To Wax or Not to Wax? Your Guide to Summer Hair Removal

When it comes to summer hair removal, you might be tempted to give your waxer carte blanche. But before you get too wax-happy, you need to school yourself—it’s important to find the best hair removal option for your unique skin type, skintone, and hair type. We spoke with waxer extraordinaire, esthetician, and Queen Bee salon owner Jodi Shays and asked her which areas of our bodies we should wax, and which we should shave, tweeze, thread, or laser.

Click through the slideshow above for her tips on getting stubble-free skin for summer!


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    Bikini Area

    To wax or not to wax?

    “In the hand of an experienced, knowledgeable, class-A esthetician, you can get stellar results from a wax, which after time leads to less hair and smoother skin,” Shays says. If you’re going in for a wax, Shay recommends that you try and shower before your appointment. “We understand that you can’t always take a shower, but pick up a cleansing cloth, like Cottonelle’s Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths ($5)—we love these because they are gentle and don’t sting!”

    As for shaving, she says that it can irritate your skin and leave cuts and nicks, which leave behind portals for bacteria to enter—a.k.a infection city. “Shaving can also lead to hyper-pigmentation on the bikini line and underarms,” Sahays says. “It can also toughen the skin—stubble just doesn’t feel attractive!”

    Lasers, on the other hand, are a great option for those with lighter skin and darker hair. The downside? “It’s not permanent—it’s just a reduction,” Shays says. “Therefore, most people still have to shave or wax after many rounds of painful and expensive lasers. I’ve also seen people who have had laser grow back when they go through a big hormonal change, like pregnancy.” What about depilatory creams, like Nair? “They’re chock full of chemicals, which can change the natural pH balance of your skin,” she warns.


    Consensus: Wax!

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    To wax or not to wax?

    “Most people choose to wax their arms for vanity reasons, although we do see many athletes come in and request this service,” Shays says. “Waxing leaves a beautifully clean look and the hair tends to grow back softer—there’s nothing worse than looking at dark stubble growing back on a persons’ arms!” Which is exactly what will happen if you shave your arms: it can lead to unsightly ingrown hairs, and darker, thicker regrowth. Another option, for the wax-shy? Try a cream bleach, like Sally Hansen’s Extra Strength Crème Hair ($8), instead. Note: this works best if you have light skin and arm hair that isn’t too thick.


    Consensus: Wax or bleach!

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    To wax or not to wax?

    “Unless you have really dark facial hair, or a medical condition that produces an abundance of hair, I am not a huge fan of facial waxing [for women],” Shays says. “Sure, a little here and there on the brows and lip are fine, but we do need some of that peach fuzz to help protect our skin from the elements.” The skin on your face is extremely sensitive, and cannot always tolerate waxing. “If that’s the case, I recommend my clients get threaded at a reputable establishment,” she says. “It takes the hairs out one by one, using a very thin piece of thread—it can be painful, but a great option for anyone too sensitive to wax!” Or, try a gentle bleach to lighten your hair instead, like GiGi’s Gentle Bleaching Cream ($7).


    Consensus: Thread!

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    To wax or not to wax?

    When it comes to smooth legs, most women will reach for a razor. However, if your hair grows back quickly or if you’re prone to leaving knicks and cuts, you might want to consider other options, like waxing or lasers. Just remember—lasers are best for those with lighter skin, because it can leave light spots and patches otherwise. Shays says that waxing your legs—contrary to popular belief—isn’t as painful as people may think: “Waxed legs actually feel good when the hair is removed!”


    Consensus: Wax or shave!

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    “This is probably the trickiest area to grow out,” Shays says. She recommends growing out your underarms in the colder months instead of the summer: “Get at least three to four weeks of growth, and then go in for a wax.” She says she prefers more growth for better results. “More hair has grown out—remember, shaved hair grows in different cycles, so it’s never all grown out at the same time!”  Another option? An at-home hair removal laser, like Tria’s—it’s the first FDA-cleared laser that you can use at home, and is great for smaller areas like your underarms.


    Consensus: Shave or laser! 

EXPLORE: Skin, Wax, waxing, summer hair removal, Hair Removal, Laser Hair Removal, shaving


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