Bikini Wax Wisdom from Waxing Specialists: 6 Things You Should Never Do, and 3 You Should
Bikini wax specialists share their secrets for after-wax care to prevent infection, irritation, and ingrown hairs.
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When it’s time for a bikini wax, you look forward to that liberating feeling of just not worrying. Because the smoothness from getting a bikini wax can last for two to four weeks rather than just the handful of days a shave yields, waxing makes for a great option in warm weather.
Whether you’re considering your first-ever bikini wax to get summer-ready (hey, the public health emergency is officially over!) or you’re a seasoned veteran of the wax pot, there are bright new insights to learn to help you get the most from your session.
We spoke with waxing specialists, who share the do’s and don’ts of hair-removal care so you can minimize irritation (and any infection potential) and extend the life of your fresh wax.
Here’s how to prepare for a bikini wax
If the idea of getting a bikini wax brings up some nerves, there are a few helpful reminders to keep your mind at ease. “It’s OK to be nervous your first time getting a wax, but your waxer will be there to walk you through it step-by-step and make it go as painless and smoothly as possible,” says Averi Coleman-Corl, stylist and wax specialist at State College, PA’s Looks Hair Design.
To best prepare for your wax appointment, Coleman-Corl recommends exfoliating the area the night before to help work out ingrown hairs. It’s also ideal to shower just before your appointment, since clean skin allows the wax to most effectively do its job. (The skin’s oils that build throughout the day can make this trickier.)
A few easy ways to make sure your wax job hurts as minimally as possible: If you get a period, it’s best to avoid scheduling your wax during or in the days leading up to it, as skin can be more sensitive during that time of your cycle. And if you’re concerned about pain, you can try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever 30 minutes before your appointment to help ease discomfort.
How long should the hair be for a bikini wax?
To get the most from your bikini wax, you’ll want to make sure the hair is long enough for the wax to grip it during the removal process. “I usually recommend about a half-inch of growth,” says Lien Ngu, stylist, waxing specialist, and owner of Studio Glow, also in State College, PA. “Think of a grain of rice.”
Once you establish a waxing routine, consistency is key—it may take two to three waxes to get your hair all on the same regrowth schedule.
As for how frequently to get waxed, the right cadence may differ from person to person. “I generally recommend clients get waxed between four and six weeks, depending on their growth,” Ngu says. “But for older clients who may have slower hair growth, they might only need one every eight weeks.”
Here’s what not to do after a bikini wax
Whether you’re prone to irritation or ingrown hairs, there are precautions you can take to ensure your bikini zone stays soft, smooth, and healthy after a wax. Below, learn more about the after bikini wax care waxing technicians swear by.
2. Be careful not to exfoliate right away
Because waxing is an act of intense exfoliation, it’s important to let the skin repair itself and not over-exfoliate. “I usually tell clients to wait about three to four weeks after a wax [to exfoliate], to help promote any ingrown hairs to come out before your next service,” Ngu says.
3. Avoid being in the sun
If you’re getting a bikini wax in preparation for a vacation, you’ll want to get it more than two days before you plan to soak up the sunshine. “The area is going to be a lot more sensitive to sun exposure at first,” says Domanick. “You’ll definitely want to apply lots of sunscreen to the area when it’s first exposed to the sun.”
4. Let your skin breathe
Instead of heading to your appointment in your favorite comfortable leggings, reach for a flowy pair of pants or a loose dress. “It’s important to wear loose fitting clothing post-wax, since you won’t want anything tight rubbing on the freshly waxed skin,” says Coleman-Corl.
5. Avoid intense workouts
In addition to avoiding sexual intercourse, consider getting a bikini wax after your workout—or, if that’s not possible, consider waiting until the next day to hit the gym again. According to Sara McGhee, stylist and waxing technician at Embellish Salon in Williamsport, PA, exercise should be avoided the first 24 hours post-wax since pores are still open and friction can cause irritation to the area.
6. Put your steamy shower on hold
Some regular wax clients find relief from a good soak in the tub after their wax. However, says Domanick, others might prefer to wait 24 hours until you hit the sauna or indulge in a steamy shower. This is because the skin is going to be more sensitive to heat during this time, which can lead to irritation and additional redness.
Cooler water than usual might also be advisable—in fact, Ngu recommends an ice pack or cold compress to help the area settle if you’re feeling sore after a wax.
What should I apply after a bikini wax?
At your wax appointment, it’s likely that a wax technician will end your service by applying a bit of calming oil, aloe gel or hydrocortisone to help soothe the skin and prevent irritation.
While keeping the area nice and dry is the goal post-wax, an effective aftercare lotion can do wonders. “Finipil is our favorite aftercare lotion,” says Domanick. “It’s an antibacterial, antimicrobial cream that soothes the skin at the same time as it moisturizes and helps prevent ingrown hairs.”
Speaking of anti-microbial protection, also consider using a toilet seat cover if you use a public restroom—just to help prevent exposure to germs as much as possible.