So you’ve got a hot waxing appointment coming up. Smooth, hairless skin here you come! But before you slap on that itsy bitsy bikini, you might have some questions about the best way to prepare your skin. I feel you, we’ve all been there. One of the biggest waxing dilemmas is whether you should exfoliate before waxing. I mean, exfoliation brings tons of skin benefits, right? But could it cause irritation before waxing that sensitive area? Girl, I’ve done my share of prep work and aftercare through years of waxperience. Let’s wax poetic about the art of exfoliation and waxing so you can get the full tea on glowing, hairless skin from head to toe!
Before we dive into exfoliation, let’s review what waxing is really doing down there. Essentially, wax adheres to the hair on your skin, then the wax strips are pulled off quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth. This rips the hair out from the root baby! So while it may sting, waxing removes the entire hair and lasts longer than shaving. Some perks beyond silky skin are needing fewer touch-ups between appointments and no stubble! But waxing does come with some risks like irritation, redness or even breakouts. This is because waxing can essentially cause mini wounds in your skin, making you more prone to ingrown hairs from new hair growing back. No fun! This is exactly why proper exfoliation is so crucial in your waxing prep routine.
The Role of Exfoliation
So why is exfoliation so important? Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, dirt, oil buildup and other gunk on the skin’s surface. This clears the way for fresh new skin. Think of exfoliation as spring cleaning for your face and body! An effective skin cell turnover is every 28-30 days, but we can speed things up with some help. Gentle regular exfoliation 1-3 times a week brings tons of benefits:
– Smoother, glowier complexion
– Reduced acne and breakouts
– Minimizes appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
– Allows skincare products to better absorb
– Evens out skin tone
When it comes to waxing, exfoliation is critical for preventing ingrown hairs and allowing wax to adhere properly to hair. The removal of dead skin cells brings trapped hairs up to the surface. Exfoliation also thins the skin’s outer layer so wax can really grip those hairs!
There are two main types of exfoliants:
Physical exfoliants: These manually slough off dead cells using grains, beads, shells or small scrub tools. Examples are sugar/salt scrubs, microdermabrasion tools, konjac sponges, and facial brushes.
Chemical exfoliants: These use acids to dissolve the bonds between skin cells, peeling the outer layers. Glycolic acid and lactic acid (AHA’s) plus salicylic acid or retinol (BHA’s) are common chemical exfoliants.
Now that you’re a pro on the power of exfoliation, let’s get specific about how to prep your skin before waxing. You don’t want to overdo it and cause irritation or sensitivity right before your appointment. But some strategic exfoliating 1-2 days before can make sure wax adheres properly for smoother hair removal. Just don’t exfoliate right beforehand, this can thin the skin too much and lead to redness or even ripping of the skin during waxing – yikes!
Timing Is Everything
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to exfoliate the area 24-48 hours prior to waxing, no sooner or later. This gives your skin enough time to heal from the exfoliation before waxing, but keeps those pores clear. Any irritations like scratches, cuts, sunburns or breakouts should also be avoided right before your appointment if possible. Red or inflamed skin will likely become further aggravated during waxing.
Give your client a heads up about any skin issues so they can avoid waxing those areas. Protection is key! For frequent waxers, keeping up an exfoliation routine 2-3 times a week in between appointments ensures those trapped hairs don’t turn into ingrown nightmares. But again, cease exfoliating 24 hours pre-wax.
Gentle Methods Are Best
The key is to keep exfoliation gentle, yet effective in the lead-up to waxing day. Harsh scrubs with large grains or gritty particles can actually scratch skin. These micro-tears make you more prone to irritation and infections from waxing. Acid toners or masks should also be avoided 1-2 weeks before an appointment.
Instead, use soft washcloths, muslin cloths, gentle scrubs with jojoba beads or a soft bristle brush. Even massaging skin in circular motions with a warm wet towel can lightly exfoliate. Sugar and salt scrubs or milky cleansers with lactic acid offer mild manual and chemical exfoliation. Rotate between these as needed based on your skin type. Oily folks can exfoliate more often for example.
Focus exfoliation on the specific areas being waxed, but avoid sensitive regions. The bikini line area is prone to irritation for instance. And don’t exfoliate any open cuts, razor bumps or super dry areas – ouch! Be extra gentle if you have eczema, mature or thinning skin too. The waxing itself will remove some dead skin cells, so avoid over-exfoliating beforehand.
Aftercare and Continued Exfoliation
You survived your waxing appointment with smooth bare skin! But the work isn’t over yet. Following your esthetician’s aftercare routine is vital for avoiding infections, irritation and properly exfoliating afterward. Here’s a typical waxing aftercare checklist:
**24 Hour No-No’s**
– No sun exposure or tanning
– No hot baths, showers, saunas, hot tubs
– No tight clothing rubbing the area
– No makeup or skincare on waxed skin
– No working out or sweaty activities
**1-3 Days After Waxing**
– Cleanse skin gently, use tepid water
– Avoid shaving between waxing
– Wear loose breathable fabrics
– Apply aloe vera gel or post-wax lotion daily
– No exfoliation, even if skin is flaky
**1 Week After**
– Skin may start to flake; gentle exfoliation can begin
– Ingrowns may start surfacing; don’t pick!
