Wax v. Lotion - the Leg Hair Wars!

I hate my legs. It’s true! They are weirdly shaped, easily bruised, and always dry. But the worst part about them is the hair. I have very dark leg hair which is compounded by very large pores, which means even when my legs are hair-free, they still look stubbly (at least, to me). I’ve long along given up shaving, because no matter what products I used or how careful I was, I would end up with terribly itchy legs for about 20 minutes after shaving. It was infuriating and to me, intolerable. I had taken up the electric razor to do away with the unsightly hair, and that has been working for me for a couple years. However, over the winter, my trusty razor broke down and I had to replace it with its FAR inferior cousin. While this new razor does an acceptable job on small areas with very short hair growth, it is about as effective on my legs as if I had let my cat try to lick off the hair!

Of course, I didn’t REALLY realize the impact of this until I was at the pool the other day and saw my legs in the full light of the sun. I had been fooling myself into thinking the roughness I felt on my legs was a result of dry skin and using an electric razor, which can never really give you perfectly smooth legs. I was pretty horrified, but thankfully, my leg hair is pretty patchy and no one at the pool was looking at my legs, so I don’t think anyone but me noticed.

But all that night, I was trying to think of what I could do. Obviously, the electric razor was not cutting it, and I dreaded going back to shaving. I wished I could afford salon waxing, but that’s just not in the budget for right now. Then I remembered trying Nair, way back in the day. Back then, it smelled terribly and didn’t work much better, but it’s been a couple decades, and surely they have improved? I also remembered that a couple years ago, there was a similar product called Veet, that was like Nair, but claimed to be more effective, less stinky, and had a little tool to help remove the hair.

The next day, I went to my local pharmacy to investigate.  When I found the non-razor hair removal aisle, I was sad at how small it was and how few choices where there. There were really only three brands, Nair, Veet, and Sally Hansen. All three brands had the Nair-type product, where you coat your leg, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe away the lotion, and presumably, all your hair. I decided to go with Veet, because it claimed to have a nicer odor and special moisturizers for dry skin. Just as I was about to go, I spied another product. Sally Hansen had an at-home wax product. Since I was a little doubtful about the Veet working (because of my junior high Nair experiences), I decided I wanted to try to wax, too, and since I had two legs and two products … a war was born! Wax vs. Lotion – the duel of the leg hair!

I got home, excited to product test but even MORE excited at the prospect of smooth legs! After my embarrassment at the pool, that hair could not come off soon enough!  I decided to start with the Veet, because it was the easiest. I read all the directions and was ready to go. It was very easy to use. You slather the lotion on (but don’t rub it in), and let it sit on your leg for 3-6 minutes. Because I have very dark, coarse hair, I decided to go the full 6 minutes. After your time is up, you take the plastic blade tool and remove the lotion, much like if you were shaving.

So I opened the bottle and put on the lotion. The smell, honestly, was pretty much what I remembered from the old days, though not quite as potent. There was no stinging, burning, or unpleasant sensations of any kind while I had the lotion on. Really, the only problem I had was that my cat seemed VERY attracted to this new smell, and I had to keep her away from my leg. When my 6 minutes were up, I went to the sink. The blade tool was very easy to use and it felt good to know I wasn’t missing any spots. I finished up with a wet washcloth to clean my leg off and viola! I had a smooth leg! I was really very impressed that it seemed to remove all the hair. It honestly felt even better than shaving – not only because I didn’t itch like crazy – but also because I was sure I got every part of my leg. Don’t you hate it when you miss a big section of your leg when you shave? The only downside I experienced was when I got a little cold and I had some goose bumps that caused my legs to feel a little stubbly, which also happens after I shave, because of course the root of the hair is still there.

I was a little more trepidatious when it came to the wax. My first concern, of course, was the pain factor. And once I read the directions, which was full of cautions about the wax getting too hot, I was even more concerned about pulling this off. The wax came in a roll-on tube with 10 reusable strips. I was very glad to see the strips were reusable, because when I was in the store and saw it only came with 10 strips, I was very worried about how many times I could actually wax. So that was good news! I put the wax-filled handle of the roll-on in the microwave for 15 seconds, as directed. Thankfully, when I pulled it out, the handle was warm, but not hot, and it seemed to have been the right amount of time to zap it. I kneaded the wax, per the instructions, and then I put on the roll-on top and tested the wax and it seemed to be flowing out correctly. I rolled a strip of wax in the direction of the hair growth, rubbed on the strip, and took a deep breath, because I was sure this was going to hurt like a mother! I ripped it off and hey – that wasn’t bad at all! I was excited! I have to admit, I was a little worried I was going to do one strip and call it off because of the pain! I continued on with the rest of my leg, using all 10 strips.

Then, I went to clean up, and I have to admit, that was a bit of a nightmare. The wax and hair came off the strips easily enough with some warm water, but the roll-on top was pretty impossible to clean. I tried my hardest to get all the wax out, left the strips out to dry, and went to the window to view my results. At first, I was excited, because it did seem all the hair was gone. But, as the night went on, I keep rubbing my waxed leg and it felt rough, as if I had missed some patches. I still can’t see any dark hair on my legs, but my Veet leg feels much smoother than my waxed leg. I also had a few small areas of itchiness after waxing and moisturizing. Nothing major, but still, it was there.

So now, I’m on day two, and I am really very happy with my Veet leg. It is so smooth, it makes me really happy. The product claims it keeps you smooth twice as long as shaving – and since shaving only kept me smooth for about two days, I’m not sure that’s a HUGE bonus, but we’ll see. The waxed leg still looks good, but just doesn’t feel as smooth to me. Also, when I went in the bathroom this morning, I found a big mess. Not only was my sink full of hair (from both experiments), the roll-on wax top that had been so hard to clean was sitting in a pool of wax that had obviously dripped out overnight. It wasn’t too hard to clean up with some warm water and a little scraping, but I still don’t think, even after another round under the tap, that I got that roll-tip completely clean. And I have a feeling that’s going to cause problems the next time I go to use it.

So, what’s the verdict?  Well, even though I thought about returning the product I liked least, I think I am going to keep both of them for different uses. The Veet, which was more expensive and has less uses by far, did work the best, so even though it is more pricey, I will be using that for my everyday leg hair-removal needs. The wax, which was cheaper and will likely last a very long time, will be valuable to me only when my leg hair is long enough to wax (so after winter or a dry spell), and the mess it created means I only want to deal with it on a sporadic nature.

So it looks like Veet comes out the winner!

Taylor is currently living in Dayton, OH. She can be found expanding her horizons at www.pickygal.com

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