When it comes to removing pesky hairs, we’ve exhausted all means possible trying to find the best way to do so without having to grit our teeth whilst ripping out strands, only to discover thicker stubble and angry ingrown bumps just days later.
In vain, we’ve tossed a multitude of plastic shavers, spent long hours tweezing our strands, run into panicky can’t-be-removed-wax incidents while using fabric strips, and stood tapping our feet in the shower while waiting for depilatory creams to take effect – we still haven’t found a method that makes getting rid of our hair less of a tedious chore.
So, when we spotted a new hair removal tool pop up on our TikTok For You Page, we couldn’t help but feel some parts excited and many parts sceptical. A chic tool that’s been hailed as the answer to all fuzzy skin woes, it’s none other than a crystal hair remover.
What are crystal hair removers?
Crystal hair removers are palm-sized tools that have etched glass on one surface; they’re designed to be rubbed in circular motions against the skin to “erase” strands painlessly.
In the videos we’ve watched, the tool’s rough surface appears to cut at and ball up the hair strands to reveal smooth, hair-free skin after. TikTok users have also claimed that crystal hair removers also exfoliate the skin and prevent in-grown bumps.
However, as magical as crystal hair removers seem, we just weren’t convinced that all that rigorous rubbing isn’t irritating to the skin, which is why we reached out to Dr Ker Khor Jia, Consultant Dermatologist at Dermatology & Co.
Do crystal hair removers really work?
It’s not even clear how exactly crystal hair removers work to remove hair from the skin. “The exact mechanism is unknown, but it seems to remove the hair through repeated friction and cutting the hair at the skin’s surface,” suggested Dr Ker.
While sellers on Amazon have claimed that crystal hair removers use “nano-crystalline technology” to “clump” and “break” hairs at the surface of the skin, other dermatologists have revised this definition, explaining that the etched glass surface appears to cut the hairs at the follicle opening.
I’m pretty sure I was supposed to soak/wet the hair in warm water first oops
While crystal hair removers do really work to get rid of hairs – just as shavers, waxing strips, and depilatory creams do, our issue isn’t so much with whether it’s effective at removing strands, but whether it’s as good as it claims to be for the skin.
After all, TikTokers and Amazon sellers have attested that crystal hair removers exfoliate by sloughing away dead skin cells from the surface and leaving you with – not just hair-free, but also smooth, fresh skin.
“The repeated rubbing and friction will rub off the top layer of the skin, so perhaps ‘exfoliation’ claims are related to that,” said Dr Ker. But still, she isn’t convinced.
“[It’s] not a good way for skin exfoliation as [it’ll cause] excessive skin irritation. Repeated rubbing and friction can irritate the skin and cause unwanted inflammation,” she emphasised.
Even if you’re willing to bear with some redness on your legs or arms, it’s probably not such a good idea to use crystal hair removers on delicate areas like your underarms or bikini area. “On areas such as the armpits, where the skin is more sensitive, it may cause redness and irritation,” Dr Ker warned.
The high praise for crystal hair removers’ ability to prevent ingrown hairs and bumps doesn’t quite hold up either.
“You may still get ingrown hairs and follicle inflammation, or razor bumps, from these crystal hair removers,” she shared. That means, rather than keeping the pesky side effects at bay, this aggressive form of hair removal is likely to lead to even more redness, irritation, and ingrown strands too.
The easy verdict when it comes to crystal hair removers? Pass. “It’s not something that I will recommend for use, and it may be a trend that will pass,” underlined Dr Ker.
Better hair removal alternatives?
Since crystal hair removers aren’t the tools we’ll be reaching for, it’s back to the drawing board to find the best hair removal alternatives for smooth, hair-free skin.
Should you choose to fall back on using your trusty shaver, Dr Ker’s tips are to moisturise and exfoliate after gliding the blade over your skin. “It is important to moisturise the skin well with a non-comedogenic rich cream to soothe the skin,” she said.
“Using a gentle body exfoliator or a cream containing mild AHA content once every one to two weeks may help [with] exfoliating.” No need to rely on a crystal hair remover’s etched glass surface to rigorously slough away your dead skin cells.
However, if you’re looking for a long-term solution to your hair removal woes, Dr Ker recommends laser hair removal or IPL (intense pulsed light) removal as the “safer and more effective” alternative. “These methods are effective, reduce the risk of ingrown hair, and reduce hair growth in the long term,” she concluded.
Here are some gentle body exfoliator you can consider.
Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA
Trust Paula’s Choice leave-on body exfoliant to gently exfoliate your dead skin cells and leave you with softer, smoother skin!
The silky, lightweight formula is made with two per cent salicylic acid to slough away dead skin and clear pores, as well as antioxidants to protect your skin’s surface.
Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA retails for RM148.50.
Pure Body Naturals Himalayan Pink Salt Scrub
Pure Body Naturals’ Himalayan Pink Salt Scrub brims with rich nutrients that come from Himalayan pink salt – calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron – to give you skin that’s truly aglow.
The salt crystals act as a physical exfoliant to slough away impurities, at the same time, encourage healthy blood circulation for natural radiance.
Pure Body Naturals Himalayan Pink Salt Scrub retails for RM66.75.
OUAI St Barts Scalp & Body Scrub
Use this scrub to exfoliate your skin from head to toe!
The OUAI St Barts Scalp & Body Scrub gently picks up impurities on the skin and scalp for skin that’s fresher and smoother. Infused with coconut oil, which is rich in fatty acids, the scrub also seriously nourishes dry skin to give you a supple skin glow.
Plus, this one comes with a limited-edition St. Barts scent to elevate a pampering experience each time you step into the shower!
OUAI St Barts Scalp & Body Scrub retails for RM185.