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Review: Why is there so much hype around crystal hair removers and do they really work?

By Megan Bedford

Review: Why is there so much hype around crystal hair removers and do they really work?
The buzz around instant, 'pain-free' crystal hair removers is huge right now. But is it all just marketing hype?

Hair removal is one of the least sexy beauty topics out there.

Yet, with so many options – and many of them a chore to say the least – plenty of us are always on the lookout for a better solution.

There’s the easiest ones, like shaving with a razor or waxing, but they are finicky, create far too much single-use plastic waste and we hate to think what we’ve paid over the years to purchase them over and over.

Then there’s the most effective one, laser hair removal. The treatment can be a game-changer, banishing your hair for good. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate, including anyone with blonde, grey, white or red hair, as the laser hasn’t got any pigment to target. It also takes a number of sessions to complete and can be extremely costly to commit to the lump sum, although many providers offer payment plans.

Now, there’s a new product gaining a lot of hype for the way it instantly removes hair without needing to jump in the shower with a razor.

What is a crystal hair remover?

Promising a pain-free, instant hair removal solution, crystal hair removers have been popping up all over social media and now an accessible new option has landed here. So obsessive is the fandom, the hashtag #crystalhairremover has accumulated more than 73 million views on TikTok. They are also sometimes referred to as crystal hair erasers, and have been increasingly appearing in Amazon or Instagram ads as the world goes crazy for the new tools.

So what are they? Each crystal hair remover doesn’t look much like a crystal at all. In fact, it’s a small handheld device with one flat side made of etched glass, secured within an ergonomic plastic holder with a shape similar to a hair detangler. The glass feels textured but relatively smooth, similar to that you would find on a crystal nail file or very fine-grit sandpaper.

Manicare’s Crystal Hair Remover, $44.99

How do you use it?

The selling point is that you rub it over skin in small, circular motions and it instantly removes hair.

The crystal hair remover is said to work by applying friction to the hair. The motion breaks down each hair and essentially cuts it off at the follicle opening. This is similar to shaving, which also cuts the hair off at the follicle opening rather than pulling it out at the root like waxing. This means crystal hair removers are less likely to cause ingrown hairs.

The shape means it won’t be useful for body areas other than your arms or legs as you won’t be able to achieve a flat application.

Manicare Crystal Hair Remover, a new arrival that has just landed, is intended to be used once a week once a week on dry skin. The brand suggests using exfoliating gloves the day prior to use (presumably to remove any acess skin that might prevent it working effectively) and 24-hours before tanning.

The product comes with the following directions:

1. Thoroughly cleanse your skin before using.

2. Using light or moderate pressure, simply rub the Crystal Hair Remover on the desired area in a gentle, circular motion, keeping the crystal relatively flat on skin.

3. Gently rinse your skin after use.

4. Recommended to use on dry skin after a shower. Avoid applying cream or lotion before use as it will most likely hinder its effectiveness.

Tried and tested

Rubbing anything abrasive over your skin is going to have an exfoliating effect. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, this could be useful, or a recipe for disaster!

Too curious for a shower or any other prep, I started out with the hair remover on my arm as soon as I opened the packaging, curious to see what the hype was about. I chose my arm because it’s not an area I usually shave, so there was plenty of hair to test on. I could quickly see it worked, taking my longer hairs off swiftly, although catching the finer ones took longer. However, several minutes later although it was smooth, I noticed the area had quickly come up in a pink rash that then remained on my skin for about 12 hours.

Always one to put my body on the line, I persevered with the directions and after exfoliating, the next day I tried my legs. My hair was relatively short but again, the remover worked fairly well, particularly on longer stray hairs that had been missed when I shaved. I needed to hold my skin taut in some areas to make sure the remover was flat as it worked, and it was definitely hard to use effectively on areas like the back of the knees.

In all it was fairly labor intensive, and I’m not sure I would be keen to regularly do my entire legs this way but to me, it did what it promised. I must point out I did not have a lot of hair, nor is it thick.

I did not form a rash on my legs, perhaps because they are already used to the slight exfoliation shaving provides, and the skin was left velvety smooth which I really liked.

The numerous reviews online suggest many people do get a rash, grazing or redness from this product, though the Manicare advice warns to only rub with gentle to medium pressure. Positive reviews also say it can help with the appearance of ‘strawberry legs’, particularly on darker skin tones. This refers to the appearance of hyperpigmented dots that can appear at the site of a hair follicle after shaving.

The following day after dressing I noticed a couple of short, stray hairs by my ankle. I used the remover to quickly remove them without having to take off my sandals, nor irritate my skin as I once would have, by dry shaving to remove a couple of hairs. In this way it was brilliant, and I imagine this is what I will use it for going forward.

Shaving to me is still quicker, but there are things to like about the crystal hair remover. In particular, it is said to be able to be re-used numerous times which saves on money and waste . The Manicare product does not offer a lifespan but similar products are said to last at least a year, if not more, so long as they are cleaned well.

If you have sensitive skin I wouldn’t recommend.

If your skin isn’t too reactive, you may find you have to shave in addition to catch a few stray hairs, but otherwise it could be a useful addition to your routine. Just don’t even think about going near more sensitive areas of the body away from your arms or legs!


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