Crash course: How to do an at-home bikini wax
The first time you wax at home, you're all but guaranteed to get wax everywhere and curse loudly. Here's how to minimize the mess (and the pain) while you save a little money.
Most home waxing kits are tricky. Avoid cold waxes altogether, since they barely work and are impossibly sticky. Better to hit the beauty-supply store for a professional wax warmer (it's about $50), honey-based wax, cloth strips, and tongue depressers. Take two ibuprofen an hour ahead of time, cover the floor with newspaper (since wax will inevitably spill), and then strip off your underwear (wax isn't easy to wash out).
Sit on a stool or the edge of the bathtub, scooting your butt as far forward as possible, and spread your legs. Use nail scissors to trim hair to a quarter inch, then dust powder all over the area to keep wax from bonding to the skin. Be sure to test the wax temperature on your wrist before you proceed -- it should be warm, not scalding.
Dip a tongue depressor into the wax, and spread a thin layer on a one-by-two-inch section of hair, following the growth. Press on a cloth strip, pull skin taut, and take a big breath as you pull off the strip. Working in small sections will allow you to see what you're doing and (along with that ibuprofen) make it a bit less painful.
Soothe the skin
Dab baby oil on any spots where wax got stuck. Then soak a cotton ball in warm chamomile tea, and hold it on the skin to calm the area. Rub on an aloe-based gel or hydrocortisone cream, and congratulate yourself -- you did it, and it will only get easier.
1. Prepare yourself
Make sure you have at least a quarter inch of hair growth before your session -- the wax needs something to hold on to. And don't pick a day during the week before your period (studies show that's when women are most susceptible to pain). Popping a few ibuprofen an hour before your appointment helps -- or if you're really wimpy (like us), apply a numbing cream, but only to small areas like the bikini line.
2. Wax on, wax off
If you have sensitive skin, make sure the aesthetician uses a wax that contains chamomile -- it's the most soothing -- and applies it to small sections at a time. (If someone promises they can do a Brazilian in 15 minutes, you know you're in trouble.) Once things are under way, resist the temptation to watch the action; it's much better to breathe steadily and zone out. After each strip, the waxer should press her hand on the skin to stop the pain. If she doesn't, ask her to, or do it yourself.
3. Prevent ingrowns
Start exfoliating 24 hours after your appointment. You can use a loofah or a chemical exfoliant -- the best ones contain both salicylic acid to unplug pores and glycolic acid to slough off dead skin. To make the next wax easier, consider slathering the area with a hair-minimizing lotion between appointments, and keep your hands off that razor. If you shave, it's back to square one.
|Excerpted from Allure: Confessions of a Beauty Editor by Linda Wells with the editors of Allure. Copyright 2006 by The Condé Nast Publications. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publishers.|