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Depilatory creams

What's the Deal With Depilatory Creams?

Facial hair: it's not just for guys, and ladies, it's nothing to be ashamed of. No matter what your complexion or skin type, it is completely natural for some amount of hair to be present on your face. For some women, it is practically unnoticeable. Other women find it bothersome, so they decide to do something about it. Simply bleaching the hair can work if your skin is fair, but for the rest of you, the best bet for making your facial hair do a vanishing act is with a depilatory cream.

But what is a depilatory cream, anyway, and how does this stuff work? Allow me to clear up the confusion.

  • Depilatory creams remove the hair deeper than shaving, but not quite as deep as waxing.
  • The active ingredient is sodium and calcium thioglycolate, which might sound a little scary, but it's actually a safe chemical that has been used for hair removal since 1930.
  • The chemicals dissolve the protein base of the hair, allowing it to be removed from below the surface of the skin.
  • The creams can be smelly (the active ingredient is a close relative to the one used in perming), and a bit messy, but the tradeoff is that hair stays away much longer than shaving, and it grows back significantly less stubbly.

If you decide to try a depilatory cream, be sure to select one that is specifically for the face, as it will be gentler than the ones for other parts of the body. Apply to clean skin, and leave on no longer than the directed time. Once finished, all you have to do is wipe away the cream, and voila: hair is gone. Another bonus: no ingrown hairs.

The bottom line? Depilatories are a generally safe, easy way to remove facial hair, as long as you follow the instructions, and don't mind a smelly mess every now and then. Is this your hair removal method of choice? Let me know what you think.


Join The Conversation
politica politica 9 years
Magic Shave all the way!! I've been using it for a couple months for a variety of areas and it's wonderful. I use the kind for sensitive skin and I've had no bad reactions to it at all. I used to get a really bad irritated rash from depilatories, but this has been great. It comes in a powder and a cream, I recommend the powder so that you can mix it to the consistency you want. Check the bottom shelf of a Walmart or RiteAid shaving items aisle. It's designed for black men's facial hair so it's meant to get the difficult stuff.
sjj158 sjj158 9 years
I have used the Sally Hansen cream remover for several years with no problem EXCEPT last fall I started realizing that in pictures my upper lip looked yellow. Somehow the remover leaves a yellow tint to my upper lip that is nasty looking in pics.. so I've discontinued until I hear of something better. (I'm light/olive skinned person). Any other suggestions? I h.a.t.e. waxing but it's what I'm having to live with for now.
audreyxoxo audreyxoxo 9 years
i tried a depilatory on my legs, and it stank up my bathroom all day. also, i got a streak of a burn on my shin. i much prefer shaving, even for my face
kiwigeek kiwigeek 9 years
Using tweesers and threading are best!
thasugardude thasugardude 9 years
I'm a guy with a beard, but there are areas above it as it approaches my eye that I'm hesitant to shave because it seems like it will just get thicker. Maybe I'll try the cream. Is Sally Hansen the winner in this department?
GreenSkittlesGal GreenSkittlesGal 9 years
Erie, that is nuts! I'd be very upset if I were you!!! There is a different machine they use for people with less contrast between their hair and skin. Two of my friends are African American, and laser worked like a charm on them too. If you're a blonde or redhead, then you may be out of luck... however, they should have told you about that BEFORE you did your treatments. Man, I'd be so mad!!! :(
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Luckily the hair on my face is very blonde and fine. For other women the worst thing you can do is shave it because stubble is not sexy.
ErieIndiana ErieIndiana 9 years
GreenSkittlesGal, Hmmpf. Well that is what the laser lady told me after treatments did not work for me. I wonder if the different machines make a difference?
saby-baby saby-baby 9 years
threading is great for upper lip. . .its cheap and effective !
bluecanary bluecanary 9 years
I am fair and have the lightest possible peach-fuzz above my lip, no one can seem to see it except me (and the problem is that I FEEL it). I used Sally Hansen depilatory for years, but it did seem to break me out sometimes so I switched to cold wax strips. Quicker, no mess, and have to do it less often.
snarkypants snarkypants 9 years
i use a cheap sally hansen depilatory. works for me, but i would def suggest that you test a very small area before doing the whole thing. cuz the burning and redness of a brand that doesn't work with your skin type isn't very pretty.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I've never tried depilatory creams on my face - there's no real need, thank goodness! - but I've used them on legs and bikini line, and the effect just isn't as good as waxing or even shaving. It doesn't seem to remove all the hair, and then I got ingrown hairs, even on my legs, which is really unusual. So I've sworn them off forever.
GreenSkittlesGal GreenSkittlesGal 9 years
ErieIndiana, I have done extensive laser hair removal and it has worked out beautifully for me. I have tanned skin and dark hair...
ErieIndiana ErieIndiana 9 years
Just so the other sugars know, Lasering only works if the contrast between your hair and skin is drastic. I.E. REALLY dark hair and REALLY fair skin.
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
I have found that with thicker or tougher facial hair (you know, the dark stuff that pops up on the upper lip- not the softer peach fuzz) that these creams rarely work. If I leave it for just the recommended time, maybe 4 hairs come off...waxing is the only thing that works for that. I tried leaving it on longer one time to see if that would help and ended up "burning" my skin and it was even nastier...ugh. :) Lesson learned!
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
i can't wax my upper lip because my skin is too sensitive (i always break out right afterwards and then when my skin finally clears the hair starts growing back!). i have always bleached. i've never thought of using depilatory cream... any suggested brands?
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