Most of us have experienced the wrath of waxing. Women head to parlors for this hair removal procedure before a big event or as a regular part of their lives. Some might even be brave enough to do it themselves at home.
It’s important to remember that having hair is natural, especially since the beauty industry has set unrealistically harsh standards of “the perfect skin.” Having stated that, if you do wish to get waxed, then it wouldn’t hurt to make the experience less painful (pun intended). Here are 7 tips that will help you do just that.
1. Avoid Waxing During Menstruation
“That time of the month” is painful enough without having to add waxing to your woes. Research indicates that estrogen (the female hormone) highly influences somatic sensory processes.
During our periods, our estrogen is at an all-time high, making us extremely sensitive to pain during this time. With heightened pain perception, it might be best to shift your appointment to after you’ve stopped bleeding.1
New to the hair removal market, sugaring is an alternative to traditional waxing. However, it follows the same procedure as waxing. It is believed that wax is painful since it grips the skin. Sugar is believed to grip the hair instead, making it less painful.
While there isn’t enough evidence to state whether sugaring is indeed painless, most experts do recommend it. You could head to a parlor that offers this alternative or choose to make it yourself at home.
To do the latter, simmer 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of honey with the juice of half a lemon and a few drops of tea tree oil. Apply this to your skin directly or with the help of a cloth strip before pulling it off.2
3. Exfoliate And Moisturize
It is believed that exfoliating is important before a waxing session to remove unwanted dead skin and release ingrown hair which might make the process painful. However, be sure to avoid doing this right before a session. Instead, exfoliate 24 hours prior to your appointment.
4. Listen To Music
Take your headphones along the next time you head to your appointment. A few studies state that distracting yourself with your preferred music might make the pain less intense.4
It doesn’t just have to be music. You could listen to audio books or a podcast as well. However, do remember that this isn’t a foolproof solution to pain.5
Try Conventional Pain-Relief Techniques
If the pain is just too much to handle, try an over-the-counter pain numbing cream. Apply this to your skin 30 minutes before your appointment.
Additionally, you could pop a pain-relief pill like ibuprofen half an hour prior to your appointment. These two methods will ensure that you experience is relatively painless. However, if you have sensitive skin or are taking certain medications, do run this tip by your doctor before trying it out.6
6. Wax Regularly
Smooth skin isn’t the only motivation to head to waxing appointments. Regular waxing weakens hair, making the process easier and less painful. Additionally, you will build up some tolerance to the pain.
If you’re trying waxing at home, remember to pull in the opposite direction of hair growth. This will also make it less painful for you. If you’re at a parlor, you could check to ensure that the professional is following this as well.7
Avoid Caffeine Before An Appointment
Skip your morning cuppa on the day of your waxing appointment. Research indicates that caffeine lowers pain tolerance significantly, especially in women.
Other studies indicate that caffeine lowers both pain tolerance and threshold when this pain is caused by application of heat. However, these are still preliminary studies and the link between caffeine and pain tolerance can’t be fully determined as of yet.8
In addition to this, sometimes it might be best to seek professional help for waxing. Doing it yourself might make things messy and painful since the anticipation of pain might make you hesitant to rip the wax off your leg. However, regardless of whether you’re a regular with waxing or the occasional victim of this painful procedure, these few tips can make things less painful for you.
|↑1||Hellström, Birgitta, and Ulla Maria Anderberg. “Pain perception across the menstrual cycle phases in women with chronic pain.” Perceptual and motor skills 96, no. 1 (2003): 201-211.|
|↑2||Ha, Tanya. Greeniology 2020: Greener Living Today, and in the Future. Melbourne Univ. Publishing, 2011.|
|↑3||Bickmore, Helen. Milady’s Hair Removal Techniques: A Comprehensive Manual. Cengage Learning, 2004.|
|↑4||Jafari, Hedayat, Amir Emami Zeydi, Soghra Khani, Ravanbakhsh Esmaeili, and Aria Soleimani. “The effects of listening to preferred music on pain intensity after open heart surgery.” Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 17, no. 1 (2012): 1.|
|↑5||Cepeda, M. Soledad, Daniel B. Carr, Joseph Lau, and Hernando Alvarez. “Music for pain relief.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2, no. 2 (2006).|
|↑6||Jorge, Liliana L., Caroline C. Feres, and Vitor EP Teles. “Topical preparations for pain relief: efficacy and patient adherence.” Journal of pain research 4 (2011): 11.|
|↑7||Gabriel, Julie. The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource for Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances. Health Communications, Inc., 2008.|
|↑8||Karunathilake, Nirmani P., Reginald F. Frye, Mary F. Stavropoulos, Mary A. Herman, and Barbara A. Hastie. “A preliminary study on the effects of self-reported dietary caffeine on pain experience and postoperative analgesia.” Journal of caffeine research 2, no. 4 (2012): 159-166.|