No man is perfect, especially when it comes to body hair. Whether it’s an errant crop of sprouts sprinkled across the shoulders or an over-the-top assfro, feet that’d be more at home in the Shire or a field of unwanted follicles spanning the back, there isn’t a man alive without a little extra stray hair. Luckily a quick shave or tweeze will do the trick in most cases,. But some scenarios, well, they call for bringing out the big guns.
We’re talking about waxing. Now, right off the bat, let’s get one thing straight: you should not be doing this at home. End of discussion. Just think about applying liquid wax to your skin and ripping it away: it’s pretty obvious how that can get dangerous if done improperly. You’re far better off leaving it to the pros, who can make the experience as safe, and painless, as possible. Before you go ahead an make an appointment, though, there are a few things you need to know.
How to Get Prepped
So, you’ve decided to go with the nuclear option of hair removal. Good for you! But before you get this show on the road, there are a few necessary steps you need to take to make sure it’s, er, smooth sailing from here on out.
Now, on to your skin. Understandably, tearing away strips that have been stuck to your skin can cause some irritation, so you want to be sure you’ve done everything in your power to cut that off at the pass. Start by cleansing your skin with a gentle, pH-balance soap like Cetaphil’s 3-in-1 Active Antibacterial Bar, which has the added benefit of getting rid of germs. Next, you’ll want to exfoliate with a salicylic acid scrub, to slough off dead skin that could clog pores and cause ingrown hairs down the line. Follow that up with a touch of moisturizer, and your skin should be all set.
Finally, on the day of your appointment, wear soft, loose-fitting clothes. Trust us, you’ll be thankful you did after you’ve spent the afternoon having hair torn from your skin. Also, it’s not a bad idea to take an anti-inflammatory, since it’ll ease pain and reduce possible post-wax swelling.
What to Expect
Ah, the big question: will it hurt? Well, to be honest, yes, it will. But not as much as you’ve probably psyched yourself into believing. Sure, some swaths of skin will smart more than others—as Jack Moore put it, with regard to getting his undercarriage taken care of, “MOTHERFUAFHCADFJIADJFIAFJKOAKFOQJ”—but for less sensitive areas, it should hurt no more than unsticking a Band-Aid. Plus, it’s over pretty quickly. What’s thirty minutes of stinging compared to the weeks to come of smooth, hairless comfort? Not much, really.
Aside from physical pain, though, you’re probably wondering about awkwardness. We get it: even if it’s not your junk you’re having shorn, chances are that you’re going to find yourself in a compromising position or two over the course of the session. But just think of this as exactly what it is: a haircut, only not on your head. Keep up the small talk and the whole thing shouldn’t be any less pleasant than a trip to the barber.
How to Treat Your Skin Afterwards
Now that you skin is clean and hair-free (for at least 4-6 weeks until your next appointment, that is), it’s going to need a little extra protection—especially immediately following your date with a waxer. Your main concerns: infection, ingrown hairs and further irritation. For the first, liberally apply an antibiotic cream or ointment, like Neosporin or Bacitracin, the minute you get home. Then, over the weeks to come, you’re going to want to slather on a solid ingrown hair treatment, like Malin + Goetz’s vitamin E-infused option, so that as the follicles begin to re-sprout, they don’t get trapped beneath the surface. Last, but certainly not least, moisturize and make sure you never forget SPF, since newly waxed skin is more susceptible to burning.
Oh, and one more pro-tip: if at all possible, refrain from taking a hot shower in the days following your treatment. As you can imagine, ripping out your hair via hot wax will leave your skin particularly vulnerable, including to dryness. Scalding water will only exacerbate that. If you must, though, that’d definitely be the time to try out that shower trick you’ve been meaning to.