Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Waxing, But Were Afraid to Ask

Beautiful Skin Image Gallery If you wax regularly, your hair follicles should weaken, and you won't have as much unwanted hair. See more pictures of getting beautiful skin.
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If you're anything like us, you agree with the sage words of Bridget Jones who said that the job of being a woman is worse than being a farmer: We're always harvesting, plucking, weeding and crop-spraying.

One of the chores we endure in the name of beauty is waxing -- just the word strikes dread into the most women's hearts. We want to get rid of unladylike hair, but who really likes the idea of having it ripped from their brow bone, legs or other more delicate areas? Despite the fact that many of us routinely wax many parts of our bodies, it's not always something we like to talk about, even with our best girlfriends.

But that doesn't mean we don't have lots of questions.

Is Waxing Safe, and Does it Hurt?

If you have it done at a professional salon, waxing is definitely a safe way to have unwanted body hair removed. But when you're checking out salons, make sure their technicians are following these safe waxing practices:

  • Salons should sterilize the waxing paddle for each client. If they're not sterilizing the paddle for each client, there's a risk you'll get an infection in the waxed area.
  • Technicians should be wearing gloves for the procedure.
  • Each technician should be properly trained as a waxing specialist.
  • The technician should change the paper or sheets on the waxing table between each client.

Contrary to the popular belief that hair grows more quickly and thicker if you wax, waxing actually weakens hair follicles, so over time you can go even longer in between touch-ups.

As for pain, there's no doubt that waxing is an uncomfortable procedure. It just plain hurts. But some areas of your body are more sensitive than others. Waxing your eyebrows or your bikini line should hurt more than less sensitive areas like your legs.

Do-it-yourself Waxing: Friend or Foe?

Maybe you're too busy to make an appointment at the salon. Or maybe they're booked the day you're invited to a pool party and need to get rid of some unwanted hair, pronto. Is it a good idea to do it yourself?

Over-the-counter waxing kits are easy to use. You can microwave the containers or heat them up on the stove top. You can also buy pre-coated wax strips for touch-ups on your brows, lips or bikini line. The kits are cheap (usually cheaper than $10) -- much cheaper than a $15 to $50 salon visit.

The big thing to remember with home waxing is to follow the instructions. Test the wax strip on a small area of your body first and apply wax in the direction that the hair grows. If you apply the wax in the direction of hair growth, you'll avoid the unseemly and uncomfortable purple bruising that might occur if you yank out hair in the opposite direction.

Basically, if you're just doing a touch-up, at-home waxing is a good alternative for going to the salon. But if you're looking to remove a lot of hair -- like with a bikini or Brazilian wax -- or if you're working near an area where you'll have limited vision -- like your eyebrows -- it might be best to make a trip to the salon. The skin around your bikini line and your eyes is extra sensitive, and if the wax is too hot or removed in the wrong way, you can damage it. You'll be safer in the hands of trained professional.

The Truth about Brazilian Waxing

As opposed to a bikini wax, which just removes hair around your bikini line, a Brazilian wax will remove almost all, if not all, of the hair on your pubic region. While some salons make you bear all to the aesthetician, others will provide you with a small (and we mean small) paper thong to cover up your stuff. If you endure a Brazilian wax, you'll either be left with a small strip of hair down there or nothing at all.

Don't worry about grossing out the technician who's doing the waxing: They're trained professionals who do this kind of thing every day. Most technicians recognize that you might feel awkward about the whole situation and will talk you through it to put you at ease, particularly if it's your first bikini or Brazilian wax experience. And don't worry. The pain and the awkwardness won't last long. In most salons, you'll be out in less than 30 minutes.

When scheduling your bikini or Brazilian wax, take into account your monthly cycle. Avoid waxing the week before and during your period: You're most sensitive to pain then. Studies have shown that waxing is the least painful two weeks after your period.

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Sources

  • "Bridget Jones's Diary: 2nd Draft." http://bridgetarchive.altervista.org/bjd_2nd_draft.htm
  • "Frequently Asked Questions about Brazilian Waxing." Brazilian Waxing Info. http://www.brazilianwaxinfo.com/faqs/
  • Goins, Liesa. "Waxing and Shaving Tips." Women's Health Magazine. March 18, 2010. Women's Health Magazine. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty-and-style/shaving-and-waxing-tips
  • Hughes, Sarah. "Are Brazilians bad for you?" Daily Mail. March 20, 2009. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1165754/How-safe-Brazilian-wax-They-dont-just-hurt-like-mad--land-hospital.html
  • Monroe, Valerie. "Read This Before Your Next Bikini Wax." Oprah Magazine. Dec. 16, 2008.http://www.oprah.com/style/How-to-Get-a-Safe-Bikini-Wax
  • Roberts Grey, Gina. "Waxing off hair at home is cheaper and faster -- and less painful than tweezing." WebMD.http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/pros-and-cons-of-diy-waxing