Have you ever looked at those silky smooth celebrity legs and wondered how they get them so hairless? Sure, some are blessed with great genes, but many stars rely on waxing to keep pesky hairs at bay. No need to fork out tons of cash at fancy salons though! With the right at-home waxing kit, you can ditch the razors and unveil similarly enviable gams without spending a fortune.
Waxing strips offer a foolproof portal into the world of DIY waxing. Compared to messy wax warmers and confusing aftercare, these ready-to-use strips make hair removal a total breeze. Simply rub between your palms, press on, and rip off! Not only are they beginner-friendly, but wax strips tend to be gentler on skin and lead to fewer ingrown hairs over time. Tempted to test them out? This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know, from prepping those pins to aftercare tips. Let’s get smooooth!
## Benefits of Using Wax Strips Over Shaving
Believe it or not, waxing offers tons of advantages over your drugstore razors. From convenience to cost savings, switching to strips may completely change your hair removal game! Here are some of the best bits:
Unlike shaving which only slices hair at the surface, waxing yanks it out by the root. This keeps fuzz at bay for *weeks* instead of days. No more daily battles with stubble! Most women enjoy a good 3-6 weeks of smooth skin before regrowth appears. Of course hair type and rate of growth affects how fast that hair will return, but it still lasts way longer than shaving.
That wax sticking to and pulling out hair also removes dead skin cells in the process. So waxing doubles as a deep exfoliant, leaving skin soft and glowy. Razors can’t compete! Exfoliated skin better absorbs and retains moisture too. No more battles with dry, flaky skin.
**Fewer Ingrown Hairs**
All that exfoliating action significantly cuts back on ingrown hairs by clearing pore-clogging dead skin cells. Contrary to popular belief, waxing is less likely to cause ingrowns than shaving when done properly. Just be sure to exfoliate regularly and use an ingrown-fighting serum post-wax to keep those pesky ingrowns at bay.
Though the initial investment seems steep, waxing strips pay for themselves pretty quickly. No need to constantly restock replacement razor heads and shaving cream. A $10 box of strips lasts for months, with some kits containing 30+ strips. Get your money’s worth by popping them in your purse for on-the-go touchups. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save on moisturizers and ingrown treatments!
## Preparing Skin and Hair for Waxing Strips
While waxing strips don’t require much prep work, taking a few simple steps ensures the best results. So before ripping off those strips, follow this pre-wax checklist:
### Checking Hair Length
Wax only adheres to hair of the right length. Any shorter and it won’t grasp enough to remove the follicle. Any longer and you may end up with bruised skin instead of smooth. Be sure hair is at least 1/4-inch long but no longer than 3/4 inches before waxing.
For best results, use clippers to trim any strands longer than 3/4 inches. This prevents the wax from grabbing too much hair at once, which is more painful and damaging to skin. Trimming ahead of time also keeps waxing neater by reducing leftover wax stuck to long hairs.
### Exfoliating the Area
Gently sloughing away dead skin cells before waxing allows wax to adhere tightly to hair without grabbing skin. Exfoliate the area 1-2 days prior, but avoid exfoliating just before waxing as it may irritate skin.
Use a soft wash cloth, textured glove, or granular body scrub to lightly scrub the area in circles. Rinse clean and pat dry. Avoid harsh scrubs with large grains or grit as they may cause microtears in skin that sting when waxed.
### Getting Hydrated
Drink plenty of water and eat fruits/veggies for a few days prior to waxing session. Hydrated skin helps minimize irritation and pain during the waxing process. Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate skin so limit intake for a day or two beforehand.
### Conducting a Patch Test
Before slathering strips across your pins, do a patch test to check for allergic reactions. Simply warm a strip between palms, apply to a small area of skin like the wrist or upper thigh, then gently pull off. If skin remains free of redness, swelling or excessive irritation, the wax is likely safe to use. Discontinue use if reaction occurs.
### Taking Pain Management Measures
Let’s be real: waxing hurts. Luckily, some handy tricks can dull the pain considerably. Take an ibuprofen an hour prior to numb nerves. You can also apply an ice pack for 15-30 minutes beforehand. The cold constricts blood vessels to temporarily numb the area. Avoid numbing creams though as they often contain lidocaine which can irritate freshly waxed skin. For Brazilian and bikini waxes, consider popping a Xanax to take the edge off!
## Applying Waxing Strips
Alright, pre-prep is complete! Hair and skin are ready for their hot wax date. Time to get acquainted with the actual waxing process. Here’s the step-by-step:
### Warming the Strip
Wax strips come ready to use straight from the box. But gently rubbing the strip between palms warms the wax, allowing it to spread easily across skin. Start by peeling the protective plastic lining from the back of the strip, exposing the wax. Smooth any wrinkles from the fabric strip then clasp between palms for 10-20 seconds until slightly tacky.
Avoid overheating as wax that’s too hot can burn skin. Simply warm it to roughly body temperature. The wax should feel slightly sticky between hands, not scalding.
