Sunday, June 03, 2007

Battle of the Hair Removers

You've probably seen the ads for the latest, greatest hair removers that are supposed to be easier than shaving and that will leave you with smooth, hair free legs days longer than if you use a razor.

I remember using Nair a zillion years ago: the smell was repulsive, the results were less than impressive. Despite my previous experience, I thought I'd try out two hair removers to see if they've improved over the years. For my experiment, I tried Nair Pretty Hair Remover Spray in Soft Kiwi and Veet Rasera Hair Removal Gel in Aloe Vera. Both are available for about $6 to $8 at drugstores.

To be as scientific as possible, I used the Nair on my left leg, Veet on my right, and I had about 3-days worth of growth on my legs. I followed the directions exactly as they were written on the back of the bottles and used them both at the same time while in the shower. Here's my opinion, for what it's worth:

  • Nair: This foamy product is designed to be sprayed on in an even layer. The foam was shockingly cold as it hit my skin, and took my breath away. Once I got over the initial coldness, I did my best to "spray paint" my legs with the foam. I had to position myself strategically in the shower so that the stream of water wouldn't rinse off the foam, but once I found the perfect(ly uncomfortable) position, I was able to get an even layer of foam from my ankle to my knee on my left leg.
  • Veet: This product is gel-based and is reminiscent of shaving gel. Like Nair, you're supposed to apply an even layer of gel to your legs, but you're not supposed to rub it in to the skin. Again, I had to position myself in an awkward way to keep the gel from running off in the stream of the shower. The gel seemed slippery and difficult to keep in place, and I'm not sure I ever got an even layer of this product on my leg.
  • Overall: Despite its coldness, I'd say the Nair was way easier to apply. Plus I didn't have to get my hands all covered in nasty hair remover gel. Sorry, Veet.
  • Nair: According to the directions, the foam is to be left on for at least 4 minutes. Four minutes? Standing in my shower in a bizarre position with my left leg up, out of the water, and angled so the foam won't fly off? Yikes. After 4 minutes, you're supposed to spot check an area and then leave it on for "a few more minutes," not to exceed 10 minutes.
  • Veet: Based on their directions, Veet's effectiveness should be checked after 3 minutes and the total time is not to exceed 6 minutes. Again, I'm standing in the shower, contorted, hoping not to fall, for 3 to 6 minutes? Hmmm...
  • Overall: Standing for three to ten minutes per leg in the shower waiting for my hair remover to kick in, I could only think of two things: 1) isn't shaving faster? I never takes me 20 minutes to shave my legs! and 2) how much water am I wasting since I am just standing here, unable to really move? Not impressive.
  • Nair: Oh, the infamous smell of Nair. Sure they can try to disguise it by calling it "Kiwi", but it still stinks like I remember it. And after the first 30 seconds, my skin began to tingle and burn a bit. Some things never change.
  • Veet: For scent alone, Veet is 1,000 times better than Nair. It actually reminded me of normal shaving gel, which is neither offensive or fabulous. Compared to Nair, though, it smelled like a freaking bouquet of roses! After about 45 seconds, my skin began to tingle in protest over the amount of chemicals on my skin.
  • Overall: If you're picking a hair remover based on scent alone, steer clear of Nair. As for the way my skin felt as I was waiting for the hair removers to do their things, that was a bit worrying to me. I do not have sensitive skin (except for my armpits, but that's a whole different story), but both hair removers irritated my legs. As my skin tingled and burned with both products, I became increasingly disturbed and worried about how many toxic chemicals might be in these products.
  • Nair: After the requisite 4 minutes, I checked an area by my knees and the hair was still there. After another couple of minutes, I couldn't take the burn anymore and began removing the foam from my legs as directed. Basically, you just use a wet washcloth and wipe the product (and the hair) away. Well, I can safely say that all the foam was wiped gently off my skin. The hair? Oh, that stayed in place nicely. I don't think a single hair was removed from my leg.
  • Veet: After about 4 minutes, I grabbed the bladeless razor-looking thing that comes with the gel to remove the product and the hair with the same motion as shaving. However, since there is no blade, there is no friction as the tool moves up the leg. For me, that meant that the darn tool zig-zagged its way up my leg in a crazy manner. With all the gel off, my leg was smoother in patches, though far from hair-free.
  • Overall: Neither product effectively removed the hair from my legs. To be fair, the Veet removed some hair, but not enough to make me switch from shaving.
  • Shaving is way better. Not only did both products irritate my skin, they also failed to leave my legs hair-free and smooth, as promised. If it weren't for the irritation I experienced, I would have tried both products again to double check my results.
  • In my humble opinion both products are complete failures because:
    • They are not the easiest things in the world to apply.
    • You have to apply the product to one leg at a time.
    • The 3 to 10 minute wait time is unacceptable and is a huge waste of resources (i.e., water).
    • Irritated skin is the exact opposite of smooth skin.
    • Neither product did what it's supposed to: remove hair.
Here's my public service announcement to you all: Stick to waxing or shaving and avoid these "hair removers"...they're not worth your time, your money, or your skin.


finding the filth said...

i've been using the veet foam/mousse (not the gel) with the bladeless razor for months now and i have to say that it's the only hair-remover that's ever worked for me. and i've got some seriously stubborn italian hair...

i usually do the entire production before showering, by sitting on the edge of the tub, so no water is wasted and i can keep an eye on the clock. but you can tell when it's ready to be "shaved" off when your hair gets zig-zaggy shaped.

the first time i used it my skin was a little sensitive, but not anymore. the only thing you gotta be careful of is spreading it evenly. if you miss a spot, you miss a spot and that can be a little annoying. but it doesn't stink at all and there's no chance of nics and cuts. it does leave the skin very soft and smoothe. you dont even need to lotion up afterwards. just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, or youll end up with weird bald patches on your hands...

Lydia said...

Ha! That's great. I've been thinking about giving the veet another try...since it did remove SOME hair. We'll see. My husband volunteered to have me try it out on him, but that may be a little too mean, even for me! :) I have read other comments from ppl who LOVE veet, so maybe its worth another look. The nair, however, I wouldn't touch ever again!

Anonymous said...

HA! Finally someone else who has had miserable failures with hair removal creams!!! I am so frustrated; shaving irritates my legs, depilitory creams don't work, waxing is extremely inconvenient, and laser hair removal doesn't do a darn thing? What else is there???? ANYONE heard of ANYTHING?

Lydia said...

Anon: There's Nads and sugaring, but they probably arent great. and you probably cant bleach the hair on your legs. I dont know! have you tried using a shave cream designed for sensitive skin? Something with vitamin e in it? How about a fresh, sharp, good quality razor? that may help. its so fun being a woman--having to deal with leg hair, periods, and all sorts of fun things. grrr!!! :)

Anonymous said...

maybe not doing it in the shower would have helped?
i'm pretty sure you're supposed to apply it before you get in the shower, when your skin is dry...

try it again that way and see if it works better.