Hair Removal Cost by Method
January 28, 2007 2:13 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to do hair removal cost analisys for women, and need some help. If you shave, wax, use depilatory creams, etc., would you please give me an average cost per month?

I have a website for busy moms, and would like to make suggestions as to what is the most cost efficient method of hair removal.

I personally used laser, and I no longer need any of the above methods, but wonder if women are willing to spend more in advance, and enjoy the hair free life.

Thank you in advance for your help.

posted by adriana to Society & Culture (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak for everyone out there, but here's what my broke college student self does. But then again, a broke college student's habits aren't entirely the same as a busy mom's.

A pack of 10 of the cheapest, single-blade women's razors at the local Rite-Aid runs me around $4.50. The more premium versions are around $9. I use each razor about 3 times, and that's it. I tend to leave the razor in the shower, and I don't like the idea of possibly nicking my skin with a rusty blade. The razor's life could be prolonged by drying and careful maintenance, and by making sure there's no deodorant residue left on armpits before shaving, but I'm just not efficient enough for that sort of thing. I could go through an entire pack a month, for my legs, and the occasional armpit treatment.

Eyebrows and armpits generally get the tweezer treatment. A good pair of tweezers is key. Tweezerman sells a basic pair of tweezers for $20, I'm sure cheaper tweezers of equal quality can be found at Sephora or a local drugstore. I myself use the lousiest pair of blunt tweezers known to womankind, and am looking forward to the day that I happen to have $20 to burn on a decent pair of tweezers. I also use tweezers for the few hairs on the backs of my fingers, and toes.

And then there's the bikini line - the fancy, polite term for hair "down there". Some choose to shave, some brave souls do Brazilian waxing, and some even braver souls go at them with tweezers. I'd say the waxing and tweezing is best, as the hair doesn't grow back as quickly as it does with shaving. I don't know how much Brazilian waxes cost. As for normal shaving, lets assume the earlier pack of razors is used.

A pack of instant hair removal wax strips runs around $6 at drugstores, I believe. By economically cutting the strips with scissors, they strips should last for about two months and take care of upper-lip hair, and the occasional pruning of the eyebrows when they get out of hand. It's probably cheaper to get a tub of wax (the kind you have to heat), and wax strips, but I've never done that and don't know the cost.

So the cost per month is roughly $9 for a premium pack of razors, plus $3 for instant hair removal wax ($6 for two months), and then the one-time cost of a good pair of tweezers.
posted by Xere at 2:41 AM on January 28, 2007

$10 for eyebrows when I get my hair done so every four to six weeks. This is the least I've ever paid btw, typically it's $12 to $20.

Vibrating disposable razors. I can't remember how much the replacement blades cost but I do know I'm outraged every time I buy them so I'm guessing about $4 each. Consequently I use them for. ever. er.

for the more delicate regions I have a rather pricy Japanese safety trimmer. Or rather I had as it gave up the ghost on me a few days ago. It was about $75 and so far I'm averaging one per year. Given that a single salon wax is at least $45 every 4 weeks or so (more like $65 with tip and all) and painful to boot, I figure I'm still coming out ahead.

It's not the cost that stops me from getting laser hair removal btw, it's the permanency. What if it's suddenly trendy to be hairy or I need the insulation or something?
posted by fshgrl at 2:57 AM on January 28, 2007

I spent £20 ($40?) on an epilator two years ago, which still works perfectly, and get a Brazilian every 8 weeks for £40.
posted by goo at 3:07 AM on January 28, 2007

"most cost efficient method" = don't be a slave to it.
posted by kmennie at 3:34 AM on January 28, 2007

I go Brazilian, and pretty much can't live without it. Typical treatment in $50 (I think the price has more to do with the inconvenience factor for the waxer than the difficulty. You are, after all, dealing with someone's vajayjay and arsehole). However, I happened to have found an *awesome* waxer in Houston that charges $25-$30 bucks a session, which for me is about once every three weeks. I suspect my hair grows fast, though, and many women only go once every 4-6 weeks.
posted by Brittanie at 4:12 AM on January 28, 2007

I don't shave. Costs me no money, and saves me a ton of time.

