Some of our favorite beauty tips have come in the form of DIY hacks, from using honey as a moisturizer to mashing avocado for face masks. But occasionally, a beauty blogger shares a home remedy that seems too good to be true. Such was the case when Madina Shrienzada posted a recipe for a toothpaste hair removal cream on Instagram, and we had to quickly fact-check. Could the secret to painless hair removal have been hiding in our medicine cabinets all along?
In her video, Shrienzada mixes toothpaste and turmeric powder as a sort of homemade Nair, then directs followers to use it just like any other depilatory: Slather it on your skin, let it dry, then wipe it with a wet cloth and watch as the hair comes with it. She uses her concoction to remove the hair on her arms — and it actually works. She shows the leftover hair follicles to the camera, and her arm is hair-free and smooth.
But some followers seem to have tried the DIY tip to no avail. “Ok I lost 20 minutes of my life and yellowed my skin ! Wow!!” wrote one commenter. “I tried but it didn’t work,” agreed another. But just in case you have spare toothpaste and turmeric at home and wanted to give this a try anyway, we asked New York City-based dermatologist Howard Sobel to weigh in. And according to Sobel, this can work — but that doesn’t mean it’s the best method out there.
“The toothpaste will create a paste that, when dried and scraped (as seen in the video), will rip the hair out of the follicle,” says Sobel. “Still, this is not the best or safest method of hair removal.” He compares the recipe to sugaring, in which you apply a thick paste to your skin, let it dry and rip it off, taking hair with it.
But, as he notes, toothpaste is not made for skin. “Toothpaste can really irritate your skin. … You are basically scratching and pulling your hair out of place,” he says. As for that turmeric, it “acts as a calming and anti-inflammatory agent for your skin, so that will decrease redness and aids in the results you see in the video, but these are not guaranteed.”
The lesson? Sometimes DIY recipes seem too good to be true for a reason. “I don’t recommend that people try this at home. This toothpaste-and-turmeric solution can easily irritate your skin, causing a burning sensation and redness,” says Sobel. It’s a good idea to check with your dermatologist before trying any DIY method, so he or she can help you tailor a recipe to your skin type — or nix it altogether. So for now, we’ll stick to using toothpaste on our teeth.
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