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Waxing at home is a straightforward way to get your bikini line beach ready. It's ideal for eyebrows, underarms (although that’s slightly trickier), legs and facial hair.
How it works: “Wax adheres to the hair shaft (and not the skin), which is then removed from the root by the mechanical action of removing the wax using the fabric strip from the skin,” says Marie Millers, director of Le Chat Australia.
For how long?: With waxing, the hair follicle has to rebuild hair from scratch and the root has to regrow, so hair can take up to four weeks to reappear.
Average cost: From about $6.
How to DIY:
“The more sensitive the area, the smaller the treated area should be,” says Nad’s resident expert Natalie Ismiel (nads.com).
“In very sensitive areas [such as upper lip or face], we recommend you do not put on more than two to three centimetres at a time. If it is the bikini line, you can treat large patches of up to 10 centimetres,” Ismiel says. The ideal technique is working from the outside of the relevant area, inwards. “Trim the hair to five millimetres, as longer hair will be more painful to remove and you might experience bruising, swelling or irritation,” Ismiel advises.
When it’s not for you: There are many contraindications when it comes to waxing. Millers says symptoms or medications that may affect your skin when waxing include acne medication, sunburn, infectious diseases and disorders such as herpes and tinea, recent scars or open wounds, fractures, sprains and broken bones, pregnancy in the first 12 weeks, thin or extremely dry skin, and eczema and psoriasis.
“In some cases this can actually help some clients. Waxing can be performed on clients with eczema or psoriasis if the area is not ‘open’ or ‘weeping’. Removing the dead skin cells from the area can be beneficial.”
How to make it last: Don’t shave or use hair removal creams between waxing. Instead, apply a hair inhibiting cream or spray daily. “Make sure the hair is a quarter inch long so it can be removed from the root properly,” says Millers. “If the hair is not long enough it may snap off at the skin’s surface resulting in the hair growing back within a few days.”
Long-term: “Repeated waxing will damage the hair bulb, which will result in hair eventually not growing in that area,” says Millers. “Repeated waxing will result in thinner hair.”
Good to know: “Your skin is really sensitive during your period and I wouldn’t recommend waxing until after your period. You will find that it will be a far less painful experience then,” says Ismiel.
Product: Hot wax
How it works: Wax is heated (usually in a microwave for home hot waxes) and applied to the skin.
Best for: Legs, bikini line, eyebrows, arms, underarms.
How to do it yourself: According to Nad’s, using hot wax home is simple and safe – assuming you follow the product instructions rather than winging it. The process involves warming the product in the microwave, stirring and smearing it on the area. So far, so easy. But it’s not unheard of for newbie waxers to burn themselves, so make like Goldilocks and use the included spatula to do a heat test on your inner wrist. The other hazard is ingrown hairs, which can be prevented by cleaning the specified area with cleansing wipes or exfoliating pre-wax.According to Ismiel, the best way to apply wax is with the palms of your hands and fingertips, and applying firm pressure three to four times in direction of hair growth. The perfect removal technique is as simple as holding the skin taut with one hand, and quickly pulling the fabric strip off in the opposite direction of hair growth.
How long hair-free?: Up to eight weeks.
Other options: Waxing your bikini line is difficult, so this may need a trip to the experts if you want a clean job. Alternatively, try an at-home IPL machine like the E-One, which is safe for bikini lines.
How to make it last: For the longest-lasting wax, skin should be clean and dry before waxing, Ismiel says. Removal technique also matters. “Always remove in the opposite direction to the hair growth in one swift movement... make sure you keep the strip parallel to the skin.”
Long-term: Waxing can reduce hair growth.