10 Hair Removal Disasters We Can't Stop Thinking About

We firmly believe that you should be able to do anything you want with your hair, whether it’s growing on your head or on another part of your body. But should you want to remove that hair, most would expect a smooth experience that ends with silky skin.

Yet the process can be rife with peril, no matter if you take control of the hairy situation yourself or leave it in the hands of someone else. Whether it’s wax that’s too hot, allergic reactions to depilatories, or shaving just a little too much, hair removal can result in redness, razor burn, and regret.

Ahead, we’ve compiled a series of hair removal horror stories that are sure to have you double checking the sharpness of your razor and patch testing any waxes or creams you might slather on the next time you’re looking to score smooth skin.

“When I was younger, I attempted to wax my upper lip with the new and supposedly easy Nair wax strips, before picture day with no patch test. The wax strips were just not very effective, and I ended up applying the wax strips 10+ times to try to get all the hairs.

“At the end of it, my upper lip was really red but I didn't really think anything of it since that's a normal reaction to have after waxing. The next morning, I woke up with what can only be described as a scab mustache and it lasted a week. I guess I was allergic, and the repeated application and the constant pulling at my skin created an amplified allergic reaction.”

—Ariel
“One time, I tried to wax my bikini line when I was 15 with one of those drugstore waxing strips. I was too scared to ask my mom to take me to the waxing place. I put it on right, but then I got too scared to rip it off. I kept trying to rip it off but just couldn't do it. I tried even giving myself a pep talk. I finally ripped it off, but over the course of two hours.”

— Tori
“When I was in ninth grade, I suddenly became aware of eyebrow waxing and was immediately horrified by my unrefined, unwaxed brows. My family is not at all into beauty, and it would have been super awkward to ask my mom to take me to get my eyebrows waxed (especially since they're pretty insubstantial anyway), so I had the brilliant idea of trying to shape them myself with a leg razor.

“Needless to say, it was a disaster! I accidentally shaved off the inner first quarter-inch of one eyebrow, so I had to do the other to match, leaving me with two scraggly little brows with a huge gap in between! It looked terrible, but the weird eyebrow stubble from growing it back in looked crazy, too. I just kept shaving it for almost three months since I didn't know what else to do. Finally, after too many weird looks and comments, I just bit the bullet and let them awkwardly grow back in. I will NEVER use a razor anywhere near my eyebrows again!”

— Jennifer
“Super thin eyebrows were still considered ‘in’ when I was in middle school. And while I was too chicken to go get them waxed, I thought I found a solution in those ‘As Seen On TV’ hair trimmers that used to come on a lot at the time. The device came with an eyebrow attachment that allowed you to trim your brows, either long or short.

“I skipped the instructions before adding the attachment and going to town, and pretty much shaved them both off. And there was barely any stubble to pretend I had anything left. Being a total beauty novice, I had no idea about brow products and instead filled them in with black eyeshadow. So I spent a semester looking like a cross between Joan Crawford and Groucho Marx, but at least I learned my lesson and left my damn brows alone.”

— Val
“When I in high school, I decided to try Nair instead of shaving my legs, figuring it would be easier and save me from tiny cuts on my ankles and knees. About a minute after I applied the cream to my legs, it started to burn. When I wiped it off, I saw that it had actually burned through a couple of places on my legs, and [the allergic reaction] left me with little open wounds on my legs. I still have a scar on my right leg from it.”

— T
“I was trimming my pubic hair with a pair of scissors, and I accidentally caught a fold of skin on my clit. It just cut a tiny ‘v’, but it bled like crazy and kept bleeding for days. I thought I was going to die.”

— Anonymous
“When I was about 9 years old, my mother told me that I should start waxing. I knew nothing about the process and was proud that I had achieved my woman status.

“I got into the room, and the woman smeared the hot wax on half my leg. She patted the wax paper on, and as she tore it off, I experienced the most pain I had in my entire life. I was mortified to do the rest of my body. I ran out screaming, and for three weeks, I had half a hairy leg.”

— Sabeen
“When I was 22, my friend suggested that I try Nair-ing my arms. Hers were so soft, so I gave it a go. Well, I got an allergic reaction and broke out in hives all over my body. I even had to go to the doctor to get a shot on my buttocks to calm it all down. I had just started a new job, and my boss kept trying to help me ID what I was allergic to (no way was I telling him).

“The worst part is, I had just started dating a new guy. And of course, the hair grew back in a spiky stubble. I was so self-conscious about it that I decided to just tell him what happened. While cuddling in bed I blurted out, ‘You might notice stubble on my arms! I Naired my arms at a friend's suggestion and had an allergic reaction!’ Luckily, he didn't think anything of it. He's now my husband, by the way.”

— Torey
“It was my brother's wedding, and I was 11 going on 12, and had never shaved my legs before. I definitely didn't need to — I had super fine blonde hair on my legs. My whole family was at my house, and my other brother picked me up to say hello. He made some comment about how I hadn't started shaving my legs yet, and I was instantly embarrassed. So, of course, later that night, not knowing what I was doing, I found a men's Mach 3 razor, sat on the edge of my bathtub and shaved my legs for the first time. Dry. With a rusty-edged razor.

“So of COURSE my skin was ripped to shreds, razor bumps all up and down the front of my legs, and I had to walk down the aisle the next day. Thank goodness the bridesmaids dress was long, because my legs were completely destroyed. And the dress was taffeta, so every time I moved, little bits of the fabric clung to my raw legs.”

— Sarah
“The night before visiting my long distance girlfriend, I decided to book a Brazilian wax appointment, against my better judgment. I had gotten a Brazilian only three weeks prior, and I knew the hair would be too short. My technician decided we'd give it a go, but after 20 painful minutes, she exclaimed that we had to stop half way through because the hair was in fact, too short. I left embarrassed and with the most PAINFUL red bumps covering only half of my inflamed vagina.

“I stayed up half the night applying hot and cold compresses, desperately trying to get the bumps and redness to subside. But nothing was saving my botched wax job. Luckily (I guess), I never got a chance to show off my wax gone bad because I got broken up with at the start of the weekend.”

— Anonymous
Related Video
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!