Hair removal sustainability 101

Someone with plantlike body hair sitting in a lush setting.
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As many people now know, sustainability can be a part of our daily lives in many ways. Although not expected, hair removal can be a simple place to change your sustainability game. You might even find a method that works better for you along the way. 

Before we get into the ins and outs of hair removal, let’s make one thing clear: Hair removal isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally OK. If that’s the case for you, take heart in the fact that in this area: You have no carbon footprint!

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Here are the most common methods of hair removal, and some more sustainable counterparts.

Shaving

This method of hair removal is super common. However, the razor industry is really wasteful. The Environmental Protection Agency found that more than two billion razors are thrown away yearly in a study conducted in the 1990s. Scary, right?

However, shaving is the go-to method for many, so it would be hard to give up entirely. You don’t have to — just don’t use a disposable razor! With care, a stainless steel razor can last a lifetime. All you have to do is replace the blade. 

Waxing

Waxing, although usually a little more painful than shaving, can be a valid sustainability option. Wax strips found at the drug store, however, are no doubt wasteful. I say this because they contribute a lot to plastic and paper waste. Even in-salon hot wax often has synthetic resin. 

A more sustainable alternative to traditional waxing is sugaring. The paste used for sugaring is a simple mixture of sugar, lemon and water heated to form a gooey consistency. The method is not only more sustainable — as it does not use synthetic materials — but is also more gentle on your skin. The cooled paste is applied to the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth and pulled off quickly in small sections in the same direction the hair grows. This method is also more proficient at removing shorter hairs. If you’re someone who struggles with straggling hairs, give sugaring a try. You can easily do it at home!

Epilating

Epilating is a method of removing hairs by use of about 50 tweezers in one machine that you glide along your skin. Because it plucks hairs from the root, it leaves your skin hairless for longer. Plus, the epilator lasts a long time, and you just need to change the batteries. Like the stainless steel razor, it’s a piece of equipment that can serve you as long as you take good care of it (and change out some parts as needed to keep it healthy).

When looking for epilators, make sure to find a brand that doesn’t test on animals, unlike Braun, which is owned by Procter and Gamble. Instead, pick one from an electronics company such as Philips or Panasonic. 

To conclude this long, hairy guide (haha, get it) to finding out how to make your life sustainable is a journey. Just take it one step at a time. Start with investing in a more sustainable method of hair removal. 

Contact Sophie Horvath at [email protected].