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Silky Smooth Legs Or A Science Experiment?


Last week Meghan introduced the concept of Healthwashing, what it is and how we can avoid falling victim to its hold. Very useful information these days when we are bombarded with health claims pretty much everywhere we go and through every media outlet. I’ve also uncovered a few of my favourite (or not-so favourite) food-type items that have crazy un-food like ingredient lists. Speaking of un-food ingredient lists…Check Meghan’s interview with the Chef Boyardee heiress?

Eating whole foods and avoiding packaged yucky-town products is amazing but what about the stuff we put on our bodies? Even those products carry health claims too and let me tell you, there is nothing healthy about most conventional creams, lotions, and potions. Since it’s still the lovely summertime and many of us ladies like to keep things smooth in the leg department (and likely underarm and bikini region), I thought I would talk  about a really weird product used for removal of unwanted hair – Nair.

What is this stuff?

Nair is the grossest stuff on the face of the planet. It really is. I remember first hearing about it when I went to sleepover camp as a pre-teen. Some of the girls used it instead of shaving their legs and boy could that stuff clear a room. It stank like rotting eggs mixed with skunk bum. Wowzers.

How does it work? Basically, you put this goopy smelling cream on your legs. Then you wait a bit. You wipe it off with a cloth and then wash your legs. The hair is gone. It’s like magic. Toxic magic.

The Magical Ingredients And What They Do:

Water, mineral oil, calcium hydroxide, urea, potassium thiogycolate, cetearyl alcohol, cetereth-20, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, D&C Yellow No. 8 and chromium hydroxide green.

  • Nair’s active ingredient is “potassium thiogycolate”. This stuff breaks down the chemical bonds in hair protein which then allows the hair to be wiped away.
  •  Calcium and sodium hydroxide work to raise the pH level of this chemical reaction in order to facilitate the work of the active ingredient.
  • Mineral oil is used as a skin moisturizer. It is also a by-product of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. It’s a waste product, clogs our pores and prevents the skin from being able to get rid of toxins.
  • Colour is added uncessarily to the product, which causes adverse reactions in many people.
  • Fragrance is used to cover up the horrible barftastic smell of potassium thiogycolate. Yeah, it doesn’t work – the stuff still stinks!
  •  Cetearyl alcohol, which is derived from coconut oil, works with cetereth-20 as a homogenizer. This keeps the product stable.

If you turn a box of Nair to the side, you’ll notice a list of “Warnings”. This is never a good sign with something you are about to put in or on your body, let’s be clear. It can cause irritation or allergic reaction and you therefore must “test” it out before use (ie applying it to a small area of skin, waiting 24 hours and seeing if any adverse reaction occurs). Um, what? I’m not sitting around waiting for my skin to fall off thank you very much. Also, in bold lettering, the box reads “Keep out of reach of children”. Again, never a good sign. It’s not fun when your body care goods can hurt you and smells like poop!

Let’s keep things natural, and beautify ourselves with the best of the best.

Question Of The Day: How do you go about keeping your legs silky smooth? Any natural tips and tricks?

8 responses to “Silky Smooth Legs Or A Science Experiment?”

  1. Alex says:

    Ugh! I cringe that I used to use Nair regularly in University!

    Shaving products are a sticky point for me- All the natural ones seem to be fairly oily and dull and clog up my razor pretty quickly. I use them anyway but it’s annoying. I’ve also tried pure coconut oil which does the same thing. I wonder if aloe vera gel would work as a shaving lotion? Anyone ever try it?

  2. Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) says:

    Oh, man- I’m with Alex above. Cringe! I used to use it from about ages 12-14. Yuck! I use Alba organic shave cream, which I buy in bulk when I’m in the States because it’s so cheap there! If I run out, I use coconut oil!


  3. Shameen says:

    I still use Nair on my lip when I cant get to the salon to get threaded! Over the years my lip has started to show a reaction….I think my Nair is going in the garbage.

  4. grace b says:

    I’ve used Nair maybe 5 times in my life to little success. The smell is HORRIFIC so I stopped using it.

    It just makes me so made that the beauty industry is poisoning us left and right and that women do little to educate themselves about it. Now that I’ve learned more about the toxic chemicals in many products I could never go back to using them. And it hurts me that other women won’t step up and take care of themselves in the same way.

  5. Jill says:

    If you never start shaving, your legs end up having less hair. Even then hair has a purpose, mainly temperature regulation, keeping you warm in the winter and cooler in the summer, so do we really NEED to shave ? Granted it might not look the greatest but it’s now in for guys to not shave facial hair, maybe one day it can not be seen as gross to not shave. Anyway to answer the question, soap and a razor work just fine for me.

  6. Tina says:

    I read this tip some where years ago: use your hair conditioner for shaving. Most people use up their shampoo before they go through the conditioner. Since I’ve switched to organic shampoo and conditioner, my legs now get the organic treatment my hair has been enjoying and they stay pretty silkly with an occasional treatment of coconut oil – @Kristin ;)

  7. Wendy says:

    Ugh, right? Nair is the #theworst! I used nair several times when I was younger, while trying to figure out what the easiest way to remove hair was. Even then, I remember thinking how disgusting the smells were that came from your hair chemically being detached from your body. Now that I am much more health conscious, I try to use the most simplistic ways to remove (waxing or epilation). Even certain shaving products rub me the wrong way!

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