How to Best Care For Your Skin Before & After Waxing
Proper care before and after a bikini wax can make any dread or discomfort worthwhile. Priming the area for waxing and following the best after-care practices calms your skin and provides smooth, lasting results. Waxing offers many benefits over shaving (no razor bumps and more time in-between hair removal sessions). However, some uncomfortable side effects, irritation, redness, inflammation, itchiness and swelling are more likely to occur after waxing if you don’t come into the session prepared. Before getting an appointment in the books, make sure to do extensive research on prospective waxing studios and the best ways to prep for a bikini wax. Ensure that you already have the necessary products on hand. Give yourself at least 2-4 weeks to prepare for your waxing appointment.
Consider your menstrual cycle when scheduling your bikini or Brazilian wax. Especially if you’re going for your first wax down there, make sure to book your appointment at least 5 days before or after you should be on your period (getting a wax around your time of the month will hurt more). Aside from feeling cleaner, scheduling around your cycle is generally considered a common courtesy to your waxer.
You need to stop shaving at least 2-3 weeks before getting a bikini wax. Put down the razor accordingly to ensure that your hair grows out, so your skin can heal from any razor bumps or irritation. Specialists require your hair length to be ¼-½ inches long to be eligible for a bikini wax. This grace period can also allow the skin to replenish the moisture barrier, which can be stripped from shaving (and cause dryness or skin tightness).
Here’s your guide on keeping your skin healthy before and after a bikini wax.
Maintain A Clean Slate
Gently exfoliate your bikini area 1-2 days before waxing. This process removes dead skin cells to smoothen skin, unclog pores and get rid of any dirt or oil trapped in the skin. It’s essential to exfoliate before a bikini or Brazilian wax appointment because it prevents ingrown hairs, redness, stinging or tenderness after a bikini wax. If you don’t exfoliate, the wax will stick to your skin instead of the hairs. Exfoliating beforehand allows you to get a cleaner result and makes for a less painful waxing experience.
Credit: @zensaskin via @phiphibb/Instagram
For a DIY exfoliating scrub, combine a ½ cup of jojoba, coconut or olive oil with 1 cup of brown sugar. Use a store-bought or homemade sugar or salt scrub with a rough washcloth or loofah to exfoliate your bikini area. Let the scrub sit on the skin for 3-4 minutes before washing it off with water.
Remember to exfoliate in advance. Never exfoliate within 24 hours of a bikini or Brazilian wax session. Exfoliating too closely to your appointment time will leave your skin more sensitive and vulnerable to infection.
Do A Quick Rinse Off
Pre-wax hygiene is essential. Get in the shower as close as you can to your appointment time. Try not to work out after showering before your bikini wax. Sweating before a bikini wax can infer with the wax properly sticking to the skin (and leaves you more susceptible to infections). If you have work or errands to run, rinse off the morning before your session. Your specialist should have cleansing wipes available to use right before a wax, too.
It’s normal to dread a bikini wax and worry about whether it’s going to hurt. While everyone has a different pain tolerance, waxing down there will often cause some discomfort. Your first bikini or Brazilian wax will likely hurt the most. The pain level should gradually lessen with each wax as you get more accustomed to the sensation. As a general rule, the more hair you take off, the more painful your wax will be. Brazilian waxes will almost always hurt more than a standard bikini wax. So, it may be best to work your way up to a barer bikini wax style.
Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine within 24 hours before your bikini wax to minimize the pain. These substances are known to be blood thinners and can increase skin sensitivity. Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day leading up to your wax appointment. Keeping your skin well-hydrated will make it more resilient to pain, irritation or bleeding.
If you’re still worried about the pain, apply a bikini area-safe topical anaesthetic, like Zensa Numbing Cream, around 30-40 minutes before your wax. Never numb the bikini area with ice. This method tightens the skin and will make the entire experience more painful.
Always wear loose clothing after a bikini wax. Constricting or tight outfits can make it difficult for your skin to breathe and cause sweating. This excess moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria, dirt, oil and other germs, leaving your open hair follicles more vulnerable to irritation or infection. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing to your waxing appointment, like sweatpants, cotton leggings, relaxed trousers, or a flowy dress or skirt. Choose fabrics like cotton, nylon, polyester, merino wool or silk for the next few days after your bikini wax.
Schedule Your Beach Days
Give yourself some buffer time to recover before a beach or a pool session. Freshly-waxed skin is particularly sensitive and should be kept away from the sun, salt water and chlorine. Forgo swimming in public bodies of water for 7 days after your bikini or Brazilian wax.
Avoid exposing your bikini area to the sun for at least 48 hours after your wax appointment. Always apply high SPF sunscreen after this healing period when going outside or tanning. Choose a physical sunscreen over a chemical version to block UV rays. Waxing not only removes hair, but exfoliates the skin, which makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage.
Any sweating, friction or cause of excess moisture can lead to skin irritation or infection. As a precaution, avoid working out, saunas, baths or sexual activity for at least 48 hours after a wax. In the first couple of days after a wax, you can expect your hair follicles to be swollen, slightly inflamed skin and some small red bumps around the bikini area. These symptoms indicate that your skin’s moisture barrier has been temporarily compromised and needs some TLC while it heals.
Make Hydration A Priority
Keeping your skin clean and well-moisturized is essential after a bikini wax. Wait a few hours after your wax to shower and rinse off using lukewarm water. Use gentle, fragrance-free soap and body wash products in the days following your wax to prevent skin irritation. Waxing strips moisture from the epidermis (top layer of skin), so ensure that you regularly moisturize the area.
Apply naturally-nourishing oils, such as olive, tea tree or coconut oil, and products like Zensa Healing Cream to keep the skin calm, smooth and prevent ingrown hairs. Zensa Healing Cream contains soothing ingredients like calendula oil, grapefruit oil, sunflower oil and aloe vera to reduce inflammation and re-hydrate the skin. Use it as needed for the next few days following your bikini wax.
Wait until 3 days after your bikini or Brazilian wax to exfoliate the area. After this initial waiting period, exfoliate your bikini area once a week to keep the skin smooth, fresh and free of ingrown hairs. Typically, you should schedule your bikini waxes 3-5 weeks apart for the best results.