You, a Gorilla and Hair Follicles
Whether or not you believe people are similar to apes, you may be surprised to learn that humans have more hair follicles per square centimeter of skin than a gorilla does. The difference is that most of the hair on human skin is not visible. When you prepare your skin for waxing, keep in mind that you will remove both visible and non-visible hairs [source: Proctor & Gamble].
Prepping Your Legs for Waxing
One major advantage of waxing is that it provides better and longer-lasting results than shaving does. But once you've bidden your razor a not-so-fond farewell, you need to do some prep work before you can officially say hello to waxing -- and make it a positive experience.
Several pre-waxing steps involve a little additional planning to ward off any unnecessary discomfort to your skin. For example, try to avoid scheduling your wax in the two to three days before or after your period. Skin is more sensitive during this time. It also helps to take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen about an hour before waxing [source: Cosmopolitan].
Making sure your leg hair is the right length before you begin is important, too. If your hair isn't at least a quarter inch (about 6 millimeters) long, the wax will not be able to grip it. On the other hand, hair that's much longer than a quarter of an inch can be more painful to remove [source: TeensHealth]. It can be difficult to wait around for hair to grow long enough so you can wax it, but the payoff is that you will have about three weeks of smoothness before it grows back.
Exfoliating your skin a few days before waxing can also make hair removal easier, and getting rid of dead skin cells makes ingrown hairs less likely, too [source: Shankar]. Additionally, some use an antiseptic or antibacterial soap prior to and after waxing their legs. This is because waxing leaves your hair follicles open, and that makes it easier for bacteria to get in there and cause an infection [source: Kozolchyk]. If you're worried about the pain you might experience during a leg wax, you can also use a topical ointment containing lidocaine -- which will help numb the skin -- before you get started [source: Goins].
Once you decide to take the plunge and give waxing a try, you have a choice to make: professional job or home kit? If you choose to conduct your waxing at home, you should know what comes in a home kit and how much they may cost. Read on to find out.