Wait, I do keep a pack of razors on hand for when the urge strikes me. Bic Double blades, I bought them six months ago, can't remember what they cost. I used regular soap, so I don't buy shave cream either. If I were to buy shave cream, it would probably last me until the can got rusty and I threw it out.

What this does cost me is some funny comments and stares (especially from small children) when I wear a tank top. Also, my boyfriend is starting to comment too, though in the six years we've been together I've probably shaved my pits six to ten times, and my legs ten.
posted by bilabial at 4:50 AM on January 28, 2007

For the extremely curious, I leave my bush alone too. Also, totally free.
posted by bilabial at 4:59 AM on January 28, 2007

Disposable razors: 18 dollars per month.

Surgi Wax for at-home waxings: 5 to 8 dollars per month.

One-hour facial that includes eyebrow and lip wax, electrolysis on chin: 60 dollars per month.

On several occasions I have paid 25 dollars, before tip, for a lip and brow wax at a regular salon.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:13 AM on January 28, 2007

I bought an electric razor some years ago for $35 and while I don't use it consistently, it is the easiest way to shave my legs (I'm nearsighted and clumsy, so doing it in the shower has always been a pain in the, er, leg.) Replacing the screen and guard blade thingy is $25 from the Remington website and is supposed to done q 6 months or yearly.

For underarms, though, I buy the $6-7 packs of disposables and use as needed. It's winter = it's not needed. I probably go through 3-4 packs of those yearly at the very most. I get two uses out of them when I'm shaving more regularly in the summer, but only one if it's winter or it's been a while.

Basically, you divide that up, and my average cost per *summer* month is less than $10.

That's discarding the capital costs of buying electric (add that in and over a year it's another $2/month for what my current model is going for), assumes replacing the foils twice yearly, and using a disposable razor for underarms, disposing once weekly.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:14 AM on January 28, 2007

Correction: 9 dollars per month on the disposable razors. My husband and I share the same brand.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:29 AM on January 28, 2007

I'm Native American and we tend to have very lightweight and sparse body hair compared to the average North American. As a result, I can totally get away with shaving once every 7-10 days in the summer, and more like every two weeks in the wintertime when things aren't bared as much. I shave my legs, underarms, and keep things neatly trimmed and partially shaved down below.

Due to my sparse body hair, I don't seem to put as much wear and tear on my shavers. I usually purchase a 10 pack of shavers from the Dollar Store as they more than suit my needs. If I feel like splurging, then it is a 5 pack of double-bladed shavers for a dollar. I use them perhaps 2-3 times each and then dispose of them.

I use generic but decent quality shaving gel, from such places as Walmart and I think they cost in the $2.50 - $3.00 a can price range. They can easily last me 4-6 months each. (If I'm stuck when travelling, I've found that hair conditioner can replace shaving gel very well in a pinch and is quite inexpensive.) As to eyebrows, I tweeze them myself, with a good pair of quality tweezers that I bought over 8 years ago.

I seriously doubt you'll find many other women that are lucky enough to pay $20 Cdn. or less a year on almost total body hair removal.... but then again, I'm not your average hairy body.
posted by Jade Dragon at 6:57 AM on January 28, 2007

I have my eyebrows and a Brazilian bikini wax done every 4 or 5 weeks and it is $50 including tip here in California.

In London it was about $70 for the same.

In Vermont it was $40 for the same.

I shave my legs and armpits and buy disposable razors on sale and use body wash instead of shaving gel.

I've looked into Electrolysis, which in Vermont is about $50 for a 1/2 hour session and you have to keep that up for about a year. I decided against it because of a (possibly true?) urban myth that hair grows back after Electrolysis when you're pregnant.
posted by k8t at 8:37 AM on January 28, 2007

Not sure what I spend on razors/shaving cream in general, but I shave my legs daily, so I'm sure it adds up. My eyebrow wax is $25, the eyebrow tint is somewhere around that. The Brazilian is $55 but indispensable. I wax about every three weeks, and include a fat tip, because, well, she's waxing my lady bits.
posted by gokart4xmas at 9:18 AM on January 28, 2007

I don't appear to spend much at all. Bog standard male Gillette razor which lasts me for years (1 every 5 years maybe?) - I am not prepared to spend extra money for the benefit of pink handles?!

