The Dos and Don'ts of Waxing at Home—so It Isn't an Epic Fail

Most of us turn to the experts when it comes to waxing, whether it's your brows, peach fuzz, bikini line, or whole-body situation. But there are actually a lot of brave souls out there who go the DIY route and do all their waxing at home. (Can you tell I've never gotten the courage to do this myself?) 

There are definitely some pros to taking matters into your own hands. First, it can be cheaper. Second, you don't have to worry about booking an appointment with your in-demand esthetician. And now that I'm spending more time at home and haven't been able to head to my monthly brow-and-Brazilian appointment, I've become at-home-waxing-curious.

Maybe you're intrigued, too, so I asked an expert, Elena Petrovicova, research and development director for Nair, for some at-home waxing dos and don'ts, and I also found some kits that won't make the task too difficult (I hope). Take a look below.

Do: Exfoliate

Goodbye, dead skin cells. "At least 24 hours before waxing, gently rub skin in a circular motion with a loofa or washcloth to avoid ingrown hairs," Petrovicova says.

Do: Cleanse

Normally when you get a wax at a salon, your esthetician will gently clean the area, so that rule applies for at-home waxing, too. Soap and water will do, and Petrovicova says you should dry the area thoroughly. "Waxes work best when skin is free of oils, creams, and perspiration," she explains.

Do: Powder

Keeping the area dry is key. "Lightly dust your skin with powder before waxing," she recommends. "If skin is moist, the wax will not adhere properly."

Do: Hydrate

Get a glass of water. "A hydrated body means hydrated, healthy skin and a lesser chance of getting ingrown hairs, so drink up!" Petrovicova says.

Do: Moisturize

This will help your skin if it feels irritated or a little raw. Petrovicova recommends using baby oil, and she adds that Nair's Wax Ready-Strips come with post-treatment wipes.

Don't: Wait Too Long Between Waxes

Sticking to your normal waxing schedule can make the whole task easier. "Ensure the hair is no longer than half an inch," Petrovicova says. "If necessary, trim shorter. Waxing hair that's too long can make for a more difficult and painful experience."

Don't: Wax Sensitive Skin

Um, ouch? "Hold off waxing until any cuts or sunburn has healed," she recommends. "Many women also find they're more sensitive to pain right before their period, so wait a couple of days."

Don't: Wax the Same Way All Over

"No matter what part of the body you're waxing, be sure to pull the wax strips off in the opposite direction of hair growth. It's not only more effective but also less painful," Petrovicova says.

The Best Kits for Facial Waxing

Waxing your face can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you're doing your brows. One misstep can lead to no eyebrows. So basically, don't rush it.

To minimize pain and irritation if you're using wax strips, Petrovicova recommends pulling it as parallel to the skin as possible, rather than away from the face. And she gives this genius tip when you're cutting the strips: "For the lower edge of your brows, cut a new wax strip to match the shape of your arch. After pulling the cut wax strip apart, be sure to save the other side. It already perfectly matches your other brow!"

Nair Wax Ready-Strips for Face and Bikini

Nair's strips are low-effort and practically mess-free. You don't even have to warm or rub them before use, and the results are supposed to last you up to eight weeks. They also work on the bikini area, too.

Parissa Brow Shaper

At-home waxing newbies can rest a little easier with Parissa's brow shaper. The mini strips already have wax on them, and the small size will help you achieve precision.

No Mo-Unibrow

The small kit is key for travel or on-the-go needs. Inside are 20 hypoallergenic waxing strips, tweezers, and post-wax cream.

Flamingo Face Wax Kit

Flamingo has a great line of shaving products, and the brand's waxing offerings are equally good. The Face Wax Kit comes with soft gel wax strips, post-wax cloths, and a calming serum—everything you need to get those eyebrows in shape or any peach fuzz off.

The Best Kits for Body Waxing

I think part of the reason I don't do at-home waxing is my esthetician gives me a lot of moral support when I'm getting a Brazilian. The pain becomes a bit more bearable when she's talking me through it. But hey, I can be a big girl and give myself the equivalent of a Cheer "mat" talk if I'm going to do it solo.

Whether you're doing your legs, arms, or bikini area, remember to pull from the opposite direction of hair growth like we talked about above. "Holding the skin taut with one hand while the other hand removes the strip will lessen pain and irritation," Petrovicova says. "For the bikini area, start from your inner thigh and work your way upward and toward the back."

Sally Hansen Extra Strength Stripless Bikini Wax Kit

Associate beauty editor Courtney Higgs is a big fan of Sally Hansen's bikini wax kit. You don't need strips for this one, and you just microwave the wax in the container. The kit also comes with spatulas, bikini scissors, and finishing oil.

Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit

Bliss's waxing kit is probably as close as you'll get to an in-spa treatment. The no-strip wax hardens quickly, so it's easy to use, and the formula can remove stubborn hairs. The kit contains a waxing cup, two large spatulas, two small spatulas, and pre- and post-wax oil. You can also use this one on your face.

Nad's Body Wax Strips

Nad's ready-to-use body wax strips are another option that doesn't require heating. It's formulated with natural beeswax to leave your skin feeling smooth (no stray hairs!). 

Wakse Tea-Infusion Hard Wax Beans

This might be the best-smelling option out there. The hard wax beans are infused with rose tea. To use, you microwave the beans, apply the wax to the area, and peel off against the direction of hair growth. The formula also contains antioxidants and vitmains A, C, E.

GiGi Brazilian Bikini Wax

Editor in Chief Kat Collings swears by this GiGi wax. You don't need strips with this microwavable wax. It contains beeswax and soybean oil to calm and soothe skin while helping your skin feel less sensitive. Collings also recommends GiGi's wax remover to cleanse and moisturize the skin afterward.

Cirepil Blue Wax

Cirepil's no-strip wax comes highly recommended with over 4000 reviews on Amazon and 4.5 stars. The gentle wax works on all hair types and is suitable to use on your face, too.

Veet Leg and Body Hair Removal Kit

Veet's wax has a sensitive formula that contains açaí and shea butter. Each strip is pre-coated and doesn't require warming. There are also finishing wipes included for your after-wax care.

Next up, I got my eyebrows laminated, and they literally doubled in size.

Related Stories