Shaving vs. waxing: which is better?

Shaving or waxing? It’s one of the eternal debates in the world of hair removal. Whilst at first glance we might seem to be very firmly in the ‘shaving’ category - there are definitely pros and cons to both. We’re putting shaving and waxing head to head to see which one comes out on top as the overall winner.

Which is cheaper?

One of the big factors here is where you choose to do your hair removal - both in terms of home or the salon, and where on your body. With a salon wax, you’re looking at anything from £4 to £175*, from an upper lip wax to full body, depending on where you are in the UK.

If you want to do your waxing at home, depending on the type of wax you buy you’re looking at anything from £4.50 to £15**. You can also invest in some more salon-esque equipment, which costs between £30-£40, then £5-£10 for your wax refills.

But home waxing doesn’t come particularly easy, you’ll most likely be going back over a couple of times when you’re first starting out, plus allowing for some wastage. There are also some waxes which would be pretty difficult to try and DIY - Hollywood, I’m looking at you.

Waxing can leave you hair free for 2-6 weeks - so let’s say you’d do it once a month. If you got a half leg, bikini line and underarm wax in a salon, over a year you’d be looking at between £480-£840. If you were to do this at home you’d be looking at a less eye-watering £68.97 a year.

Of course, that’s assuming everything goes to plan first time out. We’d allow a couple of extra boxes to be on the safe side, putting the price nearer to £90. Most brands recommend you stick to your legs at first, so you’d also be paying salon prices for the more sensitive bikini and underarm areas initially.

We already know that buying razors in the supermarket isn’t the most economical way of doing things. We also know some people shave more frequently than others, so need to change their blades more.

A good quality blade will get you 5-7 shaves. Given our office average of one big body shave a week with underarm top-ups between, we normally get a couple of weeks use out of each cartridge.

For body shaving, we recommend our osku comfort 3 - if you were to change your blades on average every other week over the course of the year, plus use a bottle of our danne shave gel every other month you’d be looking at £63 over the year.

Winner: Shaving. On the face of it shaving only just nudges past home waxing - but considering that you may still need some trips to the salon in your early home waxing days, plus some extra supplies, shaving seems like a clear winner to us.

Which is less painful?

Just take a moment and think about the actual process of waxing. You’re literally pulling the hair out of its root. If you think that’s going to be pain free, you must have a very high pain threshold indeed.

Whilst shaving isn't quite so... aggressive, many of us will have fallen foul to a painful razor nick. You know the kind I mean - the kind that leaves a seemingly never-ending trail of blood across the bathroom floor.

And whilst they do hurt at the time, they’re also pretty easy to avoid. Weirdly enough, you’re more likely to cut yourself with a blunt razor than a sharp one - so regularly changing your blades is one thing you can do to avoid nicking yourself.

Using a good quality lubricant, like our danne shave gel, to help the razor glide across where it can is a good idea too. Definitely don’t reach for the shower gel.

Ingrown hairs are a hot (and painful) topic when it comes to hair removal, and you’re no more likely to get them if you’re a shaver or a waxer. Exfoliating immediately before hair removal and regularly every few days on areas where you remove hair should keep them at bay. For your legs, we’d give our skrub body polish a go, and down there we’d recommend our exfoliating face wash, kóri.

Winner: Shaving pips to the post with this one. Neither are guaranteed agony free but it’s much easier to have painless shave than wax!

How often should I do it?

Because waxing involves removing the hair at the root it can keep you hair free for 4-6 weeks. That’s pretty good news for the more… lax amongst us.

On the other hand, depending on how thick your hair is, you may notice regrowth from shaving on the same day - hello five o’clock shadow! Shaving cuts the hair to where it is visible, meaning it grows back sooner than waxed hair. Of course, it’s up to you how often you shave, but to maintain a silky smooth body, you’ll need to shave a heck of a lot more frequently than you would wax.

In answer to the question does shaving or waxing last longer - it’s definitely waxing. But does that necessarily make it the winner here? We don’t think so.

With waxing you’ll need to wait until the hair is a certain length (about 6mm) before you can go for another wax - so you will have some visible hair in between removal.

Winner: Draw! Whilst you don’t have to wax as often as you shave, it’s definitely worth bearing in mind that much of that is because you can’t. You can shave no matter what the length of your hair. So if you’re a fan of constant silky smoothness then shaving is for you.

Which has less regrowth?

There’s a lot of myths floating around about how hair removal affects the growth of hair.

Lots of people seem to think that shaving makes the hair grow back thicker, darker, and more quickly. Fortunately, that’s a load of rubbish.

When you shave, the razor only ever comes into contact with the surface of the hair. It’s so far away from the follicle that there’s pretty much no way shaving could change the thickness or pigment of the hair. Shaving cuts the hair at its thickest point, making it look and feel coarser than before.  

Waxing is a completely different story. Many waxers report less regrowth due the process weakening the hair follicles. But all the evidence is anecdotal and there has been little research into this.

That being said, after waxing hair tends to appear finer as it doesn’t all grow back at the same rate. The ends of the hair are also more tapered than they would be with shaving, which again makes them look and feel finer.

Your hair will also appear above the skin sooner with shaving that with waxing - but that is simply due to the fact that the hair is longer to start with, it’s not actually growing quicker.

Winner: Waxing just about takes it here - as the regrowth is slower and appears finer. But don’t be sucked in by the myths that shaving is bad for regrowth!

Which is more convenient?

To some extent, hair removal is always going to present some degree of inconvenience. It takes up precious time and is rarely a spontaneous activity. This is particularly true of home waxing. First of all, you need to go to the shops to buy your equipment. Then you need to set aside some time to do it. Waxing isn’t a mindless task, there’s a pretty specific technique that you’ll need to master with it too, so it’s probably not something you’re going to do whilst enjoying a Netflix binge. Overall? Pretty inconvenient.

But salon waxing does have conveniences. After all, all that you have to do is strip off and wait as someone does all the hard work for you. But who has time for more appointments in their life? Plus, depending on how you’re wired it can be a little bit awkward the first couple of times you’ve got a stranger all up in your business.

Shaving generally adds anything from 30 seconds to five minutes to your shower routine. Plus you can do it whenever, wherever. There’s no hefty equipment to carry around, or having to work an appointment into your already busy life. Plus, with a handy grüum subscription razors are dropped right through your letterbox, exactly when you need them. No trips to the shop needed.

Winner: Shaving wins for us. You can do it from the comfort of your own home and generally only need to extend your shower routine by a couple of minutes. No fitting appointments around your schedule and the equipment is super easy to transport.

Overall winner: Shaving

Shaving is our winner at grüum HQ. Waxing definitely does have its benefits, taking points in two out of our five categories - but looking at the bigger picture, we’re still reaching for our razors.

*UK prices based on average prices in Glasgow, Manchester and London, from Treatwell, accurate as of 25/9/2018.

**Based on RRP of Veet brand wax strips, purchased in Superdrug, used at the recommended number of applications.