Everything You Need To Know About Getting Waxed For The First Time

Asking questions at the waxing salon might not come naturally to many of us, but that doesn't mean you have to be left in the dark during your first waxing session.

By Simone Sydel5 min read
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Shutterstock/Halinskyi Max

No matter how old you are, getting waxed for the first time can be daunting. And with millions of questions running through your mind, it can be hard to figure out what exactly needs to be done. But don't fret! In this guide, you will find detailed explanations on how to prepare for your first waxing appointment, what you should expect during the session, and of course, how to enjoy a smooth and successful waxing experience.

So, if that appointment is fast approaching and you want to make sure all your bases are covered, let's get started!

Know the Basics

Waxing is a popular hair removal method that involves the application of hot or cold wax that adheres to the hair and is quickly pulled off, plucking out the hair from the roots and leaving a smooth, hairless surface.

Waxing can be done almost anywhere on the body, from eyebrows and upper lips to legs and arms, bikini lines, stomachs, backs, and other areas, and the benefits of opting for this hair removal method compared to shorter-term methods are many.

Here are just a few reasons why you should opt for waxing when looking for an effective hair removal method:

  • Minimizes Ingrown Hairs: Unlike shaving, which often leads to ingrown hairs due to cutting just a part of the hair and leaving the ends blunt, waxing pulls out the entire hair from its root, minimizing ingrowns and leaving a smooth finish.

  • Exfoliates the Skin: Waxing is not just a hair removal method but also a skincare treatment. By picking up and removing dead skin cells, waxing thoroughly exfoliates the skin and leaves it feeling smoother, brighter, and more even.

  • Prevents “Strawberry Skin”: Shaving can often lead to redness, bumps, and ingrowns due to the razor dragging across the skin and not entirely removing the hair from its root, leaving behind red or dark spots that make your skin look like the skin of a strawberry. Waxing, on the other hand, removes the entire hair from its root and exfoliates the skin, leaving it looking smooth and polished.

  • Reduces Hair Growth: Waxing reduces hair growth when performed every three to four weeks, as pulling hair from the root weakens the hair follicles, making the hair grow back slower, finer, and lighter.

  • Provides Longer-Lasting Results: When pulled from the root, hair will take much longer to grow, which leaves you with longer-lasting results and eliminates the need for frequent sessions.

Types of Waxing

There are various types of waxing for different body areas, hair textures, and skin types, so it's important to know and understand the differences between them before deciding the best option for your needs.

Some of the most common types of waxing include:

Soft Waxing

Soft waxing, also known as strip waxing, is the most common hair removal method provided in beauty salons and involves applying a thin layer of warm wax on your skin, then placing a cloth or paper strip on top. The strip is then quickly yanked off, pulling the hair with it.

Soft waxes are thinner and spread easily, which makes them ideal for larger areas, like legs, arms, and back; however, the few cons of doing it is that it can be painful and is sometimes unhappily associated with burns and discomfort.

Hard Waxing

Hard waxing, or cold waxing, is a hair removal method that uses a thicker wax that cools and hardens once applied to the skin. Unlike soft wax, hard wax shrinks around each hair as it cools, gripping it tightly before being pulled off in the opposite direction of the growth. Hard wax is less painful than soft waxing and is usually preferred for sensitive areas like the face, underarms, and bikini lines.

While there are not too many cons of hard waxing, it can be more expensive than soft waxing and requires more advanced skills from the technician. Additionally, just as with soft waxes, cold waxes contain components such as resin and dyes, which could trigger an allergic reaction for some people; therefore, doing a patch test before waxing for the first time is recommended.

Sugar Waxing

Sugar waxing, or sugaring, is the most natural hair removal method used since ancient times. It’s popular due to the low risk of irritation and adverse reactions and the convenience of making it at home for a fraction of the cost you would pay at a salon.

Sugar wax is made of just three ingredients – sugar, lemon juice, and water – which are combined and heated until they reach a paste-like consistency.

Sugar waxing can be slightly more painful than soft or hard waxing; however, it does have the advantage of being less messy, as it doesn’t stick to the skin and can easily be removed with hot water. It’s also ideal for sensitive areas, as it won't leave the skin red, inflamed, and irritated, even though the pulling can feel a little intense.

Honey Waxing

Like sugaring, honey waxing is a natural hair removal method that involves using a sticky substance made from honey, lemon, and a touch of glycerin to add elasticity, which can be made at home by heating all the ingredients together.

The difference between sugaring and honey waxing is that honey has a much stronger grip on the hair, making it an ideal choice for those with coarser or thicker hair. Additionally, honey has natural antibacterial properties, which means it can prevent skin infections due to the micro-wounds created when the hair is pulled. However, honey waxing can't be used by those with honey allergies.

