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.



  1. January 3, 2012 / 3:45 pm

    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

  2. January 3, 2012 / 5:29 pm

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

  3. January 3, 2012 / 8:06 pm

    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

  4. January 3, 2012 / 9:40 pm

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


  5. January 3, 2012 / 9:54 pm

    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

  6. January 4, 2012 / 12:17 am

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

  7. January 4, 2012 / 12:59 am

    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

  8. January 4, 2012 / 1:35 am

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

  9. Anonymous
    January 4, 2012 / 3:46 am

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

  10. Anonymous
    January 4, 2012 / 5:43 am

    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

  11. January 4, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    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 :))


    Jean D

  12. January 5, 2012 / 12:33 am

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

  13. January 5, 2012 / 1:06 am

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

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

  14. January 5, 2012 / 2:01 am

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

  15. January 5, 2012 / 4:47 pm

    I use moisturizer and a smile!

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

  16. January 5, 2012 / 8:16 pm

    I keep it short and sweet… like me!

  17. January 5, 2012 / 8:16 pm

    I keep it short and sweet… like me!

  18. January 5, 2012 / 11:46 pm

    i accent my smile with lipgloss

    karinaroselee at gmail dot com

  19. January 6, 2012 / 3:22 am

    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. πŸ™‚

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  20. January 6, 2012 / 11:56 am

    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

  21. January 8, 2012 / 3:01 am

    What inspires my inner beauty is volunteering and by taking care of skin and health. My daily routine of cleansing and moisturizing shows that πŸ™‚

    deeg131 at gmail dot com

  22. January 9, 2012 / 5:49 am

    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

  23. January 9, 2012 / 10:51 am

    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

  24. January 13, 2012 / 9:20 am

    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.


  25. January 13, 2012 / 9:48 am

    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!

  26. January 14, 2012 / 5:47 am

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

  27. January 15, 2012 / 7:42 pm

    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.

  28. January 19, 2012 / 8:31 pm

    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

  29. January 22, 2012 / 12:13 am

    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:)


  30. January 22, 2012 / 2:52 am

    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

  31. January 24, 2012 / 2:12 am

    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

  32. January 24, 2012 / 5:19 pm

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


  33. January 25, 2012 / 4:49 pm

    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 πŸ™‚ and review. thank you.


  34. January 25, 2012 / 10:24 pm

    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…

  35. January 25, 2012 / 11:50 pm

    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).


  36. January 26, 2012 / 10:35 pm

    My beauty routine is wearing a smile, cleansing my skin daily and wearing minimal makeup. This helps express my inner beauty.

  37. January 28, 2012 / 5:29 pm

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

  38. January 28, 2012 / 8:15 pm

    Great review! Will definitely look into this product!

  39. January 28, 2012 / 10:29 pm

    I like to try different shades of lipstick to match my personality and express my inner beauty.

  40. January 31, 2012 / 5:19 am

    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

  41. January 31, 2012 / 7:09 pm

    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

  42. February 1, 2012 / 2:51 am

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

  43. February 1, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    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

  44. February 1, 2012 / 3:48 pm

    I exfoliate and use Olay Regenerist daily to give me a fresh, glowing complection that reflects my inner glow.

  45. February 1, 2012 / 5:28 pm

    That looks like a great product!

  46. February 1, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    Christ shining through me is what makes my inner beauty…and good hygiene is just an added benefit! πŸ™‚

    ~eunice b
    tigergal01 @gmail. com

  47. February 1, 2012 / 6:58 pm

    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

  48. February 2, 2012 / 3:15 am

    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.

  49. Charlotte
    February 2, 2012 / 10:13 am

    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!


  50. February 2, 2012 / 11:07 am

    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

  51. February 2, 2012 / 6:36 pm

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

  52. February 2, 2012 / 11:07 pm

    I jdon't wear makeup except for blush and lipgloss
    I love to smile this expresses my inner beauty

  53. February 3, 2012 / 3:10 pm

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

  54. February 3, 2012 / 3:10 pm

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

  55. February 3, 2012 / 4:54 pm

    I show my inner beauty by an honest smile–that's my routine.

    leedhowell (at) gmail (dot) com

  56. February 3, 2012 / 6:14 pm

    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!
    14earth at gmail dot com

  57. February 3, 2012 / 8:24 pm

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

    eugeniewu at gmail dot com

  58. February 3, 2012 / 10:24 pm

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

  59. February 4, 2012 / 4:58 am

    I apply lipgloss and I'm good to go!

  60. Anonymous
    February 5, 2012 / 8:35 pm

    Makeup Forever HD liquid foundation, Benefit RSVP cream shadow, MAC Lady Blush, and Mac Bombshell lip stick πŸ™‚


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