What is Patch Testing?

A patch test is when you apply a cosmetic product such as hair dye, hair removal cream, lotion, or makeup to a small area of skin before using it all over to check for skin sensitivity or an allergic reaction. If your skin becomes red or itchy during the patch test, do not use the product. A “patch test” can also describe when an allergist applies different substances to your skin to check for a reaction. An at-home patch test for a single cosmetic or skincare product can help you see and feel right away if your skin is sensitive to the product.

How to Do a Patch Test

If the product recommends a patch test, do it. You never know what your skin might be sensitive to, and it’s better to find out a product isn’t for you by testing on a small area than to have something more serious happen with a reaction to a large application. Fortunately, patch testing is easy and doesn’t take long. Here’s how to do a patch test in 4 easy steps.

Step 1: Select a small area for testing

Choose a small area (about 1-2 inches) on your leg or arm to apply the product. Choose an area you can easily reach and watch and – if you’re testing a Nair product – one that has hair you want to remove.

Step 2: Apply a small amount of the product in a thin layer

Read and follow the directions on the package to apply a thin layer of the product to the test area. Remember, if using Nair, do not rub it in!

Step 3: Allow product to sit on skin for recommended time

Leave the test amount of the product on your skin for a few minutes or as recommended in the instructions. If testing Nair products, do not leave on the skin for more than 10 minutes. Have a wet, cold washcloth on hand in case you start to feel burning or itching. If so, wipe off immediately and rinse under cool water.

Step 4: Check the skin

If any irritation occurs, rinse thoroughly and discard the product. If everything is ok, wait 24 hours between your patch test and when you plan to remove hair. Then you're ready to apply Nair where you want to be bare.

How Long Should You Do a Patch Test For?

A patch test only takes about 10 minutes. Leave the product on for the amount of time indicated on the package, or remove sooner if irritation occurs. However, it’s best to wait 24 hours after a patch test before applying the product over a large area, especially if it’s your first time using it.

Do I Have to Do a Patch Test Every Time I Use Nair?

You should do a patch test every time you use Nair™ hair removal cream. Your skin is a living, breathing organ and its sensitivity changes due to diet, stress, medication, and other factors. Just because you didn’t have a reaction last time doesn’t mean you won’t this time, and vice versa. Plus, we all know certain areas on the body are more sensitive than others!

How Do I Know If I Have a Reaction to a Patch Test?

If your skin turns red or you feel itching, stinging or burning during the patch test, wipe the product off immediately with a wet washcloth and rinse the skin under cool water. Do not continue using the product. You can apply a cold compress, a soothing gel or lotion, or an anti-itch cream to the area, if needed.

Tips to Help Avoid Discomfort From Product Use

  • Always read and follow the directions on the package when using Nair™ products.
  • Don’t use more product than necessary. Apply a thin layer of Nair™ on the surface and do not rub it in.
  • Only keep Nair products on the skin for the recommended amount of time. Set a timer! Don’t get distracted!
  • Rinse off Nair™ products thoroughly with cool water.
  • Apply a layer of soothing gel or lotion after removing hair.
  • Do not use Nair™ after you’ve been out in the sun or have a sunburn.
  • Use the right Nair™ product for the right area. Body hair removal creams are different than those meant to remove hair from the face or the pubic area.
  • Wait 72 hours after using Nair™ before using it again on the same area.

More than One Way to Remove Hair with Nair™

Nair™ products are dermatologist-tested and a trusted source for hair removal for more than 80 years. Check out our guides for hair removal to keep yourself scaped and smooth when you want to: