Wise uP: A Few Words on Waxing

1 03 2010

This should NEVER happen to you

I love and rue the day I started waxing.  As a dark haired woman of Mediterranean descent I must submit to the sticky stuff more than most, but I have come to appreciate its value, especially when faced with the dreaded razor stubble.  I tried to do the GiGi home waxing kit for a while, which was fine until my husband chucked it, box and all,  into the hall closet where the hot wax dripped all over the floor and the waxing unit, permanently sealing it shut. It was probably better anyway because I was way too chicken to do my own moustache wax and my eyebrows were looking like two very uneven toothpicks. From then on I decided to leave it to the professionals.

Sadly, the one thing I realized was that the professionals were not much better. They were either rude and intimidating (J Sisters), completely overpriced and not that good (Completely Bare), totally incompetent (insert well known central NJ spa here), unbelievably unsanitary (any number of NYC salons), or so unbelievably painful that I wished for a Motrin IV (pretty much anywhere that a bikini wax is administered, but I’m thinking of one midtown joint in particular). In my pain and fury I decided to compile a checklist of things to look for and do in order to make your waxing experience as pain free as possible.

  • Make sure the salon/spa is clean!!! There should be NO double dipping the stick into that wax.  Salon owners are cheap bastards but that does NOT justify double dipping the Popsicle stick and risking rash, infection and STDs.  The wax is not hot enough to starve off infection, no matter what your Russian esthetician tries to tell you.  A box of wax sticks costs about $5 so there’s absolutely no excuse for unsanitary conditions. Also, when you go into the room, the paper on the table should be changed and all plucking tools should be sanitized.
  • Make sure your esthetician is wearing disposable gloves. This shouldn’t even be an issue but you’d be surprised.
  • Take 2 Ibuprofen before waxing. This decreases pain and swelling.
  • Lidocaine cream applied  20-30 minutes before your wax application really reduces the pain.
  • Do not get waxed during your period. It hurts about 100 times more than usual.
  • Do not exercise after a bikini wax. This could cause irritation to an already sensitive area.
  • Do not use products like Retin-A, Renova or any other Retinoids within two weeks of getting waxed. If you are using these products, please inform your waxing specialist.
  • Milk will reduce redness and swelling to lip and eyebrow area. Soak a cotton ball in cold milk and apply to area for five minutes.  Heaven!
  • When making an appointment for a Brazilian wax, do your homework.  Get recommendations from friends or ask the front desk of the spa for someone who is experienced in Brazilian waxing. This is NOT an area in your life in which you want to save a couple of pennies.
  • Don’t shave or Nair in between wax appointments. I know it’s annoying to have regrowth but shave stubble will completely backhand anything you’re trying to do with the wax.
  • Don’t get waxed at nail salons. They are probably the dirtiest, most unsanitary venues out there for waxing. Trust me gals, a ‘stache wax at Nails Plus is  $5 for a reason…and not a good one.
  • The morning before you get waxed and in between waxings, exfoliate with a poof or gloves to prevent pesky ingrown hairs. Another great tool is Tendskin, available for purchase at your local drugstore.
  • If a waxing place feels “off” it probably is. Get out of there immediately and don’t worry about offending someone.

Waxing sucks. But it shouldn’t have to. If you’re smart you will have many years of positive experiences ahead of you.

The pH recommends:

Shoba Salon: http://myshobha.com

Bliss: http://www.blissworld.com

Rapid Transit (Irina): Westfield, NJ 908-654-4417

Lookin Good Day Spa: http://www.lookingoodspa.net




4 responses

2 03 2010

Excellent topic this week! I think that waxing is so overlooked and people wind up with funky eyebrows, and trips to the emergency rooms.
I’ve got a few helpful things to add…
1. If at all possible, look for an esthetician to wax your bikini. Estheticians as compared to cosmetologists have been trained extensively on body waxing…they have more hours of experience, so your experience SHOULD be a fairly pleasant on with a very experienced professional. (facials and waxing go hand in hand….as an esthetician, I’d never think to try and cut or color someone’s hair, just as Alyson wouldn’t jump to give someone a facial. Alyson, if this is wrong, we need to talk…lol)
2. Wax temp is just as important as the competency of your waxer. If that wax is hot when they apply it..TELL THEM! Hot wax not only burns you, but it also adheres even more to the skin which will not only wax your hair, it will also wax your skin (NOT fun, especially in the bikini area).
3. There are quite a few different kinds of waxes out there. If they offer you a “sensitive wax”…ask if it is ressen (sp?) free….this is less harsh to the skin. If you are of Mediterranean descent like Alyson, you might not be able to use this wax, as your follicles are deeper and you will need a stronger type of wax to pluck those babies outta there.
4. Rentinol users: You need to stop using it for 3 days to a week. Retinol leaves your skin sensitive and waxing WILL take skin off (I just did it the other day…I was not informed)
4A: DO NOT go out in the sun or tan for 24-48 hours after you get waxed. If that waxed area gets sun you will hyperpigment (sun spots) in the entire area and that ain’t going away.
5. Tendskin is a good exfolliator for your waxed area but it does tend to burn be unpleasant to use. I’ve been using Fenipil. It does the same thing as TendSkin, but it is cream based and has a cooling effect to it. It can be used anywhere..but be warned that you might shake and shimmy a bit when you use it in the bikini area…lol…some find t enjoyable, some do not. Just another option out there. You can find it here:
Hope this was helpful!

2 03 2010

I would go with Alyson’s suggestion of 2 weeks w/o Retinol. It’s a more conservative view, but you really don’t want to mess around with your face.
Also, i was just informed that the sensitive wax is rosin free. (sorry, it’s been a long day!)
I also noticed that Alyson does say esthetician many times…she knows the score and I apparently can’t read 🙂
Wes feels as though I should mention that in NYC you need at least 500 hours of experience (that’s on top of school) to wax. NJ…well, sadly the esthetician licence only require 600 hours..total. sad, but true. (I’m keeping my fingers cross that someday I will return to the East Coast, so I’ve been doing some research) I would def. go on recommendation and experience.

2 03 2010

Aly, love this topic – I have been waxing since college and can’t imagine life without my monthly brazilian!! I am lucky to have worked at a spa and learned a lot about what you should and shouldn’t expect… there are some creep-o places in NYC!!!
One good product I recommend for ingrown hairs (one of the major reasons I will never go back to shaving) is Art of Shaving’s Ingrown Hair Night Cream. They make it in a men’s version and a women’s Rose Absolue version. Both are great (but pricey)!!
Thanks for the tips, like always!!

6 03 2010

Ladies, I LOVE the comments, thank you!! Steph, you also made a really good point this summer about how estheticians should not press down too hard after they wax you or it could cause bruising. This was a great tip and I’ve been very aware of that since you told me. Al- I will definitely check out that Night Cream. Excellent suggestion.

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