Blades - I probably go through one large packet a year. No cost for shaving gel as I use normal shower gel - part of my daily body washing routine so there is no extra cost and very little extra time. Total cost and time spent - negligible!

I do not spend any money on after care products either - daily dry skin body brushing - pre shower - seems to prevent ingrown hairs and normal body lotion/butter keeps my skin nice and soft.

I am not concerned about my pubic hair but would be likely to shave if I ever changed my mind.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:31 AM on January 28, 2007

$15 + tip for eyebrow wax or threading every two weeks.
$35 + tip for bikini wax every month.
$10 for a pack of 4 Venus disposable blades every two months. I shave my legs and armpits every other day and replace the blade every two weeks.
$20 or so every 6 weeks for a bottle of TendSkin to prevent ingrown hairs.

If it matters, I am giving serious consideration to laser treatment on the bikini line. I loathe the waxing sessions.
posted by jessica at 9:50 AM on January 28, 2007

Seconding the epilator. $40-50 once, had it for 5 years, works great most places, comes with me when I travel. Added costs are pain and suffering, but they decrease with use, and it's worth not having to shave every day and not having rough stubble. Anyway, professional waxing's not so fun, either, costs orders of magnitudes more, and requires leaving the house.
posted by walla at 10:06 AM on January 28, 2007

I'm pretty hairy, it grows fast, and I have very sensitive skin. So, I get the 3 blade razors in packs of 4 or 8 at a time which cost about $8/$14. I use the razors only once usually (due to the fact that I absolutely will get razor burn if I use them more than once, although I might reuse one for my armpits), and I use a fresh one for my bikini line. Lets say I average $20 on disposable razors alone, $5 every 3 or so months on shaving cream, and $15 every month and a half for the brow and lip wax. I think the math comes to $95 for three months of bodyhair care. So appx $32 a month. Lame. I should stop shaving and upgrade my cable package.
posted by greta simone at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

$5/month shaving
$5/month bikini wax (two $30 treatments in summer)
$15/month electrolysis (15 min treatment every 6-8 weeks)

While shaving's the most cost efficient way for me to remove hair, I no longer go near the bikini area with a razor. I get terrible razor burn and irritation from the salt and sand that I'm embarrased to wear a bathing suit and decided it's not worth the cost savings.

Btw, k8t, the urban myth proved true for me.
posted by hoppytoad at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2007

Hoppytoad, good to know!

So many jokes could emerge from that... baby owes you a few grand...
posted by k8t at 11:19 AM on January 28, 2007

$8 CDN/month (winter), $20/month (summer) shaving with the cheapest razors possible, and a negligible amount of Dr. Bronner's soap as shaving gel
$13 + tip/month for eyebrow threading and lip waxing
Whatever the depreciation cost on my tweezers and scissors is for other maintenance
posted by thisjax at 11:25 AM on January 28, 2007

i buy good men's razors and use the same one forever. literally forever. i've been using the same gillette mach 3 for over 3 years. it came with an extra blade, which i finally switched to after 2 years. i shave my armpits, legs (ankle-to-knee), and bikini line 1-2 times a week. no shaving cream, just soap or hair conditioner. i forget what i paid for the razor, but let's call the shaving $2 cost for 3 years, or $0.56/month.

in between shaves, i cover up the stubble with sally hansen airbrush legs spray-on leg makeup, which is the best beauty product i've ever found. matches my skin, looks fantastic, easy to use, a single can will last me all summer, and it barely smudges. even for swimming. it's awesome- highly recommend. $18/year = $1.50/month.

i also use minute quantities of veet in-shower depilatory creme, which i do not use in the shower, but rather on my upper lip and stomach. i've never actually run out of this stuff, but i do buy a new bottle every year because i get suspiscious of aging chemicals. $8/year, or $1.50/month.

