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Pros and Cons of DIY Waxing

Waxing to remove hair at home is cheaper and faster -- and less painful than tweezing.

By Gina Roberts-Grey

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

WebMD Magazine - Feature

When I was 11, my mother decided it was time to unburden my forehead of its uni-brow. Little did I know I should have run far away and taken the tweezers with me. For what seemed like hours, she skillfully plucked hair by hair as tears of pain streamed down my face. If only I’d known there was another way: waxing.

Waxing, like tweezing, does hurt, but the pain comes with every strip, not hair by hair. Waxing is also better than cream hair removers because there’s no smell and less of a chance you’ll wind up with a nasty red rash. Another bonus? Your legs or bikini line aren’t left full of nicks and cuts, unlike the occasional aftermath of shaving.

Unfortunately, squeezing in a trip to the salon for wax jobs can be tricky. You may not be able to land an appointment on the day you’re feeling hairy. But do-it-yourself waxing can be done anytime right in your own bathroom.

Home waxing products

Most over-the-counter waxes are a combination of beeswax and paraffin and come in microwaveable containers or containers that can be heated quickly on the stove. But they’re not your only option. Pre-coated wax strips are virtually mess-free, easy to clean up, and manageable for small areas such as brows and lips or for bikini line touch-ups. Water-soluble "sugar" products made from a sugar and water base are less sticky than traditional wax, so any excess washes off with soapy water. They’re also gentler on sensitive skin.

All-in-one at-home waxing kits are easy on your wallet and are typically less expensive than salon wax jobs. One of the biggest payoffs is the time span between touch-ups. Waxing keeps regrowth from showing up for about two weeks, unlike the shorter shelf life of a shave or tweezing. "[It’s] longer if you’re a routine waxer, because waxing weakens the hair follicle, and that slows the production of hair," New York esthetician Janet Chao says.

Get started with home waxing

Chao notes that at-home waxing kits are safe and effective but only if you follow instructions.

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