If you opt to remove your body hair, you've probably been through a few traumatic mishaps. Whether you've experienced painful cuts, razor bumps, or redness, an uncomfortable outcome can certainly stray you away from attempting the removal process again. But rest assured, the common at-home hair removal mistakes you've encountered can easily be avoided with a few tips and the right products.
If you decide to wax for hair removal, keep in mind that proper aftercare is an essential step, too. "Moisturizing and continuing your skincare routine is a must," Gina Petak, European Wax Center's Education Manager, tells TZR. "Dry or brittle hair can easily break during a waxing leaving behind a not so smooth result and increasing the chance of developing an ingrown hair." Additionally, to reduce the pain, Natalie Ismiel, Nad's brand ambassador, urges to steer clear of drinking significant amounts of alcohol or coffee before waxing, as it can tighten your pores and feel unpleasant.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the common hair-removal mistakes we all make and tips on how to make things right (and practically pain-free).
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At-Home Hair Removal Mistake: Not Prepping
"When it comes to prepping for at-home hair removal, it's always important to exfoliate first with a scrub," Ismiel explains. "Exfoliating with a scrub can help remove dead skin cells and boost circulation.”
At-Home Hair Removal Mistake: Shaving With A Dull Blade
"We recommend changing your blade every four to six shaves, but it’s dependent on your hair type and how often you shave," Allie Melnick, general manager of Flamingo, tells TZR. "If your razor feels like it’s pulling, or you have to take a few swipes to get all the hair, it’s time to switch up your blade."
At-Home Hair Removal Mistake: Waxing Or Shaving In The Morning
Handcrafted grooming experts at Maapilim share that the "skin naturally swells during the night, hiding part of the follicle, so a shave or wax at night guarantees a closer finish." It's also recommended to wax at night, as your pain tolerance may be higher than in the morning, Ismiel explains. "This will also give you more time to exfoliate and your hair follicles to soften."
At-Home Hair Removal Mistake: Waxing Retinol-Treated Areas
Retinols make the skin more sensitive, and wax can end up taking off layers of skin as well as hair. "Stop taking oral retinoids or using topical Retin A for at least a week before you wax," Ismiel recommends, noting that this can vary per person. "After discontinuing use, follow the directions in your wax product to test it on a small area where you want to wax. If there's no adverse effects, you can continue to full application." She says waxing while using retinoids can cause abrasions or irritation to the skin as both products act as exfoliators on dead skin cells.
At-Home Hair Removal Mistake: Improper Waxing Techniques
"The period between waxes varies per body part and is also dependent on your individual hair growth," Ismiel explains. "Some people can go up to eight weeks without waxing, while others wax every two weeks." She says to be sure your hair is about 1/8 inches long before you wax, to ensure effective hair removal. And since your skin can be more sensitive after waxing, it's essential to wait a minimum of 24 hours between uses.
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