Hair removal isn’t fun for anyone. Whether it’s shaving your legs, using hair removal cream or waxing, it’s a lot of time and maintenance for students. Waxing, in particular, can come to cost a lot, but if you’re like me, you likely prefer waxing over other hair removal methods because it leaves your skin feeling smooth for weeks at a time. So if you’re willing to invest in some equipment and supplies to wax on your own, I guarantee you that it will cost much less than getting done at a salon every month. If you're not looking to wax your legs, fear not! These tips and techniques can be applied to other areas of the skin as well.
Equipment and Supplies You’ll Need
1. A Melting Pot
You’ll use this to melt your wax. You can purchase one from a beauty supply store. While it may seem expensive at first, remember that this is an investment for you. Once you make use out of it in the long run, it will come to cost less than the amount you’d pay to have your waxing done for you every time. Make sure that you purchase a melting pot with your wax containers in mind — each pot is different, and you want to ensure that the wax you want to use will fit. I use the GiGi Honee Wax Warmer and it works like a charm.
Again, this can be purchased from a beauty supply store. I’d recommend using wax for ultra sensitive skin — I use Suddenly Smooth Ultra Sensitive Zinc Oxide Wax and it works great with little pain. Again, you’ve got to make sure that the wax and melting pots are compatible; wax is packaged differently by different companies, so it’s your responsibility to ensure that your wax will fit into the melting pot.
3. Popsicle Sticks
This is for applying the wax to your legs. You don’t need anything fancy. In fact, I purchase mine from the dollar store. Get medium or large sized sticks so they can hold a fair amount of wax to apply. The small popsicle sticks won’t do very much for you, so avoid those if you can.
4. Hair Removal Strips
An essential part of waxing, these strips are used to remove the wax after you’ve applied it to your skin. There are different types of strips you can use, both cloth and reusable. I prefer the cloth strips because I don't want to deal with the cleanup of reusable strips. With that being said, the reusable strips are made of a plastic-like material. You can clean them after each waxing session and store them away. Remember that if you're going to use reusable strips, you need to purchase water soluble wax. This is your choice to make.
You may want to cut your removal strips into smaller sizes depending on how big they are. Mine are long, so I like to cut them in half.
Baby oil (or olive oil if that's your preference) is an absolute must, because it can remove wax from multiple surfaces, including your skin. You will have waxy residue left on your skin after you’re done, and there will probably be some spots of wax on the countertop or the floor. I promise you that baby oil works to remove wax, especially since water won’t do anything (unless the wax is specially made to be water soluble).
This is also great for applying to your skin after you’ve waxed. Remember that when you’re waxing, you’re also pulling dead skin cells off along with your leg hair, so it’s very important to moisturize. I love the feeling of baby oil on my legs — it makes them so soft and silky. If you don’t want to put baby oil on your legs, you can also use moisturizer.
7. Paper towels
You’ll pour some baby oil on paper towels to remove wax from surfaces.
8. An old towel
This is to place on the ground where you intend on waxing. Even if you’re doing it in a bathtub or shower, it’s easier for the towel to catch wax that may drip. You’ll be able to throw it in the wash after you’re done and use your towel again, no problem. Some people would recommend putting newspaper on the floor, but I strongly recommend against it because it’s very easy to make an unnecessary mess with newspaper. I once used newspaper instead of a towel and the paper ripped everywhere and left temporary ink stains on my floor. Moral of the story: Just use a towel.
9. Baby powder
This isn’t a must, but it’s good to apply baby powder to your skin before waxing to absorb any moisture you may have on your legs. This is because moisture prevents the wax from being effective.
How to Wax
If you can, I’d recommend waxing in a bathroom. Though you can’t use water to remove wax, you’ll want to wash your hands after using baby oil. If this isn’t possible for you and you must stay in your dorm, get a bowl and fill it with warm soapy water and one or two small wash cloths. This way, you can clean your hands when you want to, which is important for cleaning up.
At a minimum of 24 hours beforehand, make sure you gently exfoliate to get rid of all the dead skin cells. This will minimize pain since there won't be any skin cells for the wax to rip off. Do NOT exfoliate any later than 24 hours before you plan to wax.
Also, make sure that you have enough time. I'd recommend giving yourself at least an hour and a half for the entirety of waxing and cleaning, especially since it can take a while when you're just learning how to wax.
Step 1: Set up your melting pot.
Take the lid off your wax and place it into the melting pot. Plug the pot in, and turn it on. My pot has a small dial that allows you to set a temperature and tells you when the wax has been melted. Every pot is different, so there is no set time for wax to melt. This may take an upwards of 30 minutes. The wax is ready to be applied to your skin once you can effortlessly swirl it around with a popsicle stick.
Step 2: Get your other supplies out.
The wax takes a while to melt, so use this time to get the other things ready. Lay down your towel, cut your strips into smaller pieces if you want to, get your popsicle sticks, your oil, etc. Apply the baby powder to your skin to help reduce the moisture on the skin; otherwise, the wax is less effective.
Step 3: Begin waxing
Once the wax has melted completely, begin waxing. You can do this standing or sitting — whichever is more comfortable for you. If you’re standing, use a chair or step stool to prop your leg up. Dip the popsicle stick in the wax and apply it to your leg. Don’t try to apply the wax as thickly as possible — you want a thinner spread so when the removal strips grip the wax, they’re pulling out the hair instead of extra wax.
Once you’ve applied your wax, apply the removal strip and smooth it on your leg with the grain (the direction the hair grows in). This ensures that the wax is gripping as much hair as possible. Then, pull the skin taut in order to minimize pain before pulling the strip off. Next, rip off the strip in a quick motion against the grain. Voila! Follow this step continuously until you’ve finished your leg.
Step 4: Cleanup
You’ll have some waxy residue left on the places you’ve waxed, so this is where you’ll want to use baby oil to remove some of it. Massage the oil briefly in your hands before working it into your legs. Wash your hands after this, and begin cleaning up. Turn the pot off and gather your towel off the floor. Remember that you may also have to remove the wax from the pot if it’s empty, or if you want to store it separately. Wax may have dribbled down the sides of the container into the pot so take a folded paper towel (to protect you from the heat) and remove the wax container quickly. If you wait until the pot has cooled, some of the wax will dry and make the container stick to the pot.
A few notes:
As previously mentioned, this guide is strictly for waxing your legs. Similar techniques can be used for your armpits or naval if you wish. However, I feel obligated to tell you that waxing your own bikini line is NOT a good idea. You should go to a salon for this type of waxing. I’ve tried doing my own bikini line before, and it HURT. I sometimes do a partial bikini line where I stay away from my genitalia and instead wax the crease where my thighs meet my hips. Personally, I find this area safe because I can clearly see where I am applying the wax. If you’re ever unsure, book an appointment to get waxed and have the salon employee show you. You’re better off spending the money instead of hurting yourself.
If you wax an area, wax it only once. I’ve made the mistake of waxing over a single area a few times, and I ended up with bruises because I was constantly pulling at the skin. If you can’t get some of the hair, leave it and come back to it another time.
With all that being said, you're done!
Lead Image Credit: Nawalescape via Pixabay