### Applying Against Hair Growth
Once heated, press the strip firmly onto skin in the direction *opposite* of hair growth. For example, apply strips vertically up legs then rip downwards with hair growth to remove. Use your free hand to gently smooth the strip as you press to ensure it adheres properly across the whole area.
### Smoothing and Rubbing
After application, continue smoothing fabric across skin while softly rubbing the strip back and forth 3-4 times. This rubbing action allows wax to encapsulate hair shafts while adhering closely to skin. The strip should mold closely to all contours. Rock your hand across the strip alternately with and against hair growth to help wax grab at different angles.
### Pulling Skin Taut
Waxing 101: always keep one hand pulling skin tight while the other rips off strips. This prevents painful skin lifting which happens when wax adheres too strongly to skin.
Grasp skin about 1 inch away from the strip, gently pulling parallel to create taughtness. Avoid pinching up skin right against the strip’s edges. Keep that other hand pressed flat atop the strip to keep it anchored.
### Ripping Against Growth
In one swift motion, clasp your free hand around the strip’s edge near hair growth direction (e.g. the strip’s bottom edge) Then quickly rip *against* the direction of hair growth, keeping hands close to skin rather than pulling outward. Think bandaid removal – quick and angled along the skin. This hair removal tactic reduces pain by minimizing tugging on skin.
Repeat the smoothing and fast rip process 2-3 times on stubborn areas with leftover hairs. Avoid waxing the exact spot more than 3 times to prevent skin damage. Then move onto surrounding hair zones until smooth.
## Post-Wax Care
Congrats – you nailed the tricky waxing process! But the fun doesn’t stop once hair has been ripped out. Post-wax care is crucial for avoiding issues like irritation, ingrown hairs and skin infections.
### Removing Leftover Wax Residue
Check wax kit instructions for how to remove any leftover goo on skin. Most are water-soluble, meaning residue easily wipes away with damp washcloths. For oil-based waxes, use baby oil, coconut oil or makeup remover wipes to break down remaining wax, then rinse clean. Avoid using alcohol-based products as they’ll sting freshly waxed skin!
Restore moisture by massaging aloe vera gel or a gentle, oil-free lotion into tender areas. Look for moisturizers labeled “non-comedogenic” as they won’t clog pores and cause breakouts or ingrown hairs. Avoid super rich creams though as they can trapdead skin cells.
### Avoiding Hot Temps
Hot showers, baths, and jacuzzis feel amazing but avoid the temptation post-wax! Heat opens pores, allowing bacteria inside which can cause infection on tender skin. Warm showers are fine, just skip the scalding temps.
### Preventing Ingrown Hairs
To avoid unpleasant ingrown hairs keep freshly waxed skin exfoliated with a daily scrub each morning. Use gentle, circular motions to lift dead skin cells that could block follicles. Ingrown serums containing glycolic or salicylic acid also help by eliminating bacteria and oil buildup inside pores.
## Troubleshooting Common Mishaps
Between the prep work, waxing motions and after care regimen, sometimes things go sideways. No worries! Here’s how to handle the most common waxing mishaps:
### Skin Irritation and Redness
It’s normal for skin to appear slightly pink or red immediately after waxing. But if it worsens or spreads, you likely irritated skin by overheating wax, failing to prep skin properly or waxing too aggressively. Dab some hydrocortisone cream on red areas and refrain from waxing that zone again until healed. Always prep skin appropriately before next wax session.
Tiny capillaries under skin often burst from waxing, causing light bruises nicknamed “waxtox”. But aggressive wax removal leading to dark bruises means you likely pulled skin up instead of taut during removal. Avoid pinching up skin near the wax strip edges. Rather, grasp parallel and pull outward to create taughtness before ripping off strips.
### Lifted Skin
If skin raises up with the strip instead of just hair pulling out, the wax adhered too strongly to skin rather than hair. Try dusting a little baby powder or cornstarch over sticky areas before next application. This prevents wax from grasping skin. Or use wax for sensitive areas rather than coarser body waxes around tender regions.
### Stuck Hairs
Pesky hairs remaining stuck in pores after wax rips can occur when wax didn’t adhere properly to short or fine hairs. Exfoliating prior helps lift hairs better. For stubborn stuck hairs after waxing, saturate a cotton pad with micellar water or astringent toner to dissolve leftover wax residue trapping hairs below skin’s surface.
## Transform Your Skin With Waxing Strips
From silky smooth legs to neat eyebrows on fleek, waxing strips offer easy at-home hair removal bursting with advantages over shaving and salon waxes. Convenience, cost savings, and weeks of stubble-free skin…what’s not to love?
Hopefully this guide provided a helpful head start to effectively using wax strips at home. Prep those pins, rip off the strips, then show off those killer gams with pride! Waxing no longer needs to seem intimidating or painful. With the right techniques, you can become a smooth skin superstar sans the ingrowns, irritation and bleeding bank account!