10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Waxing at Home

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It’s pretty safe to say that no woman enjoys going through the hair removal process, but that doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. Whether you prefer to shave, wax, sugar or you’re a laser hair removal lady, nothing feels as good as smooth skin, but getting there can be a bit tricky.

If you’re exploring the option of waxing at home, there are important details you should know before you start with the wax strips. Below are the 10 things no one ever tells you about waxing at home.

1. Don’t go back and forth between waxing and shaving: This is the number one cause of ingrown hairs, and flipping back and forth between waxing and shaving can really irritate your skin. Stick to one or the other, and know that waxing requires a bit of patience while you’re waiting for the hair to grow long enough to wax again.

2. Exfoliate for ingrown hairs: Even in areas of sensitive skin, exfoliate to prevent any ingrown hairs from popping up. On larger areas like your legs, use a coarse grain exfoliator, but on smaller areas like your bikini line, use a gentle exfoliator for sensitive skin (like one that you would use on your face).

3. Wax hair that’s the right length: Waiting for your hair to be long enough is a test of patience, but waxing hair that’s too short is just going to result in a ton of pain and frustration (plus, you won’t be able to actually remove the hairs). On the other hand, waxing hair that’s too long is equally as messy. If necessary, trim the hair with a tiny pair of scissors before you wax to get the optimal results. Ideal length is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch.

4. Use baby powder beforehand: Prior to waxing, your skin should be clean, but once you do that, use a bit of baby powder on your skin to soak up any excess moisture that can make the wax less effective.

5. Apply and remove in the proper (opposite) directions: When applying wax, follow the direction of the hair. When removing the wax strip, pull in the opposite direction of the hair, against the grain. This detail is crucial to getting the wax right, so make sure you’re applying and removing properly.

6. Stop at a double wax in the same area: Especially with waxing at home, only wax one area a maximum of two times. After that, use a tweezer to remove any rogue hairs. Waxing the same area more than twice is just asking for a bad skin reaction.

7. Do a temperature test on the wax: If the wax is so hot that it burns your skin, you’ll be happy you tested the temperature before burning your entire leg with wax.

8. Don’t wax sensitive or sunburned skin: In fact, don’t wax an area of your skin if you have acne, eczema or any other issue. The wax will only irritate matters worse and you’ll be regretting the decision.

9. Read the instructions: For an at-home wax especially, make sure you’re not missing any important steps or preparing wax the wrong way. The instructions are there for a reason — read them.

10. Do a test patch: On an area of skin that’s typically hidden, do a test patch with the wax strips so you can see if it works on your skin, and if you’re doing it properly. Practice makes perfect, after all.