Best Hair Removal Cream

Woman trying her best to apply hair removal cream at home.

If done right, using a hair removal cream could be the least painful way of removing hair at home. Many women, and some men too, regularly use hair removal cream, also known as depilatory cream, as a very quick and easy way to remove unwanted body or facial hair. You can even use it while you shower and avoid that common argument of why somebody’s razor is blunt and they keep nicking their face!

In addition to being quick, simple and painless, hair removal creams are normally less expensive than other methods. The smooth hair free skin may not last as long as waxing, but it will last longer than the few days you get from shaving. Plus you don’t have to grow your stubble before you do it again like waxing or sugaring.

There are various types of hair creams, each with differing active ingredients; they come in many forms including lotions, creams, gels, spray-on and roll-on. After looking at how depilatory creams work and the active ingredients used, we will look at five contenders for the best hair removal cream available today.

Our #2 Rated
Moisturizing Hair Removal Cream

Avon Skin So Soft

Moisturizing Hair Removal Cream

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category

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  • Fresh & Smooth with Meadowfoam Oil
  • Removes Hair, Moisturizes Skin
  • 4.2 oz.
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #2 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category


Our #3 Rated
Cocoa Butter Hair Remover

Nair

Cocoa Butter Hair Remover

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category

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  • 3 Pieces - 9 Ounce (266ml)
  • Smooth Skin Lasts Days Longer Than Shaving
  • For Legs, Arms, Underarms & Bikini Area
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category


Our #4 Rated
Hair Removal Lotion

Gigi

Hair Removal Lotion

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category

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  • For use on arms, legs and bikini
  • Enriched with cocoa butter, vitamins c and e and natural oils
  • Gigi hair removal lotion leaves skin softer, smoother and hair-free, days longer than shaving
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category


Our #5 Rated
Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal

Olay

Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category

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  • Introducing Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo, a specially formulated two-step system designed to gently yet...
  • Smooth and visibly hair-free skin at your fingertips!
  • In just 8 minutes, skin is transformed - feminine and visibly hair-free
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Hair Removal Cream category

What Exactly Is a Depilatory, or Hair Removal Cream?

The idea of a cream that simply removes hair without the need for shaving or any pulling may seem too good to be true. However the science and mechanisms behind depilatory creams have been perfected over many years and they now offer a quick, convenient and safe method of removing unwanted hair.

It’s not rocket science to explain how depilatory creams work; basically they break down the structure of keratin proteins that hair is made of. They effectively thin and dissolve hair at its base. When hairs are weak enough to break away they can be simply wiped off or rinsed from the skin when removing the cream.

Hair removal creams normally contain an alkaline chemical that is specially formulated to break down hair proteins while also being safe for the skin. Some skin types are more sensitive to these chemicals than others. If burning or irritation occurs, you should rinse away the offending cream immediately and take note of active ingredients that may be causing the irritation before looking for an alternative.

Ingredients in Hair Removal Creams

The most common active ingredients in hair removal creams are thioglycolate salts and sulfides. Most of the creams you will see use potassium thioglycolate which is very effective when it comes to breaking down hair proteins. Some other products may use barium sulfide or strontium sulfide which react quicker than thioglycolates but can also be harsher on the skin, causing irritation and chemical burns.

Other potent chemicals you may come across in hair removal creams include sodium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide which are used to adjust pH levels; this is important for a hair remover’s effectiveness. Calcium hydroxide is more gentle to the skin while being almost as effective as sodium hydroxide.

To dilute the chemicals and make them less irritable to the skin, many creams simply use water as it’s cheap, doesn’t add to irritation and is compatible with a wide range of other ingredients. Emollients like oils, silicones and esters are also added to reduce the harshness of products and make them less irritable to the skin.

Manufacturers often include other substances including fragrances, emulsifiers and dyes to improve the look, texture and smell of the creams. Preservatives, antioxidants and plant extracts may also be added to the cream.

