This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The depilatory cream largely used in New York hospitals for the removal of hair from the skin previous to operations:
Barium sulphide. ... 3 parts
Starch............. 1 part
Water, sufficient quantity. The mixed powders are to be made into a paste with water, and applied in a moderately thick layer to the parts to be denuded of hair, the excess of the latter having been previously trimmed off with a pair of scissors. From time to time a small part of the surface should be examined, and when it is seen that the hair can be removed, the mass should be washed off. The barium sulphide should be quite fresh. It can be prepared by making barium sulphate and its own weight of charcoal into a paste with linseed oil, rolling the paste into the shape of a sausage, and placing it upon a bright fire to incinerate. When it has ceased to burn, and is a white hot mass, remove from the fire, cool, and powder. The formula is given with some reserve, for preparations of this kind are usually unsafe unless used with great care. It should be removed promptly when the skin begins to burn.
Barium sulphide.... 25 parts
Soap.............. 5 parts
Talc.............. 35 parts
Starch............ 35 parts
Benzaldehyde sufficient to make.. . 120 parts
Powder the solids and mix. To use, to a part of this mixture add 3 parts of water, at the time of its application, and with a camel's-hair pencil paint the mixture evenly over the spot to be freed of hair. Let remain in contact with the skin for 5 minutes, then wash off with a sponge, and in the course of 5 minutes longer the hair will come off on slight friction with the sponge.
Strontium sulphide is an efficient depilatory. A convenient form of applying it is as follows:
Strontium sulphide . 2 parts
Zinc oxide......... 3 parts
Powdered starch ... 3 parts
Mix well and keep in the dry state until wanted for use, taking then a sufficient quantity, forming into a paste with warm water and applying to the surface to be deprived of hair. Allow to remain from 1 to 5 minutes, according to the nature of the hair and skin; it is not advisable to continue the application longer than the last named period. Remove in all cases at once when any caustic action is felt. After the removal of the paste, scrape the skin gently but firmly with a blunt-edged blade (a paper knife, for instance) until the loosened hair is removed. Then immediately wash the denuded surface well with warm water, and apply cold cream or some similar emollient as a dressing.
Alcohol............ 12 parts
Collodion.......... 35 parts
Iodine............ 0.75 parts
Essence of turpentine ............ 1.5 parts
Castor oil.......... 2 parts
Apply with a brush on the affected parts for 3 or 4 days in thick coats. When the collodion plaster thus formed is pulled off, the hairs adhere to its inner surface.
Rosin sticks are intended for the removal of hairs and are made from colophony with an admixture of 10 per cent of yellow wax. The sticks are heated like a stick of sealing wax until soft or semi-liquid (142° F.), and lightly applied on the place from which the hair is to be removed, and the mass is allowed to cool. These rosin sticks are said to give good satisfaction.