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We’ve all had a bad hair day, and no, I’m not talking about waking up after a big night on the proseccos with a thing on your head that resembles an Amy Winehouse bouffant on viagra. No, I’m talking about the other kind of hair, and if you’ve inherited the family pelt, you’ve probably wondered about, or perhaps already dabbled with hair removal cream.
This article is going to outline all you need to know about getting the most out of using hair removal cream, as well as giving recommendations for the best hair removal cream out there at the moment. My five candidates are:
...Read on to find out which one is my new favorite!
What’s all the Fuzz About Hair Removal Creams?
I’ve got my own qualms with the world of depilatory cream; to be perfectly frank I’ve always felt like I had better things to do than thud around the house like an orangutang for 7 minutes covered in stuff that looks like paint and smells like someone’s trying to dissolve a body in a tub of acid. But then again, do I really…?
The thing is, hair removal creams really do work. They aren’t always the most user-friendly hair removal products, and I won’t for a second pretend that they don’t carry their own downsides, but any product that can show you how to remove body hairs without a razor or a wax strip is worth the time of day- isn’t it?
How Does Hair Removal Cream Work?
Hair removal (also known as depilatory) creams are composed of chemicals that work to dissolve the proteins in your hair and weaken them to the point that you can scrape them right off with nothing more than a plastic spatula or a damp wash cloth.
The benefit of this is that the cream will work on the hair below the surface of the skin, which will result in smoother and (somewhat) longer lasting results than shaving. When used correctly, there should be no associated pain or discomfort either, which is why many people prefer to choose this method of hair removal over waxing or epilating.
Hair removal creams are generally not too expensive either, which is a big bonus for chewbaccas on a budget.
Does Hair Removal Cream Really Need to Smell THAT Bad?!
The simple answer, unfortunately, is yes. Excuse me while I get a wee bit sciencey and explain to you exactly why: depilatory creams contain chemicals like sodium/calcium/potassium hydroxide, thioglycolic acid, and titanium dioxide which work to break apart the bonds that hold together the keratin molecules in your hair, and dissolve the hairs at a chemical level.
Not only do these chemical components smell awful in themselves, but when they are applied to your body and begin the process of breaking down the hairs they start to smell even worse.
Why it’s Impossible to Find Organic Hair Removal Cream
Omitting these chemicals will render the product more or less useless, and since the science world hasn’t come up with any better alternatives (yet)- for now it’s just another part of the hair removal circus we’ll just have to grin at and bare.
Why do Some Hair Removal Creams Burn?
As long as you use the product correctly and choose appropriately for your skin type, you shouldn’t experience any kind of burning or pain. ‘Shouldn’t’ being the operative word. Depilatory creams are abrasive; if they are strong enough to dissolve your hairs they are surely strong enough to do damage to your skin… right?
The guys in the lab who develop these creams strive to achieve the precise balance between a cream that’s strong enough to dissolve your hairs but not enough to harm your skin within a given time frame. Leaving creams on too long is the most common reason that people experience adverse reactions.
People prone to sensitive skin are more likely to experience burning and prickling when using these creams, so if you’re in this category keep an eye out for my recommendation for best hair removal products for sensitive skin.
What to Look for When Buying Hair Removal Cream
So, how can you tell what is the best hair removal cream? There are just a few key elements to consider. When looking for the best depilatory cream you want to find something that minimizes the harmful chemicals, maximizes the soothing and moisturizing properties, factors in the cost- and try to find one that doesn’t smell so absolutely horrendous.
I’m picky on all of the aforementioned, which is why this list took quite an amount of elbow grease to compile. Without further ado, here are the best hair removal cream reviews...
Oh, one last warning: no matter which of the creams you choose to go for, always do a spot test on a small, out of the way area before using it for a big job. Wait sufficient time to look for reactions; if none appear, then proceed to use as planned.
5 Best Hair Removal Creams
1. Best Hair Removal Cream for Women: Nair Cocoa Butter Hair Removal Lotion
Over the years, I have tried all of the best hair removal creams for women, and Nair products have almost always been a part of that list. They are pretty much the holy grail of depilation; it’s a brand that shows up everywhere from supermarkets to drug stores-so it won’t be hard to find their products. I used to use their original ‘in-shower’ version, but I stopped because I found it wasn’t really removing the hairs as consistently as I would have liked. This product, on the other hand, does exactly what it says on the tin. All the hairs- all the time!
