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Best underarm hair removal methods

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Written by Vera C. Last updated on .

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this page. This helps keep this site running.

Woman wearing sports top in exercise class with underarm visible

If you're seeking to remove underarm hair, rest assured that there are several options available to you. Here are the best armpit hair removal methods with their pros and cons.

The right method for you will depend on factors such as how often you wear sleeveless clothing and whether you are comfortable with even a small level of regrowth between hair removal occasions. The best solution for you may in fact be a combination of two methods.

One thing to remember with any method is that armpit hair often grows in different directions, and this can make it more of a challenge to remove completely than if you were applying that same method to a different body part such as legs. No matter which of these methods you wind up using, make sure to wash your underarms immediately after with soap and water. Otherwise no matter how hygienic you are in general, normal bacteria on the surface of the skin can enter and cause a boil, which is not only uncomfortable but also can look more unsightly than armpit hair!

Let's dive in and take a look at each armpit hair removal method and its advantages and disadvantages.


Shaving needs no further explanation; you can do it in the shower as needed. It doesn't hurt and it's easy to incorporate into your routine. When shaving your armpits it's best to use a shaving cream to get the closest possible shave, but if you don't have that then liquid soap will do the job (although not quite as well).

Make sure to shave in all different directions in your underarm: upwards, downwards and sideways in each direction.


  • Painless
  • Cheap
  • Fast


  • Hair regrows quickly; if you're wearing sleeveless dresses or tops you will need to shave your armpits daily

Salon waxing

Having your underarms waxed at a salon is the best way to ensure a perfectly smooth result that lasts much longer than shaving. It's time consuming since you have to make an appointment, go there, wait, get it done, and come back. It's also relatively pricey compared to at-home methods. Nonetheless, if you want the best result, this may be the way to go. Be warned that you'll need the hair to be at least around a quarter of an inch long (ideally a little longer) to ensure that the wax will grab the hair. This means needing to "grow" your armpit hair first.


  • Beautifully smooth result
  • Takes some time for hair to grow back - you don't get a shadow of stubble the next day


  • Relatively expensive over time
  • Time-consuming - it can be difficult to schedule appointments around your work schedule
  • Somewhat painful
  • Need to grow armpit hair to an unsightly length first before waxing

At-home waxing with wax strips

If you wax your underarms at home instead of a salon, you won't want to be applying hot wax one-handed. Instead I recommend using wax strips that you simply warm between your hands before using. I like these Sally Hansen wax strips at Amazon.com for this purpose.


  • Takes some time for hair to grow back
  • Cheap - wax strip kits are very affordable and contain plenty of strips


  • It's difficult to remove every last hair using wax strips on coarse underarm hair, so the result is not as good as what you'd get with a salon wax
  • Somewhat painful
  • Need to grow armpit hair to an unsightly length first before waxing

If you're considering waxing your armpits, you may like to take a look at these waxing tips for the underarm area.


An epilator is a hand-held device for hair removal that you can use at home any time. It contains many automated tweezers to pluck the hair out by the roots. It's a hair removal option that gives you the best of both worlds: the same slow regrowth you see with waxing and the shorter hair length you can apply it to as you would for shaving. The major advantage of epilating is that you don't need to grow your underarm hair to as long of a length as you would with waxing.

A really good epilator such as this Braun model at Amazon.com can cost around $100 so it's not cheap, although the good news is that once you've bought it you don't have any more added costs each time you epilate. Epilating your armpits can be painful, especially the first time, due to the coarse hair. After a while it gets a lot easier and feels more like a tugging sensation. It's similar or slightly more painful than using the wax strips. Epilating other body parts such as your legs is almost painless though - if you're considering getting an epilator and want to find out more about how it feels on each body part, you can read my article on how painful is it to epilate each body part.


  • Takes some time for your underarm hair to grow back, since you're plucking it out by the root
  • Convenient - do it anytime. There is none of the mess or fuss that you would have with waxing
  • Works with 4x shorter hair than waxing


  • Painful and/or uncomfortable
  • The initial cost of the epilator is fairly expensive (but this is balanced by having no ongoing costs)

Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal needs to be done by a qualified professional. This procedure removes hair for a very long time, although not permanently, by applying a laser to the root of the hair. This needs to be done over several sessions. Research carefully first when selecting a provider in your area. Laser hair removal tends to have the best results if your armpit hair contrasts strongly with your skin - for example you have dark armpit hair and fair skin.


  • Hair removal is longer lasting than waxing or at-home options


  • Painful
  • Expensive - each session is expensive and you will need multiple sessions


Electrolysis must be done by a qualified professional. In this procedure, an electric current zaps the hair follicle, permanently damaging it and preventing regrowth. Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method available. Again, do careful research before selecting a provider.


  • Removes hair permanently


  • Painful
  • Expensive - and you'll need multiple sessions

Selecting the armpit hair removal method that is best for you

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for which method of underarm hair removal is best for you. For example, if you are a dancer or model then the most permanent method, electrolysis, may be worth the financial cost because it gives you the peace of mind of having presentable underarms at every moment. By contrast, if you don't tend to wear sleeveless clothing often (for example you live in a cooler climate) then shaving or waxing may be all that you need.

Of course, your own personal preferences also factor into this - if you're self-conscious about your underarm hair, regardless of how often others may see your underarms, then it may be well worth doing electrolysis for your own confidence.

Using a combination of methods to remove underarm hair

You may decide a combination of methods is right for you. For example, waxing, epilating and shaving. You'd wax occasionally (if and when you get your armpit hair to the correct minimum growth for that), then maintain it using a combination of epilating and shaving to get rid of any stray hairs as they grow back. Whichever method or methods you decide to use is up to you. It's a great feeling to get rid of unwanted armpit hair!

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