Waxing

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 6 November 2007

Waxing has been borne by women throughout the ages. Hot wax removes hair from legs, armpits and bikini line. It hurts, but it works! Here's our guide...

How it works
Hot wax is molten resin that traps any type of hair (long, short, fine or coarse) and tears them out at the root.

It comes in little balls of resin that you heat, melt and apply with a wooden spatula or using a roll-on which applies a continuous stream of wax to your skin.

Once it's dry, the wax is removed in one go. Wax is most effective hot because the heat opens the pores in your skin and the hairs come out more easily.

How to apply
Make sure your skin is clean and dry. Better still, exfoliate your legs the night before! Heat the wax in an old saucepan or heater with a thermostat to keep the wax at the right temperature, and check the temperature by testing on the back of your hand. Apply the wax in strips around 5cm long and 1cm thick, using a spatula.

Start at the knees and work downwards to your ankles in one movement. Press lightly with the spatula, wait until the wax doesn't come away when you touch it and tear off in one go.

Let your skin cool before touching up with a little more wax to get it perfect. After waxing, remove any traces of wax using wipes containing essential moisturising oils.

Removal
If you remove the wax against the direction of growth (ankle to knee), you'll remove the hairs more easily but you can aggravate your skin, cause ingrown hairs and little spots. If you remove it in the direction of growth you won't have these problems but you may need to re-apply it several times.

Advantages
You can also use it on your armpits and bikini line.

Warning!
- Be careful not to burn yourself. Always test how hot the wax is before you apply it.
- Waxing isn't recommended for anyone who suffers from circulation problems in the legs or varicose veins, because the heat dilates the blood vessels and often causes slight swelling.

More info
- Wait until your hairs are the ideal length (5mm for legs and 6 mm for the bikini line) before waxing.

- Before waxing your bikini line, cut the longest hairs using scissors and apply an exfoliating lotion a few days beforehand to avoid getting ingrown hairs.

- There are lots of ready-to-use kits available with a pot of wax you heat up in the microwave and strips of cloth or a roll-on with an electric thermostat that maintains the wax at a steady temperature.

- If you get waxed in a salon, check that the wax used is one-use only to reduce the risk of skin infections.

- Waxing has been somewhat overshadowed by long-lasting hair removal methods such as laser, intense pulse light (IPL) and electrolysis, but it's still effective and relatively cheap.

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