I’ve covered removing gel nails (and don’t worry, a tell-all on cutting your own bangs is coming), but now seems like a good time for a tutorial on one of the beauty industry’s more, well, southern services. We asked Rajanne DeCorby, salon lead at the Solo District Stripped Wax Bar in Burnaby, for her advice on maintaining unwanted hair at home.
DeCorby’s tips are below—but keep in mind, no one should care if your leg/armpit/whatever hair is getting out of control. If they do, perhaps you can point them toward literally any website explaining that there’s a global pandemic happening. Who knows how long it’s going to last. Maybe we should all be hoarding leg hair like it’s toilet paper and growing that extra cozy extra layer for fall. DeCorby herself says that’s totally cool: “If you can leave it alone, do it!” The pros will take care of it, judgment-free, once they reopen.
Whether you’re embracing your inner sasquatch or not, here’s some expert advice on how to wax yourself. At least it’s something to do.
1. Take a Shower
We’ve all become experts on handwashing over the past couple months—sing “Happy Birthday” (or whatever 20-second ditty gets you groovin’) while you wash the area you’re going to wax. Once you’ve showered, apply a bit of oil to protect your skin (olive oil works, says DeCorby) and wait a few hours. If you wax straight out of the shower, you could tear your skin.
2. Wax On
DeCorby suggests using a standard hot wax kit that comes with wooden spatulas and cotton strips. Not all waxes are the same, so follow your kit’s instructions for heating.
Do some investigating to figure out what direction your hair is growing in (in most cases, it’s toward the ground, but that differs in more intimate areas). Apply the wax in the same direction as the hair growth in a section no longer than six inches, and leave space to pull at the bottom. DeCorby doesn’t recommend doing a full Brazilian—or Manzillian—as hair down there grows in all different directions. Doing a little a bit of crotch-area cleanup is fine: keep those sections no longer than three inches long.
3. Wax Off
The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Remove the strip in the opposite direction of hair growth (opposite from the direction you applied the wax). “If this all feels OK, then proceed,” DeCorby says. “OK” is definitely a relative term—even the most tender of waxing goddesses can’t make ripping hair out feel good. At the same time, if you’re feeling any burning or severe pain/irritation, maybe cut your losses and just wait until salons open again. Or wax whoever it was that made you think you needed to do this in the first place (kidding, mostly).
4. After Care
Most at-home waxing kits come with a post-wax oil that can be applied when finished. It's normal to experience some redness, which will usually subside in a day or two. Online, Stripped sells Calm Down post-wax relief cream that can help soothe your skin. Wear loose clothing (as if you weren't living in sweats already), keep your pores clean, and start exfoliating about a week after your wax.
If you’ve decided against waxing, DeCorby says to avoid shaving at all costs and to use a trimmer with a guard on it to cut the hairs down, but not all the way to the skin. This won’t cause ingrown hairs and irritation the way shaving will. Also, you can pretend to be a fancy barber or the owner of a show dog.