WaxingFilter: Advice for a rookie?
April 15, 2011 6:14 PM   Subscribe

I have an appointment tomorrow morning for my first session of body waxing. What do you wish someone told you before the first time you got waxed?

I'm getting my body hair waxed tomorrow morning. I'm not getting my pubes done, but other than that, everything below my neck is going bye bye.

What do I need to keep in mind when I go? How should I attire myself? What sort of gratuity should I give? How should I prepare myself? Do I need to take advil/aspirin/etc beforehand? Should I shower afterwards? Should I use lotion / baby oil afterwards? Are there any other social customs I need to be aware of about this?

This question was kinda helpful, but not completely because he was doing self waxing while I'm going to a waxing salon.

Everything else I've seen on AskMefi seems to relate to pubes / bikini / Brazilian waxing, which I have no intention of doing (at least not on my first few trips).

If it helps you know what to suggest, here are some possibly relevant details:
1. This is within 50 miles of the 75205 zip code
2. The waxing place was recommended by a friend
3. I used to shave my body hair, but haven't done so in a few months because I got tired of all the gd mf __ ___ razor burn
4. Most of my body hair is roughly an inch long, and is probably towards the thicker end of the spectrum

Thanks in advance everyone.
posted by AMSBoethius to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I only ever get my facial hair waxed, but I always take a couple of Advil an hour before. Seems to help!
posted by smilingtiger at 6:25 PM on April 15, 2011

Yes, take Advil - I recommend 3. Also, your waxing person can tell you more about this but you'll want to exfoliate somewhat regularly afterwards to help prevent ingrown hairs (although not the day of - I imagine you'll be somewhat tender.) Re: tipping, I do 15-20% (for bikini/eyebrow so YMMV), same as for a haircut, pedicure, etc.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:34 PM on April 15, 2011

Take a couple Advil. Don't put on any lotion or deodorant. Exfoliate gently (if that isn't part of the service - just use a washcloth or poofy sponge). I've found that being hydrated makes things more comfortable, so drink an extra glass or two of water tonight or tomorrow morning.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 6:39 PM on April 15, 2011

Best answer: I've found that the same rules that apply to bikini waxing apply to other non-face areas, so those other AskMes probably have helpful information. (I get my legs and bikini area waxed semi-regularly.)

Wear clothes you don't care about--even if the waxer is super careful, there's always a chance that little bits of the hot wax will drip on you or cling to your skin afterwards and it's a pain to get out. And usually, after you are done, they'll put baby oil on the areas where you've been waxed and that can get into your clothes. Also, something loose-fitting is good--it keeps the clothes out of the way and it is better not to wear something tight immediately after a wax as this can irritate your skin. If they don't provide them automatically, ask for cold towels--it feels soothing and helps keep redness down (though level of redness will vary by person and sensitivity).

(I've never had full body, so you may just strip down like you do for a massage; when I get legs/bikini done, you take your bottoms off and I like to wear a loose old t-shirt or dress that is easy to get out of the way of the procedure. Places will offer those weird paper panty things sometimes, as well, though I've never bothered with them as it is kind of more trouble than it is worth.)

The waxer may ask you to help them out by pulling at your skin to make sure the surface is taut--the more taut the skin, the better the hair comes out and the less painful, so don't think it's weird if that happens and really do pull it taut.

I tip around 20%, but usually tend to err on the more generous side, especially for a service as personal as waxing.

Do you wax your brows or upper lip? Or have any idea how sensitive you are? Regardless, take some sort of something before you go (honestly, I'm kind of a wimp and have a stash of Vicodin set aside especially for getting waxed), especially if you haven't waxed before. Vicodin comment aside (though it is very true), it isn't a great feeling but it isn't horrible, and it's fast and the discomfort doesn't last long, especially if you put the towels and some sort of soother/emollient on after.

Ideally, you could get something like Bliss's Ingrown Eliminating pads for home use after the treatment to help keep bumps/irritation at bay, but wait at least 24 hours after the waxing treatment before using it/an analogue. Otherwise, some sort of gentle exfoliation is good, though again wait a day to give your skin time to recover a bit. It's also a good rule of thumb to avoid hot showers/baths for the rest of the day (not a full 24 hour period or anything, just don't rush home after and jump into a hot shower). Be good about moisturizing with some sort of lotion that doesn't irritate your skin.

Finally, despite the length on this, waxing really isn't that big of a deal. It feels like it is before the first time you go in (I too was nervous and unclear about procedure), but if you are going to someplace reputable, they should be professionals who will guide you through the process and give you the information you need.

God, why are my longest explanations on AskMe about waxing?
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 6:56 PM on April 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

It really isn't super painful -- I'm pretty sensitive but can easily tolerate it without taking any medication.

