Removing Back Hair – Top Products and Advice 2018
Why do Some People Grow Back Hair?
It is not unusual for men to have a hairy back, but although much less common, some women also develop back hair.
The production of male back hair is usually genetically determined, whilst in women it is most likely due to hormonal imbalances, PCOS or other disorders.
As a woman, if back hair is an issue for you, we would suggest that you seek medical advice about the likely cause prior to embarking on a hair removal course.
What are the Options for Back Hair Removal?
It is not necessary to remove back hair, and is a personal choice, usually for aesthetic reasons.
Whilst hair on the body and chest is often considered manly and even desirable, this is not necessarily the case with hair on the back and shoulders.
So if you want to be rid, what are your options?
Shaving is the one method that you can carry out for yourself relatively quickly and easily at home as part of your grooming routine.
There are a number of specially designed shavers/razors with extended handles on the market nowadays to make this easier.
Our favourites are shown below, one electric and one manual.
It can be a bit tricky shaving your back, and will require a little practice, however with regular maintenance it can be pretty effective, if short-lasting.
The main thing is to position yourself in front of a large mirror, with another smaller one in front so that you can see what you are doing and don't miss patches.
The best things about shaving are; if you keep it up regularly, you don't need to have visible hair between times and it is pain free.
Waxing will require visits to a local salon or someone to do it for you at home.
It can be pretty painful, although skin on the back is less sensitive than in other areas, such as the chest, groin or underarm and it is nice and flat.
If you choose to have the hair professionally removed by waxing, you can expect to require repeat the treatments every 4 - 6 weeks, depending on your individual hair growth rate.
One downside of waxing is that the hair needs to grow to around 1/4" long before it is effective, so it will be visible for a period of time.
Additionally, with costs upwards of $35 per session depending on the area being treated, it can require a pretty hefty level of investment.
If you are lucky (and trusting) enough to have someone to help, home waxing can save you a fair amount.
Microwavable, all natural wax for thick, coarse body hair - great for the back. Complete kit includes a 10 oz pot of wax, 10 waxing strips, 2 finishing oil wipes and 2 wooden spatulas. All for around $18.
100% Natural and ideal for sensitive skin, microwaveable and specifically designed for male body hair. Contains a 6 oz jar of sugaring solution, 18 fabric strips and 4 wooden applicators. Cost around $18.
There is a method to waxing and the product will come with instructions that should be followed carefully.
Basically it is applied in the direction of hair growth, and removed in the opposite direction, pulling firmly and quickly along the skin and not upwards away from the skin.
The results are longer lasting than shaving (4 - 6 weeks) as the hair is pulled out at the root, and regrowth tends to feel softer.
Over time, your hair is likely to become sparser as the hair follicles are weakened by the process. Your skin will also become used to waxing and so the pain will lessen.
Epilators are basically motorised tweezers which pluck multiple hairs from the root simultaneously.
The tweezer head consists of anything up to 72 tweezers which rotate as the device is moved against the skin, opening and closing to grasp, pull and release the plucked hairs.
The results are similar to that of waxing, and last for the same amount of time, as you are effectively treating the hair in the same way.
Our top pick is the Emjoi as it has the maximum number of tweezers on a wide head, so good for larger areas. They offer the AP-18MS model specifically for men.
You will obviously require help for any unreachable areas, and the epilator needs to be held at the correct angle to the skin to be effective.
There is a financial advantage to epilating as opposed to waxing as it is a one-off cost to purchase the device. Properly maintained, it should last you for many years.
Also, it is used dry and there is none of the mess associated with waxing.
As with shaving, depilatory creams are the other pain-free option, but would be difficult to use effectively without help.
The cream needs to be applied thickly and cover all the hair thoroughly to achieve good results.
Again, as with shaving, the hair is removed at the skin's surface or just below, however regrowth does not tend to be as stubbly and may take a bit longer to show.
Obviously, the hair does need to be visible and you should leave at least 72 hours between treatments.
Comes in a 200ml (7oz) tube with application spatula. Specially developed for sensitive skin. Suitable for body hair, and effective on short hair. Works in 5 - 10 minutes. Available for around $11 online.
Depilatory creams are very easy to use and take between 4 - 10 minutes to work.
However, they consist of harsh chemicals that break down the keratin in the hair to "dissolve" it so that it literally just comes away on a damp cloth.
Whilst developments over the years mean that the most pungent and unpleasant odours have been vastly improved, there is still the risk of allergic reaction.
Allergic reaction can occur at any time, even if you have previously used a product with no adverse effects. It is therefore recommended that you always carry out a patch test on a small area prior to each treatment.
This can be a bit of a pain in practice, but it is very important, especially when slathering such a large area as your back with a depilatory cream.
Laser/IPL hair removal can be very effective, long lasting and can result in permanent hair reduction.
There is a difference between laser and IPL hair removal in the technology used, but there is no clear, published scientific evidence to prove that either one is better than the other.
The machines used in salons are more powerful than those available for home use, and require trained and qualified technicians to operate.
For this reason, they are more efficient at achieving the best results more quickly.
However, sessions can be costly, especially for larger areas and you will need a series of treatments to achieve good results. This is because hairs all over the body are at varying stages in their lifecycle and the process is only effective for those that are in the actively growing stage.
The whole process is explained in full in our article The Lifecycle of Hair and Laser/Electrolysis.
Home devices usually use IPL technology and have various safety features inbuilt to make them suitable for general use.
However, it is important that you read and follow all safety precautions prior to using any of these products to avoid potentially serious side effects.
You will need to check that your skin tone and hair colour are suitable. These devices do not currently work for anyone with very dark skin tones or light blonde, white, grey or red hair.
There are so many different devices to choose from it can be tricky deciding which is the best for you, especially since the initial outlay is relatively high.
We have done the leg-work for you and come up with our top 2 picks, based on speed and power level:
This device has built in automatic skin tone detector, 300,000 flashes and operates at a power level of up to 6J/cm². Two modes, precision and gliding and 10 levels of output. Treatment window is 3cm², flashes every 1 - 2 seconds for fast treatment. Available for around $350. Full review here.
To reach your whole back you will need someone to help, and you will need to shave your back prior to treatment.
The major advantages of laser/IPL are:
Can I Remove my Back Hair Permanently?
The only method for permanent hair removal currently is electrolysis.
As electrolysis involves the insertion of very fine needles into the hair follicles it is not possible to do at home and requires a trained, qualified professional to carry out the procedure.
For more information about electrolysis, here are a few of our articles on the subject: