Waxing: The Ultimate Guide, FAQ & Tips
Waxing is an option for hair removal that allows you to avoid the frequent hassle of shaving.
Women like it because it’s a fast way to remove hair, and the hair grows back softer than it would with shaving; there’s no stubble.
In this article you will find:
How long does waxing last? You can go anywhere from three to six weeks between waxing, but it depends on a few factors.
Let's talk about them.
Factors that Influence Time Between Waxing Sessions
Why do some of us have to wax every three weeks while other people only need to go under the waxing strip every six weeks?
This variation in waxing frequency depends on a few factors. Some you have control over, but others you just need to learn to live with.
- 1 Hair Growth Cycle
Each hair on your body goes through a three-stage cycle.
Before the first time that you wax your leg, for example, about 80 percent of the hair is in the growth stage, 3 percent is in the transitional phase, and 15 percent may be in the resting phase.
When a hair is removed from the follicle through waxing, this stimulates the growth of a new hair.
With regular waxing, the growth cycle of the hairs will start to synchronize.
As a result of consistently waxing over time, you’ll begin to see longer periods of hairlessness between sessions.
- 2 Type of Hair
How long you can go between waxing sessions also depends on the type of hair you are having removed.
Different hair types have different growth cycles. An obvious example of this is the hair on your head versus your eyelashes.
Eyelashes have a much shorter growth cycle than head hair, which is why lashes don’t grow very long.
For example: If you were to have your legs and underarms waxed on the same day, you would most likely see the hair grow back in those areas at different times.
That’s because each hair type has its own schedule for running through the growth cycle.
- 3 Your Unique Characteristics
You may need waxing more or less often than your friend based on the individual characteristics of your body.
Your age, hormone levels and genetics all play a part in how quickly your hair goes through the hair growth cycle.
Younger people tend to grow hair faster. When women get to middle age and beyond, their estrogen levels drop and testosterone triggers the growth of unwanted hair.
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Hormone imbalances such as those caused by polycystic ovarian disease can lead to increased hair growth.
Even the weather can influence how long your waxing results last; hair tends to grow faster during warmer months.
- 4 How Often You Wax
Most aestheticians recommend waxing every four weeks although when you are new to waxing, you will most likely have to go more frequently.
If you get onto a consistent schedule of waxing, you’ll be able to go longer between sessions.
If you only wax once in a blue moon, you’ll see hair grow back sooner than someone who has it regularly done.
How long does the hair need to be for waxing?
The general rule is that it should be at least one quarter of an inch long.
If the hair is very coarse, about one-half inch is even better. If the hair is longer than that, the wax technician will trim it down if it’s needed.
Since the wax needs to grip onto the hairs to remove them effectively, you’re better off showing up for your appointment with hair that’s too long rather than too short.
How to Prepare for Waxing
- Avoid taking a hot shower or bath immediately before treatment.
Some people think this can help with hair removal because it opens pores, but it will make the skin far too sensitive for waxing. To avoid the risk of irritation, shower at least one to two hours before your appointment.
- Make sure that the area to be treated is clean, dry and free from any oils and lotions. Additionally, gently exfoliating the skin will remove dead skin cells that wax might stick to instead of the hair.
- Check your medications. Women taking Accutane cannot undergo waxing. Other medications for the skin can also make it too sensitive for waxing. Most anti-aging and acne treatments work by speeding up the exfoliation of the skin.
This can make the skin far too sensitive to wax. Let your esthetician know about any medications you're taking before your treatment.
It’s a good idea to exfoliate gently the areas you’re going to have waxed the day before.
This will help to release any hairs that might be trapped under the skin.
Additionally, by removing dead skin cells, the wax will have an easier time of coming off your skin, resulting in less pain.
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How badly does waxing hurt?
Since you’re having numerous hairs pulled out at once, there is some discomfort involved with waxing.
Pain tolerance is different for everyone. However, areas like the upper lip and underarms are usually the most sensitive.
Many women are surprised that a bikini wax doesn’t hurt as much as they’d feared.
Typically, you can expect waxing to hurt the most the first time you have it done.
There are several things you can do to make your waxing experience as painless and smooth as possible.
How to Reduce Pain During Waxing
Taking ibuprofen a half-hour before the session can help.
Staying away from alcohol and caffeine before waxing also seems to cut down on pain levels.
Some women have more sensitive skin during menstruation. So try not to schedule your appointment right before your period.
If that’s the case for you, it makes sense to avoid scheduling any waxing sessions during this time.
However, there’s no other reason to avoid waxing during your period.
If you experience redness or irritation in the first few days after waxing, it helps to soothe the skin with a cold compress.
You also want to keep the area clean.
After the first two days, you should try to exfoliate the area on a daily basis to help prevent ingrown hairs or the appearance of unattractive red bumps that can be an early sign of ingrowns.
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Even with the best of aftercare, ingrown hairs can develop due to wearing tight clothes, skin type and hair texture.
If that’s happening to you, you may want to apply an exfoliating cream after showering to help out. This facial treatment is a microdermabrasion cream, exfoliator and scrub all rolled into one.
Here are a few more tips for the first day or two after waxing:
- Stay away from tanning beds, very hot baths and saunas.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing over the waxed area.
- Refrain from intense exercise if possible; sweat can irritate the hair follicles.
- Consider applying antiseptic cream to the waxed area to soothe and protect the skin. Always wash your hands before applying any product.
- Be careful about using perfumed lotions or any harsh products that might irritate your skin when it’s still sensitive after waxing.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re considering waxing for the first time, you are bound to have lots of questions. Knowing what to expect can help to take some of the anxiety out of the process.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
Does hair grow back thicker after waxing?
The short answer to this is NO. In fact, hair that’s been repeatedly waxed over time tends to grow back finer than before due to damage to the hair’s follicle.
If only this were true, many men with thinning hair would wax it to help it grow back thicker.
Additionally, you have a set number of follicles that you’ve had since birth. Waxing hair will not create new follicles.
Fortunately for women, waxing does not cause hair to grow back more thick and dense.
Does waxing cause ingrown hairs?
An ingrown hair occurs when a hair grows into the skin rather than out through the follicle. It happens most frequently with coarse or curly hair.
Hairs that are thick and curly are most at risk for becoming ingrown. You can prevent ingrown hairs in a few ways.
First, you should exfoliate the area that was waxed on a regular basis, for example, by using a loofah when you bathe.
Apply exfoliating creams that are designed to help prevent pesky ingrowns from occurring.
Additionally, choosing someone who has a lot of experience with waxing can also cut down on ingrown hairs because they know how to wax without breaking hairs off below the surface.
Avoid wearing tight clothes like jeans or leggings as much as possible and especially during the first or second day after waxing. Tight clothes can force the hair to grow down and under the skin.
Can You Shave Before Waxing?
Most estheticians don’t recommend shaving between waxing sessions since it can disrupt the hair growth cycle.
That can make the results of waxing last for a shorter time than they would otherwise. However, if you must shave, it will take about three weeks after that for the area to be ready for a wax.
If you go in sooner than three weeks, your waxing results won’t last as long.
Is it ok to wax during pregnancy?
The hormones present during pregnancy can often lead to an increased growth of hair.
Thankfully, it is safe to wax during this time. However, keep in mind that your skin can be more sensitive, and waxing might be more painful for you.
The results may not last as long as they do when you aren’t pregnant due to the surge in hormones in your body.
Waxing is a hair removal method that’s been around for ages and looks like it’s here to stay. How long does waxing last?
It mainly depends on you and the characteristics that make you unique.
To get the most out of waxing, it makes sense to commit to a series of sessions. That way you’ll experience the longest times between waxing and the smooth, hairless skin you’re after.