I used the original formula for fine-to-medium hair (turquois stripe). But, the newer duo is for coarser, more resilient hair (magenta stripe).
I even tried applying petroleum jelly before depilatory creams, once. The jelly just blocked the cream completely and nothing happened. So, I was excited to try this "guarding balm" before applying the cream. I always rub the balm wider than needed (and apply the cream only where it's needed) to provide more protection.
The balm is thin enough to allow the cream to work, but tough enough to prevent chemical burns!!!
After 5 minutes, I remove both products with a WARM damp (not soaked) paper towel. Then I rinse, while GENTLY rubbing the treated area with my fingers. I pat dry and apply a gentle moisturizer. Do NOT use a toner, a retinoid or an acne treatment on you hair removal days.
If you need to leave the product on longer than the allotted 8 minutes, try the stronger formula. I didn't experience any discomfort or irritation. But if one formula irritates you, try the gentler one next time.