leg shaving alternatives

There are many reasons to consider alternatives to shaving. Maybe you don’t like the stubble growing back sharp and prickly. Maybe you don’t want to have to shave so often. Whatever it is, consider these other options including waxing, depillatory creams, and laser hair removal. I’ll show you which ones work best and which ones to avoid.

Sick of Shaving?

How often do you question the decision to shave your legs?

Because for me, other than the first 1-2 shaves each season, I question it every single time! I don’t hate it, but it sure takes up a lot of time.

Think about it. Even if you’re pretty good, and it only takes 10 minutes, and you only have to do it twice per week, it adds up. If you shave your legs from April through October (a typical outdoor riding season), it adds up to at least 560 minutes. That’s verging on 10 hours!

For many riders, that’s a full week’s worth of riding time!

So I’m sure you can think of better things you could be doing with those 10 hours.

Let’s see if there are any good alternatives to shaving your legs…

The Alternatives to Shaving

Here are seven alternatives to shaving your legs.

1. Waxing

Waxing is the #1 alternative to shaving and is popular with many women. It’s more complicated, though, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s going to be messy and painful. Needless to say, many male cyclists are deterred!

You could go to the spa and have it done professionally. But that’s expensive! And, it requires going to the spa.

How it works: You apply hot wax to your legs, let it set in and get all cozy, and then when your hairs aren’t expecting it, you rip them out! Yelping in pain is optional, but perfectly acceptable.

Why try it: The results last much longer than shaving.

Why avoid it: There is a pretty serious initial time commitment, so you might not save any time in the long run. Then you have to let your stubble grow out to an annoying, unsightly length (about 1/4″) before you can do it again.

2. Epilators (And Other Funky Devices)

Epilators look a lot like electric shavers, but don’t be fooled – they are actually weird and scary up close. I mean, they use “tweezing discs” for one part of the hair removal process. It makes me think of using tweezers to pull out every single individual leg hair I have, and that doesn’t sound fun!

Then there is the NoNo, which you’ve probably seen on late night TV infomercials. It looks like an epilator, but I believe this device attempts to burn your hair off! Worst part is, it costs about $350. And doesn’t work. Bummer.

How it works: Epilators are basically electric tweezers that grasp hairs and yank them out.

Why try it: It’s less messy than waxing, and the results last quite a while. And while an epilator will cost about $100, it’s a one-time expense.

Why avoid it: Um… did you miss the part about these being electric tweezers?

3. Veet, Nair, And Other Depillatory Creams

Veet and Nair are creams that easily and painlessly remove body hair in just minutes. Or so they say.

I fell for this stuff many years ago when I was still gullible. While it is true that all you have to do is apply the cream to your skin, wait a few minutes, then wipe it away and rinse off, it’s not very effective.

If your leg hair is very light and thin, it might work. But if you have manly hair, it won’t do a darn thing.

How it works: The cream penetrates your skin and dissolves the hair close to the root.

Why try it: It’s fairly cheap, doesn’t take too long, and shouldn’t be too painful.

Why avoid it: It probably won’t work at all, the cream will probably smell bad, and you might end up with a rash that’s worse than razorburn.

4. Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a procedure where a trained medical professional zaps your hairs with a laser. The device is like one of those little red laser pointers… on steroids!

It’s relatively painless, works great on thick, dark hair, and yields the longest-lasting results possible. It almost sounds too good to be true.

When I was actually considering this treatment, I got the most reliable info from a skin care clinic called DermMedica. Dr. Crippen seems intelligent, and he’s a runner, so he understands athletes. And since he’s from Canada, he’s really nice, and will actually answer your questions if you post them on his website!

What it boils down to is that it does take multiple treatments, and then you might need a follow-up a year later. So, you need patience, and lots of money! See, most people just have this done on their upper lip or armpits or something. If you’re going to have it done to your legs, just do the surface area comparison, and you’ll realize the proper cliche is “you get what you pay for.”

How it works: The laser permanently damages your hair follicles so that your hair does not regrow.

Why try it: It actually works!

Why avoid it: Oh, maybe because it will cost you as much as a brand spankin’ new set of carbon tubular race wheels! And much like getting a tattoo, you can’t change your mind later!

5. Compression Tights

My personal favorite alternative to shaving is to just wear compression leggings for every ride. Rather than removing your hair, these hide it. They also hide your skin, so they double as an alternative to sunscreen.

Even better, they make you look cutting edge! Compression is all the rage these days.

I’m a fan of my 2XU leggings, which are thick enough to prevent hair from poking through, yet light enough that I don’t mind wearing them in the summer heat. They work for both running and cycling. (If you’re a swimmer, you could get full-length “jammers” or a bodysuit.)

How it works: They hide your leg hair, so fellow cyclists won’t realize you don’t shave.

Why try it: They prevent sunburns, could improve your performance, and aren’t super expensive.

Why avoid it: You miss out on the benefits of smooth legs when it comes to wound care and massage.

6. Start a New Trend

Here’s an idea. Start a new trend where racing cyclists no longer shave their legs.

It’s not easy to be a trend setter though. The best way to accomplish this is probably to win the Tour de France with hairy legs. Then, not only will you be able to enjoy the time savings of not shaving your legs, you’ll be pretty famous, too.

How it works: If no one else shaves, why should you?

Why try it: Why not?

Why avoid it: You’re not going to win the Tour.

7. Quit Sports Altogether

If all else fails, quit sports altogether. If you don’t exercise and don’t go outside, there’s very little need to shave your legs.

How it works: You eliminate the reason you shaved your legs to begin with.

Why try it: If you really, really hate shaving your legs, and you’ve exhausted all other alternatives.

Why avoid it: Because it’s a terrible idea!


OK, those are seven good alternatives to shaving. Wait, make that six – I don’t consider the NoNo a good alternative. πŸ˜‰

Are you going to try one? Or stick with shaving?

If anyone has a better suggestion, please chime in in the comments below!

This article was originally published on August 9, 2014. It was updated and republished on August 14, 2018.

You may also like
  1. Thanks for the good article on hair removal, keep up the great work!

  2. @CC

    Thanks for commenting, glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Silly πŸ™‚

  4. the best I have ever used is karmin electric epilator πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply