How Does Nair Work to Remove Unwanted Body Hair? (2024)

Nair is a brand of at-home hair removal products. It contains salts of thioglycolic acid, a base like hydroxide, and sulfur. These elements expand the hair shaft, weakening the bonds holding the hair fibers together and allowing for hair removal.

A depilatory is a cream, lotion, or gel. There are several brand names of chemical depilatories. They temporarily remove unwanted hair on the face and body.

You can find Nair and other depilatories at your local drugstore.

Nair is spread onto the surface of your skin. It breaks down or dissolves the hair so you can wipe it away.

Nair and other chemical depilatories remove the hair shaft — the part you see on your skin. They don’t remove hair below the skin or the hair root.

Chemical hair removal isn’t new. Native Americans used a chemical called lye to get rid of body hair. People in ancient Turkey used quicklime, or calcium oxide, to remove hair.

Chemical hair removers like Nair work by targeting the hair structure. Each hair is made from protein fibers called keratin. The keratin fibers are twisted together like yarn and held by chemical bonds.

Chemicals in Nair and other depilatories weaken or break these bonds. This dissolves the hair.

Nair typically works in about 3 to 10 minutes. Apply the cream, gel, or lotion with a spatula. Wait the recommended time, then wipe or wash away hair.

Nair ingredients

The active ingredients in Nair are:

  • salts of thioglycolic acid: potassium or calcium
  • a base of calcium, potassium, or sodium hydroxide

The base chemical in Nair makes the hair shaft swell or open. This helps the chemical salts enter the hair and break down the bonds that make hair fibers stick together.

Nair attacks sulfur bonds in the hair shaft. The sulfur reaction can cause a rotten egg smell.

A lab study on Nair found that it doesn’t work on fibers like cotton, polyester, and rayon. This may be because these natural and synthetic fibers don’t contain sulfur bonds. This is why Nair and other chemical depilatories likely won’t damage your clothing.

Nair products may also contain:

  • water
  • perfume or fragrance
  • calcium carbonate
  • cetyl alcohol
  • sodium lauryl sulfate
  • sodium silicate solution

Does Nair work on legs?

Nair is popularly used to remove hair on legs. It can cover large areas in a few minutes. If you have thick or coarse hair, you may need to leave it on for up to 10 minutes.

Does Nair work on the face?

Nair can also removal facial hair. Nair has milder formulas specially made for facial hair removal. This includes a brush-on facial hair remover.

Don’t use nair for nose hair

Don’t use Nair to remove nose hairs. The skin in and around your nostrils is very delicate and thin. Also, avoid using Nair and other chemical depilatories on your eyebrows or close to your eyes.

Use a facial hair remover on the face only. The skin on your face is more delicate than most areas of the body. Additionally, hair on the face is normally finer than hair on the body.

Does Nair work on pubic hair?

Nair can work to remove pubic hair, but should be removed with a soft cloth rather than the plastic spatula.

Does Nair work on stubble?

Nair will work on hair stubble if it’s above the surface of the skin. If the stubble is very short or at the skin’s surface, the cream or lotion may not reach it.

Nair and other chemical hair removers can get rid of hair for about a week to a month. It depends on how fast your hair grows.

Nair removes the hair shaft, not the root of the hair. This is similar to shaving except the hair is not cut with a blade.

If you’re used to shaving every week, you’ll likely also have to use Nair every week.

Nair and other depilatories are fast and easy to use. They’re available at most drugstores and grocery stores. They can be used on all skin colors and hair types.

They’re also painless. They’re safer and easier to use than shaving. Nair can remove also hair in hard-to-reach places on your body.

Depilatories are a cheap way to get smooth skin. They’re less expensive than waxing or getting laser hair removal. They are faster and easier than other methods like threading.

Nair and other chemical depilatories can cause:

  • allergic reactions
  • chemical burns
  • irritation
  • blisters
  • skin peeling
  • rash

The chemical fumes from Nair can also cause allergic reactions or asthma symptoms in some people.

Use facial or mild formulas if you’re using Nair on the face or other sensitive areas. Avoid Nair if you’re allergic to perfumes. You may also be allergic to the chemicals in Nair.

Using Nair may temporarily make your skin more sensitive to other lotions or moisturizers. Your skin may also be more sensitive to the skin for a short while right after you use Nair.

Avoid using other skin products right after using a depilatory. Also, cover your skin if you’re in the sun or outdoors.

Nair is a chemical hair depilatory. It’s an effective and economical hair removal option.

It’s generally safe and easy to use. Some people may get skin irritation or an allergic reaction from Nair. You should use it only as directed.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about unwanted hair on your face or body. Excessive hair growth could be a symptom of some health conditions.

How Does Nair Work to Remove Unwanted Body Hair? (2024)


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