– If redness/irritation persists see your esthetician
The first 48 hours are critical for avoiding irritation or infection in your freshly waxed, sensitive pores. Even friction from tight clothes can cause inflammation. After 2-3 days, very gentle exfoliation can begin to sweep away dead skin cells and prevent dreaded ingrown hairs. But refrain from exfoliating if skin is still irritated or broken out. Introduce acid toners and facial scrubs back into your routine after 1 full week.
Once skin calms down, maintain exfoliation 2-3 times a week all over and daily on commonly waxed areas. This keeps skin glowing between appointments! Try rotating between a soft wet towel, gentle scrub and a chemical exfoliant like a cleansing pad with salicylic acid. The key is being consistent, but extremely gentle on freshly waxed or broken out skin. This prevents trapped hairs and allows new hair to surface for easy removal next go around.
Addressing Key Concerns
Even exfoliation evangelists have some hesitations about aggressively scrubbing or using acids before a wax session. And that sensitivity lingers about redness, breakouts or those evil ingrown hairs. Girl, I would be lying if I said I never had post-wax regret after a too aggressive session! But when done properly, exfoliation is your best friend for flawless wax prep and aftercare. Let’s conquer some key frequently asked questions:
Doesn’t Exfoliating Irritate Skin More?
It’s true that exfoliation inherently involves some irritation of the skin’s acid mantle to work its magic. But it’s the dosage and timing that make all the difference. Harsh deep exfoliation right before your appointment can indeed aggravate skin and lead to sensitivity during waxing. The key is the *gentle* exfoliation of surface skin cells only 1-2 days prior, not repeated rough scrubs right beforehand. This reveals fresh baby skin cells ready for silky smooth waxing!
It also comes down to your personal tolerance as everyone’s skin can handle different levels of exfoliation. Take it slow with a muslin cloth or wet towel at first. Then gradually incorporate gentle scrubs or peels *at least* 48 hours pre-wax, and discontinue use if redness or tightness occur. The esthetician should avoid waxing irritated areas to prevent further inflammation. With strategic gentle exfoliation before and gentle moisturizing after, you help skin restart its renewal cycle faster.
What About Hair Growth Cycles?
You may have heard waxing continually can get those pesky hairs synchronized in the same growth cycle. Makes total sense! Waxing removes the entire hair from the root, putting those follicles into a “resting phase” before new hairs start growing back in 4-6 weeks. So by waxing regularly every 4-6 weeks, most hairs should be disrupted at the same early growing stage for successful uprooting!
But some stubborn hairs may get stuck out of sync with different growth cycles. Plus dead skin buildup easily traps hairs beneath the surface. This won’t affect the waxing itself, but can lead to ingrown hairs afterward. Here’s where diligent exfoliation comes to save the day! Manual and chemical exfoliation keeps the skin’s turnover going strong to continuously bring trapped hairs to the surface between cycles. No hairs get left behind to turn ingrown!
Isn’t Exfoliating Too Harsh Right Before Brazilian Waxes?
Brazilians or Hollywood waxes call for extra special treatment given the sensitivity down there. The skin on the bikini line is thinner and more delicate than other commonly waxed areas like legs, lips or eyebrows. So yes, too harsh deep exfoliation right beforehand could certainly magnify inflammation and irritation in the nether regions!
The key is to use *extremely* gentle exfoliation days prior, focused on thicker areas like the mound or outer labia if reaching that far. Then let the esthetician handle the detailed precision waxing of the most sensitive inner regions. Repeated inflammation can lead to other issues like lichen sclerosus. Refrain from exfoliating anything red, swollen or broken out to allow skin to fully heal first. And if you’re ever unsure, check with your waxpert! Estheticians have seen it all and can guide you to the best methods for your unique situation.
What About My Overall Skin Health?
Waxperts agree that what you do between appointments is just as vital as your pre-wax prep! Maintaining excellent skincare extends beyond an occasional scrub before waxing. Your everyday regimen should include gentle regular exfoliation, mega-moisturization, SPF protection and managing issues like keratosis pilaris. Consistency with skincare equals happy skin and easier hair removal!
Think of your esthetician as your skin doctor and waxing appointments as checkups! Keeping your waxpert up to speed on skin changes, reactions or new products ensures proper adjustments along the way. And don’t be shy about asking for recommendations about your specific skincare needs. Our job is to get you that smooth sexy skin safely. Teamwork makes the dream work!
After all this waxing and exfoliating madness, what should we remember here? Walk away knowing these key takeaways:
– Strategic gentle exfoliation 24-48 hours pre-wax prepares skin for better adhesion and hair removal.
– Harsh repeated scrubs can thin and inflame skin, causing waxing irritation and ingrowns.
– Use only extremely gentle manual exfoliation around sensitive regions like Brazilian waxes.
– Estheticians can advise on modifications for your unique situation if needed.
– Maintain gentle regular exfoliation plus moisturization between waxes for optimal results!
We covered all the basics about prepping your skin for flawless waxing experiences. Getting on board with gentle exfoliation while avoiding overdoing it is the sweet spot! Hopefully you feel equipped to start practicing proper techniques for your next smooth and sexy waxing appointment. Let me know if you have any other burning questions. Ingrowns got you down? Ask your waxpert for tips catered to your situation! Now go embrace the beauty of your unique glow. You shine bright like a diamond!