Get your legs soft and smooth for the summer with our favourite hair remover creams
Want smoother legs, underarms and bikini line without the pain of waxing or the stubbly regrowth of shaving? Hair removal creams are a great way to get rid of unwanted fuzz without the risk of shaving nicks or the need for a salon appointment. Hair regrowth will take a little longer than is typical after shaving, and hair comes back softer and finer as the tip is dissolved rather than cut bluntly.
Modern hair removal creams are pain-free and work in just a few minutes, and many contain moisturising and skin-nourishing ingredients so the depilated area will look and feel its best immediately after use.
Read on for our guide to buying the best hair removal cream, and below see our favourites to buy in 2022.
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How to choose the best hair removal cream for you
How do hair removal creams work?
Hair removal creams contain an alkaline chemical (typically calcium or potassium thioglycolate) that breaks down the bonds in hair, dissolving it over the course of a few minutes.
To use the cream, simply spread it on the area you want to treat with the spatula or sponge provided, wait for the length of time stated in the instructions (usually around five minutes), then rinse off in the shower. That’s it! You’re ready to go.
How does using a hair removal cream compare to other hair removal methods?
Shaving with a razor or electric shaver is a quick and simple way to remove hair, but hair removal creams do have several advantages over this method. Where shaving slices off the hair at the surface of the skin, depilatory creams dissolve the hair to just below the surface of the skin – meaning the treated area remains hair-free for a few days. Hair grows back with a tapered end so it’s softer and finer than hair regrowth after shaving. Used properly, hair removal creams also avoid the risk of skin damage (razor burn or small cuts and nicks) that are common with shaving.
Waxing is a longer-lasting method as it removes hair completely from the roots; hair typically takes between two and four weeks to grow back after a waxing session. Waxing can be painful, though, and it usually takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete a full leg either in the salon or at home. Hair removal cream is, in general, a quicker, simpler and less painful method than waxing, for shorter-term effects.
Are hair removal creams suitable for everyone?
Most people can use hair removal creams safely without pain or skin irritation. If you have overly sensitive skin, however, it’s always wise to patch-test a new product before using. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, avoid using hair removal cream on cracked or weeping skin.
Sensitive formulas with lower concentrations of active ingredient, and extra-moisturising and healing ingredients such as chamomile and vitamin E, are suitable for more sensitive areas such as the underarm or bikini line, as well as for those with dry and sensitive skin.
How should I use hair removal cream?
Hair removal creams are quick and easy to use, but there are some tips that will help you get a good result every time. First, exfoliate the area to be depilated the day before treatment to help remove excess skin cells and help the hairs stand proud.
When using the cream, make a note of the time of application (either on the clock or by using a timer) and be sure not to leave it on for longer than recommended, as this can damage skin. The hair will appear jelly-like when it is ready to remove. Rinse off thoroughly after application (a warm flannel in the shower is ideal for removing cream and hair) and make sure the used cream is rinsed away completely from your bath or shower.
After depilating, towel-dry gently and apply a fragrance-free moisturising cream. You may find it best to avoid tight clothing on sensitive areas immediately after treatment, to minimise irritation from rubbing.
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The best hair removal creams 2023
1. Veet Legs & Body 3 in 1 Gel Cream Hair Remover: Best hair removal cream for legs
Price: £13 | Buy now from Boots
This classic hair removal cream formula is one of the best-selling depilatory products in the world, and with good reason: it gets the job done with minimal fuss and with great results. Made with moisturising aloe vera and vitamin E, this gel delivers soft, smooth legs in minutes, and the handy pump bottle makes the product easy to dispense (and mess-free in your bathroom cabinet). There’s also a sensitive formula suitable for irritation-prone skins. Smooth it on, shower it off – job done.
Key specs – Pack size: 400ml
2. Nair Hair Remover Bikini Cream: Best hair removal cream for the bikini line
Price: £3.46 | Buy now from iHerb
The Nair brand name is synonymous with hair removal, and this sensitive formula for the underarm and bikini areas makes tidying up these delicate areas a breeze. The gentle, dermatologist-tested formula won’t irritate tender skin, and its green tea extract helps to calm skin after treatment. Apply a thick layer, leave for six minutes, then gently wipe with a washcloth for a smooth and beach-ready bod.
Key specs – Pack size: 50ml
3. Sally Hansen Creme Hair Removal Kit for face: Best hair removal cream for facial hair
Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon
If you want to tidy up the upper lip, sculpt the sides of the face or banish excess peach fuzz from the chin, it’s best to use a specialist facial hair remover cream to avoid irritation. Sally Hansen Creme Hair Remover Kit is a great choice for this sensitive area. The gentle, pleasant-smelling formula will dissolve unwanted hair without burning or irritating the face, and the cream contains collagen and vitamin E to nourish and moisturise the skin during treatment. Willow herb and pumpkin seed extracts promise to help reduce hair regrowth, so over time, you should need to use the cream less often.
Key specs – Pack size: 50ml
4. Nad’s For Men Hair Removal Cream: Best hair removal cream for male grooming
Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon
Formulated for thicker body hair, this fast-acting non-drip formula is perfect for removing tougher hairs from the back, chest and midriff for a sleek and fuzz-free look. Like other hair removal creams, Nad’s For Men dissolves hair just below the surface so that there’s no stubbly regrowth from shaving, and the cream is certainly less painful than a chest wax. The cream also contains softening shea butter and almond oil to moisturise while depilating.
Nad’s doesn’t recommend the product for use on the head or intimate areas so, if you’re manscaping down below, look for a sensitive or bikini formula. If a sleek head is your goal, use a facial hair removal cream.
Key specs – Pack size: 200ml
5. Veet Hair Removal Spray Foam: best hair removal cream for reaching tricky areas
Price: £8 | Buy now from Boots
Hair removal cream is usually quick and easy to apply, but Veet’s spray applicator makes it even easier to reach tricky parts such as the backs of legs, which can be harder to cover evenly with a cream formula on a spatula. This sensitive formula sprays on simply, works in just five minutes, and is made with soothing aloe vera and vitamin E to calm the skin. Spray from 5cm away to ensure a full and even coverage. For use on bikini or underarm areas, Veet recommends spraying into the hand before applying to skin. This spray foam boasts all the benefits of hair removal cream in an even more convenient format.
Key specs – Pack size: 150ml
6. Superdrug Sensitive Hair Removal Cream: best budget hair removal cream
Price: £3 | Buy now from Superdrug
If you’re after a basic hair removal cream that gets the job done, Superdrug’s pocket-friendly own-brand version costs under a fiver and is simple and effective. We don’t expect many frills at the price and there are none, but the thick cream goes on easily enough, doesn’t sting or smell too strongly, and is cruelty-free. It’s a great choice if you’re on a budget.
Key specs — Pack size: 100ml
7. Nair Shower Power Cream with Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil and Cocoa Butter: best hair removal cream for use in the shower
Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon
Most hair remover creams are designed to be used before a shower, but Nair’s Shower Power cream is made with a denser formulation so you can save time by applying the cream just before showering the rest of the body, then rinse off when you’re ready. The moisturising formula contains argan and jojoba oils, and cocoa butter to hydrate and soften skin. The cream rinses off well, taking unwanted hair with it, and the smell is not at all unpleasant. It’s a great option for multitasking in your morning shower.
Key specs — pack size: 200ml