Go forth and be hairless. Minus the excruciating pain.
BuzzFeed Life spoke with makeup artist and esthetician for Bliss Spa Leyda about all of her weird and wonderful tricks for making waxing less painful. Whether you’re going to the salon or you’re more of a DIY wax person, these tips will save you from all kinds of hurt.
1. Start small. Like really, really small.
“When you’re waxing your legs, start with the ankle. If you’re doing your arm, start with an area the size of a large watch. It’s not easy, especially your first time, and putting wax on your entire leg area at once before removing the wax will make it dry and hard, plus it won’t remove hair from the root,” Leyda says.
2. Take a yoga class before getting a Brazilian.
“If you want to go the full monty, I suggest being very flexible. Take a yoga class before a Brazilian because you’ll just be more limber. The more flexible you are, the better the waxer can do,” Leyda says. If the process goes faster, you’ll be in pain for less time. WIN.
3. Before waxing your own eyebrows, mark the section with white eyeliner.
Doing your own eyebrows is no easy feat. Here’s the trick: Grab an eyeliner and mark the areas where you want to apply the wax so you have a guideline. Once you’re finished, remove any excess wax with baby oil.
4. Let the wax cool way down before doing anything to your bikini zone.
“When you’re talking pubic areas, a little cooler is always better. What’s warm on your hand is hot down there. People apply it way too hot and that can actually take some skin off,” Leyda explained. Proceed with caution.
5. This numbing cream really works.
“At the spa, we use it for really serious jobs, like laser hair removal, but I swear by this numbing cream. Bring it and put it on 30 minutes before a wax,” Leyda suggests.
Get it here.
6. About 30 minutes prior to a wax, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Whichever over-the-counter pain reliever you usually take — Advil, ibuprofen, aspirin — can be taken about 30 minutes prior to waxing to help minimize the pain.
7. While you’re waxing at home, have something to distract you.
“Netflix is the best thing. I like to watch Orange Is the New Black while I do my own waxing at home. You don’t even focus on that pain,” says Leyda.
8. Beforehand, use an exfoliating scrub on the areas you’ll be waxing.
Exfoliating first will get rid of the layer of dead skin that’s likely trapping hairs. You’ll allow the hair to come to the surface, so the hair can be properly pulled from the root on the first try.
9. Let your hair grow to one-quarter of an inch before waxing, and don’t be afraid to ask for a trim if necessary.
Hair that’s shorter an one-quarter of an inch is too short to be pulled from the root. Anything longer? You’ll just be pulling at the hair without removing it from the source, which means major pain. If your esthetician doesn’t mention a trim, don’t be afraid to ask.
10. Put a lightweight, soothing lotion in your fridge the night before your wax.
Your armpits will thank you.
11. Ask your esthetician for a cold compress if your skin is extra sensitive.
“If it’s your first time, ask your esthetician for a cold compress. It can just be cold water right after a wax, or if you’re in a more upscale salon, there may be a soothing rose water toner available too,” Leyda says.
12. Once you decide to jump on the waxing train, you should stop shaving.
Shaving hair makes it grow in more dense, and the first time won’t be perfect. “Once you wax, you have to commit to waxing. When your hair starts growing back, it won’t grow back as dense, which means waxing will be much less painful.” Leyda says. Your first wax will take off hairs long enough at that point in time during a particular growing cycle.
“By the time you have your fourth consecutive wax without shaving in between, all the hair will be growing on the same pattern and cycle, which means you’ll be getting that super smooth skin you want.”
13. Steer clear of any topical treatment with fragrance or alcohol for at least 24 hours post-wax.
“Fragranced products contain alcohol, which can dry out and irritate your skin and even make skin peel,” Leyda cautions.
14. During an eyebrow wax at the salon, you shouldn’t be sitting completely upright.
“Ideally, you want to be laying down or angled backwards while you have your eyebrows waxed at the salon, otherwise you can get wax on your eyelashes or other parts of your eye, and you’ll have to use a ton of oil to get that off,” Leyda says.
15. If you feel awkward or uncomfortable making conversation with your esthetician, grab a magazine.
Waxing can cause some anxiety, which is only made worse by the awkward positions you have to get into. If talking to your esthetician just gives you a case of the awkward sweats, grab a magazine or your phone to distract you instead. They’ll understand.
16. Have realistic expectations about the at-home products you buy from the drugstore.
You probably won’t get a perfect full leg or Brazilian wax unless you go to a salon. However, at-home strips for the face can be great for small areas like the lip and chin. Leyda suggests heating the strips with a blow dryer for an ideal temperature.
Leyda loves these Bliss Facial Wax Strips.
17. After your wax, avoid tight clothing, scented lotion, and direct sun exposure for about 24 hours.
“Body lotion that contains alpha hydroxy acid can tingle and burn, and a tanning bed or direct sun exposure will be nothing but irritation. Freshly waxed skin is more likely to burn, so be extra careful for about 24 hours after waxing,” Leyda suggests.
18. During your at-home wax, use one hand to hold skin taut and the other hand to pull the wax strip…especially if you’re doing a Brazilian.
For those daring enough to take on doing a Brazilian wax at home, “You have to be laying down. Put one hand on your thigh, holding the skin taut and pulling towards the floor. One hand should be pulling the skin taut and in the opposite direction of the area, and the other hand should be pulling up to remove the wax,” Leyda says. The same goes for any other area you’re waxing on your own. Use both hands to work together and you’ll have much better (less painful!) results.
19. Never get waxed right before or during your period.
“You’re super sensitive from about five days before through the end of your period. Avoid any and all waxing at this time if possible,” Leyda says. After your period you’ll be fine — in fact, a woman’s pain tolerance is highest about three to four days after her period.