How Bad Does Waxing Hurt? (and Our Tips for Reducing Pain and Stress)
From shaving to epilation, hair removal creams to laser hair removal, there are plenty of ways to get rid of unwanted hair from your face and body. But for most people, waxing is the best way to achieve long-lasting silky smooth skin without breaking the bank.
That's not to say waxing isn't without its drawbacks though, not least its reputation for being quite painful. Although considering that the personal waxing industry saw a year-on-year average growth of 7.6 percent between 2010 and 2015, this clearly doesn't deter increasing numbers of men and women from getting waxes on a regular basis.
So, how bad does waxing hurt? And, is there any way to reduce the pain? Read on to find out!
How Bad Does Waxing Hurt?
Okay, we'll admit it, waxing can hurt a little. But trying to explain how much is difficult since pain is relative - one person's agony is another's slight irritation.
You've also got to consider where on your body you're waxing and who's doing it. A professional waxing treatment is a lot less likely to hurt than waxing your legs for the first time at home. Although it's often these bad self-waxing traumas that leave people expecting the worst when they book a professional wax.
Of course, even the most experienced waxing technicians can't promise a pain-free experience. Waxing involves tearing out hairs out from the roots, which are firmly attached to our bodies so it makes sense that waxing could involve a little pain.
But, as they say, no pain, no gain. And, one thing you'll gain from the pain of waxing is finer hairs that are also less dense, which happens due to the way waxing weakens the hair bulb.
How to Make Waxing Less Painful
We know that it's a little difficult to relax when you've got a hot date with some waxing strips. But stress actually increases the sensation of pain, meaning that the more stressed you are, the more likely it is to hurt.
A more helpful approach could be to avoid booking a waxing treatment during a stressful period. For example, if you're tense about an upcoming family gathering, work meeting, or other stress-inducing experience, wait until it's passed before getting a wax. This way you should find it easier to relax your body during the waxing session, which can also help to reduce pain.
As Carrie Bradshaw demonstrated when she accidentally had a Brazilian wax in an episode of Sex and the City, it helps to be as flexible as possible for an easier—and swifter—waxing experience.
Take a yoga class or at least do a full-body stretch before you get your bikini line done. Limbering up in this way will help the waxing technician do their job better and will also mean the pain won't last as long since you'll be in and out a lot faster.
Track Your Period
Your body is much more sensitive during your period as well as up to five days before it starts. To avoid unnecessary extra pain, track your menstrual cycle, and book your waxing session at a different time of the month.
The best time for waxing is around four days after your period ends. Your pain tolerance should be slightly higher at this point in your menstrual cycle.
Wait for the Ideal Hair Length
It's also important to time your wax right in terms of hair length. This means waiting until the hair is around a quarter of an inch long. Any shorter than this and the wax will pull on the hair but won't be able to remove it completely, making the waxing session more painful and less effective.
Prior to facial waxing, use a gentle chemical exfoliant such as lactic acid (AHA) or salicylic acid (BHA). This will help get rid of the dead skin that can trap hairs while also improving the health of your skin barrier to reduce irritation during and after the wax.
For your body hair, using a moisturizing scrub in the shower, paying particular attention to areas where you usually wax such as around your bikini line and your legs. Exfoliating your skin on a regular basis in this way will help to draw out ingrown hairs and encourage healthy skin renewal for a better waxing experience.
Avoid Retinoids and Retinol
If you use prescription retinoids or any OTC skincare products with retinol, stop using them before a waxing session. These skincare products make the skin more sensitive so avoiding them for two to five days prior to your session is advisable.
And, if you usually have sensitive skin or suffer from eczema or psoriasis, skip your waxing appointment if you notice that your skin is more inflamed, broken, or itchy due to a sudden flare-up.
Take a Pain Reliever
One last way to reduce the potential for pain during a waxing session is to take 200 to 400 milligrams of ibuprofen around half an hour before your appointment. This will decrease inflammation while also helping to ease the pain and reassure your mind.
Book Your Waxing Session Today
If you're still wondering, 'how bad does waxing hurt?' it's probably not a good idea to find out the answer by trying to wax yourself.
Not only will you have the potential pain of waxing to deal with but you could burn yourself with wax that's too hot. With this in mind, the best way to reduce the pain of waxing is to leave it to the professionals.