DIY waxing mistakes can cause more than frustration, and wasted time and money. Missed hair, breakage, unnecessary pain, redness, and even ingrown hairs can result from giving yourself a bad wax. To counter this, learn about the common blunders made at home, and how to prevent and avoid them. You’ll have a better experience removing your hair and saving money.
Everyone wants to make waxing less painful.
The problem is, some techniques do more harm than good. So we’ve put together a guide to show you how to fix these mistakes and wax the right way!
1. Waxing right before your period
Hormones can affect pain tolerance, and the hormone Prostaglandin peaks right before your period. That means waxing will be even more painful.
For best results, try waxing one or two weeks after your period – that’s when your pain tolerance will be highest.
Whether you let it grow, get a Brazilian wax or shave it into a nice little flower, what you choose to do with your pubic hair is entirely your choice. But if waxing is your thing, you may’ve heard that you should never get waxed during your period. We’re here to debunk this myth and tell you that you’re good to go – you can get waxed on your period.
Tips for getting waxed on your period
Contrary to common belief, you can get waxed on your period. You just need to wear a fresh tampon or clean menstrual cup to your appointment. During your period your skin is at its most sensitive. So, you may also want to let your wax therapist know you’re on your period, so they’ll know what to expect and be as gentle as possible on you.
Managing the pain
If you’ve got a low pain threshold, you might want to adjust your wax appointment to when you’re not on your period, just to save yourself some pain! If you can’t move your appointment, or simply don’t want to that’s absolutely fine. Instead, you could take a couple of ibuprofen half an hour before your appointment to keep the pain to a minimum.
Waxing is not the place for pads
Period pads and panty liners definitely have their place, but on the waxing table is not one of them! While you’re absolutely fine to get a wax while on your period, you’re better off using a tampon or cup instead.
You’ll also want to make sure you change your tampon or clean out your cup right before your wax to minimise the risk or worry of period leaks during your wax appointment.
2. Not holding the skin-tight
You might think that all of the pain from waxing comes from the hair being ripped from the roots. But that’s actually not true.
When you pull the wax, it also pulls on your skin, which creates additional pain.
The solution is to hold the skin tight in the opposite direction from the pulling motion. This keeps the skin from moving too much and allows the wax to work more efficiently.
3. Going over the same area twice
Wax doesn’t always remove 100% of the hairs. So it can be tempting to simply wax the same area again.
Don’t do it! Waxing (with soft wax) removes a layer of skin cells, and waxing the same area twice will cause much more irritation. It’s better to use tweezers to remove any stray hairs.
There is one exception though. If you’re using hard wax, it’s okay to go over the same area twice. That’s because hard wax doesn’t stick to the skin quite as much.
In a perfect world, all of the hairs would come off in one go, so you wouldn’t need to tweeze or re-wax (actually, in a perfect world we wouldn’t need to wax at all!). Although it may be difficult to get to 100%, it is possible to improve your technique with practice. Hopefully, the other tips below will help you get there!
4. Removing Wax Too Slowly
The strip needs to be removed quickly in one motion from one side, across, and past the other side. Your natural reaction will be to hesitate, go only so far, or pull upwards instead of all the way over to the other side.
Do some practice pulls without the wax—just using the strip—to get the feel of the movement. Or, ask for someone to help. They’ll probably have less hesitation when ripping off the strip than you would.
5. Using the wrong kind of wax
The “right” type of wax depends on the part of the body you are waxing.
Where should you use hard wax?
- Bikini area
- Face (although pre-made soft wax strips can also work well for the face)
Where should you use soft wax?
Basically, soft wax is better for large areas like legs. Hard wax is usually better for tricky areas like the bikini line.
The main reason is that soft wax removes a layer of dead skin cells, so it can’t be used twice in the same area. Hard wax tends not to stick to skin as much, so you can wax the same area more than once (which you may need to do in some areas).
For more info, check out our article on hard wax vs. soft wax.
6. Pulling in the wrong direction
Have you chosen whether to use hard or soft wax? Good. You’ll need to use that information to decide HOW to use the wax.
- If you’re using soft wax, you’ll need to apply the wax in the same direction as the hair growth. Then, pull the wax in the opposite direction from the hair growth.
- If you’re using hard wax, you should apply it in the opposite direction as the hair growth, then pull it in the direction of the hair growth.
No matter what type of wax you’re using, it’s important to keep the wax “low” (near the skin) when you pull it. Don’t pull it out away from the skin – it will be much more painful.
7. Waxing when hair is too short – or too long
In order to work, wax needs something to grab onto. If the hairs are too short, the wax won’t be able to effectively remove it. It will still hurt, but the hairs will still be there – the worst of both worlds!
You also don’t want the hairs to be too long, as longer hair can be more painful to wax.
