Olay Facial Hair Remover Duo Review: Don't Be a Scary Hairy Person!

So...facial hair removal. This isn't something I address very often. Really, who wants to announce to the whole internet beauty blogging world that they have facial hair issues? Not me.

Though I do have some issues. I've mostly had problems since I had my daughter last year. Things just seem a bit thicker and darker than usual. I think this is mostly something that bugs me, and no one else notices. How often do you notice if the woman next to you in the checkout lane has one stray hair? Unless that hair is about six inches long, not very often. But if I'm the one with the single stray hair, I really notice that hair!

My self confidence definitely takes a hit.

Things I've tried in the past for hair removal on my face include hair removal creams, home waxing strips, and of course just tweezing away any strays. I'd love to just laser away everything, though that is expensive, and since most of my hair is fine and blonde I'm not an ideal candidate. I fully confess that I do sometimes use my at home laser hair removal system on it, though not often enough to have really seen much difference.

None of those previous hair removal methods have been ideal. All of the creams have caused major irritation issues such as redness, uncomfortable skin, and even blemishes. The burning is so uncomfortable for me that I usually end up removing them before their time is up, which means I just end up with icky skin and still have hair. And yes, I just used the word icky.

After all of my trial and error with facial hair removal, I usually stick to home waxing strips. They work pretty well, though they do leave hair behind that I then need to tweeze. The tweezing can take quite a while, so waxing can be pretty time consuming. At least the wax strips don't leave me red and blotchy for a few days afterwards.

How Do Depilatories Work?

New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo is a depilatory cream. It works like other depilatory creams (the main active ingredient is calcium thioglycolate hydroxide), so the hair removal action really isn't anything revolutionary. What is different is the Skin Guarding Balm, but I'll get to that later. First, I'll review how a depilatory cream actually works.

If you head over to my post about hair structure, you'll read about how the outer layer of the hair (the cuticle) is basically made up of shingles of dead protein called keratin. Within the keratin you'll find the amino acid cysteine. The cysteines within keratin have special bonds (called di-sulfide bonds, in teal above) holding them to each other, giving the hair strength and structure.

All depilatories work at the site of that bond, breaking it and splitting apart the keratin. As the disulfide bonds are broken, the hair structure basically falls apart. Apply a little pressure and the hair will break apart and basically dissolve wherever it has been exposed to the cream. This mostly means the hair that has already reached the surface of the skin, though a little bit of the hair beneath the skin's surface will be affected as well. However, the cream can't reach all the way down the hair shaft and dissolve the root of the hair.

Depilatory creams don't only work on hair. Because you find a lot of keratin in the skin as well as fingernails, the creams will also break disulfide bonds in those keratins as well. So, you'll weaken your nails if you don't wash the cream off of your hands, and any skin exposed to a depilatory will have irritation.

Since all depilatory creams work with the same basic reaction, breaking those disulfide bonds, aren't they really all the same? Well, not so much. There are a few active ingredients out there, and some of them, such as thioglycolic acid, require the presence of other chemicals to ensure that the reaction takes place. So, thioglycolic acid products should also contain calcium hydroxide. That's not exactly a skin friendly ingredient. There are also different strengths available, so I recommend using a body depilatory on your body and a facial depilatory only on your face.

So, That's Really Interesting...Get To The Point. Did You Like The New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo?

Now that you're all educated about how depilatories work, you should know that the Olay product works basically the same as all other depilatory products on the market. It goes in there and takes care of that disulfide bond. I don't have any specifics such as % active ingredient or anything, but this is a facial hair removal product from Olay, so you know they've formulated it for the face.

Duh.

What sets this product apart from say, the Nair you used on your bikini line in high school, is that this is a system. Rather than simply having that hair removing depilatory cream, there's a first step that is amazing. Love it.

The first step in this system is a Skin Guarding Balm that adds a protective layer over your skin to protect it from the cream. It comes in a stick, and truthfully it looks and feels exactly like the lip balm that comes with the two step 12-hour lippies from CoverGirl, Revlon and the like.

