Facial hair waxing is fairly quick, gets even the fine hairs, and can last weeks at a time if it's performed the right way. However, it can also go horribly, terribly wrong. Waxing your facial hair at home can be a great money saver, but before you take any warm goo near your face, you should know what to do first.
Cream wax heated up in a wax pot is a great option for most skin types. It's great for delicate facial skin because it's gentle. It’s also easier to work with than honey waxes because it's much less sticky. While cold wax strips do seem like less work, they unfortunately don’t actually grab onto the hair as well as heated wax. It's easiest to do your own facial waxing if you buy a waxing kit, particularly if this is your first time doing any waxing—it should take about 20 minutes total.
Do not wax your face if you are taking Accutane or if you're using anti-aging products on your face that contain retinol.
What You Need
Most wax kits should have most of the items you need for waxing; however, make sure you have the following:
- Wax warmer or microwave (The instructions on the product will let you know which one you need)
- Cream wax or the best wax for your facial hair and skin type
- Pre-wax cleanser
- Talc-free powder
- Muslin or pellon strips
- Wooden applicators
- After-wax lotion or aloe based gel
There are many different wax kits you can buy to remove facial hair at home. One good option is the Parissa Organic Wax system ($16). It is gentle for sensitive facial skin and is made of natural, sustainable substances.
If you feel squeamish about applying hot wax to your face, try Nad’s Facial Wax Strips ($12). You simply heat them between your hands, rub them onto your face and peel off. As stated above, the strips may not remove as much hair as heated wax, however it is less messy and good for beginners.
Before you even think about doing a facial wax, you should check to see if the hair on your face is long enough. It should be at minimum 1/4 inch long. If it's not, waxing may be ineffective, and might even cause ingrown hairs. If your hair length checks out, pin or pull back your hair and wash your hands and face thoroughly to get rid of any makeup or dirt. Pat dry, and then apply a pre-wax cleanser. When your face is prepared, dust talc-free powder on the area you want to wax.
If you are using hot wax, you should be heating the wax in a wax warmer or in the microwave, according to the directions on your waxing kit. You want it to be warm but not too hot. It should look like peanut butter or honey, not oil. If it looks like oil, let it sit until it has reverted to the consistency of honey.
Apply the wax evenly in the direction of hair growth using an applicator or popsicle stick at a 45-degree angle to the hair in small sections. You want enough wax to thoroughly cover hair, but not so much that it becomes too thick to remove.
Next, apply a waxing strip in the direction of hair growth. Leave a bit of the strip at the end unattached from the hair, like a tab, which will be used to pull the strip off. Press your hand against the strip to smooth it out in the direction of hair growth a couple of times, so the wax grips to the hair. If you are using hot wax, it's probably slightly cooled at this point, so grasp the tab, hold your skin taut with one hand, and remove strip in the opposite direction of hair growth in one quick pull. If a little bit of wax with hair remains, put the strip back on your hair, and pull it off again in the same way.
Work in sections across your face until all the hair you don't want is gone. Don’t apply wax over the same area twice, as it might burn or irritate your skin. When you're finished waxing, use tweezers to remove any stray hairs missed by the wax.
It seems obvious, but do your waxing in front of a mirror. Practice using the wax on a small place on your body—like your arm—to get the feel for it, and to make sure the wax is the right temperature. If you're wary of the pain waxing can cause, use a numbing cream or spray. They may be particularly helpful if you have sensitive skin.
After you finished, try applying an aloe-based gel, such as Clean + Easy Soothe Aloe Vera Gel ($13) to your face to try to help soothe any redness or irritation caused by waxing.
Mysore V, Mahadevappa OH, Barua S, et al. Standard guidelines of care: performing procedures in patients on or recently administered with isotretinoin. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2017;10(4):186-194. doi:10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_110_17