how hair removal cream works

How Hair Removal Cream Works: Depilatory Creams, Risks, Benefits And More!

Learn how hair removal cream works to use depilatory creams on skin without worry and with confidence that it removes unwanted body hair well.

In This Article:

  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

There are a number of hair removal methods such as waxing, laser hair removing, shaving, epilating and using hair removal creams.

Hair remover creams earlier used to be made of harsh chemicals that would react badly in some bodies and have a very strong pungent smell.

However, new and updated formulas in hair removal creams have proved to be safer and gentle on the skin and they mostly have a mild smell.


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Hair removal creams, also known as depilatory creams are a great option for beginners because it is relatively simple to use and one can do it at the comfort of your home.

You just have to apply the cream to the area where you want to remove the hair from and leave it on for a few minutes before wiping it off.

 The unwanted hair comes along with the cream when you wipe it off. The hair removal creams often come with a spatula that makes the process easy and fuss-free even for first-time users.

The chemicals in the hair removal creams are usually alkaline chemicals such as sodium thioglycolate, strontium sulfide, Thioglycolic acid, and calcium thioglycolate that react with your body hair.

When these depilatory substances come in contact with the skin, the chemical bonds that hold the protein structure of your hair are broken down.

This protein is popularly known as keratin. After the keratin gets dissolved, the hair becomes weak and falls off from the follicles. 

Some hair creams have a strong and pungent smell. This is caused by a chemical reaction that happens after combining calcium thioglycolate and sodium hydroxide.

But lately, brands have been using certain substances that can be added to the ingredients to mask these smells and make them virtually odour-free. 

Some brands also use artificial fragrances to improve the smell of these creams but they can act as a potential irritant, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Another important factor to consider before using hair removal cream is your skin type. There are specific creams that are formulated for specific skin types such as dry skin and sensitive skin. This will help prevent any aggravations that might occur after usage.

Some creams also have hydrating properties which help in soothing your dry skin. It is also recommended to discuss with your dermatologist before selecting a hair removal cream so that they can guide you in selecting the right cream for your skin type.

Patch Test

An essential step to do before using a hair removal cream, or any product on your skin, is to conduct a patch test. This will help in preventing adverse reactions if you have issues like allergies, sensitivity etc.

Follow the package instructions and apply the cream to a small patch of skin. Wait for 24 hours to see if there are any reactions. If you face issues like redness, itching or swelling, you should avoid using it and find a cream that is compatible with your skin.

Using a hair removal cream is relatively simple and time-saving. But it has numerous other benefits as compared to other hair removal techniques.

Related: Easy Hair Removal Creams For Private Parts For Men

Related: Depilatory Hair Removal Creams For Vag



Hair Removal creams are a pocket-friendly method to remove unwanted hair from our body. It is also easily accessible since it is available at any drugstores or grocery stores.

It is reasonably priced and it ranges from 4$ to around 15$, which is quite affordable. Other methods of hair removal such as waxing or laser hair removal are way more expensive than this.

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When you remove the cream with the hair from your skin, it provides exfoliation and removes any dirt or dead skin cells that might be on your skin. It is common to find dead cells on the surface of your skin and we seldom pay attention to it. This skin also has an added glow after this.


Hair removal creams only take minutes to eliminate unwanted hair on your skin. You can also do it in the comfort of your home.

Other techniques like waxing or laser hair removal require a specialised medical practitioner, esthetician or a beautician to perform it in a clinic or salon. This can save so much of your valuable time.


It is not uncommon to have cuts or burns after shaving or waxing your skin. Hair removal techniques such as using an epilator or waxing can be extremely painful and people with low pain tolerance can find the process extremely disturbing.

This is a great choice for those who want to get rid of unwanted hair without going through the pain.

Slow and reduced growth

Since hair removal creams remove the hair from below the surface of the skin, the hair doesn’t start growing for up to a week.

This makes it a better choice than shaving which only removes the hair from the surface, leaving stubbles. Some people also experience slow growth after using these creams. There has also been research to indicate that depilatory creams increase hair follicle numbers. (Tsai, Pi-Fen et al. “Depilatory creams increase the number of hair follicles, and dermal fibroblasts expressing interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and tumor necrosis factor-β in mouse skin.” The Korean journal of physiology & pharmacology : official journal of the Korean Physiological Society and the Korean Society of Pharmacology vol. 25,6 (2021): 497-506. doi:10.4196/kjpp.2021.25.6.497)

Although hair removal creams might sound like a great option, it comes with its share of disadvantages. It is important to understand these before making the switch to hair removal creams. 


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The process of hair removal can be messy, especially if you are a beginner.

There is also the potential to leave out patches on your skin. It is especially difficult to reach some hard-to-reach areas of our body if we are doing it ourselves.

You have to spread the cream evenly on your skin to make sure that you do not leave any spot.

Harsh chemicals

The chemicals on depilatory cream are harsh alkalines The alkalis present among the ingredients have the potential to cause irritation, burns, allergic reactions, blisters, rashes, skin peeling and stinging sensations. 

This is why it is extremely important to do a patch test before using the product all over your skin. It is also important to make sure there are no existing cuts, rashes or any other irritations on the skin since depilatory cream could aggravate the issue.


The combination of calcium thioglycolate and sodium hydroxide can cause an undesirable and strong smell. Some might not be able to tolerate the pungent smell that may come out from many of these creams.


There are a variety of hair removal creams available at your disposal. You can get your hands on these at your nearest chemists or grocery store. 

However, you can make informed choices by understanding more about your skin and hair texture, and then selecting a cream. Some of the most important factors to consider before buying a hair removal cream are:

Skin type

It is always important to consider your skin type before you select any product for your skin and the same goes for depilatory creams. Some people with sensitive skin are vulnerable to issues like redness, itching, rashes or other irritations. 

So it is important to use a hair removal cream that is formulated for sensitive skin to make sure that you do not face such issues.

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Area of unwanted hair

Some areas in the body such as the genitals tend to be extremely sensitive to hair removal creams. Hence it is not recommended to use it in such areas. There are specially formulated creams for sensitive areas like the bikini line, face etc which should be considered before using it.

Type of cream

Hair removal creams are available in the form of roll-ons and gels. Roll-ons can make application easy for you but you might not be able to spread it as thick as gels. 

You should choose the right product according to your preferences and requirements after learning about these variants. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to shave or use hair removal cream?

There are several advantages and disadvantages to both these methods. It's a personal preference if you want to shave or use hair removal cream. People with skin that reacts badly to the chemicals in depilatory creams would prefer to shave. And some might not like the time consuming process of shaving and want the smooth effect hair removal creams give you, hence they'd prefer depilatory creams.

Does hair removal cream remove the root?

Hair removal creams or depilatory creams contain chemicals that dissolve the keratin protein in the hair shaft making them weaker and causing them to come loose at the root. They do not remove the hair root. If you want to remove body hair in a way that gets rid of the root as well, you'll need to try sugaring or waxing.

Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.

All the different methods of hair removal have their pros and cons. Some make it difficult to reach those hard-to-reach areas on our body and some are painful and time-consuming or just plain expensive. 

Hair removal creams have been one of the most popular ways of removing unwanted hair from our body. This is mainly because it is relatively less expensive, cheaper and time-saving than a lot of hair removal methods.

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How Often Can You Use Nair

Upper Lip Hair Removal Naturally

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