Waxing: Upper Lip, Legs, Arms and Bikini — Including the Brazilian (Review)

The whole ball of wax on what you need to know about hair removal treatments.

The Whole Ball of Wax on Hair Removal

Whether you’re at home or on the road, a regular routine of hair removal will just make your skin feel smooth and maintained. And most women agree that waxing is a better alternative to shaving because:

  • Waxing does not leave any next day stubble.
  • Waxing eliminates the chances of getting nicked or cut with a dull razor.
  • Waxing does not leave any razor bumps or fuzziness.
  • Waxing removes stray hairs — even in the strangest of places.
  • Waxing reduces the possibility of  ingrown hairs which can cause infections.
  • Waxing lasts longer than shaving — usually two to three weeks.

Spa-waxing-legsIt’s also quick and relatively inexpensive. If you’re considering waxing at a day spa or hotel spa, here’s what you should know.

Where Should You Wax?

Wherever unsightly hair may appear, the good news is that it can be waxed — even if it’s just a few annoying strands. Most women tend to concentrate on four major parts:

  • Upper lip
  • Legs (full or partial)
  • Arms
  • Bikini area

Upper Lip: Waxing works really well when you need to remove unwanted facial hair (e.g., that fine hair that may resemble a mustache or a five o’clock shadow). This issue can be gone in a matter of two to five minutes.

Legs: Waxing treatment options include your full leg or half of a leg. The result: you legs are smooth and stubble free. Allow at least fifteen minutes for each leg.

Arms: Waxing is particularly great for the underarms since it can target those hairs in the folds of your skin where shaving can’t. And you’re done in less than 5 minutes.

Bikini Area: In order to have a true bikini wax, the hair is removed where it would otherwise be exposed if you were wearing a bathing suit. Plan for about 15 to 30 minutes.

Want to go behind the bikini area? A Brazilian wax will leave you completely hairless. Or maybe you would prefer a French wax — that leaves a landing strip (use your imagination).

Next to the upper lip, the bikini wax and its variations may cause the most discomfort. Since you skin is softer and the hair in this particular area is more stubborn and coarse, most likely you will feel the sting when it is removed. However, if you have a good esthetician, she will warn you before the wax hits a delicate spot so you can brace yourself.

The bikini area is also where the most ingrown hairs occur. Not to worry, the esthetician can pluck those with a tweezers. Keep in mind that the cost of waxing will vary based on the size of the area you are having waxed.

What to Expect at Your First Waxing

Regardless of the area you choose to wax, you will be asked to complete some paperwork first. It will ask questions such as allergies, medications and any recent skin breakouts.

This is important because, as About.com hair removal guide Naomi Torres explains, certain medications and skin conditions may affect whether or not you should wax for hair removal. It’s important to discuss these and any questions you may have with the technician (or even your doctor) before any treatments.

As long as you’re comfortable and no issues prevent you from moving forward, you will be taken to a private room that has a spa bed and good lighting. If you are doing just facial hair, most likely you will sit upright in a chair.

If you’re having a part of your body waxed, you will need to remove some clothing. But you can usually leave on an undergarment to maintain a level of personal privacy if you desire.

If you are having your bikini area done, for modesty purposes, you will be given disposable underwear that’s about the size of a tissue. And the esthetician will politely leave the room while you change. Don’t be shy –they’ve seen it all. When she returns, the waxing will begin:

  • The area will be cleaned and sometimes powder will be applied to absorb any oils.
  • The wax is heated in a small warming machine.
  • Wax is applied using large, medium or small applicators that look like Popsicle sticks.
  • Strips that vary in size are placed over the wax and patted down.
  • The strip are peeled off in the same direction the hair grows, taking the hair with it.

The wax should be warm and tolerable. If it’s too hot for your skin to tolerate, let your estheticians know immediately.

When finished, the esthetician will remove any residue wax from the area with a warms towel or wipe, and then she will apply a soothing cream if you desire. After that you are ready to hit the road hair free.

There may be a little redness in the area; I have found that when I apply aloe vera at home, the redness subsides rather quickly. Most of the time the redness is so minimal that I don’t even notice it.

Although I would love to tell you that this procedure is painless, I can’t. After all, you are having heated wax applied to some delicate areas of the body, and then you are having the hair ripped out. However because it is a quick treatment the discomfort lasts only a few seconds. The process goes even faster the more you cooperate. That is, stay still, try not to flinch, yell or scream. The more squeamish and animated you are, the longer it will take.

On a side note, some women wait until the hair is really long before going in for a wax. This is not a good idea and some hairs may only be partially removed causing ingrowns. At this point the esthetician will have to cut some of your hair down before proceeding with a wax. On the other hand, if the hair is too short, it is harder to grab. As a rule of thumb, the hair should be at least a quarter inch in length for best removal from the root.

My Waxing Experiences

I used to rely on threading for my upper lip, but that was too painful. So, I decided to try waxing instead. Although it did sting, I found waxing to be a much more agreeable procedure. And I loved when the esthetician showed me the strip with all of the tiny hairs stuck to it. This was confirmation that my time was not wasted.

Since then I’ve had a bikini wax as well as some of the variations discussed above, and I recently had my underarms done. For me the process is quick because I don’t move or complain; I just go with it! The quicker the better. I do occasionally have a few ingrown hairs that the esthetician removes. It does pinch, but once I see that big unsightly hair captured in the tweezers I feel vindicated and well groomed.

Considering an “at home” waxing kit? I’ll just say that paying the extra money and pamper yourself is a much better option.

One more thought on waxing. If you use a self-tanning product, make sure you use that lotion or spray after the wax and not before. I recently had a spray tan done and patches of it came off when I was waxed. I had no idea — now you do.

Do you have questions about waxing? Or, do you wax? Share your experience here!

AnnMarie is a contributor for Business Travel Destinations who shares her insights as our spa and wellness gal. She has five years experience in the medical spa industry, working with technicians and medical professionals. She has also traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and overseas. Want to know about more about how to look and feel your best? Ask her.

3 comments

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