“Skin is in” – we have all heard that one before (usually in relation to the opposite sex… but none the less) and increasingly, it is true for men as well. Gone are the days when a little exposed chest hair (thanks to some strategically undone buttons) was considered stylish. No one wants hairy arms, or worse – a grizzly bear’s hairy back. In this more modern age men strive to be smooth and sleek, exuding an aura of well manicured confidence that only fine grooming can establish.
It does take work to keep your body smooth though – we have mastered shaving our faces, plenty of experience there (and minimal surface area) but our body takes a lot more effort. All that time, all that shaving cream, all those nicks and cuts – it just doesn’t seem worth it, there has to be a better way. And since we are such dedicated practitioners, committed to a refined appearance, we search for alternatives.
There is always waxing to consider. A professional hot wax – painful, time consuming and expensive. It will leave you smooth, yes, but also inflamed and sore (in both body and spirit). Or the home wax remedy, no less painful and half as effective. Then there is tweezing and sugaring and plucking and lasers and pulsed light and all sorts of other complicated procedures that sound just as taxing as they actually are… So we continue our search.
A Unique and Effective Alternative
And in that search we have come across a brilliant alternative – the hair removal cream. Also called depilatories, these hair removal solutions come in sprays, roll-ons and powders you can mix yourself, but we highly advise against using any of these other preparation and strongly recommend the cream formula.
How It Works
These hair removal cremes contain an ingredient called thioglycolic acid (or TGA, the same chemical used in hair style “permanents”),this breaks down bonds in keratin (which is what our hair is made of). After these bonds have been weakened and broken the hair becomes brittle and can easily be scrapped or wiped off. It is important to note that our skin is also made up of keratin as well, and if you fail to follow the directions closely, the TGA may cause a rash on your skin because of over exposure to the chemical.
To prevent any unwelcome rash or irritation we recommend that you test the cream on a small area of your skin, like the back of your hand. Use the hair removal cream as directed and then wait 24 hours to ensure no adverse reaction will occur.
Also, during this test-run, keep an eye on the clock. All cremes are different and may require different lengths of application but they usually have a “time window” (i.e. five to eight minutes). So, if you remove the cream after five minutes and there are still some straggling hairs and no skin irritation, bump it up to eight minutes. Or if you leave it on for eight minutes and the hair comes completely off with ease but you experience some irritation and redness, fall back to five minutes.
Using the Hair Removal Cream
First wash the area of your skin you are planning to use the hair removal cream on (or just jump in the shower!), also make sure there are no cuts or rashes on your skin as the cream could irritate any already damaged skin.
- READ THE DIRECTIONS (I know as men we are ‘direction averse’ – but put your pride aside and focus for just a minute) many different cremes have many different strengths so it is important to read the directions here – don’t get cocky
- Apply the cream to the area of your skin, over the hair you are wanting to remove – just spread the cream, don’t massage it into your skin – and in this case, the thicker the better
- Make sure you applied the cream evenly over your skin so the hair will come off evenly as well, not patchy
- Wash your hands off thoroughly and promptly to remove the cream from your fingers while you wait
- Start the clock and WATCH it – this is important because the length of time the cream is applied can be the difference between proper hair removal, patchy hair removal, or severe skin irritation
- A little prickling sensation and mild warmth is normal, so don’t freak out – but you already know this because you tested it on a small area of your skin yesterday like we suggested (right!?!)
- You may also notice an unpleasant smell, this is normal as well, it is just the chemical reaction breaking down those keratin bonds
- After the specified time has passed, remove the cream with a slightly damp washcloth – be gentle wiping the cream away, we don’t want to scrub away and irritate our skin
- Rinse your skin off with room temperature water to make sure the cream is all washed off
- Pat your skin dry or allow your skin to air dry as to not cause any undue irritation
- Apply a lightweight moisturizer to the area – one that is alcohol free, as alcohol will cause a burning sensation
A little post application redness or tingling is normal, so don’t worry. In order to prevent any further redness or dermal exasperation we recommend you avoid heavy UV exposure for 48 hours (a UV moisturizer would be a perfect addition at this point).
The Best Removal Cream Brands
There are a few different companies that manufacture hair removal cremes (and most of them are directly targeted toward women) but we dug around and found some great masculine products for you.
Razorless Cream Shave by Magic Shave
I know we geared this article toward hair removal cream for the BODY, but the truth of the matter is it can be used on your head as well. Now, we ONLY recommend this brand for use on that dome of yours and the application times are different than some of the body cremes (so read the directions!) but this is a great product. It does say “formulated for black men” but we think that is a little exclusory (we personally know a bunch of white guys and a Nepalese monk who use this product regularly). But for all you black men out there who are more prone to razor bumps this stuff is PERFECT for you too!
Hair Remover Body Cream by Nair for Men
Nair practically invented the hair removal cream and they have been making the stuff (albeit for women) for years so they know what they are doing. This product, specifically made for us guys, is the perfect hair removal cream for the body. It works while you shower so just apply, jump in the shower, wipe it off and marvel at your silky-smooth body afterwards.
No matter where you are removing that pesky, unwanted hair do show caution when using these and all hair removal depilatories. They can cause serious irritation when used improperly or for longer that recommended. But when used correctly they are an amazingly effective and pain-free alternative to other hair removal methods.