Waxing is the most popular form of hair removal today. It is semi-permanent and can last anywhere from two to eight weeks, depending on the individuals rate of hair growth. Because waxing pulls the hair from the root, the hair takes longer to reach the surface- as opposed to shaving or depilatories, which remove the hair just at the surface. Over time, and with repeated waxing, you will notice the hair is softer and finer upon its return and some individuals have even reported less hair! Who wouldn’t love that?
Did you ever wonder who started this ritual of slopping a sticky goop on and ripping out body hair? Well, you can thank the ancient Egyptians for this wonderful beauty process. As far back as 1150 BC to 60 BC (it is widely debated), the Egyptians were removing all of their body hair with seashell tweezers, pumice stones, and beeswax or sugar based waxes. Yes, all body hair, even on their heads! It was considered a sign of youth and beauty for the women to be completely hairless.
The early Romans and Greeks used body hair, or lack thereof, to denote class. Upper class women removed hair from armpits, face and genital areas. You’ll notice those lovely Greek statues of women we admire have no pubic hair. Roman and Greek men removed their body hair too; however, they left the pubic hair.
Queen Elizabeth I started the trend of removing hair from the face- specifically the eyebrows and the front hairline. It was all the rage for Elizabethan women to have large foreheads and no eyebrows. No wonder they seemed so austere! Wax strips were introduced in the 1960s and became very popular. You’ll note this is when the bikini made its debut in beach fashion.
As the bikini stuck around, more and more women were looking for ways to remove the pubic hair that would naturally show when wearing one. In the beginning, many women shaved what became known as the bikini line. Shaving, however, led to bumps, rashes, and quickly noticeable regrowth. Waxing became the preferred method of hair removal for this area. Before long, waxing became the preferred method of hair removal everywhere! You can’t beat the price and the length of time between procedures is much longer than with shaving or depilatories. Because the hair is pulled by the root, you are left with a much smoother surface than with shaving and longer lasting, too. The hair that is removed by this process will take from two to eight weeks to regrow. Any hair you may notice before that time is usually hair that was too short to be grabbed by the wax and therefore wasn’t removed during the first process. For this reason, you are usually told to wait at least a week after shaving before you get your first wax. The hair needs to be at least a quarter of an inch long so the wax can get hold of it and remove it.
Many people who have never gotten waxed will tell you it’s incredibly painful. While there is some pain involved, it truly is minimal. If you have any threshold for pain, which most of us do, and you are being waxed by a professional, there should really just be discomfort (maybe intense) more than anything. You can help to minimize this discomfort by remembering the following:
- Do not go to get waxed the week before or while you are having your period. Your body is much more sensitive during this time. The best time to go, professionals note, is the week after your period.
- Take an ibuprofen about an hour before your appointment- but not with coffee! It is best to avoid caffeine before your wax. As caffeine perks you up, it can also make you feel more, so that little tug may feel like a big pull when the wax is removed.
- Don’t use a moisturizer or deodorant prior to being waxed. Do, however, be sure to moisturize after waxing to help prevent ingrown hairs. You will need to stop the deodorant for at least 24 hours after waxing.
- Relax. It is probably the single most important thing you can do to help make it a positive experience.