Everyone wants to make waxing less painful.
The problem is, some techniques do more harm than good. So we’ve put together a guide to show you how to fix these mistakes and wax the right way!
1. Waxing right before your period
Hormones can affect pain tolerance, and the hormone Prostaglandin peaks right before your period. That means waxing will be even more painful.
For best results, try waxing one or two weeks after your period – that’s when your pain tolerance will be highest.
2. Not holding the skin tight
You might think that all of the pain from waxing comes from the hair being ripped from the roots. But that’s actually not true.
When you pull the wax, it also pulls on your skin, which creates additional pain.
The solution is to hold the skin tight in the opposite direction from the pulling motion. This keeps the skin from moving too much and allows the wax to work more efficiently.
3. Going over the same area twice
Wax doesn’t always remove 100% of the hairs. So it can be tempting to simply wax the same area again.
Don’t do it! Waxing (with soft wax) removes a layer of skin cells, and waxing the same area twice will cause much more irritation. It’s better to use tweezers to remove any stray hairs.
There is one exception though. If you’re using hard wax, it’s okay to go over the same area twice. That’s because hard wax doesn’t stick to the skin quite as much.
In a perfect world, all of the hairs would come off in one go, so you wouldn’t need to tweeze or re-wax (actually, in a perfect world we wouldn’t need to wax at all!). Although it may be difficult to get to 100%, it is possible to improve your technique with practice. Hopefully the other tips below will help you get there!
4. Using the wrong kind of wax
The “right” type of wax depends on the part of the body you are waxing.
Where should you use hard wax?
- Bikini area
- Face (although pre-made soft wax strips can also work well for the face)
Where should you use soft wax?
Basically, soft wax is better for large areas like legs. Hard wax is usually better for tricky areas like the bikini line.
The main reason is that soft wax removes a layer of dead skin cells, so it can’t be used twice in the same area. Hard wax tends not to stick to skin as much, so you can wax the same area more than once (which you may need to do in some areas).
For more info, check out our article on hard wax vs. soft wax.
5. Pulling in the wrong direction
Have you chosen whether to use hard or soft wax? Good. You’ll need to use that information to decide HOW to use the wax.
- If you’re using soft wax, you’ll need to apply the wax in the same direction as the hair growth. Then, pull the wax in the opposite direction from the hair growth.
- If you’re using hard wax, you should apply it in the opposite direction as the hair growth, then pull it in the direction of the hair growth.
No matter what type of wax you’re using, it’s important to keep the wax “low” (near the skin) when you pull it. Don’t pull it out away from the skin – it will be much more painful.
6. Waxing when hair is too short – or too long
In order to work, wax needs something to grab onto. If the hairs are too short, the wax won’t be able to effectively remove it. It will still hurt, but the hairs will still be there – the worst of both worlds!
You also don’t want the hairs to be too long, as longer hair can be more painful to wax.
For best results, the hairs should be about 1/4 inch (6mm) long. But depending on the coarseness of the hair and the type of wax, you may need to experiment to see whether slightly longer or shorter hairs work better for you.
7. Shaving between waxing sessions
After waxing, the hair will eventually start to grow back. It may be tempting to do a quick shave to buy yourself some more time before you have to wax again.
Here’s the problem: Although shaving shortens the hair, the hair continues to get stronger and thicker. So the next time you wax, it will be more painful.
If you want to wax, it’s best to commit to that method rather than alternating waxing and shaving. Since waxing pulls hairs from the root, you’ll always be removing them before they have a chance to get thick.
8. Drinking alcohol beforehand
Many women like to have a glass of wine before waxing, believing that it will reduce the pain and/or help them relax.
Sorry, ladies – that wine is just going to make the pain worse! Alcohol actually makes your skin more sensitive.
Instead, you can take Advil or Tylenol beforehand, which should help reduce the pain a little bit.
9. Getting your skin TOO clean
With most types of waxes, washing and scrubbing your skin right before waxing could actually cause more pain and irritation. That’s because the natural oils in your skin help to lubricate the skin and prevent the wax from sticking too much – and washing your skin removes those oils.
The one exception is sugar wax. Because sugar wax is water soluble, it’s actually a good idea to clean the area just before waxing.
You should also avoid exfoliating right before waxing. Instead, you can exfoliate one or two days before waxing, with either an exfoliating glove or brush.
10. Using lotion right after waxing
After waxing, your skin will probably be red and irritated. Time to break out the lotion, right?
Wrong. Many lotions can clog your pores and actually irritate your skin further.
You should avoid most lotions, creams, and even antiperspirant (if you’ve waxed your armpits) for 24 hours after waxing.
However, it’s okay to use Hydrocortisone cream or Aloe Vera, which may help to reduce irritation.
That’s all for now – we hope these tips will help make your waxing routine more bearable!