Whether you’re unable to get to your usual salon wax appointment, or simply want to take things into your own hands (quite literally), at-home waxing is totally doable – as long as you follow a certain set of guidelines and have the right waxing kit.
We spoke to Ministry Of Waxing General UK Manager, Zainab Siddiq and skincare and Nair waxing expert Charlotte Connoley to get the pro tips and tricks for perfecting your at-home wax minus the mess, pain and patchiness. Because hair removal gone wrong is not what we’re aiming for here people.
Read on for the expert way to wax every part of your body…
How long should your hair be before you wax?
The key question. Too short and your wax won’t have anything to hold on to, too long and you’ll need to trim first. ‘As long as the hair is at least half a centimetre the wax will shrink wrap against it and remove hair shaft and hair root,’ says Siddiq. ‘When waxing, if the hair is too long it can become stuck either to the epidermis itself or onto the fabric strip being removed.
‘If the hair is longer than 1.5 centimetres it should be gently trimmed to avoid getting tangled together. This will pervert erythema and causing undue damage to the first layer of the skin.’
How To Wax At Home
1.Prep Your Skin
It might be tempting to skip the skin prep, but put the time in and your wax results will speak for themselves.’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,’ explains Siddiq.
Don’t forget the exfoliation as well. ‘Make sure there are no sores or irritation and that the top layer of the skin is fully exfoliated to remove any dead skin cells and free ingrown hairs,’ says Connoley. ‘This can be achieved by dry body brushing or using a manual exfoliating product in the shower or bath. Exfoliating the skin should be carried out 24 hours before any waxing to ensure that there is no redness, irritation or skin sensitivity before waxing.’
2. Choose Your Wax
When it comes to which wax method to use, there’s pros and cons for using wax strips or a wax pot. But which one is the right one for you?
Over to the pros…
Pros: ‘Using waxing strips can be a lot quicker, less messy and dangerous and you don’t need much technique. At home wax strips are better for larger areas as it’s quicker to apply and remove.
Cons: ‘Wax strips can adhere to the skin which can end up damaging it so they’re not ideal for sensitive skin.’
ELLE Tip: Waxing in the wrong direction is a common mistake. Always take off the strip in the opposite direction of the hair growth while holding the skin taught. Removing the strip in one quick swift movement parallel to the skin. The quicker the strip is removed the better the results.
Pros: ‘Wax in a wax pot will heated up (generally hard wax is around 55 degrees and soft wax 70-80 degrees). This provides a heat to the epidermis enabling the hair follicle to open to ease in a better removal.’
Cons: ‘It can be messier to apply than a wax strip as it involves spreading the wax evenly on the skin’s surface.’
ELLE Tip: Check the wax temperature on your wrist prior to applying a large amount to the skin to ensure it’s not too hot.
WHAT IS SUGAR WAXING?
‘Just like waxing, sugared wax or sugaring is a natural way to remove body hair,’ explains Connoley. ‘It’s made up of lemon sugar and water and has been a way of removing unwanted hair for centuries.
‘There are no sticks or strips involved making this procedure more environmentally friendly. The ball of putty like sugar is manoeuvered and rolled around the area taking with it hair from the root. It’s great for sensitive skin and finer hairs.’
3. Choose your body part
HOW TO WAX YOUR… ARMPITS
‘Underarm hair can grow in all directions meaning you will need to shave it in a crosshatch pattern to ensure all of the hairs are removed. This can leave the sensitive underarm area irritated and sore if the blade is not sharp enough and the correct shaving product is not used,’ says Connoley.
‘Waxing the underarms is a much better way to ensure all hairs are removed in one quick movement without disrupting the epidermis.
‘Use a skin barrier such as a small amount of talcum powder to protect the skin while you wax. Hard wax is better to use under the arms as the hair is coarser and it only sticks to the hair and not the skin.’
Siddiq’s Top Tip – ‘Keep your arm stretched up to add in the tightness of the skin for removal.’
HOW TO WAX YOUR… LEGS
‘Waxing will leave you hair free for 4 weeks if done well and is safe and effective at removing leg hair,’ advises Connoley. ‘Using at home strips is quicker and less messy.
‘Make sure you have exfoliated the legs and knees 24 hours beforehand to ensure the skin is free from any dead skin cells and that the hairs are free. Use a talc to protect the skin before you start waxing.
‘When removing the waxing strip, always go against the hair growth. Start at the ankle and work upwards.
Connoley’s Top Tip – ‘Don’t take a hot shower or bath before waxing as this will heighten the pain.’
HOW TO WAX YOUR.. BIKINI LINE
‘Hard wax is recommended on pubic hair as it penetrates deeper into the dermis and can be sensitive to remove,’ explains Siddiq. ‘Keep the patches small as the hair is coarse, apply in the direction of hair removal and remove against.’
Connoley’s Top Tip – ‘Technique is key when waxing the bikini line. Using a fast and upwards motion instead of a slow outwards motion will give you a far better result without damaging or bruising the skin.’This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
HOW TO WAX YOUR… LIPS/FACE
‘Before waxing any part of the face or lip you need to make sure you haven’t been using any retinols, Vitamin C and salicylic acids for a few days prior as this will make your skin more sensitive,’ advises Connoley.
‘Make sure you treat the skin where you want to wax beforehand with micellar water to get rid of any excess oils in the skin which can interfere with the wax.
Siddiq’s Top Tip – ‘Some hairs may be too fine to be removed with a hard wax, so tweezing can complete the look.’
As important as it is to take the time to prep your skin, it’s just as essential to commit the minutes to giving your skin some love post-wax.
‘Apply an antibacterial lotion to close and clean the pores followed by an aftercare product like aloe vera,’ says Siddiq. ‘Avoid any further heat treatments for 24 hours and exfoliate after 4 days to help with ingrowing hairs and build-up of dead skin cells.’
‘Avoid sunbathing or any heat treatments such as saunas, steam rooms, hot baths and swimming as they can irritate the skin. Applying deodorant, self-tan or make-up should be avoided for 24 hours,’ advises Connoley.
What To Avoid When At-Home Waxing
Understandably when it comes to hair removal and hot wax within the vicinity of your own living room, things can go wrong. Here’s what to avoid:
- Don’t drink alcohol thinking it will numb the pain. It wont! It will leave you with a horrible result and can leave you with heightened sensitivity.
- Don’t wax around the time of your period it will heighten your pain level.
- Don’t rush! Make sure you have enough time to wax. Waxing should never be done in a hurry.
- Cross contamination– make sure all areas are sanitised and wash your hands before and after treatment.
- Don’t wax over the area more than twice for soft wax and three times for hard wax this can cause part of the epidermis to be removed alongside the hair.