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Waxing your own legs can be tricky—and sticky. But do it right and you can save yourself a lot of money.
I have several friends who wax their own legs and have done so for years. They report that it's quite easy and the more you do it, the more you get the hang of it. Also, they SWEAR the hair grows in less over time. Here's how to do it yourself, without much mess.
Who Should (and Should Not) Wax at Home
Before we proceed, a quick caveat: At-home waxing is a quick, budget-friendly route to smooth skin for most, but it isn't ideal for everyone. "Those who are on steroids, oral Accutane, chemotherapy drugs, or are diabetic shouldn’t wax their legs at home," says esthetician and Starpil wax educator Taylor Shipley. "You run the risk of burning or lifting skin, so it’s best to consult with your esthetician beforehand." And of course, be sure to check in with your doctor, too.
You want to ensure the hair on your legs is long enough to wax. Hair needs to grow out 1/4 inch (the wax needs hair to adhere to). If the hair on your legs is too long—like you haven't shaved or waxed in 6 months long—you can make like a barber and use an electric hair trimmer to give your legs a buzz cut.
Two days before you wax, it's a good idea to exfoliate your legs to remove dead skin, but don't do this immediately prior to the leg wax, because you may run the risk of inflammation. If you are sensitive to pain, try taking two ibuprofen pills an hour before you wax to cut down on the pain.
If you're using acne medications such as Accutane, take caution. Those products may make skin more sensitive and more prone to scarring.
Starpil's Blue Film Hard Wax Beads are great for grabbing short, coarse hairs—no strips needed. If you're on a time crunch, try the brand's Pink Roll-On Wax, which cuts waxing time in half.
If you're looking for a waxing kit that comes with a wooden applicator, strips, and wax, you can find good waxing kits online, like Gigi Waxing's Starter Kit. Sugar washes off easier, so you might consider a sugaring kit like the Cocojojo Egyptian Sugaring Kit ($66).
Follow the package instructions on how to heat the wax or sugar. Methods vary a bit, but typically you'll do this in a microwave or by immersing the wax container in very hot water.
Here's how to actually wax your legs:
- Apply a light amount of baby powder to skin. Baby powder removes oils helping the wax stick better to hair. Make sure it's cornstarch-based (no talc).
- Ideally, you want to work in small sections. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth. Hold the stick at a 90-degree angle and apply a smooth, thin layer.
- Before wax cools, firmly press down a strip to the wax and smooth it with your hand in the direction of hair growth.
- To remove the strip, quickly peel it in the opposite direction of hair growth. Don't pull straight up, it's less painful to keep the strip as close to the skin as possible. If the area stings, it can help to apply pressure immediately after the strip removal.
- Apply a lotion containing salicylic acid to try to prevent ingrown hairs. Try Bliss Bump Attendant ingrown hair eliminating pads.
To remove excess wax on skin, use body oil. Do not try to remove wax with hot water. If you are really not into cleaning up wax stuck to the skin, try a sugaring kit instead. It washes off much easier than wax.
While results are dictated by many factors—including your hair growth pattern and how closely you follow proper aftercare tips—you can generally expect your smooth skin to last about a month. "You might have some slight growth at three weeks depending on your body and if the hair was properly removed, but four weeks is normally the case," says Shipley.
Cleveland Clinic. Isotretinoin capsules.