey of 1000 New Zealanders aged 18–35 years, 99% of participants had removed body hair at some point in their lifetime. On average, women begin removing body hair at the age of 12 years and the most common area that they target is their lower legs.*1
Whether you need a fast leg hair removal solution on busy days or long-lasting smoothness when you’ve got time to indulge, there’s a solution for you. Choose from the Veet range of waxes and depilatory creams to achieve beautiful silky-smooth legs!
*Terry G, Braun V et al. 2013.1
- Different types of hair
- Preparing for leg hair removal
- Depilatory creams
- Leg waxing
- Shaving legs
- Intense pulsed light (IPL) system
- Leg hair removal FAQs
Different types of hair
All hair is made from keratin, a hard protein that is also found in your fingernails and toenails. The human body has approximately five million hair follicles spread across the skin. Most of these follicles produce a type of hair called vellus hair. These hairs are soft, fine, and short, and help to keep the body warm and insulated. Women can typically find vellus hairs on their chest, back, and face.
The other type of hair on your body is called terminal hair. These hairs are darker, longer, and thicker than vellus hair. You can find terminal hair on your scalp and eyebrows, and your armpits and pubic region after puberty. Terminal hair helps to provide cushioning and protection.
Preparing for leg hair removal
Taking a little time to prepare your skin before removing leg hair can help give you the best results, whichever method you choose to use.
- Each time, before using any waxes or depilatory creams, perform a patch-test to to test skin reaction on a small area of your leg’s skin, following all instructions on the product packaging or leaflet. If there is no reaction after 24 hours, you can continue to use the product.
- Regular exfoliation of your legs can help prevent ingrown hairs.
- Wash your legs to remove any dirt, dead skin cells, and skin care products just before starting your hair removal.
Hair removal (depilatory) creams use chemicals to dissolve the hair shaft, allowing it to be easily wiped away. Veet hair removal creams are a quick and easy way to effectively remove leg hair, leaving your legs hydrated with touchably smooth skin.
Benefits: Depilatory creams are easy to use and a painless leg hair removal method. After use, the hair tends to regrow slower and feeling softer than with shaving.
Things to know: Depilatory creams work best on hair that’s not very dark or coarse. Some people may find that these creams irritate their skin. To minimise any irritation, make sure you don’t leave the cream on for longer than recommended. If you have sensitive skin, be extra careful and leave the cream on for as short a time as possible.
How to use hair removal creams:
- Using the spatula or sponge provided, spread the cream evenly onto dry skin to fully coat and cover the hair you want to remove.
- Leave the cream on your skin for 5 minutes*, then use the spatula or sponge to remove a small test area of cream. If the hair comes away easily, remove the rest of the cream. If your hair is more stubborn, you can leave the cream on for up to 10 minutes*. Do not leave cream on your skin for longer than 10 minutes*.
- Rinse your skin thoroughly to completely remove all the cream, then dry your skin.
*Times may vary by product. Always follow the product instructions carefully, making a note of the specific development times.
Waxing removes the entire hair shaft and root from below the surface of the skin. Veet Easy-Gel™ Wax Strips offer the convenience of ready-to-use wax strips to effectively remove hair as short as 1.5 mm for long-lasting smoothness. For salon-perfect smoothness at home, try Veet Spawax Stripless Wax.
Benefits: Waxed hair tends to take longer to grow back compared to shaved hair or hair removed by depilatory creams. Waxing also removes both vellus and terminal hair and is useful for getting rid of hair across large areas.
Things to know: Repeated waxing can cause ingrown hairs, so try to exfoliate before you wax. Sometimes a bacterial infection can occur so keep your skin clean before and after waxing, and make sure you or your waxing practitioner uses a new application stick for you each time.
How to wax legs:
- Ensure skin is completely clean and dry before applying wax.
- Apply wax strip or warm wax onto your skin in the direction of hair growth. If using a cloth strip, place over warm wax and press down firmly. If using a wax strip, rub in direction of hair growth to ensure wax adheres well.
- Hold your skin taut (as per instructions) with one hand, and hold the end of the wax, wax strip, or cloth strip with the other hand. In one fast motion, pull the strip back on itself, keeping it as close to the skin as you can.
- Remove any wax residue using a finishing wipe or baby oil. For sugar-based warm wax, water can be used to rinse off any residues.
