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Waxing is a temporary way to remove hair from the body.

Before You Go

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • I've been shaving all my life - will the shave-to-wax transition be a difficult one to make?
  • If I wax and decide I'm unhappy with the results, will I be able to switch to another type of hair removal like shaving, laser, or electrolysis?
  • What can I do in between waxing sessions to make the next easier than the last?

Pre-procedure prep for waxing: For optimal results, the hair needs to be at least a quarter inch long. Do not shave or otherwise remove hair for a week prior to your appointment for best results.

On the day of treatment: You may wish to pop an Advil or two half an hour prior to waxing to reduce discomfort.

What To Expect

Waxing can be done in a salon or in the privacy of one's own home. Waxing removes body hair from the root using either hot or cold wax. Hot wax must be melted before use. It is then applied to the skin, where it adheres to the individual hairs.

A cloth is used to pull the wax off, taking with it the unwanted hair. Cold wax comes in the form of pre-made strips that are applied to the desired area and removed in the same fashion as the latter technique. For a few hours after waxing the skin can appear to be red, irritated, inflamed, and bumpy.

Who should do it: Wax technicians are required to take (and pass) the National Wax Technology examination, administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology. Anyone who provides waxing as a service, meaning for a fee, must have a license for the particular state in which they will be practicing.

These licenses usually can't transfer across borders since the qualifications and laws may differ from state to state. New York State, for example, issues a license for two years. When choosing where to get waxed, make sure the salon has an up-to-date license and meets state standards.

If you opt for at-home kits, there are a few facts you should know. Hard wax tends to be gentler and less likely to rip off the top layer of skin. Soft wax is quicker though more likely to tear the skin. Seek out products that are as natural as possible.

Duration: Depending on how many areas of your body you plan to defur, waxing could take just five minutes (for lips or eyebrows) or a half hour (for legs, bikini, etc).

How Painful Is It?

Waxing is uncomfortable, though the actual level of discomfort depends on an individual's threshold for pain. The sensation has been compared to ripping off a band-aid.

Fortunately, waxing tends to get easier with each treatment since less hair tends to grow back each time, leaving fewer follicles to pull hair from the next time around.

Options for anesthesia: No anesthesia is used during waxing.

Find experts who offer waxing near you