At-Home Waxing 101: Your Ultimate Hair-Removal Guide For Beginners
So, you missed your hair-removal wax appointment. Before you find yourself sprawled on the floor with at-home waxing strips and absolutely no idea what you're doing, you should read up on some at-home waxing tips and tricks from an expert. You need a strategy — especially if you're a beginner.
There are a number of DIY waxing kits on the market to help you get started. Once you have your supplies, you're ready to get down to business. But just like with professional waxing, there are a few rules and best practices for at-home waxing that will keep you from irritating your skin and help you get the best possible hair-removal results.
Whether you're looking to do a full Brazilian wax or an at-home bikini wax, Natalie Ismiel, brand ambassador and expert at Nad's, outlined everything you need to know about how to wax safely at home. Keep reading for her tips.
At-Home Waxing Tip #1: Find the Right At-Home Waxing Kit
There's no shortage of at-home waxing kits and formulas on the market — which makes finding the right one a little daunting. "If you are a first-time user, I recommend using a wax kit," Ismiel tells POPSUGAR. She recommends Nad's Natural Sugar Wax ($13): "It's applied with a spatula, as opposed to ready-to-use wax strips."
Kits give the user more control over where the wax is going on the skin and how thickly it's being applied. This, Ismiel explains, is essential when waxing coarser hair.
"Depending on the use, sugar can be used as a great exfoliator when used raw or mixed with honey, effectively removing dead skin cells from the body as a body scrub," Ismiel says. "When melted or turned into molasses, it serves as the main component in wax formulas, which helps grip onto the hairs for effective yet gentle hair removal at home."
Because sugar is also a natural humectant, it helps moisturize the skin and leaves it feeling smooth. To lower your risk of irritating the skin, Ismiel emphasizes the importance of looking for natural formulas without added colors, fragrances, and chemicals when shopping for a home waxing kit.
At-Home Waxing Tip #2: Prep the Skin For Waxing
Many of the rules for professional waxing apply here: exfoliating is key. "It's important that your skin is clean and free of oils, dirt, and moisturizers," Ismiel says. "A well-timed scrub has plenty of benefits. It removes dead skin cells that block the hair follicle (the cause of undesirable ingrown hairs). Exfoliating also boosts circulation, encourages cell regeneration, and improves skin tone and appearance."
At-Home Waxing Tip #3: Treat Ingrown Hairs Before They Appear
Those pesky ingrown hairs are an unfortunate side effect of even the best salon waxes, but you can help minimize your chances of getting ingrown hairs by taking a few precautionary steps. Ismiel recommends applying a hot compress for 15 minutes a few times a day after you remove hair and exfoliating regularly — but only after your skin has healed from the wax.
At-Home Waxing Tip #4: Make Sure the Hair Is the Right Length
You have to grow out your hair in between salon waxing appointments, and the same goes for at-home sessions. "Hair needs to be a minimum of 1/8 inches long," Ismiel says. "Trim hair to this length if it looks longer."
At-Home Waxing Tip #5: Read Instructions and Know the Proper Steps
Every waxing kit comes with a set of instructions printed on the box — read them. This will minimize your chances of mistakes and irritation. "Sometimes, the pain can be caused by anxiety you may be feeling about waxing," Ismiel says. "Relax your body and take deep breaths. Once you've done your first wax, you'll find that every wax after that gets easier and less painful."
At-Home Waxing Tip #6: Reduce Your Chances of Pain
If you're worried about the pain, Ismiel recommends that you not drink alcohol or coffee before waxing, as it can make you more sensitive. "It's best not to wax during your period, as you will likely be more sensitive and prone to experience discomfort," she adds. Certain oral prescriptions or topical retinol can also increase your chances of irritation, so if you use either of those, consult a professional before waxing at home.
At-Home Waxing Tip #7: Be Careful When Tackling the Bikini or Brazilian Area
Bikini and Brazilian waxes are the most difficult to navigate at home — but they're not impossible. "Be sure that you are using a product that specifically states that it's suitable for the bikini area, as these formulas are gentler to the skin," Ismiel says. "Before waxing, find a position you are comfortable with and gives you good visibility."
When you're ready to get started, she recommends that you work in small areas, starting from the outside and working your way in to the more sensitive areas. "If using a hard wax, let the wax cool on your skin for about 30 seconds until it is still soft and pliable but no longer sticky to touch," Ismiel says. "If wax is left on the skin too long, it becomes hard and difficult to remove (after approximately one minute)."
Now, for the really not-so-fun part. "Hold skin taut with one hand, and then lift the end of the wax with the fingers of your free hand," Ismiel says. "Grip the wax, and with one quick motion, remove the wax close and parallel to the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth."
At-Home Waxing Tip #8: Avoid These Common Mistakes
Waxing at home is pretty straightforward, but there are a few common mistakes. First, don't try to reuse the same piece of wax twice or rewax skin that is visibly irritated; you can remove hairs that are left behind with tweezers. If any wax residue is left on your skin after removal, use baby oil or wax-removal wipes — not water — to clean it off. "Finally, if you think you want to stick with waxing, do not shave in between, as any progress you've made with thinning and weakening hair regrowth will be lost," Ismiel says.
At-Home Waxing Tip #9: Don't Forget About Aftercare
Your hair-removal routine doesn't stop when you remove the last strip of wax. Immediately afterward, reach for soft, comfortable fabrics like cotton to ensure that you don't irritate newly waxed skin. "After 24 hours, it is crucial to exfoliate your skin every day to avoid ingrown hairs," Ismiel says. "You should exfoliate at least three times per week to prevent ingrown hairs." In no time at all, you'll be a routine at-home waxer who can go through the hair-removal process with ease.