Being the lazy person I am, I love a hair removal method that takes a while before hairs start growing back. This is how I ended up looking into Nair for my own hair removal needs.
So how long does Nair last before hair grows back? Nair hair removal cream works by dissolving hairs above and just below the surface of the skin. This means that Nair lasts a little longer than shaving – so about two to five days, depending on how fast your hairs grow.
If two to fives days bums you out, because you’d like to remove hair less often, skip ahead for my list of the hair removal methods that last the longest. There are other methods that may suit your lifestyle better than Nair or other depilatories.
How Long Does Nair Last Before it Expires?
Most Nair products, including their hair removal creams, have no expiration date, so technically they should work safely for years. However, Nair recommends that you replace your Nair product one year after it is opened.
To help the product keep longer, store in a cool, dry, and well ventilated area, out of direct sunlight.
How Does Nair Hair Removal Work?
Depilatory creams like Nair work by using chemicals that break down hair structure.
Nair contains three active ingredients Potassium Thioglycolate, Calcium Hydroxide, and Sodium Hydroxide.
These chemical break the bonds of keratin, the protein that make up hair. Then hair and the root is turned into a jelly like substance through a chemical reaction known as hydrolysis.
Both calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) and sodium hydroxide (lye) are alkaline, with a PH of about 12. Hair destruction requires a PH of 10, so they do the trick rather efficiently.
However, these substances are really harsh on the skin, so to keep the amount of hydroxides to a minimum, potassium thioglycolate is usually the main ingredient in chemical depilatories, including Nair products.
Once these chemicals are done working, the hairs are now a soft goo basically, that simply has to be wiped wway with a cloth.
Some Nair products also contain Urea, which helps to exfoliate skin.
Ingredients like mineral oil, lanolin, or argan oil are added to Nair to help counterbalance the harsh chemicals and soften skin.
19 Pros and Cons of Nair Hair Removal Cream
Before you take the plunge with Nair, here’s a definitive list of all the pros and cons. Hopefully they can help you decide if Nair is right for you.
Easy and Do-it-Yourself
One of the best things about Nair is that it doesn’t take a lot of skin to do well. Just read the directions and get at it. This is great if you prefer not going to a salon and want an easy hair removal method to do at home.
It’s a fast method — all you gotta do is apply, wait 3-10 minutes, rinse, and BAM! you’re done. Since it removes hair almost to the root, it takes longer to grow back than shaving, so you will spend less time on hair removal compared to shaving.
No razors mean no cuts, which is a plus clumsy folks like me.
With waxing and many other hair removal methods, you need to grow out hair a little bit before it will work. Not so with Nair. Since it works to remove hair under the skin, you can use it as soon as you begin to see that dark shadow.
Not as Painful as Other Methods
Unlike methods like epilation and waxing, you won’t be pulling hair out by the roots, so you’ll save yourself from that kind of severe pain.
A bottle of Nair costs around $5-10. If you are just using this on your legs, it could last several months. This is way cheaper than buying fancy razors, for sure.
Super Soft Skin
Since Nair removes hair below the surface, you won’t have stubble growing back almost immediately. Additionally, Nair products contain extra moisturizers that usually leave skin super silky and soft.
No More Razor Burn
If razors leave unsightly bumps on your skin, Nair may be a better option. Since there is no friction going on, it won’t irritate skin in the same way as razors do.
No More Exfoliation
Nair depilatories are designed to exfoliate the skin while also removing hair. This saves you a step and may help prevent ingrown hairs.
Nair products are never tested on animals, so you can use them with a clean conscience.
Easy to Buy
Nair products can be found online at Amazon (click here to see the wide selection) or in tons of brick and mortar stores including Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens.
Products for Different Needs
Nair has several different products designed and many are tailored to specific areas of the body. For legs, arms, and stomach area, you can use the body lotions. If you are a woman, there is specific formulas for female facial hair and the bikini area. And then there is a line of products specifically for men.
Have you ever smelled someone getting a perm? It staaannkkks! Nair uses some of the same chemicals and it has a similar odor. They do try to cover it up with fragrance, but there is no covering up that smell completely.
The most common side effect of Nair hair removal cream is skin irritation and pain. Other adverse effects include allergic reactions, chemical burns, ingrown hairs, and skin darkening.
