When I do things, I don’t do half measures (if taking things too far were an Olympic sport, I’d bring home the gold. Every. Time.) which is why this hair removal cream quest ended up being pretty expansive. Not only did I try and test all the hair removing products for women I could get my mitts on, I also did a full on search for products for men, sensitive skin, bikini area, and facial areas which you can read all about in my 5 best hair removal creams article.
In the meantime, let’s get to grips with the sticky subject of depilatory creams; why use them, how to use them, and what is the best hair removing cream for women?
Hair removal cream is tricky (and often sticky) business; I’ve learned that the hard way. After I gave myself what I can only describe as a spectacular crimson chemical burn on my upper lip, I turned to the “hair removal horror stories” Reddit thread in the hopes of either lamenting further or laughing at people who’ve done even dumber things than I have. In the end, I did both (to the woman who used hair removal cream on her forehead and ended up with a permanent reverse widow’s peak… I have no words, but thanks for the laughs!).
All these stories got me thinking; do the perfect hair removal creams for women really exist? Or are we fated to choose between itchy red scaly burns and chimpanzee-dom? Neither of those options being my cup of tea, I set out to get a definitive answer and find the best hair removal creams for women- keep reading to find out which product tops the list!
The Benefits of Using Hair Removal Cream
Hair removal techniques generally involve a pluck, a pull, or a blade of some description; the single best thing about hair removal cream is that you won’t need any of the above to achieve silky smooth-dom.
These products contain chemicals that break down the proteins in your hairs so that they become weak enough to come right off when scraped with either the plastic spatula that comes with the cream or with a wet washcloth. The benefit of this process is that the cream works on the hair below the surface of the skin, which means you’ll achieve a smoother and longer lasting effect than with shaving and still avoid the pain of epilating or waxing (usually at quite a reasonable cost).
The Downside (and How to Avoid It)
The acrid smell is one of the biggest turn-offs for me, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be all that avoidable. Hair removal creams’ bad smell comes from two sources: the chemicals themselves, and the reactions they cause while breaking down the hairs. In this article I’ve included as many products as I can that have improved smells, but to be honest- it’s really a case of putting perfume on a pig.
The other potential downside of depilatory cream is the adverse skin reaction you may suffer if you a) don’t use the product appropriately or b) use a product that is not suitable for your skin type; there’s a fine balance one must achieve between leaving the cream on long enough to do its job, but not so long that it starts to literally burn your skin off.
Best advice I can give to avoid bad experiences is to always do a spot test and check for reactions before applying the whole lot of it, never exceed the specified time frame, and pick a product that is appropriate for your skin type and purpose of use. If you want to be extra safe, keep some 1% hydrocortisone cream handy to apply to skin suffering a bad reaction.
Different Ways to Apply Hair Removal Cream
When I first started to use hair removal cream, there was one type of product and that was it (this was back when Veet was still called Immac and if you got any cream on your bathroom tiles it would literally strip the finish right off them). Nowadays, the world of depilatory cream has come on leaps and bounds; we now have a huge amount of choice in products, ingredients, scents, and yes- even application methods.
The standard cream application is the most common; the product usually comes in a squeezy tube or a bottle with a pump top (my favourite), which then needs to be smoothed out on your skin using either your fingers, a sponge, or a spatula.
Newer products offer different means of application, in a spray can or in a ‘gliding’ stick, for example. The great thing about these types of products is that the mess is reduced and there’s less need to touch the product with your hands.
How to Use Hair Removal Cream on Different Body Parts
While there are countless different body parts you may wish to use hair removal cream on, there are three main categories of product to meet the mishmash of needs you might have: hair removal cream for the body, the face, and bikini area.
Each of these areas has its own nuanced needs that are dependent on hair thickness and skin sensitivity, so it’s wise to pick your product according to whatever region you’re trying to deforest if you want to experience the best hair removal for women (e.g. using a cream designed for legs on your face is much more likely to result in a chemical burn or at least an uncomfortable experience).
Here are my top 10 in-depth hair removing cream reviews to help you on your way!
Top 10 Best Hair Removal Cream for Women Countdown:
1. Best Hair Removal Spray: Nair Hair Remover Sprays Away Clay
I love the idea of a spray on hair removal cream; it’s super convenient and makes the application process so much easier (and cleaner). All you need to do is pop the cap off and spray it on the area that you want to remove hair from; the trick is to spray it evenly so that all areas receive the same amount of product (I find if there’s too much cream on a certain area it’s more likely to bring out a rash).
