The article includes Dr. Patel's expert commentary on Nair.
Who wears short shorts? Those of us in our 20s and older will recognize the line from the catchy Nair jingle of yesteryear. The pink bottle of depilatory cream was, at one point, a product synonymous with micro-shorts and teeny-tiny bikini bottoms. However, the last couple of decades have seen the rise of waxing and laser hair removal, as well as advances in razor technology, which seemed to make Nair a thing of the past. Or did it?
I found that people still use Nair when, in a rush to pack for a bachelorette party, one of my friends didn’t have time to tend to her… grooming. “Does anyone have any Nair?” she asked our nine-deep group of girls. Four yeses rang out, as I sat in the corner, checking the date on my phone (it was in fact 2017, and not 1987), both confused and shocked. And then, earlier this year, another friend declared she forgot to Nair away her barely noticeable mustache. What is going on? I asked myself. “Is that even safe?” I asked out loud.
Apparently, yes. The product is FDA-approved so it’s okay to use. Dr. Purvisha Patel, founder of Visha Skincare, advises against using it on the brows or eyelid area though since those are the most sensitive parts of the face. But it's totally fine to use on the bikini area, “as long as the cream is used on the outside epidermis and not near the mucous membranes,” Dr. Patel says. For the hair down there, it’s also important to sit pretty still while using it to make sure the product doesn’t venture into unwanted areas. It’s safe to use on most body parts, really, as long as you only leave it on for the time recommended (no longer!) and wash it off thoroughly.
So, are we experiencing a revival of the baby pink bottle? It’s hard to say. My friends have been using depilatory creams for a couple of years now, fed up with the cost, pain, and upkeep that comes with other hair removal options. It’s also no coincidence that all of them are of darker complexions. Dr. Patel explains that people who have curly hair and are prone to ingrown hairs with shaving tend to do better with the creams. Plus, Dr. King says there has “been some recent resurgence in depilatory creams as new products have come out and have found an audience with a new generation unacquainted with the products from the 1980s.” Decades later and, it seems, we’re still not done wearing those short shorts.