Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Hair Removal Creams
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No shame in your game if you want to keep it au naturale but if you’re looking to go smooth, we’ve got the details on all the different kinds of hair removal methods. The fourth blog post in our series is on hair removal creams.
If you want a solution that lasts longer than shaving but don’t want to bare your bits to a stranger for waxing, hair removal creams may be for you. But this solution is not for everyone, read on to learn more about this hair removal method and if it’s right for you.
How hair removal creams work
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as permanent hair removal cream. Depilatory creams work to dissolve the hair just below the surface of the skin, but it will grow back. While it’s most commonly a cream, the formula is also available as a gel, lotion, aerosol, or roll-on.
What might seem like magic is actually science at work. Once applied to the skin, the cream breaks down keratin, which is the chemical bond holding the protein structure of your hair together. After a few minutes, the hair becomes weak enough to fall loose.
Like waxing, hair removal creams remove hair from the root (or follicle) but the difference is that using creams is relatively painless as your hair isn't being pulled from the root, and it doesn’t last as long as waxing or sugaring. As for hair removal cream vs shaving, the difference lies in their methods: creams are chemical-based while shaving uses a razor. Other more permanent hair removal options include lasers and electrolysis, but these methods require both a time and financial commitment that hair removal cream does not.
Hair removal cream pros and cons
So let’s get down to it - what are the pros and cons of hair removal creams?
- Affordable: This method is relatively affordable, ranging from about $5 to $20. This means you have a wide variety of brands and formulas to choose from that won’t hurt your wallet.
- Easy: The process is super simple to perform yourself at home and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes max.
- Exfoliating: Dead skin cells build up over time, which means you have to exfoliate on the regular to reveal the fresh skin underneath. Hair removal creams pull double duty and help exfoliate your skin by removing those dead cells as you wipe it off. So not only are you removing hair when you rub off the cream, you’re also revealing healthy, glowing skin. We love a multipurpose product!
- Lasts longer: Unfortunately, hair removal creams do not have the longevity that waxing has but this method does last a little longer than shaving (about a week). Your skin will stay prickle-free for longer because these creams remove hair from just below the surface. Some studies have even shown that using creams can slow down hair growth.
- A strong smell: Because of the chemical process that breaks down keratin, hair removal creams have a very distinctive smell, and it’s often not very pleasant.
- Uneven results: While this process is easy, if you don’t spread the cream on evenly, you could end up with uneven patches.
- Not for sensitive skin: Often the biggest con associated with hair removal creams is the chemical nature of the product. Hair removal creams contain strong chemicals that not only dissolves hair but can potentially irritate sensitive skin and cause allergic reactions.
- Can darken skin: When these creams are used too frequently or if you have dark hair and fair skin, the cream may darken the skin as it can sometimes leave behind a shadow.
Choosing a hair removal cream
All hair removal creams are not made equal. As with anything, you should find the product that best suits your skin type, hair, and the area that you want to remove hair from.
- Skin type: If you have sensitive skin, allergies, or previously had reactions to products, it’s definitely a good idea to consult your doctor or dermatologist first just to be safe. And when choosing a hair removal cream, look for one that’s specially formulated for sensitive skin to ensure maximum moisture and minimum irritation.
- Hair: The type of hair you have should also factor into your decision. Hair removal creams have the most success on fair hair. If you have coarse hair, you may want to look for creams that contain stronger formulas. However, this means that if you have sensitive skin with coarse hair, an alternative hair removal method would likely be more effective for you.
- The area of hair removal: Hair removal creams are not one size fits all and are typically formulated for specific areas of your body, such as your back, legs, or face. Because the skin down there is naturally more prone to irritation, you’ll get the best results when you use a hair removal cream specifically for the brazilian area. Choose one that includes moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera or shea butter.
Much like with shaving, many people often wonder “does hair removal cream make hair grow back thicker?” The good news is that you don’t have to worry about that - hair will NOT grow back any thicker when using these creams (phew!).
How to use hair removal creams
Before you dive in and rub the cream all over your area down below, do a patch test first and see if your skin reacts to the cream. The last thing you want is a red, irritated vulva. If you have a reaction to the cream, there are other hair removal methods for you. Next, ensure the area you’re removing hair from has no cuts and scrapes and was not recently shaved - trust us, you don’t want to be putting the cream on an open wound.
When you’re ready, apply the cream evenly to the area that you want to remove the hair from. Generally, the hair removal process takes about 5 to 10 minutes to work. The most important thing to remember is to follow the instructions to the letter. If it says to leave the cream on for 5 to 8 minutes, leave it on for 5 to 8 minutes!
Pro tip: Much like with shaving, use the cream toward the end of your shower as hydrated hair is softer and much easier to dissolve than dry hair.
You may feel a slight tingling while the cream is working but if you feel any burning sensations or irritations, remove the cream immediately and apply cold water.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your individual hair removal needs and preferences. Hair removal creams are great to reach for from time to time if you don’t have time to get to the salon and don’t want to shave every few days.