For best results, the hairs should be about 1/4 inch (6mm) long. But depending on the coarseness of the hair and the type of wax, you may need to experiment to see whether slightly longer or shorter hairs work better for you.
8. Shaving between waxing sessions
After waxing, the hair will eventually start to grow back. It may be tempting to do a quick shave to buy yourself some more time before you have to wax again.
Here’s the problem: Although shaving shortens the hair, the hair continues to get stronger and thicker. So the next time you wax, it will be more painful.
If you want to wax, it’s best to commit to that method rather than alternating waxing and shaving. Since waxing pulls hairs from the root, you’ll always be removing them before they have a chance to get thick.
9. Drinking alcohol beforehand
Many women like to have a glass of wine before waxing, believing that it will reduce the pain and/or help them relax.
Sorry, ladies – that wine is just going to make the pain worse! Alcohol actually makes your skin more sensitive.
Instead, you can take Advil or Tylenol beforehand, which should help reduce the pain a little bit.
10. Getting your skin TOO clean
With most types of waxes, washing and scrubbing your skin right before waxing could actually cause more pain and irritation. That’s because the natural oils in your skin help to lubricate the skin and prevent the wax from sticking too much – and washing your skin removes those oils.
The one exception is sugar wax. Because sugar wax is water-soluble, it’s actually a good idea to clean the area just before waxing.
You should also avoid exfoliating right before waxing. Instead, you can exfoliate one or two days before waxing, with either an exfoliating glove or brush.
11. Putting on Too Much Product
It’s easy to be seduced into thinking “Let me really coat this on so I can get every hair.” Really, you should just be applying a thin layer of wax—enough to cover the hair, no more.
If too much wax is swiped on, there’ll be a greater chance of wax staying on the hair when the strip is removed. It also will probably hurt more or cause bruising, and there’s an added chance of breaking hair above or below the skin’s surface.
12. Using lotion right after waxing
After waxing, your skin will probably be red and irritated. Time to break out the lotion, right?
Wrong. Many lotions can clog your pores and actually irritate your skin further.
You should avoid most lotions, creams, and even antiperspirants (if you’ve waxed your armpits) for 24 hours after waxing.
However, it’s okay to use Hydrocortisone cream or Aloe Vera, which may help to reduce irritation.
That’s all for now – we hope these tips will help make your waxing routine more bearable!
13. Not Keeping Wax Warm Enough
Plenty of at-home waxing kits contain microwavable wax. It’s convenient, and significantly less expensive than buying a separate wax warmer. Unfortunately, microwaves don’t always heat the wax evenly. Since the wax isn’t on a continuous heat source, it’ll cool off. Wax that isn’t meant to be used cool won’t spread or remove hair well if it isn’t warm enough.
If you’re waxing a sizable area, be sure to keep checking the consistency. Microwave as needed. If it gets too hot or runny, let it cool first. If you plan on waxing a lot, warmers are a great investment.
14. Please do not have sex before your appointment.
We can tell when you do this and you are not fooling anyone. I know some people get excited during waxing, but what I am talking about is beyond excited. This is about someone else’s excitement over your impending Brazilian. And I get it. This can be a titillating conversation on the way to your appointment, but please don’t let this turn into an episode of True Detective. Your esthetician does not need to deal with your lover’s sex-milk.
15. Do NOT trying waxing for the first time when you’re pregnant.
If you wax before you are pregnant, you can continue to wax throughout. I have waxed many women the day or week before [their] due date. Guests like to get waxed as close as possible to delivery, as they will not be able to get another wax until their doctor clears them. I encourage anyone even trying to get pregnant to start waxing now. It becomes very challenging to tend to the area as you grow, and hair becomes thicker during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. We do not encourage guests to start waxing for the first time during the third trimester. It’s something that should have been started earlier.
16. Don’t workout right before or right after a wax.
Sweat may interfere with the wax adhering to the hair. Working out right after may cause an adverse reaction to your freshly waxed skin. We recommend waiting 24 to 48 hours before hitting the gym, especially if you are new to waxing. You want to keep the area clean to avoid irritation.
- 1 1. Waxing right before your period
- 2 2. Not holding the skin-tight
- 3 3. Going over the same area twice
- 4 4. Removing Wax Too Slowly
- 5 5. Using the wrong kind of wax
- 6 6. Pulling in the wrong direction
- 7 7. Waxing when hair is too short – or too long
- 8 8. Shaving between waxing sessions
- 9 9. Drinking alcohol beforehand
- 10 10. Getting your skin TOO clean
- 11 11. Putting on Too Much Product
- 12 12. Using lotion right after waxing
- 13 13. Not Keeping Wax Warm Enough
- 14 14. Please do not have sex before your appointment.
- 15 15. Do NOT trying waxing for the first time when you’re pregnant.
- 16 16. Don’t workout right before or right after a wax.