Preparing for Your Waxing Appointment

A waxing appointment can be uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing; however, you can make it much more bearable if you take the proper steps beforehand.

Here are some things you should consider when preparing for your waxing appointment:

  • Growth: Ensure your hair is at least 1/4 inch long – about the length of a grain of rice or longer. If your hair is too short, the wax may not grip it properly, leading to a less effective session.

  • Prep Your Skin: Exfoliate your skin a day or two before your waxing appointment, as this will help lift the hair and free any ingrowns covered by a thin layer of dead skin cells so that the wax can grip them easily.

  • Avoid Body Lotions: Avoid applying moisturizers, lotions, oils, and even numbing creams on the day of your waxing appointment, as this will lubricate your hair and cause the wax to slide off.

  • Wear Comfortable Clothes: Loose, breathable clothes will help avoid skin irritation and flare-ups after waxing.

  • Pain Management: Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before your waxing appointment can help reduce pain during the session.

At the Salon

Once you arrive at the salon, your waxing technician will ask you to take your clothes off and lie down on the waxing bed. Now, this is when many of us start to panic, especially if it's the first time you're getting waxed or you’re still too new to it to be comfortable and relaxed.

This is also when the dreadful thought of being judged by the technician might creep to the forefront of your mind; however, quickly discard it by reminding yourself that your waxing technician is a professional, and they won't bat an eye at any part of your body, as they are simply there to do a job.

Before starting, your waxing technician will clean the areas about to be waxed by applying a pre-waxing solution to remove sweat and oil residues from the skin and make it easier for the wax to stick. Your technician will then apply the type of wax chosen and let it cool until it hardens before removing it with a swift, firm tug.

Depending on the area being waxed, a single waxing session can last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. Smaller areas, such as the bikini line, underarms, and eyebrows, shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes, while a full body wax usually takes an hour to complete.

Once the session is over, your technician will apply a calming lotion to soothe the skin, reduce redness, and relieve any discomfort caused by waxing.

Now, when it comes to the cost of waxing, prices typically range from $20 to $150, depending on the area being waxed and the salon you go to. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $20-$50 for a Brazilian bikini wax, $10-$30 for an eyebrow and facial wax, and around $100-$150 for a full body wax.

Aftercare Tips

Taking good care of your skin post-waxing is essential to prevent irritation, infections, and discomfort.

Therefore, to ensure your skin recovers as quickly and comfortably as possible, here are some aftercare tips you should follow:

  • Avoid Heat: Heavy workouts, saunas, hot tubs, and sunbathing will induce sweating, which will cause the pores to expand and make your skin more susceptible to getting infected. Therefore, try to avoid heat exposure in the first 24-48 hours post-waxing.

  • Keep Waxed Areas Clean: To keep the pores clean and avoid infection, use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser or a body wash to clean your waxed areas twice a day.

  • Apply a Lightweight Lotion: A lightweight, fragrance-free lotion will help nourish the skin and relieve redness and irritation.

  • Skip Exfoliation: Avoid exfoliating with body scrubs, loofahs, and even rough towels for the first 24 hours post-waxing, as this can irritate your skin and cause discomfort.

  • Wear Loose Clothing: Continue to wear loose, breathable clothing for a day or two after waxing to avoid friction and irritation.

  • Avoid Touching: Resist the urge to touch or pick at the waxed areas, as this can introduce bacteria and lead to infection.

  • Sun Protection: Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun after waxing, and unprotected sun exposure can lead to discoloration and scarring, as your skin's superficial layer and main defense have been removed by waxing. Therefore, if avoiding the sun isn't an option, make sure to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen before stepping out.

Post-Waxing Hair

Now that everything's done and you survived your first waxing session, what's next? 

After waxing, you'll immediately notice how smooth your skin is, which will be a massive difference from using a razor for hair removal. However, this isn't the end of your waxing journey, as hair usually grows back in two to four weeks, and you'll have to wax again if you want your smooth skin to last. But what you will notice is that the hair that regrows after each waxing session will be much finer, sparser, and softer than before. Therefore, make sure to stick to your waxing schedule to enjoy smooth, hair-free skin for longer.

Closing Thoughts

Your first waxing session doesn't have to be terrifying, and although slight discomfort is something that you will likely have to deal with, there are ways that you can make this process more bearable.

With a little bit of preparation and help from your waxing technician, you can trust that this process will get easier with each session, which will undoubtedly make waxing a more enjoyable experience that's totally worth the time and money invested.

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