Even the best of shaves may not closely remove coarse, dark hair from your legs. Shaving, a form of depilation, removes hair just at the surface, leaving noticeable follicles -- similar to a five o'clock shadow. Hair can sometimes begin to grow back in a matter of hours after depilation, adding to your frustration. The best way to get rid of coarse, dark leg hair is to hang up your razor and pick a different hair removal technique that truly does give you soft, silky legs.
Use epilation, not depilation to remove coarse dark leg hair. Epilation takes out the hair right down to the root, so you won't notice "hair shadow" for several weeks. Waxing is a popular form of epilation. Most at-home kits require you to heat the wax, after which it's applied to the leg with a spatula; a cloth strip is patted onto the wax and then yanked off, removing hair. "Cold wax" kits -- in which a pre-waxed strip is applied to the skin and then pulled off -- are also available. Sugaring kits work along the same premise, although instead of heated wax, you apply a caramel-like gel to the skin and then peel it off.
Use a rotary epilator, another option to remove hair by the root. This electric device looks similar to an electric razor, only rows of tiny tweezers, rather than blades, line the head of the device. When you pass it over your skin, the tweezers grab and remove numerous hairs at one time.
Use a semi-permanent hair removal technique. Laser hair removal, once offered only by medical professionals or at day spas and beauty salons, is now available to those who want to take it off in private. Laser hair removal, which targets the pigment in the hair follicle to put it into the resting stage of growth, gives the most noticeable results to people with dark, coarse hair and fair skin. After a series of treatments and regular maintenance treatments, you can expect between a 50 and 70 percent reduction in hair density, states a November 2008 ABC News report. You can get even better results by seeking the services of a medical professional -- up to 80 percent reduction in hair for those who are good candidates for treatment.
Seek professional electrolysis, the only process approved by the FDA to get rid of hair for good. Most opt to have electrolysis performed by a skilled professional, who uses a hand-held device with a wire-like probe which is slipped into the skin, next to the hair root. A small jolt of electricity is delivered to the root, after which the hair follicle is removed with tweezers. Some regrowth occurs after treatment, so covering an area of the body as large as the legs can take many months of treatment, which can be costly.
Waxing your legs for the first time can be a challenge -- and it's also not for those who aren't comfortable with self-inflicted pain. Consider seeing a professional aesthetician who offers waxing services so you won't have a "sticky mess" on your hands.
There are at-home electrology devices that you can purchase; however, this technique is generally best left to the pros. Home electrolysis often results in failed attempts to remove hair and can cause infection and even scarring when performed improperly.
According to the manufacturers' websites, home laser hair removal devices cannot be used on medium-dark to black skin tones. The Hair Removal Journal advises those with darker skin types to seek laser hair removal services from a medical professional experienced in treating skin of color.
Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.