The summer holidays have well and truly arrived, and whether you're jetting off abroad or enjoying a sunny staycation, hair removal is more than likely part of your beauty regime.
Though it's not the most comfortable method of hair removal, waxing can leave you hair free for two or three weeks, cutting out the dreaded daily shave. A salon treatment is often the most effective, but if you don't want to fork out for salon prices and plan on waxing at home, here are a few tips on getting it right.
With some notable exceptions, most waxing kits recommend that you grow the hair to at least 1/4 inch long, as this allows the wax to get a good grip. Areas that are scabbed or have acne should be avoided, and it's best to leave sunbathing or tanning until after your waxing session. Ahead of the task itself, be sure to exfoliate the hairy area to remove dead skin cells. This means the wax can attach to the hair without pulling off any skin when you rip, but it's advisable to give your skin a good few hours before waxing, as it'll be more sensitive immediately after exfoliation.
Skin should be washed and dried thoroughly before application. Baby powder is perfect for getting a really dry surface, whilst soaking up any excess oil that might be present. If you're particularly sensitive to the pain of waxing, an ibuprofen might just help.
The most important element of home waxing is to get the wax itself to the right temperature. Most kits will advise on how to do this - a water bath or wax heater are ideal - and in general the wax should be between 43 and 68 degrees Celsius. Microwaving is another popular method, but it may be necessary to reheat throughout the process to ensure that the wax doesn't go hard.
Use the spatula (usually included in the kit) to apply the wax, scraping off any excess between applications. Don't try to do a large area - small amounts on small areas generally work better. Then apply the waxing strip, gently smoothing it onto the wax until it adheres. Ensure that the strip completely covers the wax in order to avoid leaving mess behind on the skin. Then hold the skin taut, take the bottom end of the strip and pull in the opposite direction of hair growth, removing the hair in one swift motion. Then simply repeat as necessary.
With the hard part over, use either baby oil or the kit's wax-removal cream to take off any leftover wax, but be gentle to avoid irritating the skin. Aloe vera gel can help to calm and soothe the skin after the pain of waxing, and if you leave it in the fridge, it will add a gloriously cooling sensation. Leave your pot of wax to cool, and then store in a dry place for use at a later date, being sure to clean the roll on or spatula thoroughly.
It is a good idea to go without perfume, deodorant or sunscreen on the waxed area for two days, and best to avoid going in water for several hours after waxing to reduce the chance of infections on the skin.
There are other methods of waxing, such as cold waxing and sugaring, both of which require the same technique. However, be aware that since these treatments do not grip as tightly as hot wax, repeat applications may be required - and that will only prolong the pain!
Do you use home-waxing kits? What are your top tips for successful hair removal? Leave your comments below...