It is a white stick that when applied to your skin melts easily into an oily balm that is very much like vaseline (but it isn't, rather than petrolatum it is mostly sucrose polycottonseedate and beeswax). You lightly rub the stick over the areas you'll be treating and then rub it into your skin for 20 seconds using light circular movements. You'll have a oily sheen across your skin, but the balm will be much less noticeable.

Next you use the Hair Removal Cream. It's a basic white cream, and the most noticeable thing about it is that there is no gross smell as you apply! Instead, it is a floral/herbal/citrus scent that is light and fresh, though I can't really describe it any more in detail. You rub a layer of the cream over the balm, and about a minute later you will notice that the typical chemical smell associated with depilatories does come out. The smell isn't horrible, just noticeable.

Now, here's the part where I fully admit that I messed up and did put a little bit of the removal cream on a little bit of skin that had no balm. I didn't do it on purpose, though it did serve as a nice control, so let's pretend that I did this on purpose.

The areas that had balm applied to them felt fine. I could feel the cream was on, but there were absolutely no sensation associated with it. No burning, tingling, itchiness or warmth. Just a feeling that a cream was over the balm.

On the small bit of skin without balm (under my chin), there was burning and itching after a few minutes. It wasn't unbearable, but it wasn't exactly comfortable either. This area did have a bit of redness later after the treatment, so make sure you use the balm everywhere!

After 6-8 minutes, it is time to remove the cream. Using a cotton or tissue, wipe the cream off of your face. A little bit of pressure here will help, since you're effectively breaking the hairs apart in their new disulfide bond free state. Once you've wiped everything off just wash your face!

I really loved that when I wiped my face clean at 6 minutes, everything went with the cream. Seriously. I was super smooth, my face was not at all irritated and I felt like me again, instead of some hairy monster person. There was no clean up needed since it got every hair, so a definite time saver.

Would I use this again and actually spend money on it?

YES. It definitely saved me time, let me be the hair free person that I love to be, and my skin loved it.

Sweepstakes! Olay and BlogHer are offering a $50 gift card!

To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment telling me how you use your beauty routine to express your inner beauty. Be sure to visit the Promotions & Prizes page on BlogHer.com for more reviews, and more chances to win!

Rules:

To enter this contest, you can pick from the entry methods below but only 2 will count (and no duplicate comments). So, pick 2!

- Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

- Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

- Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

- For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/3/2012 - 2/3/2012.

While we're on the subject of looking good, you might want to check out the "Looking Your Best" posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great tips and expert posts!

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was provided with a product sample and then paid to write about this product (oh, and to do so in at least 350 words. I think I'm a *bit* over that, don't you?). I was encouraged to give my own opinion and to be honest in my review. I have written this piece on my own, and all opinions are mine and mine alone. Though I did have my PhD in Chemical Engineering hubby double check my chemical reaction picture. For any further questions please see my disclosure policy.

108 comments

  1. I don't have much of a beauty routine. My grandmother and mother have really good skin so I try to take care of what I've been given.

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. tweet:

    https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/154227039849807873

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. great article for every fashionable woman :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmmm think I may have to be trying this out! xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am in need of a restock on Nair, so I'll skip that and try this out! Thanks!

    entry - my routine is basically remove the eye makeup, clean with the clarisonic, and rinse. I follow with whatever skincare system I'm testing at the time lol when my skin is clean, I can relax and therefore my inner beauty can be less grouchy haha

    soco210 at yahoo

    ReplyDelete
  6. tweeted - http://twitter.com/#!/blushingnoir/status/154292067407896577

    soco210 at yahoo

    ReplyDelete
  7. I keep my beauty routine light and simple to let my inner beauty shine through- light makeup and hair styling.

    kellywcuATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  8. tweeted
    https://twitter.com/#!/kellydsaver/status/154316351366897664

    kellywcuATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  9. A hot bath, my favorite scented lotion, facial moisturizer, mascara, and a cup of coffee first thing in the morning! All these things keep me happy and allow me to express my inner beauty! sonyamorris@carolina.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. https://twitter.com/#!/catholicfanatic/status/154319802356342784
    Tweeted!
    sonyamorris@carolina.rr.com
    Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I express my inner beauty by smiling at everyone and my lipstick and moisturizer helps make my smile great.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i try to be all natural and wear as little makeup as can be. I'm natural and organic and I try to be organic on the inside as well

    vanitizebaby at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. tweet

    http://twitter.com/#!/MeandBells/status/154366364742713344

    vanitizebaby at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  14. If I feel good on the inside(most important) it shows on the outside! amypugmire@live.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. tweet. amypugmire@live.com
    https://twitter.com/#!/1amypugmire/status/154369217154654208