I used the spray all over my legs (including thighs), arms, and underarms with great success- I would confidently say over 90% of the hairs were removed easily. I reckon the bottle would last for about 2.5 full body sprays (not including face or bikini area, I only use specific products for those sensitive regions). Overall, it’s extremely easy to use and will effectively remove almost all hairs in 4-6 minutes; then just hop in the shower and rinse it all off.
2. Best for Sensitive Skin: Veet Gel Hair Remover Cream, Sensitive Formula
It's no wonder so many people rave about how awesome this product from Veet is. My favorite thing about the product is the big bottle with the handy pump head; I often find myself going through a bottle of depilatory cream so fast that I need to buy in bulk- not the case for this mega sized hair removal monster bottle.
If you’re a lady prone to sensitive skin, you know how important it is to pick a product that is suitable for your skin type- especially when it comes to something as chemically abrasive as hair removal cream. Veet’s sensitive formula hair removal cream is strong enough to effectively remove hairs without causing irritation to your skin, thanks to its winning infusion of aloe vera and vitamin E which protect your skin from irritation during and provide essential moisturization afterwards.
3. Best for Normal Skin: Veet Gel Hair Remover Cream with Essential Oils
That’s right, two Veet products in a row; they really are the go-to brand when it comes to hair removal for women. If you don’t need the sensitive formula I can highly recommend using this ‘essential oils’ version; it really smells quite a bit less chemically than the other Veet products and ooohhh the results are just so good. Not only did it remove all the hairs on my legs and arms but they feel so smooth and moisturized ever since- and no redness or irritation at all. If anything, I maybe experienced a very slight tingle but it definitely wasn’t anything uncomfortable. It’s infused with orange and grapefruit oil as well as moisturizing shea butter for silky smooth results- win-win!
Like I said, I used it on my legs and arms only, but a friend of mine (male) said that he used it on his pubic area and it was totally fine, however he recommends leaving it on for no more than 4 minutes if you have sensitive skin. Me, I’m going to stick to the bikini specific products for my own nether regions- keep reading to find out which bikini hair removal cream won my vote.
4. Best Facial Hair Removal Cream for Women: Olay Smooth Finish Duo
For gals with facial hair it can be such a nightmare trying to find a product that effectively removes everything, doesn’t cause irritation on your sensitive facial skin, and doesn’t invoke thick stubbly regrowth. This Smooth Finish duo from Olay is an absolute godsend; honestly, it ticks all my boxes (which is no easy feat).
Unlike hair removal products for women to use on the body, this Olay hair removal cream is gentle enough that it can be used anywhere on your face without making you break out in a rash. The product comes in two different versions to treat different types of hair: fine to medium hairs and medium to coarse hairs, so pick wisely depending on whether you’re trying to remove fluff from your upper lip or a big bad whisker on your chin.
The best thing about this product, in my opinion, is the protective balm that comes with it. Just slather that on beforehand and your skin will be shielded from the harmful chemicals while they work on breaking down the hairs.
5. Best Moisturizing: Nair Cocoa Butter Hair Remover Lotion
One of the downsides of using hair removal cream is that the chemicals can often lead to dried out skin, so I’m always on the lookout for products that have moisturizing elements in their ingredients list (preferably natural ones). If you’ve read any of our previous posts on the best creams, soaps, and shave balms you’ll know how much we love anything with cocoa butter, so naturally as soon as I saw this lotion from Nair, I was all over it. Or, it was all over me, rather.
I put on a pretty thick, even layer of the cream onto my legs and left it there for the maximum amount of time (I hadn’t shaved in a long time so I felt it needed an extra minute or two); if you have sensitive skin I’d say start with 3 minutes and see how your skin reacts- any more may be a bit overwhelming. The smell isn’t the best, but lo and behold it removed all of my leg hairs in one go- and they felt so smooth and moisturized after, no dry skin for me!
6. Best In-Shower: Nair Shower Power Max with Moroccan Argan Oil
In-shower products are the bees knees as far as I’m concerned; they cut back on mess and save you time because you can combine the ‘waiting period’ with your shower time instead of doing it one step after the other. Enter: The Shower Power Max range, which has totally earned itself a spot on this list with their argan infused hair removal cream.
