Q. Hi! The hair on my legs grows so fast I find myself having to shave every other day to keep up with it. I am looking for something that will give me a little longer in between so I want to start waxing my legs at home. I wanted to know if you had any good tips or advice that will help me get the best results! Thanks so much! Jessica
A. Thank you for the great question! Waxing is never more popular than in the summer months, the pain level may be higher, but the results of waxing can last for weeks. Perfect for summer when you may not want to deal with stubble and daily shaving, and subsequent shaving irritation. If you plan on waxing your legs at home, and you have never had your legs waxed before, I recommend booking an appointment with a licensed esthetician at a reputable spa first. This way you will learn the technique and see firsthand what you will be replicating at home. If this is not your first rodeo, and you have been waxed before, read on for my leg waxing how to:
What you will need:
- Wax kit –either hard wax with no strips like Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit, or a crème wax with an electric warmer, or organic microwaveable wax kit
- Cotton pads
- Pre-wax cleanser (should come in your waxing kit)
- Baby powder
- Wooden applicators
- Pellon or muslin strips (if using a crème wax)
- Scissors (to cut strips or hair if necessary)
- Beach towel
- Hand mirror
- Wax remover for the skin or body oil or unpetroleum jelly
- Post-epilation lotion or aloe vera gel or DIY of tea tree essential oil + witch hazel
Prepare yourself. On the days you wax, be sure to exfoliate beforehand to make the most of your wax and prevent ingrown hairs and irritation. Skip your post shower moisturizer on your legs.
Grow baby grow. Ensure that your hair is the proper length for waxing. The hair on your legs should be a quarter-inch long if its fine and a half-inch long if it’s coarse. This means you’ll need to wax every two to four weeks.
A bit of biology. Hair follows a specific growth cycle with three distinct and concurrent phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen phase. All three phases occur simultaneously; one strand of hair could in the anagen phase, while another is in the telogen phase. What does this mean for your wax? You may not be silky smooth for as long as you would like to be. If you feel hair after a few days upon waxing, it is just your natural hair growth cycle.
Pain management. Take two ibuprofen thirty minutes to an hour before you wax to lessen discomfort, inflammation and redness. Skip your coffee and cocktail on days you wax as well to help reduce pain, these stimulants can leave you extra sensitive. Try to avoid waxing before your period when skin is especially tender.
The perfect temperature. Whatever wax you choose, temperature is important. You want the wax to be warm, not hot, and the texture should be like honey, not dripping like water. Always test the wax first before using by seeing if it passes the consistency test, and applying a small amount to the inside of your wrist.
Do not wax if you have: Varicose veins on your legs, take Accutane, or if you are sunburnt. Consult with your doctor beforehand to make sure waxing is safe for you.
Post wax care. Avoid the following after waxing: tight clothing, heavy exercise, sun exposure, saunas, whirpools, steam rooms, and exfoliating products for at least 24 hours after waxing. Sweat, restrictive clothing, heat, and chemicals can all cause irritation and tight clothes can result in ingrown hairs. After two to three days after waxing, exfoliate your skin. This will help remove dead skin cells and prevent ingrown hairs. If you do experience ingrown hairs, do not attempt bathroom surgery. Keep the affected area clean and use a treatment for ingrown hairs, I swear by Tend Skin.
- Create a waxing area that works best for you and the type of wax you are using. For leg waxing, you may do better sitting on the floor or on a chair. Cover the floor or chair with an old beach towel in case you drip or spill wax.
- Apply pre wax cleanser to your skin using cotton pads. Once that has absorbed, apply a light dusting of baby powder to the skin, this helps create a buffer between your skin and the wax-don’t use too much powder, more isn’t better and you don’t want to end up like Ross.
- Apply wax evenly in the direction of hair growth using a wooden applicator. Work in small sections—a maximum of three inches in length—to minimize pain. Use enough wax to adequately cover the hair, but not a thick layer that is difficult to remove (practice makes perfect). Immediately cover the wax with your pellon or muslin strips, leaving some leftover strip for a tab to pull. If you are using a hard wax, thicken the amount of wax at the very edge to make a handle to grip. If using strips, vigorously rub the strip in a downward motion for maximum adhesion.
- Holding skin taut with one hand, use the other to grasp the end of the strip and remove the strip in the opposite direction of the hair growth with one quick pull. Pull low and parallel to the skin-DO NOT pull the strip up-this breaks the hair off and you risk bruising and injury to the skin. You can press a clean hand down on the skin for pain relief once the strip is removed-it really works.
- If a small amount of wax remains, simply put the strip back on, rub for adhesion, and pull off.
- Repeat the waxing process, you may need to bend your legs or enlist the help of a friend to reach the back of your upper legs. Use the hand mirror to check your work. Use tweezers to remove any hairs you might have missed, you don’t want to repeatedly wax over the same area.
- Remove any wax residue with wax remover, body oil, or unpetroleum jelly, whatever your preference. Note: if you use a product that contains mineral oil, in any of its variations, you risk clogging your pores and hair follicles-avoid mineral oil, always.
- Soothe your freshly waxed skin with an aloe vera based gel, or make a DIY skin soother like I do. Dampen a cotton pad with witch hazel and add three drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antimicrobial and will help disinfect and soothe the skin; witch hazel is a soothing astringent that reduces swelling and skin discomfort.
Do you wax at home? What are your tried and true tips for a great wax?
If you have any skincare, makeup, nail, or hair questions don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!