my tweezers are la cross solingen premier slant tip tweezers, which kick tweezermans' tweezy little ass. they have one very thin side, so they get in really close to get those stubbly short eyebrows. under $20, good til i lose them- so let's say 3 years- $0.56/month.

all of this runs me roughly $4.12/month, which is under $500/decade. pretty damn cheap. but i'm considering laser anyway, becase to me the cheap price of shaving doesn't compare to the amazing sexiness that no more stubbly legs would be.
posted by twistofrhyme at 11:50 AM on January 28, 2007

I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned laser hair removal. That runs about $150 per armpits/bikini sized area, $225 for Brazilian, $600 for whole legs. Most people get good results with 4-6 treatments spaced 4-8 weeks apart, after which it's more or less permanent. The disclaimer is that there are a few metabolic/hormonal disorders that can cause hair to grow in strange places.
posted by ilsa at 11:55 AM on January 28, 2007

I used to wax. That cost a lot, like $10-20/time, but you could do it less often. Then, I found a recipe for making the wax yourself online. Since I had the wax strips already (or you could use old linens), it was then free (the cost of a couple cups of sugar). But it did take a ton of time.
posted by salvia at 12:52 PM on January 28, 2007

I pay about 6 dollars every two months for cheap razors. I shave just about everything. Then I pay about 12 a month to get my eyebrows done.

Side bar, this thread really piques my intrest in laser removal. I am a perfect candidate with the dark hair and light skin.
posted by stormygrey at 1:40 PM on January 28, 2007

For bikini line, etc., I bought a Seiko Clean-cut shaver about a year ago for $65, and go through a bottle of TendSkin ($20) about every 4 months. (I haven't replaced the Seiko blades yet, but I'll have to do that soon -- that will run $25). So together, that averages out to just a hair (ha!) over $10/month for the first year; less from here on out as I just rely on replacement blades.

For legs/underarms, my hair's pretty fine/sparse, so I can go a few days between shaves in short-sleeve/bare leg weather (living in L.A., the distinction between "summer" and "winter" isn't always clear), and several weeks or longer when it's cooler. I use mid-price disposables (triple blade, lubricated strip, etc. -- say $10 for a pack of 3); over the course of a year, I'd guesstimate that I go through 3 or 4 packs. So that's another $30-40/year ($2.50-3.33/month).

For eyebrows, I tweeze them myself, using a pair of tweezers I've had for a million years (though I should probably cough up the $20 for a nice new pair).
posted by scody at 2:52 PM on January 28, 2007

I wouldn't personally invest a lot of money to be's not that important to me.

$10 about four times a year for eyebrow wax. Tweeze in between waxings.

I buy whichever mid-price disposible razor is on sale, or go a step down to double-blade if nothing's on sale. The cheaper the blade, the fewer times it can be used, but I only average perhaps $30/year. I shave my legs from ankles to knees (above my knees the hair is too blond and fine to bother), armpits, and "bikini line" about once a week-ish.
posted by desuetude at 5:03 PM on January 28, 2007

As a rather hairy woman, I consider myself a bit of an authority on this subject. While I'm not the furriest, the combination of dark hair and very light skin makes the situation quite conspicuous. I also have a tendency to get razor burn in sensative areas.

I get my armpits waxed about four times a year. I try to go to places that, while not upscale salons, have very good people working there. This can take some trial and error. The price ranges from $10- $15 (depending on city and neighborhood) plus tip. The thing about getting them done less often is that even though the hair is grown back after about 1.5 - 2 months, the hair stays soft and easy to shave for a while afterwards.

I get my lip done more often. This usually costs about $7-$10. The hair is still mostly blond there for now, as I'm still young.

I use tweezers of my eyebrows but I don't buy really nice ones because I tend to lose them a lot. I think my current ones cost about $6.

