Summer SZN is here! And, in the words of Drake, most of us are “wearing less and going out more.” Aye! Nothing calls for a complete hair removal overhaul like swimsuit/crop top/off-the-shoulder/short-shorts season. However, booking your next in-salon waxing appointment might not be the highest priority on your to-do list (the cost isn’t exactly wallet-friendly, either). The good news is that at-home waxing kits have evolved to be easier and more user-friendly than ever. The problem is…where do you even begin? Ahead, we speak to three experts to share their tips to kickoff your smoothest summer yet.
Put Your Razor Away
As tempting as it is to banish your peach fuzz, if it’s your first time waxing, Nad’s brand ambassador and beauty expert, Natalie Ismiel, recommends waiting at least two weeks after shaving before waxing. “After your first wax, you should wax every three to four weeks. As you continue to wax, your hair follicles become thinner, resulting in smoother, hairless skin,” she explains. How long you wait between waxes depends on how fast your hair grows and what type of wax you’re using. For example, soft wax can grab shorter, finer hairs, so anywhere from a few days to a week of growth is enough. “Just make sure your hair is at least 1.5mm (or 0.059 inches) long for the best results,” she adds.
Press Pause on Chemicals
Popular skincare ingredients like retinoids, vitamin C, and salicylic acids can make your skin more sensitive, so be extra careful (especially if you’re waxing your face). The same goes for sunburns or any type of existing sensitivity. To avoid a potential waxing disaster, always conduct a small patch test. “You want to make sure your skin doesn’t react poorly to anything in the formulas you’re using before fully diving in,” explains Flamingo General Manager, Allie Melnick. “The inside of your arm is a good spot for this.” Another hack? Wax at night before you go to bed, to give your skin a few hours to recover before you face the world.
Exfoliate Like You Mean It
The first rule of waxing body hair? Always exfoliate first. “A well-timed scrub has plenty of benefits,” adds Ismiel. “It helps removes dead skin cells that block the hair follicle, the true cause of undesirable ingrown hairs. Exfoliating also boosts circulation, encourages cell regeneration and improves skin tone and appearance.” However, if you have a sunburn, forget about it! You’ll only irritate your skin further.
Keep It Clean
Unlike shaving, waxing requires you to be one-hundred percent dry. Sadly, wax won’t adhere to wet skin. But, that doesn’t mean proper hygiene is out the window. “Clean the area you’re about to wax, and don’t apply any lotion,” says Kim Lawless a.k.a. The Wax Queen. “You want the area to be nice and dry. If you’re really hot (or sweaty), apply a small amount of talc powder before you start waxing.”
Set The Mood
In general, at-home waxing, and waxing is going to hurt a little bit. “There’s no way around that,” explains Melnick. “But stop if at any point you’re in pain you can’t breathe through. Normal pain could look like a wince, a single tear, or squeak.” To assist in your endeavor, create a chill, comfortable environment aka your bathroom or bedroom. “Depending on which body parts you’re waxing, some contortion may be in order, so make sure you have a thick towel or mat, some good lighting, a handheld mirror, a good friend on speed dial—whatever is going to make you feel brave and confident,” she adds.
Follow Your Hair’s Lead
With all areas, you should apply the wax in the direction of hair growth (not against), then pull the strips or hard wax in the opposite direction. For best results, make sure that you always pull the strip parallel to the body, not in an upwards motion. This causes the hair to break—rather than remove from the root—you can tell if you did it incorrectly because you’ll feel stubbly again the next day.
If it’s your first time waxing, start with your legs. “The bikini, armpits, and facial area are trickier to navigate, so it’ll help to get used to the process before you move into those areas,” shares Melnick. “For more delicate areas, like bikini and face, smaller strips are easier to maneuver and let you be more precise with which hair you’re removing. Your face is sensitive, so only wax your upper lip or eyebrows once in a 24 hour period. If you read nothing else, believe me on this one,” she emphasizes.
Keep Your Schedule Minimal
After waxing your bikini line, it is recommended to avoid working out, soaking in a tub or jacuzzi, avoid saunas or anything with high heat due to the area being sensitive. “After 24 hours, it is crucial to exfoliate your skin every day to avoid ingrown hairs,” explains Lawless.
“Post-wax, apply some Sudocrem straight after waxing the face and underarms,” she adds. “This can help stop you feeling sore and prevent those little white spots. For larger body areas, opt for a body lotion that contains calming ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile.” Listen, a cold compress never hurt anyone either!