How long do all the hair removal methods last? We ranked them from longest to shortest

Here’s your guide to how long all the hair removal methods last, where experts reveal whether waxing, shaving, or depilatory creams last longer

woman sitting on sunny balcony wearing underwear and loose t-shirt
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

You’ve likely tried many hair removal methods—from shaving, to sugaring and smearing on Nair in your search for the longest-lasting results. But the jury is still out on which technique actually works best to keep your skin silky-smooth for longer. So, how long do all the hair removal methods last, in reality?

After shaving, it can be annoying to see stubble on your legs at the end of the next day. It’s also tricky to know whether you should pack extra depilatory cream for your cruise, or if one session is meant to last the whole holiday week.

Whether you want to know how these temporary methods last so you can plan accordingly or you’re itching to try a more permanent method like at-home laser hair removal, we’ve put together a guide to help. 

Here’s an overview of how long all the hair removal methods last—from longest to shortest.

How long do all the hair removal methods last?

How long does electrolysis last?

woman getting her hair removal via electrolysis on her leg

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want unwanted body hair gone for good, electrolysis is your best bet. It’s the one and only method of hair removal that offers permanent results

During electrolysis, a tiny electrified probe gets inserted in each individual hair follicle, where it damages the root so more hair can’t grow in that spot.

According to Elle MacLeman, skincare biochemist for The Derm Review (opens in new tab), “Electrolysis offers permanent hair removal, but it takes several 15- to 30-minute sessions as each hair follicle needs to be targeted at different points of the hair growth cycle.”

That means, after your first session, you’ll see new hairs pop up that didn’t get zapped during the first round. But, after a few appointments, all of the hair follicles will be treated so they can’t produce new growth. This technique takes some time and commitment to undertake, but the permanent results are absolutely worth it in the long run for many people.

How long does laser hair removal last?

a woman getting laser hair removal in a clinic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although laser hair removal has a reputation as a permanent way of eliminating unwanted body hair, it actually delivers semi-permanent results

“Laser hair removal can be effective for as long as 6 to 12 months,” MacLeman says. “Bear in mind that the hair’s thickness, color, and growth cycle can vary these results.”

This process uses lasers to zap patches of hair growth. The laser damages the follicle by targeting pigmented hairs. Areas with very fine and light-colored hairs won’t respond well to this type of treatment, but it’s a great option for the legs and bikini area.

Like electrolysis, laser hair removal requires several treatments up-front. For some women, the results are essentially permanent, but others need to go back for a touch-up session every year or so. It is a good way to remove facial hair permanently, but you may need a little topping up now and then. As with electrolysis, laser hair removal is widely considered one of the best hair removal options for dark skin, too. Just be sure to always use one of the best sunscreens for face or body following treatment, as it can make skin more sensitive to the sun.

How long does waxing last?

a hand holding a stick with wax on the end of it

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rather than destroying the hair follicle, waxing removes each strand, pulling it out from the root. As far as temporary hair removal methods go, waxing is highly effective, but it only lasts a few weeks. 

“Waxing removes the hair from the root and can destroy part of the hair follicle, so it takes time to rebuild and grow again,” says Alison Angold (opens in new tab), who has been an esthetician for 25 years. “The hairs that are waxed will take approximately four to six weeks to grow back. However, due to the hair growth cycle, secondary hairs that are growing beneath the skin will appear sooner. So a person will be hair-free for approximately two to three weeks, but will need to wait four to six weeks for the hairs to be long enough to be waxed.”

In other words, if you only occasionally get waxed, you’ll start to see some stubble by about two weeks or so. But if you get waxed on a regular basis, you’ll actually alter the hair growth cycle so that you don’t need to go back for another appointment for up to six weeks. 

“For this reason, I recommend that a person waxes regularly to target all the hairs that grow through,” Alison adds.

How long do tweezing and threading last?

woman getting her eyebrows threaded

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tweezing and threading work in a similar fashion to waxing, but the hairs are plucked out individually rather than in larger strips. 

While the results will vary depending on the hair type and growth rate, threading and tweezing will last for about the same duration as an initial waxing treatment. For most people, that’s roughly two to three weeks, or up to six weeks at most.

“Tweezing and threading pull the hair out of the follicle, so the whole hair comes out, but these techniques have no effect on the follicle,” Angold explains. As such, threading and tweezing can be longer-lasting solutions for targeting individual hairs, especially facial hairs around the brows, chin, and upper lip.

We'd recommend using one of the best moisturizers for dry skin after threading or plucking to soothe the skin as these methods can leave skin a little sore.

How long does hair removal cream last?

a woman's hand reaching for a pot of cream

(Image credit: Getty Images/okskukuruza)

Hair removal creams—or depilatory creams—like Nair don’t actually pull out hair, so the results only last a matter of days rather than a matter of weeks.

While the effectiveness will again depend on the hair thickness and growth rate, most women find depilatory creams to last about four to seven days, but some see stubble peeking out after just two days. 

These types of products “dissolve the hair, just below the skin’s surface, so hair growth is rapid and you will see growth within a few days,” says Angold. “However, the hairs will be softer and finer.”

How long does shaving last?

a woman shaving her leg in the shower

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shaving is probably the easiest, cheapest, and most painless choice on this list, but it also lasts for the shortest amount of time. 

“Shaving literally cuts the hair at the skin’s surface, so the hairs grow back immediately and will be coarse and stubble-like,” says Alison. Some people see regrowth after just a day, but shaving generally lasts two to four days.

Which method is right for you?

If you’re looking for a quick fix and a cheaper option, shaving, depilatory creams, and tweezing/threading can all work well. When you’re ready for more commitment and longer-lasting results, try waxing. Anyone who wants to get rid of unwanted hair for good will love the results of laser hair removal or electrolysis—though you can expect the price tag to match.

As long as you know what to expect from all of these hair removal methods, you can’t really go wrong.

My Imperfect Life thanks Alison Angold (opens in new tab) and Elle MacLeman (opens in new tab) for their time and expertise.

Aleesha Badkar
Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life

Aleesha is deputy editor and beauty & fashion lead for My Imperfect Life, where she heads up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was shopping writer for woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing new products, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, learning about different wines, attempting new languages and travelling as much as she can.