Hair removal creams also known as depilatories, are very popular now and continue to grow in the men’s category due to ease of use.
Depilatories are currently available in different forms from creams to lotions, sprays, gels, and even roll-ons. They vary in different strength and speed depending on the brand and body parts they are designed to be used for. In this article we will discuss the pros and cons related to depilatories and educate you on all you should know before you decide on which brand to choose for your grooming needs.
#1 DEPILATORIES – HOW DO THEY WORK?
Thioglycolic acid (TGA) is the most commonly used ingredient in hair removal creams, often in salt forms such as calcium thioglycolate and sodium thioglycolate.
The hair structure’s main component is a protein called Keratin, which makes up 65% – 95% of the hair’s total fiber by weight. This forms the strength of your hair.
Illustration of internal structure of hair – it’s the cortex which contains the keratin
It is the TGA in the cream which breaks down the structure of the keratin to weaken the hair and dissolve it so that it can be easily wiped away from its follicle, just below the skin’s surface.
The top layer of your skin (the epidermis) also contains keratin, which is why some hair removal creams should never be left on for too long, as the skin may become adversely affected. This is important for men, so we will revisit this point later in this article. But you can learn more here.
#2 THE PROS OF USING DEPILATORIES
All depilatories are quick and easy to use. The majority of them, you simply apply, leave on as little as 3 minutes or as long as 20 minutes, wipe away and rinse.
Minutes by Brand
Nair for Men 3-8 minutes
Veet for Men 5-12 minutes
SmoothTech Pro* 6-20+ minutes
*SmoothTech Pro uses all-natural ingredients including the active ingredients. The Ph adjuster is lowered so that the 11 skin care ingredients can create a barrier for the epidermis to allow the active ingredients to smart target only the protein keratin in the hair and not the keratin in the skin. This results in a slower speed but is much safer for the skin.
That’s it, results last longer than shaving and with some brands, you can achieve results similar to waxing. Most brands typically have results that last anywhere from 3 to 7 days.
Results by Brand
Nair for Men 3-7 days
Veet for Men 3-8 days
SmoothTech Pro* 3-10+ or more day (with continued use)
Another pro is that most depilatories are relatively inexpensive ranging from a low of $9 dollars to a high of $30 dollars for more advanced formulations like SmoothTech Pro.
Average Price Range by Brand
Nair for Men $9-15
Veet for Men $9-18
SmoothTech Pro* $29-79
*SmoothTech Pro is the 1st and only system that has a core 2-step process; step 1-hair removal lotion that moisturizes and step 2- an after care gel that soothes and hydrates the skin, stimulates new collagen and helps slow regrowth. The more you use it the slower the regrowth
The biggest pro for men, has to be the pain free aspect associated with most depilatories. Again, removal creams do range in strength and speed which can have a direct effect on men’s skin, but overall, men’s depilatory creams are painless, especially compared to other methods like waxing.
#3 THE CONS OF USING DEPILATORIES
Because hair removal creams work by dissolving the hair through active ingredients, these ingredients must be mildly acidic. Caustic ingredients are usually slightly pungent and although some depilatory creams are perfumed, some may have a distinct smell, which many people can find off-putting. This hair removal method can also be quite messy, especially when you’re required to use your hands as an application tool. Unlike shaving, depilatory creams can cause an allergic reaction which can cause some stinging and discomfort. Hair removal creams are also limited. They are not suitable for all areas of the body and should be refrained from being used near the eyes or where there is any broken skin. Similar to shaving, depilatory creams need to be used extremely frequently, because re-growth appears several days later. This method of hair removal is only temporary, and some people find having to repeat the process as often as every five days, tiresome and off-putting. Although these creams do usually thwart re-growth for a few days longer than shaving does. To adhere to the ever-increasing quest for ultra-smooth and hairless bodies depilatory creams have gradually become harsher as more caustic ingredients have been added to become more effective tools in removing hair. Again, the high PH level found in some hair removal creams can have a negative effect on the skin, especially mature skin. As skin matures it becomes more susceptible to the harsh elements it has been relentlessly exposed to. The caustic nature of hair removal creams can therefore have a negative effect on the skin, especially if the skin is mature or sensitive. This has been a problem with most men’s depilatory as they are now designed for speed which means the same ingredients that are breaking down the hair keratin, is also breaking down the skin keratin which is a major problem. On top of that some brands include known skin irritants like perfumes to cover up the smell of the active ingredients and dyes to make for a better presentation for men.
Because of this, it is therefore of paramount importance to carry out a patch test and follow the instructions provided with the depilatory cream package. One of the safest brands out there is SmoothTech Pro which is specifically designed for men’s skin. It is the 1st and only 2-Step core system that actually uses another form of TGA that is safer and gentler on the skin. They have the only pre and post care solution that is designed to keep the skin at its natural PH level, not too acidic and not too much alkalinity. SmoothTech Pro knows that if a man’s skin has an out of whack PH level, then that will lead to other skin issues, so choose wisely.
In short, If the procedure is carried out correctly, depilatory creams are an effective, versatile, inexpensive, painless and almost immediate method to conform to society’s expectations regarding body hair.