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12 Ways to prepare for a wax

Katherine Goldman is the owner of Stript Wax Bar.

Waxing survival guide

For those of you new to the waxing game, or those who just plain hate the pain associated, going in for a waxing appointment can feel like gearing up for battle. Read on, banish your fears and venture out for that Brazilian you've been wanting for bikini season!

woman with hands on smooth legs

As an aesthetician and owner of Stript Wax Bar, a specialized waxing bar with locations in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Oakland (and performing over 5,000 Brazilian waxes in my career!), I've found some tips and tricks along the way that make the process as easy and painless as possible and will help you keep your cool in the heat of the moment.

BEFORE your wax:

Let it grow

Don't even think about booking an appointment unless you've gone 1-2 weeks without shaving or waxing and have at least ¼ inch of hair. Patience is a virtue – waxing will be painful and not as effective if you haven't waited long enough!

Exfoliate

On the day of your appointment, exfoliate really well in the shower to loosen up dead skin and lift trapped hairs. You can do this a few different ways – your favorite body scrub, a tablespoon of sugar added to your regular body wash or using a body glove, brush or loofah.

Consider pain relief

A half hour before your appointment, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil – it should kick in right about the time your waxing session starts and ease any discomfort. Another option is to use a numbing cream like No Scream Cream by Relax & Wax 30 minutes before your appointment.

AFTER your wax:

Soothe the burn

Use aloe, cortisone or Neosporin immediately afterwards to calm any redness or irritation. Another product specifically for this purpose I really like that is the No Trauma Mama cream, also from Relax & Wax. It's antibacterial and also has triclosan to prevent inflammation and infection post-wax.

Prevent ingrown hairs

Afraid of ingrowns? Maintain your wax and keep ingrowns to a minimum by using an antibacterial body wash, exfoliating regularly and using ingrown prevention products like PFB Vanish Skin Treatment.

Baby yourself

Don't sunbathe or exercise right after your wax – your skin needs time to calm down after its "trauma" and sweat and the heat of the sun won't help!

Long term solutions...

If you're looking for permanent hair removal, ask your waxer about Depilar – it's a new treatment that your pro will apply right after your wax, and after a year or so of treatments, you'll be hair free!

More advice to Keep in Mind:

Certain medicines can cause extra sensitivity or even be dangerous when combined with waxing. Here are the meds on the black list:

  • Oral and topical antibiotics cause sensitivity; try to wait until you're off the medication to wax
  • Retinol or alpha hydroxy over-the-counter topicals; stop using a week before waxing
  • Prescription exfoliants including Retin A, Differen and Tazorac; avoid for 3 months before waxing
  • Accutane; steer clear of waxing for a year

And a final word of wisdom – do not shave in between waxes! If you need to get rid of a few hairs, grab the tweezers instead for a quick fix.

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