What are the Benefits of Hair Removal Creams?

Couple looking at the mirror in the bathroom, smiling.

The major advantage of depilatory cream over other more permanent methods of hair removal is just how simple it is to do at home. What could be easier than simply applying a cream to the affected area of hairy skin and wiping the hair away with a damp cloth after a few minutes? You can even apply many creams while taking your daily shower and simply rinse away the hair. And it’s painless too!

A secondary benefit of using hair removal creams is the exfoliation of skin that occurs. Dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of the skin are rubbed away at the same time as the cream and unwanted hairs, leaving a glowing complexion where you have revealed fresh new skin cells.

One of the biggest advantages of hair cream removal – and why many people choose it over shaving – is the fact depilatories remove hair from just below the surface of the skin. You likely won’t feel any stubble as soon as with shaving; hair removal creams can normally get rid of hair for anywhere from four days to a week. It may not be as long a period as waxing, but it is certainly longer than shaving. In addition, some research has shown that hair removal creams may slow down hair regrowth in the affected area. (source)

The Downside of Using Hair Removal Creams

Unfortunately it’s not all good news. The same chemicals that work their magic and remove hairs can also be a major irritant to the skin. Most depilatory creams contain harsh chemicals that not only dissolve hair but may burn and can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

Our skin contains the protein keratin just like our hair which can be targeted by these alkaline chemicals. Depilatory users often report suffering from burns, blisters, irritation, a stinging feeling or peeling skin after using an over the counter hair removal cream. (source)

It is always advisable to try a patch test the day before using a hair removal cream and throwing the cream out if redness or any itching shows up. Fortunately most creams are inexpensive enough for you to try a few before finding the right one.

Other side effects which may not be as serious but can still be a bother include the smell and potential mess associated with hair removal creams. The chemical agents in can have a very strong, if not always unpleasant, odor which may not be masked well enough by added fragrances.

Creams can also be messy during application, especially when involving harder to reach areas. Your bathroom may look like a bombsite after using your hair removal cream or even worse you may apply it patchily leaving areas of hair remaining next to hair free spots.

Choosing The Right Hair Removal Cream

There are many factors when considering which hair removal cream to use, but the most important is skin sensitivities and rashes. If you have previously suffered a flare up or reaction to other body creams, it is advisable to look for a depilatory cream specially formulated for sensitive skin. These usually contain aloe vera or other moisturizing agents to soothe the skin. Other creams contain stronger chemicals for coarser hair and cause more skin irritation.

If your skin is known to be very sensitive, you may need to speak to a doctor or dermatologist before using any hair removal cream treatment. It is always important to make sure you buy the right hair removal cream for the correct area to be used on. It’s no good using a cream designed for use on the back or legs on a sensitive area like the face or around your bikini line.

Your gender can also affect which hair removal cream you choose. Men’s body hairs tend to be thicker and more coarse and a man’s skin can also be more oily. There are many hair removal creams especially formulated for use by men.

If in doubt, speak to your physician or dermatologist who may be able to recommend a product that is suitable for your needs.

The Best Hair Removal Cream

To save you some time and hopefully help you find the best hair removal cream to suit your needs, we have looked at many of the products currently on the market to recommend in our opinion the top five hair removal creams.

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Avon Skin So Soft

Moisturizing Hair Removal Cream

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Avon is probably more famous for their wide range of cosmetics and local representative catalogue sales than hair removal treatments but this product is a highly effective depilatory cream. The clue is in the name, and Skin So Soft is enriched with shea butter and meadowfoam oil to ensure your skin stays silky soft even after removing hair.

This cream glides on easily like many lotions but you shouldn’t rub it in. It’s quite a thick cream which means you only need to use a little at a time – it will last longer than similar sized bottles. Avon claims the unique properties of this formula ensure you enjoy up to two weeks of smooth hairless skin before reapplying.