I sometimes find the in-shower versions are a lot stronger (stronger smelling for sure), maybe because the chemicals need to be more resilient to being washed off… but the great thing about this nair for women product is that it is very gentle compared with other similar creams from different brands- the smell isn’t too bad either! I love the way my skin felt after I used this one, really soft (made even softer because the hairs all appeared to be removed from below the surface of the skin). Not only is the turquoise packaging cute enough to display in the bathroom, it also comes with a handy matching sponge for application and removal.
7. Best Bargain Buy: Veet Botanic Inspirations Gel Cream
If you’re on a budget, the Botanic Veet hair removal cream is just the ticket; it’s a slightly smaller serving of product than the others I’ve reviewed, which brings the cost of the tube down- perfect if you’re in need of silky smooth pins for the weekend but your budget is tight.
Similar to the sensitive formula reviewed above, this botanic inspired cream is infused with anti-inflammatory aloe vera which will protect your skin from irritation and soothe any redness that may be caused. It’s also full of vitamin E which will keep your skin healthy and hydrated even when exposed to the harsh hair removing chemicals. It’s so gentle that it can be used on sensitive skin safely (the manufacturer claims it’s okay to use on your bikini line too)- although it’s smart to do a test patch beforehand just in case.
8. Best “Extra Strength”: Sally Hansen Spray-On Shower-Off Hair Remover Extra Strength for Women
Just the name of this product already tells you two of the major benefits: it’s got that handy spray nozzle which makes application of the product so much cleaner and easier, and it can be washed off in the shower- double whammy. The extra strength factor is an awesome added bonus, especially for women who have very coarse, thick hair and doubt whether a depilatory cream will work for them.
The spray nozzle is super easy to use on arms and underarms as well as the front of the leg, although spraying the back of the legs can require a little bit of a stretch (I have my yoga teacher to thank for the fact that I was able to do it pretty easily). I left the spray on for 5 minutes (you can leave it on for up to 10 minutes but what with “extra strength” in the title I thought I’d be conservative). The spray and hairs came off easily when I washed it directly with the shower nozzle, and the majority of my skin was smooth and hair free; there were a couple of areas that still had some small patches of stubble on them, but I think that was my own fault for not leaving it on long enough. Next time I’ll try 7 minutes.
9. Best “Glide” Application: Nair Bikini Cream Glides Away with Argan Oil
I have a friend who hates the texture of hair removal cream; she says it makes her gawk when she touches it with her fingers (which I thought was a tad dramatic but it did lead me to discover this awesome product from Nair, so I’ll let it slide). She recommended this one to me just before we went on holiday together with our boyfriends, and honestly I’ve never looked back.
It works by twisting the little dial at the bottom of the tube- sort of like a roll-on deodorant- and then the cream pushes out of the top, which you can then apply directly onto your skin without needing to use your fingers. Top marks for cleanliness! The argan infusion wins big brownie points in my books too. It works very effectively on coarse pubic hairs, but I do have to warn you that if you apply it to an area that doesn’t have much hair on it it will burn your skin- so be careful applying it to sparse areas/around your bikini line where the hair ends.
10. Best for Bikini Area: 'Bikini Zone' Hair Removal Cream
Putting all of these hair melting chemicals anywhere near coochie-town is not something I do lightly- I’ve gone through the wars when it comes to removing my down-there-hair, and let me tell you my search for the best hair removal cream for bikini area was one of the greatest battles of all *drumroll please*.
This Bikini Zone product is simply perfection, because it does the job fast with regimental effectiveness but I can always trust that my skin will be safe from burns, rashes, and irritation of any kind. Fortified with green tea extract, this cream from Bikini Zone is naturally anti-inflammatory and gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin. The best part is, I actually found regrowth was a lot finer after just 2 uses!
So... Which is the Overall Best Hair Removal Cream for Women?
As always, the best for you may not be the best for me; everyone’s skin and hair is different and therefore has different, nuanced needs. The product that I’m nominating as best depilatory cream gets the vote for its overall usability, effectiveness, and versatility.
A brand that has set the gold standard for hair removal cream for many years now, Nair hair removal cream wins my heart (and legs, arms, bikini line, and underarms) for their Cocoa Butter Hair Removal Lotion. It’s such a great all-round product because it can be used anywhere on the body (besides face) without causing irritation and it effectively removes all my hairs, all the time.
I managed to snag a multipack on sale, so the price was absolutely unbeatable too. Plus, I’ll admit this is probably the winning factor for me, the cocoa butter addition makes my skin sooo smooth and moisturized afterwards that I don’t even need to use another lotion- it’s like two products in one!