    ReplyDelete
  16. I use lots of moisturizer to keep my skin healthy & glowing!
    littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. i use SPF to keep my inner beauty glowing! scg00387 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  18. https://twitter.com/#!/DesMoinesDealin/status/154408139008131072 scg00387 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have a question on this product...is it ok to use this if you are using a glycolic cream or will that be too much for the skin?

    My beauty

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think wearing makeup can be natural if you use it to amplify your best features. there is nothing wrong witht a little lipstick and mascara to make a woman feel more beautiful. i would love to win this because my husband and son saw the commecial and said, "Mama, you should get that!" Ha ha. Facial hair ain't no joke. (Improper English used on purpose :))

    moodymaria@live.com

    Jean D

    ReplyDelete
  21. I try to achieve a fresh dewy complexion by using a combination of microdermabrasion and chemical peel.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I keep my beauty routine by using a tinted moisturizer, masacara and lip gloss

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  23. https://twitter.com/#!/susan1215/status/154730003253297153

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  24. https://twitter.com/#!/rosorior/status/154742990064201729

    ReplyDelete
  25. I keep my beauty routine by cleaning my face everynight before going to bed, and applying lots of moisturizing.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I use moisturizer and a smile!

    thanks for a chance to win!
    And, have a GREAT day!
    kmassmanATgmailDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  27. I keep it short and sweet... like me!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I keep it short and sweet... like me!

    ReplyDelete
  29. i accent my smile with lipgloss

    karinaroselee at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great to know it works so wonderfully. I'm gonna have to try this product!

    Simplicity inspires my inner beauty. I try to keep my beauty routine to very basic steps and it works well. I don't feel overwhelm and I'm able to keep them consistence. :)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

    ReplyDelete
  31. I tweeted about this giveaway. https://twitter.com/#!/uTry_it/status/155127541223534592

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

    ReplyDelete
  32. I take a skin hair nails vitamin, and then use facials from the outside to express my inner beauty! Thanks for a super giveaway!
    My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  33. Tweeted:
    https://twitter.com/#!/anashct/status/155256219429376000
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  34. What inspires my inner beauty is volunteering and by taking care of skin and health. My daily routine of cleansing and moisturizing shows that :)

    deeg131 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  35. https://twitter.com/#!/DeeGee13/status/155846572029128704

    tweeted

    deeg131 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  36. My beauty routine is quite simple. I avoid complicated process and all for multi-purposed products. Pretty much like who I am, easy and simple.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  37. https://twitter.com/#!/tcarolinep/status/156251034510045184

    ReplyDelete
  38. I don't really have a beauty routine other than shower, moisturize, clean the teeth and go. However, I really like the idea of this hair removal system that protects the skin!
    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  39. I use SPF to keep my skin healthy and I just take really good care of my skin. If you have great looking skin your beauty shines through.

    Email: sweetashoneyblog@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/FrenchGirl20/status/157146536030121984

    ReplyDelete
  41. My beauty routine allows me to show the world and myself that I do not need to cake on make up to realize that I am beautiful.

    https://twitter.com/#!/Alixermixer/status/157376694389452800

    My email is alixermixer87(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  42. I am not sure if I put the tweet on here for the giveaway but if not here it is

    https://twitter.com/#!/Alixermixer/status/157376694389452800

    ReplyDelete
  43. I keep my beauty routine to simple and basic steps by cleansing my skin well, no facial hair, apply moisturizer day and night, also be happy and friendly to others that express my inner beauty.

    ctong2[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  44. I tweeted about this giveaway: https://twitter.com/#!/ctong2/status/157754270366695425

    ctong2[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I don't wear a lot of makeup, but I it definitely makes me feel good during the day to feel that I am put together with a little eye accenting and lipstick. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I tweeted
    https://twitter.com/#!/tracylr233/status/157761095732428800

    ReplyDelete
  47. I let my inner beauty shine by using as many natural products as I possibly can!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I tweeted!!

    https://twitter.com/#!/sunkissed0721/status/158060293799411715

    ReplyDelete
  49. I try to let my inner beauty shine by not covering myself with too much makeup, and also simplifying my accessories. When I look more natural, I feel more like my true self.