For a full list of possible side effects from using chemical depilatory creams, including Nair, read my post on hair removal cream side effects.
Due to the potential side effects and the possibility of having an allergic reaction, you need to do a patch test each time you use Nair.
Why? Because your immune system is constantly changing and you can randomly develop an allergy to the chemicals in Nair, even if you’ve been using it for years.
An increase in skin sensitivity is a side effect of prolonged use that many people experience. This may mean that your skin becomes irritated more easily or that it gets dried out easily by the chemicals in Nair.
Although you don’t need to use Nair as often as you need to shave, it still doesn’t remove hair from the root as well as other methods. So you will need to do it more often than methods like waxing or epilating.
72 Hours Between Uses
Nair recommends that you wait 72 hours between applications. If you use it more often in the same area, you may end up with a chemical burn or develop an allergy to chemicals in the product.
This is only a problem if you mess up somehow and don’t get all your hair removed from an area you used it on.
If that doesn’t happen, 72 hours is no big deal since you shouldn’t need to remove hair with Nair more than once or twice a week.
The 24 Hour Wait
After using Nair, you should wati 24 hours before apply other products like lotions ,deodorant, or perfumes ot the same area.
You should also wait 24 hours before getting a lot of sun exposure as your skin will be more sensitive and likely to burn.
Which Hair Removal Method Lasts the Longest?
Any hair removal method that removes hairs from the root will last anywhere from one to six weeks, depending on how well it’s done, your hair’s texture and color, and how fast your hair grows.
Realistically, you will probably have to get touch ups at least every two weeks with any of these methods. Still, two weeks is significantly better than every few days!
The main downside with all these methods is pain. Pulling hairs out by the root hurts.
Also, if these methods aren’t done correctly, they will simply break the hair off at the surface and you’ll see those hairs pop back up again in just a few days. So taking the time to learn the method well and do it right will pay off.
So what are the methods that remove hairs from the root?
This is pretty self explanatory. You can use tweezers to remove hair from your eyebrows, but it won’t cut it for larger areas of hair.
Waxing is done by applying warm wax to your hair, letting it cool, then pulling it off quickly. This rips out the hairs that dried in the wax. If done well.
Waxing can be done by a professional at a salon, ensuring you get it done correctly. Or if you’re on a budget, wax kits can be bought for use at home too.
Sugaring works similar to waxing, but a sugary paste is used instead of wax. Some people like it better than waxing because it doesn’t remove the top layer of skin like waxing does.
Sugaring is most commonly done at home with both store bought and DIY pastes.
Usually reserved for eyebrows, threading uses strings to grab and pull out hairs. It takes some skill to do well, so is best done by a professional. And allthough it makes your eyebrows look fabulous, it tends to be more painful than other methods.
Laser hair removal uses heat from, you guessed it, lasers. This heat damages hair follicles, slowing or stopping growth completely.
Laser can sometimes be done at home, but is usually best left to a well-trained professional. However, no matter who does it, it only works in a small percentage of people (usually people with light skin and dark hairs) and it isn’t guaranteed to be permanent.
Technically, electrolysis is the hair removal method that lasts the longest. If you want a hair removal method that lasts forever, electrolysis is your best bet. It’s the only FDA approved method for permanent hair removal.
This method uses electricity to destroy the hair follicle. If you find a well trained electrolysis, it may last forever. Unfortunately, though, no method is perfect for everyone. Electrolysis doesn’t work in about 5-10% of the population.
Epilation is tweezing on steroids. It’s done with a small machine called an epilator. It has tons of tweezers that work together at once to pluck hairs out.
Epilation can be done at home and is one of the most inexpensive hair removal methods. If you can’t afford laser or electroylsis, this is the next best thing, in my opinion.
To learn more about epilation, check out the Epilator FAQ and Beginner’s Guide.
Chemical Technology of Cosmetics; Kirk-Othmer; 2013
U.S. National Library of Medicine: Nair Cream Hair Remover for Face with Baby Oil
U.S. National Library of Medicine: Nair Hair Remover Precision Face and Upper Lip Kit
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Removing Hair Safely
The Indian Journal of Surgery: Shaving Versus Depilation Cream for Pre-operative Skin Preparation