Wax On, Wax Off: Hair Removal Dos and Don’ts

Most women get rid of their hair via disposable razor. It's virtually painless (even when you nick yourself with the blade), it's fast if you do it while showering and it's a cheap method of hair removal. And yet, waxing rooms at salons and spas thrive. Why? Because waxing lasts up to a month, it reduces in-between stubble, it's highly effective and it removes hair from the root. You get smoothness that a razor can only ever hope to emulate, even when it's brand new. Here are a few tips about prep and post-waxing behavior that will make the process beyond bearable. 


Go Long 

If you're going in for a wax at a salon, or planning an at-home job, know that waxing is only effective if your hair is long enough. Typically, hair should be about 1/4 of an inch long. If you're a shaver, it takes about two weeks after the last shave for it get to that length. 

Take Care of Boo Boos 

Sounds a little silly, but it's true. Waxing doesn't do cuts, breakouts, or any other type of skin sore any favors. It can make them worse, and it will certainly add to any pain felt as a consequence of waxing. Still have a scab from your last rock climbing accident? Wait until it heels to book your appointment or pick up a kit at the store.

Forget Moisture 

Moisturizing your skin is a huge part of basic skincare, skin health and anti-aging regimens. Here's the only time when it doesn't pay to ply on the gels, lotions, creams and screens: at least 24 hours before your wax. Waxing works best on clean, clear, dry skin.

Dodge the Rays 

Don't even think about hitting the tanning bed or the beach either. The sun damages your skin. A tan is actually your skin's defense mechanism against that damage (you knew that though, right?). A recently sunned dermis is going to be in a lot more pain during waxing than one that's nice and pale. 

Down Aspirin

According to umpteen sources, this actually works to help mitigate pain caused by waxing. A dose of aspirin approximately 30 minutes before the appointment is the time to do it, if you so choose.

Open Pores 

This is an option best for those waxing at home or whose commute to the salon is under five minutes. Warm water opens your pores. Just before your appointment, taking a warm shower can leave pores open and slightly reduce pain when it comes to pulling out those hairs by their chinny-chin-chin…I mean root. Pulling them out by the root.



You should Avoid Heat 

For up to two days. Well, not all heat. Showering is okay (but if you can handle warm instead of hot water, you should). Otherwise, stay away from saunas, hot baths, jacuzzis and bikram yoga. If you're training for a marathon and have a half-marathon run scheduled, skip it. Intense exercise can, like the other sources of heat, make your skin prone to burning.

Return to Moisture

A couple of days after your waxing is done, you can and should take up your typical moisturizing and exfoliating routine. Not only does it keep your newly-on-display skin great looking, it prevents bumps and ingrown hairs.

image: Getty