    ReplyDelete
  50. use moisturizer every day
    merleaandtina@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. https://twitter.com/#!/HappyTina0115/status/158762047247622145
    merleaandtina@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  52. My daughter inspires my inner beauty, and I try to take care of my skin so that it is happy and glowy and looks as good as I feel!

    melduke26 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  53. My beauty routine is a mix of all things: La Roche-Posay, moisturizer!!!, sleep and eye cream:) Happy and clean skin is the best canvas for glowing skin:)

    Yescampos7@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  54. I remove my makeup and wash my face before i go to bed to get a fresh look when i wake up in the morning, and that is how i keep my inner beauty glow everyday.

    My email address: tuoanh7@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  55. tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/Jenny88Carter/status/160932870997819392

    jennycarter88 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  56. I use my very basic beauty routine (soap, yes Nair facial dipilatory, moisturizer and light makeup) to express my sense of simplicity, and being natural which makes me feel better inside

    ReplyDelete
  57. https://twitter.com/#!/VIVASOLAR/status/161632638711500800

    tweet

    vivasolaratgmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  58. i use natural products and don't worry about fitting others' idea of beauty
    thepryfamily@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  59. https://twitter.com/#!/annatiffany2/status/161670321072648192

    thepryfamily@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  60. I don't do anything but wash my face daily and that in it's self is enough to make me smile.

    marybug2@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  61. Tweeted
    https://twitter.com/#!/marybug2/status/161860837315842048
    marybug2 @ yahoo . com

    ReplyDelete
  62. https://twitter.com/#!/msorothyd/status/162214990147883009

    msorothyd(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  63. until recently, my skincare regimen was a mild soap and warm water - almost non existent! but, i have recently made the decision to pay the due diligence it deserves and this product just may be what i'm looking for!

    excited to win it :) and review. thank you.

    msorothy(at)yahoo(dot)com
    http://theymaysaythatimadreamer.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  64. I'm not qualified for the contest but I have to thank you for the post because you and I have the same kind of coloring and skin. Mine is like a fainting princess who found a pea in her mattress if I try something new. So if you liked it, I'm going to work up the courage and try...

    ReplyDelete
  65. I use my beauty routine to express my inner beauty by only wearing the makeup that feels right. I want to highlight my features, not mask them, and let my personality shine through (instead of having someone staring at my makeup).

    dsauers7(at)hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  66. Tweeted:
    https://twitter.com/#!/gimmetweets3/status/162321838695911426

    dsauers7(at)hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  67. My beauty routine is wearing a smile, cleansing my skin daily and wearing minimal makeup. This helps express my inner beauty.
    tweety800265(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  68. Tweeted
    https://twitter.com/#!/disneyfan40/status/162665098320683009
    tweety800265(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  69. i use my beauty routine to help me feel more confident. I use makeup and wash and moisturize daily
    pokergrl8 at gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  70. https://twitter.com/#!/aes529/status/163312748833411073
    pokergrl8 at gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  71. Great review! Will definitely look into this product!

    ReplyDelete
  72. I like to try different shades of lipstick to match my personality and express my inner beauty.
    nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  73. tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/KerryBishop/status/163388197135589376
    nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  74. I use colors that shine & make me stand out. That way a simple hello to a stranger is one that gets remembered! kytah00@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  75. 2nd entry tweet https://twitter.com/#!/kytah00/status/164215997857927168

    ReplyDelete
  76. I use my beauty routine to make me feel better about myself, it helps a lot with my confidence. If I look good, I feel good.

    tweeted -
    https://twitter.com/#!/steffers516/status/164239756652326912

    ReplyDelete
  77. I express my inner beauty with my hair! My hair style can usually tell you what kind of day I'm having or how I'm feeling inside. A big fun up-do is a fierce day. A low simple bun is a demure day. And my hair down and wild is a crazy-out-of-my-way day!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

    ReplyDelete
  78. Tweet: http://twitter.com/coriwestphal/statuses/164425190753837056

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

    ReplyDelete
  79. I express my inner beauty by being as natural as possible! Just a little lip gloss and mascara!

