Perhaps the worst thing about coming out of winter hibernation is the realization that a '70s-era embrace of body hair is not, in fact, sweeping the nation. That's not to say, though, that there is no way to make the delicate reacquaintance with your waxer more bearable. Here, tricks that actually help take the sting out of waxing. See the pain-relieving tips when you keep reading.
1. Time it right. Make your appointment for the midpoint of your cycle, right around the time you're ovulating. "Hormonal shifts, extra blood flow — almost everyone feels more discomfort right before, during, and after her period," says Jodi Shays, owner of Queen Bee Salon & Spa in Los Angeles.
2. Don't be a baby. Experienced waxers will testify that there's a psychological component to managing the pain. "People who have been waxing for a while know it's not that big a deal," says Shays. "But I've seen girls come in with their friends for the first time, and they're all screaming, 'Oooh, this will hurt!' And guess what? Then it does." And it's best to accept that some areas simply hurt more than others. The upper lip is notoriously nasty. The underarm? Weirdly not so much. If you're extra sensitive, take an Advil or Motrin about a half hour before your appointment.
3. And don't be a lush. A drink (or two) may calm your nerves before the treatment, but that alcohol is going to make the pain feel that much worse during the wax.
4. Avoid ingrowns. They're painful to look at, and even more painful to deal with. But exfoliating and moisturizing regularly and thoroughly will minimize nasty ingrown hairs — not just right after waxing, but beforehand, too. If you do get a mean one, try Tend Skin — its active ingredient is acetylsalicylic acid, a similar active ingredient to aspirin.
5. Get the red out. If your legs look sunburned for days after a wax, your "skin barrier was probably thinned by exfoliation," says dermatologist Leslie Baumann. Apply a one percent hydrocortisone cream three times a day and take Advil every four hours.