Enriched with moisturizing cocoa butter and vitamin E for extra smooth skin, this hair removal cream can be used on legs, arms, underarms, and even bikini area (I don’t recommend it for the face, however. You should really use one specifically for facial skin, otherwise you risk chemical burns.). The smell is still pretty chemically (even though the manufacturer claims it’s a “fresh” scent), but hey- it took off all of my underarm hair in three minutes with no burning. Regrowth was also far less stubbly and bumpy than usual, and I have to say my skin felt far less dry than it usually would after being exposed to all those chemicals. This is an awesome one-for-all body hair removal cream, and offers one of the best ways to remove body hair without shaving or waxing.
2. Best Hair Removal Cream for Men: Nad’s for Men
A lot of men are turning to hair removal cream these days because it offers a pain-free, fast acting alternative to shaving; although some are deterred because finding the perfect men’s hair removal cream can seem like a pretty daunting task for a depilation newbie. I know the man in my life suffers terribly from razor rash and ingrown hairs, which puts him off shaving his, ermm… nads. Which is, incidentally, the reason he first bought himself a tube of Nad’s for Men.
This cream can be used anywhere on the body, although it is not recommended for the face. Once it’s slathered on, the cream should dissolve the hair proteins in about 4 minutes. The best advice I can impart here for any guys giving this a go, is to trim the hairs on the area before you use this cream for the first time. If the hairs are really long, it takes more work to dissolve them, which means leaving the cream on your skin for longer periods of time, which- you guessed it- can lead to nasty, and often painful chemical burns. When used correctly, however, this cream is a hairy fella’s dream.
3. Best Hair Removal Cream for Bikini Area: Avon SSS Fresh & Smooth Bikini Line Hair Removal Cream
I’ll be the first to admit, putting these sorts of chemicals anywhere near my lady bits was never top of my agenda- until I found myself living in an area where I couldn’t get my usual waxes done (and personally, I hate shaving down there). So began my hunt for the best pubic hair removal cream, which led me to discover this beauty from Avon.
The thing I love most about this product is that it is powerful enough to tackle even the thickest down there hairs, but still gentle enough not to erode your actual skin. This is supposedly the “fragrance free” version, which in effect means that there were no extra fragrances added as opposed to the cream not smelling at all (it still smells quite like chemicals, I think this is pretty much to be expected across the board). I would recommend this cream from Avon to anyone who struggles with stubbly, uncomfortable regrowth from shaving- even my thick black hairs grew back somewhat finer than usual (and took longer to return too, yay!).
4. Best Hair Removal Cream for Facial Hair: Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo
Using hair removal cream on you face is tricky business, and somewhat riskier too- nobody wants to explain the chemical burn on their upper lip at the office Christmas party. This is why it is so absolutely crucial to pick a product that is specifically made to be used on sensitive facial skin. During my full-blown investigative search for the best facial hair removal cream, I tried a Revitol hair removal cream and ended up with said upper lip chemical burn, so I was pretty reluctant to have another go. But thankfully, my friend recommended this Olay hair removal cream- which totally does the job for me, removing the wispy upper lip hairs and the thicker sideburn hairs too.
The “duo” aspect is what makes this product so great in my opinion. It comes with a prepping balm that provides a protective shield for your skin, which massively reduces your risk of having a bad reaction to the chemicals. All you need to do is massage it into your skin in a circular motion for about 20 seconds before you apply the hair removal cream. I would recommend leaving it on for a maximum of 8-9 minutes (the manufacturer says 10 is the safe limit, but I always try to stay below that just in case). The biggest benefit of this cream is that it removes all facial hairs without causing any nasty regrowth problems- no rash, no pimples (like after waxing), no stubble.
5. Best Hair Removal Cream for Sensitive Skin: Veet Gel Hair Removal Cream, Sensitive Formula
Veet has long set the gold standard for depilation creams, and this sensitive formula totally lives up to the high expectations I had. Oddly enough, I have extremely sensitive skin on my legs- sometimes even shaving with a razor that isn’t perfectly sharp is enough to send the skin on my shins into a complete conniption. The rest of the hair removing cream reviews I did for this article were all carried out testing the products on my arms, so I was saving my most sensitive area on my legs for this product in particular.First of all, I love that the cream comes in a large bottle with a pump head; it’s so much more user friendly than trying to squeeze more cream out of a tube when you’ve already got it all over your hands. I didn’t shower before I put on the Veet, because I find that my skin’s natural oils provide an extra layer of protection from the chemicals. I put on a thick layer of the cream (in my mind, the thicker the layer the better the action, although I’m sure this will differ for others depending on your hair type) then waited the recommended 9 minutes. When the time was up, I used the plastic scraper that came with the Veet to remove the cream and…. All of my leg hairs!
