“Ready?” She asked, holding the edge of the wax at the base of my leg and looking up at me.
My shin was covered in dried, purple goo, stretching from the base of my knee all the way down to the scar on my ankle. With coronavirus closing down shops, salons, and spas, personal hygiene and self-care have been, admittedly, put on the back-burner.
But as someone who prefers to be hair-free, seeing inch-long black hairs on my legs glistening under my Amazon hue lights just wasn’t sitting well with me. I wanted to find a solution that wouldn’t involve using four razors, all of my hot water, and every last bit of patience to remove the hair, only for it to grow back the second I sneezed or got cold. I wanted to try waxing because it would save me time and I wanted to streamline my hygiene routine. Hence, my choice to tackle at-home waxing. Despite never having my body waxed (other than my brows), I figured: What else was I doing during quarantine? Might as well. While I now have smooth, hairless skin, the journey to accomplishing it was nothing short of excruciating.
After researching lots of different waxing kits online, I knew I needed something all-inclusive. I chose one on Amazon that came with wax, the heater, application sticks, prep spray, and after spray. While there are plenty to choose from, not only did this kit have great reviews, but it doesn’t involve strips, which users said made it much easier. As a total novice, all I can say is: It did its job. It made me hairless. The process, however, was truly an experience.
The best part of the entire waxing experience was avoiding shaving for two weeks. Granted, as someone in quarantine who worked from home pre-corona and hasn’t left her home in at least 50+ days, this wasn’t exactly hard. Still, having a reason to grow out my body hair was something I could happily jump aboard for. When the day came to finally wax, I spent some time in the shower exfoliating my skin and whispering “I’m sorry” over and over again for what I was about to do. As a waxing virgin, I had no idea what I was in for, but considering I was going to be doing it for the first time ever DIY-style in my Florida backyard, I didn’t exactly have the highest of hopes.
After exfoliating and drying off, I put on some breezy clothes and grabbed a White Claw to calm my nerves. At-home tip? Alcohol before waxing is NOT advised since it’s a vasodilator and thins your blood (which is why it’s suggested to avoid it before things like piercings, tattoos, and yup, waxing, to reduce the amount of bleeding). But, again, I was waxing myself for the first time in the Florida heat during a global pandemic, so alas, I broke the rules. In addition to the cleaning, exfoliating, and Clawing, I prepped my skin with the pre-wax liquid included in the kit as well as applied baby powder to remove moisture. This helps the wax stick to the hair instead of your skin, which is a BIG plus when it comes time to pull.
Since I live in a smaller home with a guest bedroom that also acts as an office, gym, library, and yoga studio, finding a space to get real zen (and a place where I didn’t have to worry about wax ruining my furniture) was difficult. So difficult, in fact, that it led me to wax my body outside in the Florida humidity, something I couldn’t suggest less. Still, I had the waxing kit, I had my roommate ready and willing to help, and my skin was exfoliated and prepped. The only thing left to do was pour burning wax all over my body and get to ripping.
As someone who has never really been waxed, I wasn’t sure what to expect pain-wise. We did my legs first, and I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the process was. The wax removed most of the hair — it was painful but not excruciatingly so — and even though it took way longer than anticipated (about an hour to do the bottom half of my legs), I chalk that up to inexperience and chatting between waxing pulls. It’s been well over a week since I waxed my legs and they’re still hair-free (minus the few patches I missed). Since my legs went so well, I was instantly like: Let’s do my armpits next!
This, my friends, is where things went horribly awry. Instead of researching how to wax this very sensitive area, I set out to just do it on a whim. As I stood in my bathroom and applied the hot wax to my underarm (without any regard to which direction the hair was growing, mind you), I didn’t heed any of my previous tips. I didn’t exfoliate. I didn’t use baby powder. And I didn’t enlist the help of a quarantine partner. Which is how, moments later, my roommate found me screaming, the wax half hanging off of my armpit, as little drops of blood landed on the floor.
At this point, I wanted to just somehow melt the wax off to avoid the agony of removing it. Turns out, that’s not really a solution. After much coaxing, she ripped off the remaining wax, leaving my underarm red, bloody, and raw. Turns out, I did it all wrong. For my second armpit, we utilized the advice of professionals: We pulled the underarm skin-tight, we used plenty of baby powder, and we applied pressure immediately after. The result? A hair removal experience that makes me no longer fear the pain of childbirth (but I do still fear a Brazilian wax).
- Ensure hair is about ¼ inch long (about 2-3 weeks of growth)
- Exfoliate skin prior to waxing
- Pop an Ibuprophem 30 minutes before
- Clean off any lotion, perfume, or deodorant
- Test the temperature of the wax on your wrist first
- Apply baby powder to waxing area to soak up moisture
- Apply the wax WITH the direction of your hair growth
- Pull off wax OPPOSITE of hair growth direction
- Apply pressure (with a paper towel) immediately after pulling wax
After applying plenty of pressure, after-care spray, and some aloe vera for good measure, 24-hours later my skin is unlike I’ve ever felt it. The stubble is gone. The weird, random hairs that I never seem to remove have disappeared. My legs no longer glisten with hair in the sunlight. Though it took a lot of trial and error, pain, and uncertainty, I’ve officially reformed and become an at-home waxer. Next up? The bikini line. Here’s to hoping I survive to tell the tale.
Rachel Varina is a social media, digital marketing, and editorial expert living in sunny Tampa, Florida. When she’s not creating content or collaborating with brands, you can catch her devouring thriller novels and supporting pineapple in the great pizza debate with her husband and two rescue pups by her side. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.
Image via Pexels