At-home waxing is a topic that both fascinates and terrifies us—on one hand, the convenience factor can't be beat, especially if you're a seasoned vet who is confident enough to take the reins from your technician, but on the other, the chances of a mishap increase dramatically if you aren' sure what you're doing. In an attempt to take the intimidation factor out of the process, we put together a guide with all the info you need to know before embarking on a DIY wax. Keep reading to learn more now.
How should I prepare the area?
First things first, you'll want to give your skin a thorough scrub. Exfoliating beforehand removes dead skin, preventing ingrown hairs while also freeing those trapped just below the surface. Your hair should be about the length of a grain of rice for the best results, and add a sprinkle of baby powder to keep your skin moisture-free. This makes the hairs easier for the wax to adhere. You'll want to apply your wax in the same direction your hair naturally grows, but when yanking it off, be sure to pull in the opposite direction. Of course, popping an ibuprofen roughly 30 minutes before you get down to business is recommended if you're particularly sensitive.
Should I work with pre-waxed strips, or hard wax?
Depends on where you're waxing. For larger areas like your legs, underarms, or arms, we recommend using pre-waxed strips like Nads's ($9; target.com), which have a sheer application, and save a lot of time. Try a beeswax-infused formula for sensitive areas like your upper lip, and for your bikini line, a hard wax is your best bet. The thicker texture is less likely to drip and burn your skin, and you don't need any strips to remove it.
Hold up—I can do a bikini wax at home?
Oh yes, but in the words of Coldplay, nobody said it was easy. Grab a hand mirror to better cover those hard-to-reach areas, and sit down on the floor to get comfortable—you'll be there a while. Work in small sections (roughly 2 to 3-inch squares), and let the wax dry for 15 to 30 seconds before lifting the edges to pull.
What should I do afterwards?
If a few stragglers are left behind, don't layer on the wax for a second round—your skin is likely sore enough as it is, so we recommend using tweezers to tackle any individual hairs. Use an oil-based product to clean up any drops or residue, then layer a product infused with glycolic acid over the top to prevent ingrowns. We love The Cool Fix by Shaveworks ($26; sephora.com), which imparts an ice-cold soothing sensation on contact.