Depilatory Creams

Depilatory  creams, pastes and mousses are one of the most preferable ways of removing  hair. Comparatively low cost, versatility and with a pain-free experience make these depilatory products very popular.

The key ingredients of such creams suppose to destroy keratin, which is a basic constituent of our hair. Depilatory creams work by dissolving the keratin in the hair shaft at the skin's surface. Even though they use chemicals in these creams, they are still softer on the skin than other methods of hair removal, and there are completely painless!

The history of depilatory hair removal gels, creams, etc. goes back as far as 4000 - 3000 B.C. – when women used  to remove body hair by making their own depilatory creams that contained bizarre combinations of scary ingredients, such as arsenic, quicklime and starch.

In 500 B.C. Roman women removed hair with razors, pumice stones and made homemade depilatory creams made from medicinal drugs, such as bryonia. In 54 - 68 A.D., in early Rome, POPPAEA, the wife of the notorious EMPEROR NERO, also used depilatory creams to remove unwanted body hair on a daily basis.

Depilatory creams and lotions were becoming quite a popular alternative to shaving with the blade, which often resulted in a bloody mess. The mixtures that they used in those days included some wild ingredients: resin, pitch, white vine or ivy gum extract, ass's fat, she-goat's gall, bat's blood, and powdered viper.

In early 1800s European women were still making up homemade depilatories in the kitchen. A typical formula normally contained chopped oak and white French wine; it was to be digested in a hot water or vapor bath for 24 hours. Other recipes included distilled water and celandine roots, or walnut oil (as it was considered to have hair-removing power).

Nowadays the ingredients of the depilatory creams are not as exquisite as ages ago, but they still tend to ease our life more whilst depilating: they are painless. Depilatory Hair removal products are ideal for sensitive areas such as the bikini line, underarm area and upper lip, and especially where it can be difficult to reach or follow the contours of the skin with a razor.

One should be aware of some disadvantages of depilating creams. Because of strong alkali of all depilatory creams, it is not recommended to use soap or deodorant on the areas treated before, for at least a few hours, as it may irritate or burn your skin.

To solve this problem you can use some cream for sensitive skin or moistening oil. A depilation cream should not be applied to the sensitive skin (like bikini area) either is a great chance that you might burn yourself.
The effective period of cream depends on its thickness - from 3 to 15 minutes.

How to Use Depilatory Creams/Lotions

Always do a patch test before using a depilatory cream to make sure you are not sensitive to the chemicals. If you do not seem to have any undue irritation, burning or redness, you can continue treatment of your skin. Hair removal creams and lotions usually come with instructions on how to use that particular depilatory.Never apply such creams to broken or irritated skin.

Before applying any depilatory cream or lotion, make sure that the skin on that particular area is clean. Oils, sweat in the skin and hair shaft can prevent direct contact of the cream with the hair.

One can use a warm washcloth to clean the skin and soften the hair. Then you will need to dry the skin before applying the cream. Apply the cream generously covering all the hair growth that you want removing avoiding rubbing it into the skin.

Leave the depilatory cream for the length of time indicated in the instructions. Try not to leave depilatory cream for longer than the time recommended in order to avoid irritation and possible burning of your skin. If your skin starts to sting or burn before the time is up, remove the cream immediately to avoid skin damage.

When the time comes to remove the product, do it by scraping the residue with the plastic tool/spatula if one is provided and rinse away the rest. By using a damp wash cloth in a downwards motion, cleaning the rest of the hairs away will also break away more hair. Avoid applying harsh products or treatment after using depilatory creams and lotions for a day or two.

Do not apply deodorant or perfume straight after you depilated yourself.  

Hair removal creams contain a mixture of mild chemicals that contain sodium and calcium thioglycolate, that’s why the smell could be quite pungent. One would probably find this procedure rather smelly and messy, but it is a relatively cheap and easy way to remove unwanted hair.

The hair normally grows back within a day or so, somewhat slower and less stubby than with shaving (because creams/lotions reach the hair at a slightly deeper level), but the treatment needs to be repeated on the regular basis, if one wishes to remain hair free.

Advantages of Depilatory Creams / Lotions

• painless

• inexpensive

• quick and easy to do at home

• can be used in awkward and sensitive areas

Disadvantages of Depilatory Creams / Lotions

• may cause allergic reaction

• could be messy and smelly

• needs to be repeated frequently (within ½ days, depending on hair thickness and growth, but note: it lasts a little longer than shaving)

• the finer the hair, the better are the results. There are different strengths for different parts of the body. It is recommended to use different products for face, bikini line, legs, etc.

• not to be used for removing hair near the eyes or on broken skin