The Great Hair Removal Debate

Photography by Setareh Sarmadi
Photography by Setareh Sarmadi

I’m not one to turn down a dare–when playing truth or dare as a teen I would always pick the latter. So when Nair challenged me to swap my usual shaving routine of swiping a Venus razor up my legs with their Shower Power Hair Removal Cream ($10, at drugstores) I couldn’t say no. I’ll admit I was skeptical for three reasons: typically hair removal products are smelly, messy and irritating to sensitive skin. But while there wasn’t a potent odor to Shower Power and it did come with a handy sponge, after making a solid attempt I remained unimpressed (and my opinion of depilatories unchanged).

Unwilling to accept defeat, the company brought in Rhonda Shupe, from Seneca College’s cosmetic techniques and management program to explain where I might have gone wrong. Apparently, discouraging results are not uncommon due to minor, yet easily corrected errors. First, picking the right formula for your skin type is essential: Use the sensitive formula if you’re prone to reactions; if your stubble’s thicker there’s an option for coarse hair. When it comes to application, timing is vital–if you remove the cream too quickly it won’t work, but if you leave it on too long you’ll get a painful chemical burn (ouch). Also, use a flat sponge, not your fingers, for an even application. Finally, exfoliating is key because if there are other products on your legs it could diminish the hair remover’s “power.”

Taking this sage advice into account I gave it another go. This time, having to be cognizant of so many factors, I found myself constantly shifting the stream of water away from my legs and I felt like I was salsa dancing with my showerhead. While I do enjoy dancing, I prefer to do it on a dance floor, not naked and lathered up. Looks like I’ll be sticking with my faithful old razor.

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