Be honest. How many times have you cringed at the idea of that time of the month coming around – when it’s time to make a waxing appointment? Waxing is a harsh practise, sure, as any self-respecting feminist would agree; but whatever your reasons for having it done – for someone else, the world at large, or yourself – it still kind of beats the idea of having to shave every two days, even when you factor in the pain. It's true! If you’re a waxer over a shaver, it really doesn’t have to be so bad.
I know that we’re all about the expert opinions on Jossbox, but I’m here to tell you that I’ve been going under the (wax applicator) knife for over a decade, that I have a low, lowthreshold for pain, and that the two combined have made me a bit of an expert in the painless waxing department.
Here’s what I’ve learnt.
1/7 Prepping Time
Exfoliate, hydrate, aspirin. Together, these three things make a world of difference when you’re getting waxed. I always exfoliate a few days in advance for a smoother, quicker wax; having said that, never do it on the day before because it’ll make your skin super sensitive.
Stock up on fluids and stay away from caffeine and alcohol the previous day. Both have been proven to make your skin more sensitive, and waxing hurt more. Hydration is key.
Finally, pop an Aspirin, Crocin or any other over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before your appointment to stave off pain and inflammation.
2/7 No waxing during your period. Period!
And not even a week before. Honestly, it hurts much, much more right before, during and right after your period; Turns out your skin swells ever so slightly when you’re PMSing, which makes it more sensitive to pain. Push your appointment to a week or two after when your pain threshold is much higher.
3/7 Soak your skin supple.
If you love long baths (and who doesn’t?) you’ll be pleased to know it goes a long way towards a pain-free defuzzing experience later. All that warm water softens the hair for easy removal, and ‘opens’ up your pores as well. You can also take a nice warm shower in lieu of a bath; just don’t use any body lotion after, since that makes individual hair difficult to grip and pull.
4/7 Go hard or go home
Getting chatty with my aesthetician is like taking a beauty crash course sometimes. Mine told me to always ask for hard wax wherever I go; it’s gentler, because it pulls at the roots instead of tugging at your skin. It’s especially helpful on areas of higher sensitivity, like the bikini area or underarms.
5/7 Calm your nerves
This is the toughest part, I know. I find it really helps when I take deep breaths. I even have a little system that makes it hurt far less – take a deep breath, hold it while the strip is being yanked off, and then exhale. Just don’t hold your breath, that makes it worse. Try plugging in your earphones and listening to music you like, catching up on texts and emails to distract yourself, or reading a book (a thriller always helps).
6/7 Post wax troubles
I’ve never had extreme redness or swelling after waxing, although some people swear by hydrocortisone cream when that happens. Once your skin has calmed down a bit, tend to it by exfoliating and moisturising it on the regular to keep ingrowths at bay and skin smooth between appointments.
7/7 Waxing and waiting
This is probably the most effective thing I’ve learnt through the years – the more regular you are, the less it hurts. This might be because you’re just getting used to it, although it’s probably more likely due to the fact that the longer you wait, the longer the hair grows and the more it hurts. The optimum time to schedule your next wax is when your hair is anywhere between half to three fourths of an inch long – at this length, it’s easy to grip. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself at your next appointment.
Have a smoooth weekend!
Jesús Alonso for Madame Figaro December 2012.