While other types of hair-removal methods can leave you feeling sore or involve much expense, depilatories are relatively pain free and inexpensive. HairFinder.com notes that cream depilatories go as far back as 3000 B.C., where women used harsh ingredients like arsenic to remove body hair. Today, the ingredients are much safer, but they can still cause an allergic reaction if you don’t use the products properly. By reading the instructions and following them carefully, you can remove hair painlessly and effectively.
Choose a depilatory cream based on the body part where you intend to use it. More sensitive parts of your body require a more sensitive formula. The active ingredients in cream depilatories include sodium or calcium hydroxide and barium sulfate, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Formulas for the face or bikini line may have less active ingredients or use more sensitive ingredients for less irritation.
Read through all of the directions on the product packaging. Each cream depilatory brand will have different instructions, time limits and warnings, and it’s important for you to read and understand them all before you spread the depilatory on your body.
Test the depilatory cream on an inconspicuous part of your body to ensure that you don’t suffer an allergic reaction, suggests the University of SouthernCaliforniaDepartment of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Choose a patch of skin, like the inside of your arm, that is unnoticeable and moderately sensitive. Follow the instructions on the packaging perfectly, and then wait 24 hours and observe your skin. If you develop redness or a rash, discard the product. If you don’t observe any reaction, it is safe to use.
Distribute the depilatory cream evenly over the hair. Ensure that the hairs are completely covered; the active ingredients in depilatory cream dissolve hair away, and the hair must be covered for it to work properly. When you’re finished spreading the cream, set a timer for the amount of time specified on the product packaging.
Rinse off the excess when the timer goes off. Wipe off a small test patch to ensure that hair is loose and comes away from the skin easily. If it doesn’t, leave the cream on your skin for another minute. Then, use a washcloth or an item with a straight edge, like an old credit card, to scrape away the hair still left after rinsing. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer after blotting the area dry.