Shaving is a popular leg hair removal technique that uses a razor to cut hair off at the skin’s surface. Wet shaving involves applying shaving cream to the legs before gently using a razor to remove the cream and unwanted hair.
Benefits: Shaving is a convenient, quick, and pain-free method of hair removal.
Things to know: Sometimes shaving can cause skin irritation, and if you’re not careful, you can cut your skin. Extra care should be taken when shaving, particularly around the knees and ankles, to avoid small cuts. Shaving also doesn’t slow down the growth rate of hair and can leave a blunt tip that appears thicker than uncut hair.
How to shave legs:
- Thoroughly soak your legs—having wet and warm skin helps to soften the hair.
- Apply a shaving cream to help the blade glide across your skin more easily.
- Using a sharp and clean razor, shave each leg using long, light-pressured strokes from the ankle upwards. Take extra care around bony bits like your ankle and knees. Rinse the blade after every stroke.
- Rinse your legs well, pat dry gently, and apply moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) system
IPL uses polychromatic light to remove unwanted hair. The device consists of a lamp and cooling system, and treatment is tailored to your skin type and colour. Usually, multiple treatments are required to remove hair for longer periods, but noticeable hair reduction can last up to 12 weeks after one session.
Benefits: IPL is useful for removing hair from larger areas and can provide long-lasting results with multiple sessions. It’s best used for those with darker hair and lighter skin.
Things to know: Some people may find the IPL devices heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. You also need to shave and avoid tanning before treatment. IPL treatment can also cause pain, swelling, redness and skin pigmentation in sensitive individuals.
How to use an IPL system
- Shave your legs to remove any unwanted hair
- Turn on the IPL device and select the correct light intensity for your skin tone (if applicable)
- Place the device against your skin and apply a “flash” of light* as per the instructions for use
- Move on to the next area, making sure you don’t “flash” the same area twice*
*Method may vary by product. Always follow the product instructions carefully.
Leg hair removal FAQs
How to get rid of ingrown hairs on legs?
Most ingrown hairs on legs won’t cause any problems and it’s best to let them resolve on their own. To help prevent ingrown hairs, wear loose clothing for 24 hours after hair removal and exfoliate regularly before and again a few days after hair removal. If ingrown hairs do occur, gentle exfoliation may be able to release the hair trapped beneath the skin.
Is it better to shave or wax your legs?
Shaving your legs is fast, easy, and effective. But because the hair is cut off at the skin’s surface, it grows back quickly, and its blunt edge can make the hair feel stiffer and look thicker. Waxing your legs will give you longer lasting smoothness than shaving and because the hair is removed at the root, the hair will grow back with a softer, tapered tip. However, waxing can be painful for some people. So choosing whether to shave or wax your legs depends on exactly what you’re after in a hair removal solution!
How often should you shave your legs?
How often you shave your legs is completely up to you! It may depend on how fast your leg hair grows and what type of look and feel you want for your legs. Shaving more frequently may increase skin irritation, but using a sharp, clean razor and a good technique will help you reduce razor burn or ingrown hairs.
Is it better to shave your legs wet or dry?
Unless you are using an electric razor specifically designed for dry shaving, shaving wet legs is preferable. Wet and warm skin will help soften the hair to make shaving easier and help reduce skin irritation.
Are you supposed to shave your thighs?
Deciding whether to shave your thighs is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer. The type and colour of your leg hair and what clothes you plan to wear may be factors you consider.
Do you shave with or against the grain?
Shaving in the direction of hair growth, or with the grain, is recommended to reduce skin irritation and ingrown hairs. Shaving against the grain will give you a closer shave.
Can you permanently remove leg hair?
Depilatory creams, waxing, and shaving are all easy and effective ways to temporarily remove leg hair. Permanent methods of leg hair removal include electrolysis and laser hair removal, which both require multiple expensive and often painful treatment sessions with a qualified and experienced professional to achieve permanent results.
- Terry G, Braun V. Body Image 2013;10(4):599–606.
- Better Health Channel. Hair. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hair (accessed July 2022).
- Nemours KidsHealth. Hair removal. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/hair-removal.html (accessed July 2022).
- Kang CN, et al. Skin Therapy Lett 2021;26(5):6–11.