That’s right, everything off, first time. There was no sign of any redness, rash, or burning. My legs felt a tiny bit tingly, sort of sensitive for the next hour or two but certainly not painful, and it went away after a while. Considering the quality of this result, I would be comfortable trying my bikini line next.
If you are prone to sensitive skin be sure to keep an eye out for the extended version of my trial and error hunt for the best hair removal cream for sensitive skin.
6. GiGi Hair Removal Lotion
- Works fast and is effective (usually in eight minutes)
- Very gentle on skin
- Rinses off easily
- Results last about five days
GiGi has been making beauty products for over 40 years and their line of depilatory products has been the result of an evolution of formulation to find the right balance of ingredients for safe hair removal and good skin health.
GiGi Hair Removal Lotion is a gentle treatment for body hair removal and will treat arms, legs, and bikini lines. The formulation contains nutritive ingredients for good skin health such as cocoa butter, vitamin C, vitamin E, and plant essential oils (aloe extract, sesame oil, avocado seed oil, sweet almond oil).
To use, simply apply the lotion by hand by gently spreading over dampened skin. In about seven to nine minutes hair will slough away and the skin can then be rinsed off with lukewarm water and pat dry.
Their lotion is not for all skin areas, however, so breasts and vaginal areas should be avoided to prevent skin irritation. If users intend to apply the lotion to eyebrows or temples, great care should be taken to avoid getting the lotion in the eyes (if this happens, they recommend having a solution of boric acid at-hand to use as an eye rinse, which will neutralize the active ingredients in the product).
The lotion should also not be used on irritated or sunburned skin and users should also avoid tanning or going out in the sun for at least eight hours after treatment. Also, no other products should be used on treated areas (soaps or deodorants) for two hours after applying the lotion, so plan your treatment times.
- Effective hair removal
- Works quickly
- Great for sensitive skin
- Removes coarse hair
- Product has a strong smell (uses thioglycolic acid)
7. Sally Hansen Crème Hair Remover Duo Kit
The Sally Hansen company has been making cosmetics since the 1940s, so they are a well-established brand in the beauty industry. Sally Hansen was a dancer and choreographer from Hollywood who initially launched a small cosmetics business through her House of Hollywood store. She left Hollywood for New York City in 1946 to found Sally Hansen, Inc., which made her one of the first self-made women in America.
Ok, enough inspiration, let’s talk product. The Crème Hair Remover Duo Kit from Sally Hansen is a combination treatment system that includes a hair removal cream (Sally Hansen Crème Hair Remover) and an after-treatment restorative lotion for the skin (Sally Hansen Extrasmooth Aftercare Lotion).
The Crème Hair Remover uses a combination of a bleaching agent (CaOH) and thioglycolic acid, so it is fast-acting and has that typical smell of depilatory cremes. The Extrasmooth Aftercare Lotion has a typical formulation, containing mineral oil, glycols, lanolin, vitamin E, collagen, and essential oils (citronellol and eugenol).
To use the creme, apply by hand without rubbing over the intended skin area, then remove after no more than eight minutes with either a damp cotton ball or a damp tissue (usually, it works in five minutes). Then, rinse the skin with lukewarm water and pat dry.
The aftercare lotion can then be applied to soothe the skin by simply spreading on the treated area and allowing it to dry naturally (do not wipe it off). Avoid using any other products on the skin for about two hours after treatment and do not apply to sunburned or irritated skin. Also, this product is not intended for breast or genital areas.
- Works fast (users will typically see results in five minutes)
- Affordable (one of the least expensive products we reviewed)
- Bonus: Aftercare lotion to prevent skin irritation
- The crème smells like typical depilatory creams (uses thioglycolic acid)
And the Clear Winner Is...
For today, my vote is with the popular favorite from Veet with their Sensitive Formula Gel. The Nair Cocoa Butter cream was a close contender (and if you’ve read any of my other reviews you’ll know how much I love anything with cocoa butter), but Veet won out for a couple of reasons: first and foremost, the bottle (with the pump head) and the size make this product the most convenient to use. Smaller bottles just get used up way too quickly, especially if you’re going to use it all over the body.
The best part about this product is that it can be used all over the body because it really is that gentle on your skin. As always though, make sure you do a patch test somewhere inconspicuous before you go trying to de-wooky your whole body. Happy hair removal!
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