We’re deep into quarantine, and top of mind for many people is their hair. And no, we’re not talking about the hair on our head. At more than thirteen weeks into COVID-19 lockdown, avid waxers are likely experiencing serious withdrawal when it comes to their monthly or bi-monthly hair removal, and wondering if they can take the DIY route without their fave esthetician’s help.
But unlike touching up your roots or doing your own pedicure, waxing is a bit more technical than therapeutic. With that in mind, Jessie Frampton, co-founder of Fuzz Wax Bar, walks us through how to give yourself a stress- and pain-free wax at home.
How do I prep my skin before giving myself an at-home wax?
Skin prep is crucial before a wax to make the hair removal process as quick and painless as possible. Frampton recommends exfoliating the day before, but not the day of, and showering right before you apply your wax. Fuzz Wax Bar sells their own body scrub that’s made of small salt and sugar grains for a gentle exfoliation, but you can use whatever scrubbing agent or tool (like a loofah or dry brush) you’re accustomed to as long as it’s non-irritating and doesn’t contain plastic microbeads—a major environmental no no.
“Make sure the skin is free of any lotions, gels or oils [right before waxing], because this may interfere with the wax. Super key,” she says. “I also don’t recommend exfoliating the day of, since waxing is its own form of exfoliation, so that would leave the skin too raw and sensitive.”
The day-before exfoliation will ensure the wax sticks only to your hair and nothing else on the skin, and a warm shower day-of will help open up your pores and soften your skin, making the hair removal process a little less painful.
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What tools do I need to give myself a DIY wax?
Now that your skin’s prepped, it’s time to get started on your wax. For more sensitive body areas like the bikini line, underarms and face, Fuzz uses hard wax, which is used without strips and only pulls on the hairs, not the skin. For larger and less sensitive body areas like legs and arms (and back or chest for men), soft wax, used with strips, is the way to go.
If you’re like most people and don’t have wax sitting around at home, many salons have also started selling their own waxing kits (as well as mini wax heaters) for their clients. Bonus: This is also an easy way to support your favourite local businesses while stuck at home. Most kits include the essentials: wax, strips, wooden spatulas, and products like mini body scrubs and oils for pre- and post-treatment.
If you’re cool to make do without a wax heater, Frampton recommends putting your wax (either soft or hard) into a mason jar and gradually heating it by submerging it in a pot of water. “I don’t recommend microwaving,” she says. “It gets way too hot too quickly, and it’s hard to test the temperature that way.” The easiest way to know if your wax is ready is when it has the consistency of honey and slowly drips off your stick, but isn’t too runny. She also recommends testing it on your wrist before to ensure it isn’t too hot and that you don’t experience any sort of skin reaction.
How do I give myself a wax at home?
Pamper your skin
Before applying your wax, Frampton recommends putting a little bit of baby powder on your skin if you’re using a soft wax formula, or a touch of body oil if you’re using a hard wax. Both will help protect your skin from the wax and make sure that only your hair gets pulled. Because, ouch.
Apple wax in small sections
If it’s your first time doing an at-home wax, small sectioning is key. Frampton recommends taking a little bit of wax and applying it in the direction of your hair, then removing it in the opposite direction. “This technique is helpful to make sure that you get all of the hair the first try and it gets pulled directly from the root,” she advises. “This helps avoid any breakage.”
Small sections are also super important because once you take a closer look at your hair, you’ll notice that in certain areas— like your underarms or bikini—it may be growing in different directions and you’ll need to target each hair one by one.
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Strike a pose
When it comes to positioning your body for optimal hair removal, Frampton says that most salons have their own protocols on how to ask their clients to sit during appointments, but when you’re in the driver’s seat, it’s however you feel most comfortable. “If you have a partner or friend that can help you for trickier spots, that would be ideal, but if you’re doing it on your own, just stick to your small sections and sit how you feel most confident,” she says.
Skip the DIY Brazilian
Another key point is to only apply wax in areas where you have a clear view of your skin, which brings Brazilian waxes into question. While there may be brave souls out there giving themselves home Brazilian waxes right now, that’s not something Frampton would recommend. “Waxing that area can get very tricky and can even result in an injury,” she says. “For all of those awkward spots where you feel like you can’t get your bearings—avoid that and leave it to the pros.” (FYI, that includes people using Fuzz’s waxing kits, which are being marketed as basic maintenance tools until you can go to your salon again. So, no Brazilians please!)
Embrace your hair, and trim if you need to
As Frampton notes, a full Brazilian probably isn’t even necessary at the moment. With everyone forced to stay indoors, it’s a great time to let it *all* grow out. “While we’re all stuck at home, there’s also an element of embracing your hair. After not getting a Brazilian for a really long time while in quarantine mode, a cleaned up bikini line feels just as good,” she says. “Basic maintenance is all we’re looking for and recommending, and just trim if you need to.”
Take a deep breath and go for it
When it’s finally time to pull on the strip of soft wax or strip-free hard wax, Frampton recommends holding your skin taut, taking in a deep breath and exhaling as you remove it. This will not only help you stay calm, but the deep breathing helps manage the pain as well.
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What’s the aftercare for an at-home wax?
Congrats, you survived! To help keep your skin cool, comfortable and infection- or reaction-free, Frampton recommends these following tips:
- Avoid putting products on the skin that aren’t waxing-approved since they may cause a reaction or infection due to pores being exposed. (a.k.a. Only use what’s in your DIY wax kit.)
- Wear loose fitting clothing to help your skin breathe for the first day or so, until the area feels less sensitive.
- Avoid hot showers or baths for the first 24 hours since your skin will be more vulnerable to irritation and bacteria.
- Once you pass the 24-hour mark, exfoliate your skin every two to three days. Moisturize daily to help maintain your wax and avoid pesky in-grown hairs.
If you do find yourself with angry red bumps or other signs of infection, contact your doctor to arrange a check-up.
Any final pieces of advice for a successful at-home wax?
“I’ve found that by utilizing the same techniques and process that we do in the wax bar, you’ll get the same result from home,” she says. “If you follow all of these tips from start to finish, it really isn’t that bad. But if you’re applying huge strips like you’re a waxing expert and are pulling in the wrong direction and aren’t breathing before, things are going to get messy real quick.” Noted!