Pros
Pro Reasonable price for quality product.
Pro Thicker formula lasts much longer than many products of the same size.
Pro Can be used on the nether regions.
Cons
Con Incredibly strong chemical odor.
Con Shea butter extract can leave some people’s skin feeling greasy and may even clog open pores if not properly rinsed away.
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Nair

Cocoa Butter Hair Remover

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Nair is a global leading brand that has made a name for itself in the hair removal market, and this lotion is no exception. Natural antioxidant cocoa butter with its nourishing, hydrating and anti-aging properties is accompanied by vitamin E to protect the skin.

This hair removal lotion uses the less harsh potassium thioglycolate as the main active ingredient with the gentler calcium hydroxide to correct pH levels for ultimate effectiveness in removing stubborn hairs.

This cream is suitable for use on legs and arms as well as more sensitive areas like the underarms and bikini area. The cocoa butter and vitamin E infusion give it a chocolate like smell and it leaves the skin radiant and fresh. The vitamin E especially can be vital for rehydrating the skin and keeping it moisturized for longer.

Pros
Pro Uses less harsh chemicals than many of the market leaders.
Pro Vitamin E and cocoa butter extract leave the skin significantly moisturized.
Pro Works in just three minutes.
Pro Chocolate smell.
 
Cons
Con Slightly more expensive than many other options.
Con Not suitable for use on the face.
Con Very effective against coarse
Con thick hairs but some customers with thinner hairs reported a slight initial burning sensation.
Con May also cause itchiness for a short time after use. This normally calms down after 20 minutes.

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Gigi

Hair Removal Lotion

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Gigi are probably better known for really good waxing kits, but Gigi’s hair removal cream for women is perhaps one of the best on the market and one of the least expensive. Gigi only recommends this formula for use on the body, not the face, which may be down to harsher thioglycolates like sodium and calcium thioglycolate which are very effective hair removers but more irritant to the skin.

A seven minute patch test is recommended before using the product. Plant based derivatives like aloe leaf and cucumber fruit extract aim to soothe the skin after dissolving the hair follicles. This one is not suitable for use in the groin area due to the harsh chemicals.

Pros
Pro Very reasonably priced.
Pro Added plant extracts have cooling effect on irritated skin.
Pro Very effective at removing fine hair
Pro especially under the armpits.
Cons
Con Very strong sulfur smell can be quite unpleasant.
Con Not too effective on more coarse hair.
Con Poor packaging. Complaints of bottles cracking and the product setting rock hard after only two or three uses.
Con More sensitive skin types may find the chemical mix too strong for regular use.

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Olay

Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal

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This two step kit from Olay is specially developed to gently remove fine to medium unwanted facial hair around the upper lip and jaw line. It is very effective yet causes minimal irritation. A skin guarding balm helps keep the skin soft and smooth.

Olay recommends that all users should first do a 48 hour test before using this kit. Simply apply a small amount of the cream and leave for 10 minutes without rubbing it in. After rinsing, you should monitor the patch area and if after 48 hours there is no redness or other irritation you should be able to use this product from Olay without any problems. An enclosed balm stick is applied before the hair removal cream to protect the skin.

Pros
Pro A lot cheaper than an upper lip wax at a salon.
Pro Quick - just 8 minutes required for a visible smooth hair free finish.
Pro Preparatory balm soothes and protects the skin.
Pro Very little redness is reported by customers
Pro even those with very sensitive skin.
Cons
Con Smell is unpleasant
Con Coarse black hairs were often left behind. Not really strong enough to tackle more stubborn coarse hairs.
Con Some complaints that the treatment didn’t last as long as similar products.
Con Expensive for a product that has a very limited area of use.
 

Our Choice for the Best Hair Removal Cream

After looking at many different hair removal creams, and listening to many stories of misadventure, in our opinion the best hair remover cream is Veet Gel Hair Removal Cream. Veet may not be the trendiest name, it’s a brand your grandparents probably used but back then just like now, in the words of Steve Jobs – “it just works!”

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