How to wax yourself at home during lockdown

We’re fast-approaching the third week of lockdown, which means those who visit the salon every month are starting to notice the impact quarantine life is having on their beauty routines.

We’ve already asked experts to tell us how to cut your hair and do nails in lockdown, but now we are turning our attention to waxing.

But before you recoil in horror at the thought of yanking wax off your nether regions, we’ve asked the professionals to share their top tips to ensure you wax efficiently and, more importantly, safely.

Know the difference between hot wax and strip wax

Abbi Ingram, a beautician and skin specialist at Blush and Blow London, says: ‘Waxing yourself can be a challenge if you are used to going into salons and getting it done by a professional.

‘Salons use a wax called ‘hot wax’ which is used as it doesn’t stick to the skin making it a lot more painless. Unfortunately not everyone has access to this type of wax at home.’

Strip wax is likely to be more freely available at the moment and is ideal for home waxing due to its easy application, strong grip and lack of sticky residue. 

Zainab Siddiq, from Ministry of Waxing, says hard wax (also known as stripless wax) tends to be the best kind for sensitive areas.

She says: ‘Hard wax does not stick to the skin it only adheres to the hair, so you can wax over the same area twice assuring a small amount of the barrier product is used again.

‘Hard wax is better for sensitive areas such as underarm and bikini as its terminal hair which is coarser than vellus hair found on your arms and legs.’

Some online retailers are currently selling hot wax and hard wax – but if you’re new to home waxing it’s best to start with strip wax because there’s also the risk of burning with the heated alternatives. Ouch.

The all-important technique 

As with any beauty treatment, there is a clear technique to waxing which (if followed correctly) should reduce pain and maximise the amount of hair pulled out.

For strip wax, Abbi says: ‘Pull back the paper and apply it to the area you wish to wax. Then rub the paper to create friction between the wax and the hair.’

Zainab adds: ‘When applying the wax please apply in the direction of hair growth and remove against the direction of hair growth to give best results and ensure the [hair] bulb is removed from the root.’

Cut wax strips down to size

Strip wax comes out of the box in very large sheets, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to use the entire sheet every time.

Abbi says: ‘If you are waxing smaller areas such as your lip or in the middle of eyebrows, ensure you cut the strips to a smaller size. This will stop any pulling of the skin and potential to take off skin rather than hair.’

Of course for larger surface areas, such as arms or legs, the whole sheet can be used, but for beginners it’s best to start small. Then, after a bit of practice, you can work your way up to larger patches.

Stretch

It would be fair to assume that the pain from waxing comes from the hair that’s being pulled out. But this isn’t the case. The pain actually comes from the skin being tugged.

A way to prevent this from happening is to hold the skin taut.

Abbi says: ‘With any waxing at home you need to make sure you are stretching the skin as tight as you can. This is especially important when waxing areas such as your bikini line. 

‘This helps to avoid a pinch-like bruise on the skin where the skin has been pulled to much.’

And nobody wants that.

Sanitise

Cleanliness has been at the forefront of our minds for the past two months and this mentality must apply to waxing, too. Doing so, will help prevent post-wax irritation and spots.

Zainab says: ‘When using any waxing product, it’s important to sanitise the area prior. This will remove any perspiration and bacteria and give a clean base for the product to adhere too without causing irritation to the epidermis [the top layer of skin].’

So make sure the skin is dry, clean and un-moisturised.

Prep with baby powder

Zainab says: ‘If using a strip wax product, a small amount of talc can be applied as a barrier to protect the epidermis. 

‘Strip wax does adhere quite firmly to the epidermis, I would advise only going over the area once as repeating the step could remove parts of the epidermis that has active cell membranes.’

A light coating of baby powder beforehand can help to prevent the wax from pulling on your skin as you rip it off.

Leave enough time

Zainab: ‘Waxing should be completed every four to six weeks as it takes 30 -45 days for the hair to go through the hair growth process.’

Ideally, hair should be about ¼ of an inch. If it’s too long, the process might be more painful and any shorter will make it difficult for the hair to be removed.

Don’t forget you can always trim hair down with scissors, so always better to be too long than too short.

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