If you find that your skin is very tender and/or red afterwards (particularly if you have sensitive skin in general), you might try applying some over the counter hydrocortisone cream. I used to have irritated, angry red skin for 4-5 days after waxing. Now I make sure to apply hydrocortisone as soon as I get home, and once or twice a day for the next few days, and usually my skin is back to normal in 24 hours.
posted by telegraph at 7:06 PM on April 15, 2011

As nearly everyone has said above, a few Advil. About an hour in advance. Personally, I would wash it down with a couple of cocktails as it sounds like you're going to be having a pretty intense waxing session.
posted by hugandpint at 7:06 PM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Eh, do nothing. Relax, zone out, and leave open the option of getting a Brazilian once you've done the other bits -- I think you'll be surprised at how small a deal this actually is. It's really fast, efficient, and once it's done, it doesn't hurt, just a little stingy-tingly. IMO, Advil is totally unnecessary.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:22 PM on April 15, 2011

Make sure your skin is pulled really taut, either by you or the esthetician. Also, don't count on any intimacy with your partner tomorrow night - your follicles may be a bit red and puffy - you may not want to rub your skin against anyone else's just yet... And don't assume that the bikini area hurts more than the rest of your body, as this can vary hugely. I can easily get through underarm and bikini waxing, but I shriek when it comes to my upper lip!
posted by analog at 7:25 PM on April 15, 2011

It is fun!

Tip your esthetician.

Shower the morning of your appointment, if you go to the gym, shower before the appointment.
posted by arnicae at 9:57 PM on April 15, 2011

Advil 2 hours before. Margarita 30 minutes before. Margarita immediately after.
posted by cyndigo at 10:31 PM on April 15, 2011

I wish someone had told me to save my money and get it lasered off instead. Initially a more expensive investment but after a few sessions, it's permanent and you never gave to go back. In the long run it's cheaper and much less painful. Might be worth considering...
posted by Jubey at 10:36 PM on April 15, 2011

Never have to back. Thanks, autocorrect!
posted by Jubey at 10:45 PM on April 15, 2011

I'm sure you've already had your appointment, but one thing you can still do is take a couple of Tums. It helps reduce the redness and swelling after waxing.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 8:59 AM on April 16, 2011

Wait, isn't alcohol beforehand bad? Something about blood vessels or something...

I've been waxing for a long time. It hurts, but you'll live. Although I think it might be one of those things where women can tolerate the pain more -- I am recalling vaguely some differences in pain tolerance between men and women.

That said, my gynecologist recently prescribed me a shit-ton of Advil for my period. Like way more than I'd thought was safe. Once I happened to need a wax during that time. I wanted to cry from joy because I could barely feel the waxing. And since it's an NSAID, it keeps down any swelling or inflammation or redness. I was on enough Advil that I actually had a ride to and from the waxing salon -- can you take 4 Advil and have a friend drive you?
posted by thebazilist at 4:35 PM on April 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers everyone. Even if yours didn't get marked, I still found it useful.

I really like the suggestion about the advil. I took two about an hour before and one immediately after. I also had a beer an hour before, and a mojito about an hour afterwards. One other thing I found really helpful was that I had a rolled up straw in my mouth to bite down on. That really helped to give me something to focus on, because getting the armpits waxed hurt like a sonofabitch. I tipped the lady a hair over 20% (pun not intended), and she seemed happy about that. Jubey, I might just give your suggestion a try in the future, especially if I can find one that any of my friends may have tried.

Thanks again everyone.

Mefi registration - best $10 I've spent in the last couple of years
posted by AMSBoethius at 5:10 PM on April 16, 2011

For particularly painful areas ask your waxer to, immediately after the strip is pulled off, to put his/her hand on the area and apply pressure for a second or two. I have been waxed a lot from different estheticians and this makes an incredible difference. So much so that I request it now if I know s/he does not typically do this.
posted by click at 3:39 PM on April 18, 2011

If you are prone to razor burn I highly recommend getting Tendskin. It is a liquid that you apply after shaving or waxing and in my experience, it drastically reduces redness, razor-burn and ingrown hairs. Its not cheap though, so you could also try some of the recipes for homemade versions out there (google for some variations... I've made it in the past with pretty good success).
posted by id girl at 5:51 PM on April 18, 2011

Uh, that link was meant to go here: Tendskin.
posted by id girl at 5:51 PM on April 18, 2011

Didn't see this addressed, but thought I would add for your future waxings: the #1 thing people neglect to tell you is that there are two types of waxes: hard and soft. The soft is the regular stuff that is put on, a strip of fabric is applied and then the whole thing is pulled off; hard goes on and hardens around the hair, but doesn't stick to the skin so is pulled off without the aid of a strip. The hard wax is MUCH easier and safer for your skin, especially for facial and bikini regions. There is much less sticky residue and general redness and puffiness. Anymore, fancier waxing places will just have hard wax for these areas as a default, but you should always make sure that is what they plan on using.
posted by LKWorking at 8:36 AM on June 15, 2011

Not to be a prude here, but pick alcohol or pick Advil. Mixing them isn't good for your system. Although if you must, pick Advil over Tylenol. Your liver will thank you.
posted by becca.rice at 11:43 AM on June 18, 2011

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