Waxing 101

Beauty, Health, Home & Family
on September 25, 2011

When it comes to removing unwanted hair, waxing is a safe alternative to shaving or depilatory creams, and the results are long-lasting. Can you do it yourself or should you have a professional do the job? Decide for yourself, once you know the basics.

For starters, most professional wax is not actually wax but resin. The liquid resin is heated to a specific temperature, then applied to the area of interest via a wooden stick. A cloth or paper strip is placed over the warm liquid and firmly but gently pressed into the resin. A few seconds later, when the resin has dried slightly, the strip is removed swiftly in the opposite direction of hair growth, close to the skin. The resin grips the hair, dries around it, and pulls the hair out by the root and follicle. It is slightly painful but the discomfort dissipates quickly.

Waxing can be difficult. If you have been waxing for a while and the process is very familiar to you, you may wish to tackle more challenging areas of hair removal. The Brazilian wax, whereas hair is completely removed from the bikini line and surrounding area, is one of the toughest to do at home. However, brow waxing or upper lip waxing is relatively straightforward and a good place to start if you have never tried at-home waxing.

Waxing large areas is tiresome. Waxing legs, underarms or other large areas can be time-consuming and require a large amount of waxing supplies. In this case, it is often preferable to let professional do the job. The pros have plenty of warm waxing liquid and strips at the ready and are well equipped to handle multiple areas of hair removal.

Waxing at home can be dangerous. If you have not practiced at-home waxing, be warned that it can be a bit cumbersome. The waxing liquid can burn if heated to the wrong temperature. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, waxing the wrong area — such as over varicose veins, moles and warts; a sensitive area like eyelashes, nose, nipples and ears; or an injured area such as chapped, sunburned or irritated skin — is not considered to be appropriate or safe. Over-waxing the same area can cause injury or infection as well. The good news is that home waxing kits with cool wax are available and effective.

Wax hairy spots only. Waxing does not work on lightly hairy or sparsely hairy parts of the body. Once hair growth is about a quarter of an inch or longer, you can wax very effectively and without injury.