How Do I Choose the Best Depilatory for Men?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth West
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2019
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Male depilation typically targets different areas than for women, and men’s hair is typically more difficult to remove. Back and chest hair, as well as arms and legs, are the best areas to use a depilatory for men. When choosing one, you will need to consider where you want to eliminate hair growth. Depilatory products contain chemicals to which you may be sensitive; if this is the case, you might wish to consider another method of unwanted hair removal.

Depilatories work by dissolving hair at the surface of the skin. The acid or alkaline chemicals in these products react to proteins called keratin in the hair, weakening it and allowing the hair to be wiped off along with the product. These chemicals also react to keratin in skin, sometimes producing irritation or burning, especially on sensitive areas like the face. Emollients reduce damage to your skin, as does rinsing the product immediately after use following recommended guidelines.

Men’s hair is coarser than women’s and usually needs stronger formulations. You may choose a lotion, cream, mousse or spray, depending on your own preference. The packaging will usually tell you where it can and cannot be applied. When seeking a depilatory for men, you should look for one that contains a good moisturizing ingredient to offset any chemical irritation. Many depilatories come with a soothing cream you can apply after your hair removal is complete.


Once you’ve found a good depilatory for men, you should do a patch test to test for skin sensitivities. Put a small amount on your skin and leave it there for a few minutes, or the time indicated on the product packaging. If any burning, irritation or swelling occurs, discontinue use of the product. Formulations can vary slightly so you might try a different brand. Very thick and dense hair usually won’t completely respond to depilatories, and some hair may still remain after treatment.

If you want to remove hair from hard-to-reach areas such as your back, you may need help. Lacking this, you can purchase a lotion dispenser with a long handle that allows you to apply it or a spray may work better for you. You can opt for a salon treatment, but that will drive up the price considerably. A depilatory for men is not generally recommended for use on the genital area, since the skin there is much more sensitive.

Even a full-strength depilatory for men isn't permanent. To eliminate unwanted hair for good, you can try electrolysis, which kills hair in the follicles using electricity, but is suitable only for small areas. Laser hair removal uses pulses of laser light, a method which can cause burns and scarring if not used properly. These are your best bet for permanent hair removal, but they cost much more than chemical depilatories. If you can’t afford them, you can try waxing, which pulls the hair from the follicles below the skin, where it will take several weeks to grow back.


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