The Pros of Using Depilatory Cream

Do you dream of smooth, soft, silky skin with no unsightly hair or rough stubble? Do you hate going through all the bother of shaving only to have a five o’clock shadow of stubble on your legs before the end of the day? Of course, there’s always waxing, but appointments are costly, and doing it yourself at home is both messy and risky, and not always successful—and that’s not even mentioning the pain of literally ripping both hair and the top layer of skin off with the strips. So is there another way to achieve smooth, silky skin that lasts longer than shaving and is less painful than waxing?

The answer is—yes. Depilatory cream is a great compromise between shaving and waxing, and for many people, once they’ve tried it, they shun the shave and throw away the wax.

What is a Depilatory Cream?

Depilatory creams are a high alkaline cream product that dissolves hair into a jelly-like substance (sounds gross, I know) by dissolving the keratin, which is the hair protein structure. Then, the dissolved hair can be easily wiped away with a warm washcloth. The cream has the ability to dissolve the hair just below the surface of the skin, so it doesn’t grow back as fast as hair that’s been shaved off.

The best hair removal creams come in the form of a lotion, foam, gel, or roll-on. Some depilatory products come with a spatula-like tool to scrape the dead hair away. While depilatory creams are generally quite safe, it’s recommended that you perform a patch test 24 hours before using the cream to watch for any potential reactions.

Why Depilatory Creams Dominate

There are many advantages of using a depilatory cream for hair removal, which is why these products have been popular for decades, and in that time, they’ve improved in both safety and effectiveness. If it’s been a while since you’ve tried one, you’ll also be happy to know that the scent of the best depilatory creams has also improved.

Affordable Smoothness

Depilatory creams are very reasonably priced and you get many uses out of a single tube. It only takes a small amount of product to cover a fairly wide area of skin such as the legs. It’s much less expensive than a professional waxing and generally less expensive than do-it-yourself home waxing products.

It pays to shop around to find the lowest priced product that works best for you. Because everyone’s hair proteins are a little different, some products may work better for you than others, so you may have to try a few before finding the best one for your hair type.

Easy to Use

Most depilatory creams come with instructions and you should carefully read and follow the instructions for the cream that you choose. Generally, you simply apply it to clean, dry skin on your legs, armpits, or anywhere you want to remove hair, including the bikini line. Leave the cream on for the recommended amount of time—typically five to ten minutes—and then either scrape the hair off with the included spatula tool or wipe off with a warm, damp washcloth. Thicker hair will take longer to remove than fine hair.

If you are using the cream on the bikini area, proceed VERY carefully to avoid pain and injury. (Yes, injury in the last place you’d want to be injured.) Experts recommend wearing an old pair of panties and then only placing the cream on the exposed skin beyond your underwear line. You should never use the cream on your genitals themselves.

Some people save time by using the cream in the shower, and in fact, some brands have foaming hair removal creams meant for shower use. However, never use depilatory creams in the bathtub because the cream could disperse through the bathwater and end up reaching areas where you do NOT want it.

Also, be careful not to use depilatory cream meant for body hair on your face, as it’s a stronger formula and can result in severe irritation. Special facial depilatory creams should be used on facial hair.

Depilatory Creams are Long-Lasting

Because hair-removal creams work below the surface of the skin, using a depilatory cream leaves longer-lasting smoothness than shaving. Typically, a depilatory cream will leave your skin smooth for up to a week.

Experienced users of depilatory creams will also tell you that with repeated use, your body hair will thin out and become brittle, making it come off easier and last longer between applications.

Gain with No Pain

Unlike waxing, using a depilatory cream is not painful. Whereas waxing actually rips the hair out of the follicle, hair removal creams dissolve the hair in a pain-free manner. In fact, you should feel nothing at all. Unlike shaving, there is also no risk of razor cuts or razor burn.

Smooth and Silky Finish

Unlike shaving, which can leave missed spots and rough hairs that did not get cut close enough to the skin’s surface, depilatory creams leave your skin smooth and silky. Rubbing off the hair with a warm, damp washcloth also exfoliates the skin, leaving a shiny, healthy glow and exceptionally smooth skin. 

Bonus Ingredients

Many of the best depilatory creams come with extras such as shea butter, vitamin E, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, argan oil, and other moisturizers and skin-nourishing ingredients. Most brands want to attract you to their particular product so they add these skin-loving bonus ingredients to leave users with softer, healthier skin than they had before use.

Tips for Maximizing the Results of Your Depilatory Cream

If you have highly sensitive skin, you should perform several patch tests before using a depilatory cream, or avoid them altogether.

When wiping off your depilatory cream, wipe in the opposite direction of hair growth and be sure to remove all traces of cream. Letting it remain on your skin can result in irritation. Also, resist the urge to leave the cream on for longer than the maximum recommended time or that may also result in irritation.

Always wait 48 hours between applications, even if you find you missed some hair. Using it again before the recommended time has elapsed may result in irritated skin.

Depilatory creams work best when you’ve allowed hair growth to go beyond stubble to a slightly longer length. This allows the cream to more thoroughly coat the hair shaft to dissolve it more completely.

Depilatory creams are a great option for lasting hair removal and are ideal for either regular usage or if you are going on a trip and would rather not shave every day.

Depilatory creams may also be used on men who wish to remove unwanted hair such as chest hair.

So, if you haven’t tried one of the best depilatory creams yet, give one a try—and savor the smooth!

Resources— Veet, HowStuffWorks, Byrdie, Cosmopolitan 

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