I shave my legs almost every day. I only skip it when I'm running very late in the morning. The reason I do it every day is I tend to get a very itchy rash if I don't shave. I have eczema on my legs but I don't know if this is related to the rash. I use double blade razors and change about once a week; about $6 for a bag of ten. I've never found a good generic razor so I buy the name brand. I really like the triple blade but I can't justify spending so much more for them.

As far as the bikini line goes, I find it's least expensive to have a boyfriend that is hairier than myself so that he never complains. If there is an occasion that I'm going to be swimming or something (very rare) I just shave.

To prevent razor burn, I splash some rubbing alcohol on the shaved parts. It stings but does wonders.

I'm considering laser hair removal for the parts that I shave and wax but I'm not ready to commit myself to the treatment, financially or otherwise.
posted by Brachiosaurus at 5:49 PM on January 28, 2007

I recommend a hysterectomy for reduction of body hair. Just kidding, but it was an unexpected bonus.

I use an epilator on everything except eyebrows. Haven't needed to tweeze my eyebrows in years.

Take a warm soaking bath, pour a glass of wine and let the epilator rip! (pun intended). Cost of epilator $75.00, it is now several years old.
posted by JujuB at 8:42 PM on January 28, 2007

£120 every 6 weeks, covers waxing of legs, Hollywood, and underarms.
posted by Wilder at 2:05 AM on January 29, 2007

I did laser for bikini. $800.

I spend nothing on shaving (armpits, legs) because my gym provides very good razers.

I get my eyebrows threaded. $17/month ($25 per visit, but I usually stretch it to about every 6 weeks). I'd like to do this more, but I find $25/month to be a lot to spend. The end product from this particular threader is so beautiful, though, I'm willing to spend the $17/month.
posted by Amizu at 10:36 AM on January 29, 2007

I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned laser hair removal. That runs about $150 per armpits/bikini sized area, $225 for Brazilian, $600 for whole legs. Most people get good results with 4-6 treatments spaced 4-8 weeks apart, after which it's more or less permanent. The disclaimer is that there are a few metabolic/hormonal disorders that can cause hair to grow in strange places.
posted by ilsa at 2:55 PM EST on January 28 [+]

Ilsa - I did a fair amount of research before I spent $800 on bikini, and compared with friends who have had it done around the US. Maybe I got screwed.... Anyway, I have also found - and heard anecdotally - that 4-6 treatments isn't usually enough. My place has everybody go 6 times, and then a few more visits, spaced 6 weeks apart (instead of 10) with double treatments each time. I've done 5 treatments & there's improvement, but it's not perfect yet. I'm hoping that once they're done with the double-time & more frequent treatments, it will be nearly permanent. (And I'm the ideal candidate for laser bc of skin & hair color.) All treatments are included, though, so $800 is the price regardless of how many extra treatments the company has to do beyond the 6 to start.

If it works for $800, I'll be very content with the money spent, though, because I never found a viable solution - razers caused painful sores and waxing was expensive and I didn't like the grow-in phase. I'm also young, and anticipated years of dealing with the issue (and paying for it). I don't think I'd do another body part unless it was considerably less expensive, though. I've managed to find viable solutions to every other part of my body that I de-hair.
posted by Amizu at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone: this has been very informative, and it will be very useful to me in writing the report for my audience.

I personally used waxing in my youth (I am from Europe, and that was the norm there), but here in the States, it was too expensive for me (at the time).

I then tried laser several years back for underarms, and loved the feeling of smooth baby-like skin. And in the past 2 years I had 4 treatments of laser, and I am virtually hair free.

I'll probably go one more time just before summer, to get the few hairs I have left.

Laser in my neck of the woods is $140 per hour, and it took me 4 hours for the first treatment to do lips, underarms and legs all the way up to bikini line. The next 3 treatments were shorter and shorter, with the last one being only 1 hour long.

One thing you can't do with laser it eyebrows, because it could remove your eyebrows (because of the angle of the laser).

One other things you need to be careful when using laser, is to make sure you have not taken any antibiotics in the 6 weeks prior to your treatment, or you risk to get burned.

Again, thanks everyone for your answers.
posted by adriana at 3:43 PM on January 31, 2007

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