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How Does Nair Work? Everything to Know About Hair Removal Creams

Last Updated: June 4, 2021

The idea of applying a simple cream to your body that removes all your hair in a few minutes sounds like heaven to those of us who spend hours shaving (or worse, waxing). 

In the long battle of removing unwanted hair, there has been one notable product that is a tried and true favorite for many: Nair

Introduced all the way back in 1940, Nair started out as a depilatory or hair removal lotion with only one formula and one scent. Now, about 80 years later, they have over 20 products with their own special formulas to handle any type of unwanted hair. 

While we all might have used Nair before and enjoyed the results, the question still stands: how does Nair work? What is it about this decades-long formula that makes unwanted hair disappear? 

How Does Nair Work?

Hair is made out of protein fibers known as keratin. These proteins are bonded together to form strands of hair. This is a tough protein since it also makes up our nails and our skin, as well as our hair.  

Nair uses active ingredients to target these hair bonds by opening up the hair shaft, allowing the formula to seep in and break down the bonds. 

The science behind this is a little more complex, but can still be explained just as easily. You just need to take a look at the ingredients.

The active ingredients that Nair uses are:

  • Salts of Thioglycolic Acid: Potassium or Calcium
  • A Base of Calcium, Potassium, or Sodium Hydroxide

These two chemicals are what leave your skin hair free. The base chemical is what makes the hair shaft open up so that the chemical salts seep into the hair and break down the protein bonds. 

Ever wonder why Nair doesn’t smell the greatest? This is because it attacks sulfur bonds in the hair and this reaction can cause a less than pleasant smell. 

Have you ever gotten Nair on your clothes? Wonder why they didn’t get any damage? It goes back to the sulfur bonds. If there are no sulfur bonds to attack, Nair doesn’t work. Fibers found in fabrics like cotton and polyester don’t contain these sulfur bonds, so they remain unharmed. 

Is Nair Permanent? 

If you’ve used Nair before, you surely have seen your hair grow back after a few weeks. This is because Nair targets the hair shaft, not the hair follicle. Without the follicle, you don’t have hair growth. 

This makes Nair more similar to shaving than waxing. With shaving you are cutting the hair shaft close to the skin, but not affecting the root of the hair. Nair does the same thing, only more chemically and with a lower risk of cutting yourself. 

How to Use Nair

Before we take a look at how Nair works, we need to know how to use it. 

Nair is a quite simple process, so simple that it’s how many were introduced to hair removal in the first place. While some formulas differ, the instructions tend to be the same. 

Step 1: Apply

NOTE: Before you use Nair on large areas, make sure to do a spot test!

Whether it’s your arms, your legs, or anywhere in between, you want to apply a thick and even layer wherever you want smooth skin. 

To ensure you don’t harm yourself, DO NOT rub it in. It may be a lotion, but you don’t treat it like one. 

You want an even coat on your skin so that it can work properly and safely. You also want to wash your hands immediately after applying to again avoid any incidents.

Step 2: Wait

Nair takes time to work so sit back and relax while it does its thing. Depending on which formula you have, the time will change. Some are 3 minutes, some are 2. You can always wipe a bit of it off to double-check if it worked. 

If you have thicker hair, you may need more time, but they do warn against exceeding 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Wipe & Rinse

After your time is done, wipe the lotion and hair off with a damp cloth and be sure not to rub it in. After that, you can step into the shower and thoroughly rinse your skin. After that, all you need to do is pat dry and enjoy your smooth skin. 

The process of using Nair is a simple one, you just put it on and wait for it to do all the work. This is why so many people opt to use their lotions as opposed to shaving or waxing. 

But why is the process so simple? How does lotion do the same thing as wax strips or a razor? 

It’s time we look at what exactly Nair does. We know it removes the hair it comes in contact with, but what exactly is going on?

Pros + Cons of Nair

Why use Nair (or similar hair removal creams)? A lot of people use these for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Minimal time investment
  • No risk of cutting yourself
  • Easier to reach difficult places

What about the downsides?

One potential negative is the fact that these hair removal creams use chemicals. If you’re someone who likes to put clean products on your body, you might be hesitant to use Nair. 

Some people experience allergic reactions or other side effects, especially people who have sensitive skin. This can include a rash, blisters, skin peeling, irritation, or even chemical burns. So, before you use it on your entire body, make sure to do a spot test!

Bottom Line

If you are still looking for a cheap and easy solution to unwanted hair, look no further than Nair or similar hair removal creams.  

So many trust Nair because it has proven to be an easy and effective at home treatment that won’t break the bank. If you’ve been curious as to how Nair will work for you, pick up a bottle and try it out yourself. You might just like the results!

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