There are perhaps no two words in the English language as feared as "bikini wax." Women dread them, postpone them and complain about them. But as anyone who has had a few waxes knows, it actually isn't so bad -- provided you are well informed.
But many people don't actually know some basic rules for waxing. Is double dipping applicators okay? Can you get waxed while pregnant? How about on your period? To help answer all these burning questions, we chatted with Melanie Gilliland, European Wax Center’s chief wax expert and educator and a licensed esthetician. Here are eight things you need to know before getting waxed, according to Gilliland:
1. It gets easier.
"I wish people knew that the service becomes easier and easier with every visit. I think sometimes people hesitate to try it or don't continue with it after their first service because they are deterred by pain. After the first one, it is so much easier and only gets easier from there."
2. Do NOT trying waxing for the first time when you're pregnant.
"If you wax before you are pregnant, you can continue to wax throughout. I have waxed many women the day or week before [their] due date. Guests like to get waxed as close as possible to delivery, as they will not be able to get another wax until their doctor clears them. I encourage anyone even trying to get pregnant to start waxing now. It becomes very challenging to tend to the area as you grow, and hair becomes thicker during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. We do not encourage guests to start waxing for the first time during the third trimester. It's something that should have been started earlier."
3. Watch out for these red flags at your waxing parlor.
"An area behind a curtain, as opposed to private room for waxing -- if the space is not a priority then the technique is not either. Double dipping sticks, a dirty room or wax pot [and] no gloves."
4. It's OK to get a wax on your period, but...
"It's all about sticking to a schedule, so if your reservation falls during your cycle, you should still get your wax. I would not recommend your first wax during your period as it will make the experience more uncomfortable, but during the year it is bound to happen. Just wear a tampon and let your wax specialist know."
5. The long terms effects of waxing down there are worth the pain.
"Hair will always become finer, softer and more sparse with waxing. The degree and speed of those results vary by the individual. I've had guests that have seen fifty percent hair reduction in three or four visits; for others it may take more time."
6. The type of wax you use matters.
"Hard stripless wax is the only way to go. Honey wax is a thing of the past -- it's messy and too hot and can really damage the skin. Not to mention, it hurts a lot more."
7. There IS a way to make waxing less painful.
"You can certainly take an Advil if you'd like, but the best thing to do to reduce pain is to stick to the schedule. The hair should be not too short [or] too long. Oh, and try to stay relaxed. Talk to your waxer to distract yourself and keep your muscles as relaxed as possible."
8. Don't workout right before or right after a wax.
"[Sweat] may interfere with the wax adhering to the hair. Working out right after may cause an adverse reaction to your freshly waxed skin. We recommend waiting 24 to 48 hours [before hitting] the gym, especially if you are new to waxing. You want to keep the area clean to avoid irritation."
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