The Best Expert Tips for Surviving Your First Wax

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The Best Expert Tips for Surviving Your First Wax
Photo: STYLECASTER

Why are we talking about waxing just weeks before another winter season? Although our hemlines usually drop with temperatures, this is actually the perfect time to give waxing a test run, regardless of your experience or tolerance for pain.

For starters, we know there are few things scarier than the idea of stinging hot wax and a sharp rip revealing red, irritated and still hairy skin. We’ve also read our fair share of waxing horror stories and harbored the rational fear of not wanting to throw our vagine into Dante-esque pain. With all that being said, waltzing into a spa fully prepared is important, to say the least.

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Welcome to Waxing 101. With the help of Lora Keyles from New York City’s Eve SalonAmy McLain Master Esthetician, and Jessica Johnson the Founder of Jessica Johnson Beauty, we’re answering those beginner questions you’ve been afraid to ask out loud.

For instance, does your waxer need to know everything and just how how long does your hair have to be in order to be waxable? Yep, we’re going there. Keep reading for 7 important points to keep in mind before your first appointment.

Choose a Good Waxer

When it comes to reviewing waxers, all three women emphasize referrals and years of experience because it’s a sure-fire way to know the technician is trusted by customers and able to maintain a job in the industry. Johnson warns, though, about using waxing chains because of the high turnover rate.

“The odds are you’re usually getting someone who hasn’t been waxing very long,” she says. “Many clients think ‘it’s just waxing,’ but the truth is, there’s a real art and skill to doing it well.”

Make Sure the Salon is Clean

It’s easy to look at something and know if it’s clean or not (most of the time), but when it comes to waxing salons, there are specific things to look for. The experts say your waxer should always wear gloves, never double dip, and have a clean waxing pot.

Let Your Hair Really Grow

You’ve probably heard your hair needs to be long for waxing, but do you know why? The 3/4 inch rule, or as Keyles says, as long as a grain of rice, is in place because of your hair growth cycle.

McLain says, “The reason you want to wait for the hair to be longer is because you have three growth cycles of hair, and they grow at different times. Waiting for the hair to be the proper length will allow all of the growth cycles to be out, and you will get a much better wax. When you don’t wait the proper amount of time, you may remove two growth cycles, and this means a week later, you’ll have hair already growing back in. A good wax should last you a couple weeks before you even start to see any regrowth.”

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Prepare for the Pain

Although Johnson reveals waxing is “bottom line uncomfortable,” there are ways to minimize the impending pain.

Keyles says you should always tell your esthetician about any contraindicative medication you’re on beforehand. This is medication that can affect your skin sensitivity and even lead to it being ripped off. So, speak up if you’re keen on keeping your skin in tact. 

As for prep you can do on your own, all three ladies recommended taking Advil or Tylenol 30 minutes to an hour before the appointment. Keyles says throwing back a shot is okay, while McLain says to “avoid caffeine right before your appointment (caffeine can make our nerve endings be on alert making our skin more sensitive), avoid right before your period (our bodies are just more sensitive in general), and avoid any aggressive exfoliation.”

MORE: 7 Bloggers Share Their Favorite Winter Skin Care Products

Start Small and Build

Figuring out what to wax may be one of the reasons you’ve kept putting it on your back burner. The pros have spoken, and there’s really no best way to do it. You can go for the full turkey and get that Brazilian or you can start with half-leg to master your pain tolerance. It’s truly a matter of preference and guts.

Practice A+ Aftercare

Ok, so you got the wax. Now what? Should you not wear underwear for the next five days? According to Johnson, cotton underwear actually helps protect tender and sensitive skin after a Brazilian. And even if you’re not getting a Brazilian, cotton underwear won’t hurt you. What can hurt you is tight clothing, working out, or lots of friction. McLain says aweat and buildup are breeding ground for bacteria that can cause irritation and pesky pimples.

If you’re a runner or just extremely active, Johnson recommends applying 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream to the area that was waxed for the first few days. This ingredient is the magic bullet to clearing acne and it works the same to heal a post wax breakout. You can find 2.5% benzoyl peroxide products at most drugstores.

And if you’re just someone who likes to veg on the couch, but has sensitive skin, Keyles says you can use Hydrocortisone Cream or Neosporin to lessen the irritation. Lastly, the number one worry every first waxer has on their mind…

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What About the Embarrassment?

No surprise here: all three professionals have literally seen it all! So whatever you have, they’ve probably already dealt with. Don’t be shy about expressing your concerns to the technician. They should be able to make you feel comfortable and safe. And if you’re having major anxiety, McLain says “estheticians are similar to nurses or health professionals. They aren’t looking at you, but more of the task at hand! She is there to help you, and make you feel (and look) good!”

Waxing is definitely intimidating, but these tips and tricks should put you at ease. Take a chance, get prepped, and rip some hair out of your body– casual Saturday.

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