    ReplyDelete
  80. My beauty routine is simple and that is how I express my inner beauty. I am a simple person no frills, like things lite.

    katbirdfl (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  81. Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/katbirdfl/status/164735093892591616

    katbirdfl (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  82. I exfoliate and use Olay Regenerist daily to give me a fresh, glowing complection that reflects my inner glow.
    traymona[at]aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  83. That looks like a great product!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Christ shining through me is what makes my inner beauty...and good hygiene is just an added benefit! :-)

    ~eunice b
    tigergal01 @gmail. com

    ReplyDelete
  85. https://twitter.com/#!/tigergal01/status/164775807984746498

    tweet

    ~eunice b
    tigergal01 @gmail .com

    ReplyDelete
  86. I use my simple beauty routine to make sure I feel my best and most confident. This in turn translates into my presenting my best self to the world, which makes my inner beauty and positive traits more readily apparent to those I come in contact with.

    wolverina401 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  87. Thanks for the science lesson, I understand it better now.
    I express my inner beauty through swimming 3 times a week which energizes me and keeps me fit.
    Thanks for the contest.

    ReplyDelete
  88. blogged: http://slehan.blogspot.com/2012/01/win-50-visa-from-blogher-olay.html

    ReplyDelete
  89. I use Olay moisturizer, mineral makeup, sunscreen, Fake Bake tanning spray (instead of tanning bed) eat lots of fruits & veggies, drink lots of water. It leaves a natural glow that I can add a little mascara & lip gloss (busy momma/wife) & feel good about myself! Also, I love adding a cute belt to basically any shirt I wear (quick & easy throw together) & I actually can be happy with myself! My hubby & daughter are my great supporters to let me know I don't need any make up. They do tease me about my facial hair though-when we're out somewhere. Which gets pretty embarassing! My daughter just told me tonight, "Mommy you need to get rid of your mustache!" WOW! Too many bad experiences to do so!

    CharLuvsAbby3@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  90. I want to look healthy, I use a lot of lotion to make my skin look healthy. Thanks for the review and giveaway!
    songyueyu at gmail

    ReplyDelete
  91. tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/syytta/status/165028482307465216
    songyueyu at gmail

    ReplyDelete
  92. I don't really have a beauty routine other than to shave in the morning. I would love to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  93. I jdon't wear makeup except for blush and lipgloss
    I love to smile this expresses my inner beauty
    thanks
    aunteegem@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  94. a clean face is a good start in the morning and at night...would love to win some new products! @kairick

    ReplyDelete
  95. a clean face is a good place to start, morning or night. I would love to win some new products! @kairick

    ReplyDelete
  96. I show my inner beauty by an honest smile--that's my routine.

    leedhowell (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  97. tweet
    https://twitter.com/#!/wizardhlee/status/165478269540499456
    leedhowell (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  98. I don't wear makeup and the only beauty routine I have is to wash and moisturize my face and wear lip balm! LOL I express my inner beauty thru my poetry, photography, and how I treat others around me! Nature is my inspiration for everything!
    Angie
    14earth at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  99. I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/#!/FotoMacro/status/165498153678815233
    Angie
    14earth at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  100. I like to think the sparkle in my eyes expresses my inner beauty -- at least my husband says so ;p

    lorri.brandvold@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  101. big part of my beuty routine is to use lots of moisturizer.

    eugeniewu at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  102. http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url=http://15minbeauty.blogspot.com/2012/01/olay-facial-hair-remover-duo-review.html

    eugeniewu at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  103. Well I use chapstick to keep my lips moisturized
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  104. tweet
    https://twitter.com/#!/ChelleB36/status/165560556391116801
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  105. I apply lipgloss and I'm good to go!

    ReplyDelete
  106. Makeup Forever HD liquid foundation, Benefit RSVP cream shadow, MAC Lady Blush, and Mac Bombshell lip stick :)

    Delicatebeautiesxo@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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