Conventional hair-removal companies may wax poetic about their products' soothing and healing ingredients, but many use irritating and potentially harmful chemicals, such as the thickening agent triethanolamine, a suspected carcinogen, according to the National Institutes of Health. "Everything that goes on the skin gets absorbed into the skin, even more so when you shave or remove hair and open up the pores," says Sherrie Huebner, director of ReFresh spa in Dallas. Instead, she suggests opting for natural hair-removal products with organic, plant-based ingredients. Do they work as well? You bet. Here are our favorites.
Weleda Shaving Cream
Infused with aromatic healing ingredients, including pansy and sweet almond extracts, and goat's milk, this product goes on creamy, shaves easily, and leaves skin feeling superclean and exfoliated. Weleda also offers a perfect postshave, skin-soothing calendula ointment.
Avalon Organics Aloe Unscented Moisturizing Cream Shave
This fragrance-free product, enriched with beta-glucan to speed the repair of nicks and irritation, leaves skin feeling sleek. Ingredients include organic calendula, aloe leaf juice, sunflower seed and flaxseed oils, and no parabens or harsh preservatives. Bonus: The bottle fits perfectly on a bathroom shelf.
Moom Organic Hair
Removal Kit with Lavender This cane sugar–based bristle beater works like a wax but is water-soluble—meaning it washes easily off hands and body after you're done. Infused with organic ingredients, such as lemon juice, chamomile, and lavender, the microwaveable wax is thick but easily applied, stays warm (and functional) for a long time, and provides lasting results. Comes with applicators, strips, and instructions. Can be used for both face and body.
Parissa Warm Wax
The consistency of this microwaveable product—which comes with hair-removal strips, spatulas, and a postwax calming oil—is much easier to work with than thick conventional waxes. It goes on effortlessly, providing excellent hair-removing results for legs, bikini area, and underarms—and the requisite stinging is minimal. Particularly effective on coarse, dark, or short hair. Parissa's 2 in 1 Roll-On hair remover is also excellent for hard-to-reach areas, such as the backs of legs.
MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub
Experts recommend exfoliating before any type of hair removal for optimal results. "Sloughing off dead skin with a natural product a couple times a week will help prep skin for a closer shave and limit ingrown hairs," says Huebner. This granular scrub by MyChelle is fortified with healing ingredients, such as seaweed extract, organic lemongrass essential oil, and calendula extract for ultrasoft skin. It's also gentle enough to use on the face.
Erinn Morgan is a freelance writer based in Durango, Colorado.