While the hair atop your head may be your crowning glory, the unsightly caterpillar across your lips is likely the bane of your existence. Hair can be a tricky, tricky thing. But unwanted hair is even trickier! From the unibrow to the hairs on our toes, there are lots of things to take into consideration when looking to remove hair. To get out of this hairy situation, we’ve called upon esthetician and wax expert Allison O’Connor to tell us everything you need to know!
Before You Get Down to Business
Hair removal is always easiest if the skin under the hair is well cared for. If you’re getting a wax, use a good moisturizer for the area beforehand. For example, use a moisturizing body lotion or oil for your arms, back or stomach (we love The Body Shop’s Coconut Beautifying Oil). For your face, choose a moisturizer that best fits your skin type.
If you decide to go see a professional, be sure to discuss all the medications you’re taking with her before the wax. “Your esthetician should be well informed on what type of prescriptions have wax contraindications. Retin A, Accutane and Tazarac are some of the commonly used medications that are a big no-no for wax clients,” says O’Connor, adding that bleaching creams can make your skin very sensitive to wax as well.
For DIY Hair Removal
Don’t have time or money to go to a professional? You have several options. For brows, tweezers can be a girl’s best friend. If you’re taking the tweezer route, do yourself a favor and step away from the mirror every few minutes to take a good look at your brows from farther away. Should you decide to wax at home, test the temperature of the wax on your wrist before applying to your face, suggest O’Connor.
Before you make any moves to remove hair from your face, make sure you’ve grown your hair out long enough. While 2-3 weeks of hair growth is technically enough, ideally you’d allow the hair even more time to grow. For eyebrows, make sure you’re very familiar with the shape and style you want before placing your brows in the hands of an expert.
Back Hair, Arms & Legs
“For legs, arms and back, the honey wax is going to work best,” says O’Connor. “Apply a very thin layer in the direction of the hair growth and pull the wax strip the opposite direction parallel to the skin.”
Underarms, Stomach & Toes
For smaller areas, such as underarms, stomach and toes, O’Connor recommends using a hard wax because it’s safer. “It melts at a lower temperature and you can go over an area more than once if needed,” O’Connor says.
If you have a high tolerance for pain, you might be a good candidate for performing your own bikini wax at home. If so, O’Connor recommends you lie down on a towel and do tiny sections at a time, always applying wax in the direction of the hair growth and removing the opposite direction. “Start from the outside and work your way in, alternating sides,” she says. “This way, if you decide you’ve had enough, you won’t look like a half-finished construction zone and can continue on with life as usual.”
What to Know After
To reduce inflammation shortly after a wax, consider taking an over-the-counter pain killer. After the inflammation has gone down slightly, use a soothing lotion that lists aloe as a main ingredient, such as Kiehl’s Hand & Body Lotion With Aloe Vera & Oatmeal.
Do you have problem hair you want to get rid of? Tell us all about it in the comments.
About the Author: As managing editor, Jessyca works with the team to develop the Makeup.com vision and bring it to life on the page.