“ Brand: Boots / Type: Hair Lightener / Suitable for: Hair / What it does: Smoothes, „
Although I now have grey (I prefer the term Arctic Blonde) hair, the hairs above my upper lip seem to have a life of their own and have remained stubbornly dark(ish). I've always had a little moustache there, and it has always bothered me. About ten years ago, I finally decided to do something about it. A quick trip to my local Boots store showed me their 'Expert' range of products, and a Hair Lightener was among them. I bought it, and took it home, eager to try this fairly budget treatment.
Since then, I have tried electrolysis (over the course of a few months) to try to get rid of the hairs, but this was expensive, didn't work effectively enough for me, and it meant a round trip of twenty-six miles to the nearest beautician who offered this service. And it hurt. So I eventually gave up on that. I have also tried waxing the hairs away - not by myself, I hasten to add, as I once tried to wax my bikini line and the horror of that event stays with me even now. I go to a lovely lady here in our local town, who charges only £5 for the honour of ripping the little blighters from above my upper lip. The feeling afterwards, of having perfectly smooth, hair-free skin, is wonderful. However, it doesn't last for ever. So I decided to buy myself either another hair bleaching cream - or even a hair removal cream if I could find one that I could trust.
I did quite a lot of online research, checking out quite a few products for either the removal of or the lightening of facial hair, and I couldn't find anything else that inspired as much confidence as the Boots 'Expert' product. Although many products had many good reviews, there were always one or two that left me with a bit of doubt about their suitability. However, I saw that Boots Smooth Care Hair Lightener had many good reviews, and further investigation showed me that this is the same as the 'Expert' product from some time ago, but with a different name and prettier packaging.
This product provides you with two tubes of cream - one is a lightener cream, and the other is an accelerator cream. You are also provided with a firm plastic spatula, and a little tray for mixing the two creams together. You can buy this product in two sizes: 2x25ml tubes for £3.99, or 2x50ml for £5.99. I bought the smaller, cheaper version, and I believe this to be excellent value. The product is good for six months after opening, and I fully expect that my purchase will last me quite some time. I alternate using this hair lightening cream with occasional lip waxes, and together they keep my moustache area (and me) lighter and happier.
You are first presented with a pretty, greeny-blue box with a large white circle on the front that contains the name 'Smooth Care Hair Lightener'. You are also given the information that this product 'lightens excess dark hair', that it is 'quick, easy and safe to use', and that the treatment takes ten minutes. The products of the box are two tubes - the lightener cream and the accelerator - one spatula and one mixing cup. This is more like a little tray, about 4.5cm square, with 3.5cm of space at the base of the tray for mixing. The firm plastic spatula is gently curved (to make it easier to hold, perhaps), and this is about 10cm long. When you open the package and get out the two tubes, you will see that the Hair Lightener cream is labelled Step 1, while the Accelerator Cream is labelled Step 2. The contents of these tubes should only be used together, not on their own, and not for any other purpose other than bleaching your hair. You are advised to follow the instructions carefully. Both the tubes and the outer box are recyclable.
I began my preparations by getting everything ready - both tubes, the tray and the spatula. I read the instructions very carefully, as I did not wish to suffer from any adverse skin reaction. I unscrewed the lid of Step 1 and gently squeezed a small amount into the tray, and then repeated the process with Step 1. Take a bit of care when doing this, as sometimes the creams are quite eager to escape their restraints. It helps if you unscrew the lids carefully and with a degree of caution. I tried to make sure that I had fairly equal amounts of both products, and then gradually mixed them together with the spatula. Once you have blended the cream, it should be used within thirty minutes.
The next stage is to wash the area you will be applying the product to with soap and cold water, and then pat dry. You should then use the spatula to bring the mixed cream to the area of hair you wish to bleach - in my case the hairs above my upper lip. Some people use this product to lighten the hairs on their arms or stomachs. If using this product for those areas, I think you would either need to mix the creams in the tray a few more times, or perhaps find another, larger receptacle for mixing. I carefully applied the cream to the hairs, making sure that I had covered every last little one. When I'm having that area waxed, my beautician gets me to push my tongue against the inner corners of my lips, as this gives access to those pesky little hairs that reside near the sides of your lips. I used the same technique when applying the lightening cream. You are advised that you should not rub the cream into your skin, so I don't - but I do make sure to apply a good thick layer of cream, going over any areas where the coverage seems a bit patchy.
The 'fragrance' of the two creams is not the loveliest in the world, but I didn't find it unpleasant, and it disappears once you have rinsed your face at the end of the process.
You are advised to leave the product on for ten minutes, then remove the cream from a small area to check that the lightening process has worked effectively. If necessary, you can leave the cream on for another five minutes. If you have very dark, coarse hairs, you may need another application of the cream, but if so, you should allow at least 24 hours before applying it again. After I've applied the cream, I hide myself away from my husband while the product does its work (I think there are some things in married life that don't need to be shared). I usually lie on the bed and have a little rest, while keeping an eye on the clock.
Once I'm happy that the hairs are light enough, I scrape the product away gently, using the spatula. This process isn't included in the instructions, which simply says that you should rinse the cream away with warm water, and then pat your skin dry. I just find it quicker to get rid of the cream that way. I am always delighted by the results - my hair now looks so fair that it can barely be seen. I have never had any adverse skin reaction, and - unlike waxing, which leaves the area affected bright red for a little while - there is no redness.
There are certain precautions given with the instructions: 'Do not use immediately after a hot bath or shower'; 'Do not used on irritated or broken skin or on sensitive parts of the body'; 'Always wait 24 hours between applications'; and 'This product can stain. Do not let the product come into contact with fabrics, furnishings or household items'. You are told to keep this product out of the reach of children, and you are also given the warning that it contains hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. 'Avoid contact with eyes. If product gets into the eyes rinse well with water immediately and seek medical advice.'
As I mentioned earlier, you can buy this products in two sizes. The 2x25ml costs £3.99, and the 2x50ml costs £5.99. There is currently (as of 14th February) an offer of 'Buy 1 get 2nd half price on selected Booth Smooth Care'. There are twenty-one products available in that range. I checked on eBay to see whether a bargain could be had, but no luck - there is only one entry for this product, and it offers no saving.
I think my £3.99 purchase is excellent value for money. There is a lot left in the tubes, and I believe (as before, when it was the Boots Expert version), that this is going to be enough to last me for a few months. I find the whole process to be quick and easy, and I am happy to give Boots Smooth Care Hair Lightener five stars. I wholeheartedly recommend this product. I've been using it for years (in both its incarnations), and it always performs really well.
(This review is also on Ciao, under the same user name.)