Nair works, as a hair removal cream, when used as directed. It removes hair by breaking down its protein structures. Depilatory creams are applied to the skin and allowed to sit for a certain amount of time. When they are removed, unwanted hair essentially wipes right off the skin.
Depilatory creams typically include alkaline chemicals such as strontium sulfide, sodium thioglycolate and calcium thioglycolate. Nair's active ingredients are calcium hydroxide (lime) and sodium hydroxide (lye). Nair also includes mineral oil, which softens the effects of the strong chemical ingredients.