What to Know About Hair-Removal Creams (and Which Ones Are the Best)

Danielle Jackson

There are a ton of different hair-removal methods out there these days, but if there's any one that's taken a backseat to all of the others over the years, it's definitely depilatory creams. At one point, hair-removal creams had earned less-than-stellar reputations because they were known for having strong, chemical-y scents, and also because the idea of essentially melting the hair off of the body didn't quite sit well with a lot of people. Thankfully though, these products and our knowledge of how they work have come a long way, and they've proven to be a great alternative for people who may not be able to afford laser hair removal, don't have the pain tolerance for waxing, and/or want a slightly longer lasting (and less prickly) outcome than shaving.

"Hair-removal creams are depilatories that are applied to the skin and break down the bonds in the hair and effectively remove the hair," dermatologist Shari Sperling, DO, told POPSUGAR. While depilatories are safe to use at home, it's still possible that you can have a reaction to chemicals in them if you have sensitive skin, so as you would with any new product, you should always test a tiny amount of it in a small area the first time you use it to see how your body reacts.

"Be careful if using it on areas where the skin is thinner, such as the face, underarms, or groin, as the skin may be more sensitive and more susceptible to a reaction," dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD added. "It may be worthwhile to apply a small amount to a certain area to first see if the skin reacts and then after waiting a day or two, proceed with treating the whole area."

If you're looking for a reliable alternative to shaving and waxing, we rounded up a few of our favorite hair-removal creams ahead.