Remember those early weeks of the pandemic, when everyone was diving into new hobbies? Some people learned to bake bread; others picked up knitting or got really into fitness. But me? My pandemic skill was to teach myself how to wax my own body.
I’ve been going to the waxing salon regularly since my late teens, and aside from the occasional slap-dash upper lip job at home, it seemed far too intense, and frankly unnecessary, to do any other body part myself.
But once we were stuck inside with appointments cancelled for the foreseeable future, it suddenly struck me as an entirely reasonable journey on which to embark. And eventually, it essentially became part of my regular skin care and body hair routine. All I needed were a few key professional-level products, tips from others who’d charted the bikini and leg waxing waters before me and a strong margarita or two (though, as it turns out, drinking alcohol can actually make you more sensitive). If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.
If you’re a regular salon-goer but are curious about dabbling in at-home waxing, you will be pleased to know that it’s both easier and wildly more affordable than you think. (I also think it hurts much less than getting a professional wax; perhaps it’s the sense of control.) All you need are a few easily accessible tools and some courage. It’s a high-risk, high-reward activity that is well worth it in the long run, so think of it as a gift to yourself. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s perfect timing. Keep scrolling to find out what you need and how to use it.
A bottle of baby powder
Professional waxers use baby powder before waxing for a reason. Not only does it prevent the wax from sticking to your skin and reduce the pain, but it also dries up the area if you happen to be sweaty. Keep this handy bottle of Johnson's baby powder nearby and apply liberally on your skin before you apply wax. It's worth the mess.
A wax warmer
There's a reason the GiGi wax warmer is so popular and highly rated. It perfectly regulates the temperature of the wax, melting it quickly and then maintaining the correct temperature for as long as you are using it. The simple settings make it easy to control so you never have to worry about burning yourself.
Professional-grade hard wax
After some trial and error, I landed on using Cirepil Blue's hard wax. It is the best at snagging those baby-fine hairs that are easy to miss, plus it's made of high-quality ingredients, doesn't irritate the skin and is easy to work with. The refillable bags make it a breeze to stock up when you run out.
Always make sure you test the temperature of the wax before you apply a large amount to a sensitive area. Once you are ready and powdered, hold the skin taut as you apply the wax going against the direction of hair growth. Let it stiffen until it becomes tacky, then use your fingers to pull the wax in the direction of the grain. I find that a quick exhale at the exact moment of the pull helps to mitigate potential discomfort.
A large bag of craft sticks
Six-inch craft sticks, like these from Pandaspa, are perfect for applying wax. It helps you cover a large-ish surface area and makes it easier to wield the hot wax. Stock up, because you're going to be going through them quickly.
A thick yoga mat
You're going to be spending a lot of time sitting square on your bum, especially in the beginning. I found that having a spare Amazon Basics yoga mat to catch the baby powder and provide a gentle cushion makes a huge difference in my ability to get in all the positions I need to in order to get the job done. I have a designated waxing mat exclusively for this activity, but you can always use one you already have and put down a towel or even paper towels to help with clean-up.
A full-length mirror
You likely already have one in your home, but I recommend picking up a mirror like this one from NeuType that you can prop up against the wall and move around as needed. Natural light is definitely preferable to artificial lamplight, so having the ability to move the mirror around as the light changes is a big bonus.
If you are only waxing your legs or the sides of your bikini line, you don't really need the mirror. However, if you are venturing into Brazilian or G-string-style wax territory, having a mirror is crucial. You need to be able to get into whatever positions necessary and have a clear view of what you are doing. Don't be afraid to get up close and personal. Think of it as an exercise in body acceptance.
A fresh set of tweezers
Sometimes the wax might miss some of the finer, fuzzy hairs. They either just don't seem to stick to the wax, the angle is off or your skin is too sweaty. It happens! A sharp, angled Tweezerman tweezer can help clean up any leftovers and gently coax out stubborn ingrowns. I know you have a decades-old, dull tweezer at home. Do not use that one. You'll waste precious time trying to grasp those hard-to-reach hairs.
A cult-fave skin solution
Soothe your post-wax skin with Tend Skin. It’s a popular toner that helps to prevent redness and ingrown hairs while soothing the affected area. It’s been around forever and is the gold standard for waxing and shaving aftercare. It can be a bit tingly, but it works significantly better than aloe-based solutions that can clog pores and actually cause ingrown hairs.
A box of sterilizing prep pads
The last thing anyone wants is to get an infection as a result of digging around for ingrown hairs. Make sure you wipe down your tweezers with these Clever Health alcohol prep pads before and after each session to keep things nice and clean.