Waxing: The Challenges and the Benefits

by Patti Rice

I’ll admit that I don’t know of anyone who actually enjoys having hair ripped out by the roots. But, I still recommend waxing as it is one of the most effective hair removal options available. It can actually reduce hair growth long term and leaves you hair-free for a much longer period of time than shaving does. Now that summer is in full swing, I thought now would be a good time to share some waxing tips and advice.

Because of the difference in hair growth and texture, time of waxing sessions varies from person to person. If you have not been waxed before or it has been several months, it may take a little more time than if you were waxed regularly. Hair needs to be at least one-quarter inch in length to be waxed, so don’t do your esthetician any favors by shaving or trimming before your appointment. Avoid using any fragrances or lotions immediately before your appointment, and plan to stay out of the sun for 48 hours or so after – that skin is tender!

If you are a first time recipient of this lovely service, or if you haven’t been waxed in a long time, you may experience a rash or bumpiness. In most cases, this should subside in two to five days. A topical ointment with aloe and cortisone can subdue the irritation and aid the healing. If you experience ingrown hairs, those can be lessened with the use of specialty products such as Hovan’s Gold when applied topically every day. Also, your skin may not feel totally smooth with the first waxing. Depending on your hair texture, you could feel the next set of growth coming in behind – hair grows in three cycles. This is normal! This will lessen after two to three waxings. Your hair will then begin to come in at the same rate, softer, smoother and usually somewhat diminished.

With the potential of these uncomfortable and unsightly results, I highly advise that if you are planning a special event such as a wedding, vacation or special evening out, you schedule an appointment well before the special event! This will give your skin a chance to adjust to the new procedure and you can plan forward to the perfect timing sequence for your last waxing appointment before the big day. Having a full Brazilian Wax for the first time the day before you leave on your honeymoon is NOT a good idea!

Be sure your esthetician knows if you are using any retinols, glycolics, anti-aging products, or antibiotics such as Accutane, Retin-A, or Tetracycline that might affect skin sensitivity. Be honest! Otherwise you might experience unnecessary skin irritation or even slight tearing. Respect the advice of your esthetician – she only wants the best for you.

A couple tips on how to make it a little less painful: If you can take Ibuprofen, do so before the appointment.   After is okay, too, but why not reduce the discomfort in advance? Do not schedule waxing during your menstruation cycle – many women are just more sensitive during this time. And my favorite – treat yourself to your favorite dessert after your appointment!

Enjoy summer!