Everyone has either gotten waxed at least once or knows someone who has. And that usually means everyone has heard at least one horror story about waxing. Not everyone knows that you shouldn't just stroll in and have it done on a whim.
For the sake of preventing future horror stories, here are five times you shouldn't get a wax.
You have been or will be out in the sun
If you have a sunburn, or even if you've just been outside all day, do not get waxed! It doesn't matter what kind of wax the technician uses — any kind will further irritate and damage your skin. A good technician will refuse to wax you anyway and will have you reschedule. This goes for any waxing on the face and body.
You also should avoid waxing if you know you'll be getting a lot sun exposure shortly after your wax. Being a waxing technician myself, I can't tell you how many times I've seen "the mustache." This is when someone has had a wax and then went outside in the sun all day (or went on vacation) without sun protection. The skin becomes hyperpigmented in the area that was waxed, darkening the skin in that area more than the rest of the skin. This discoloration could last for a year or more. Your best bet is to tweeze or get threaded when you're going to be outside a lot.
When you see your technician double dipping
The wax is not hot enough to kill bacteria, so if you witness a wax technician using the same part of the waxing stick more than once and don't speak up, you're putting yourself at risk. Even if it's just a lip wax, chances are that if the technician is in the habit of double dipping, then they're also doing it with body-waxing clients — meaning those clients' stray hairs and bacteria are in that pot!
The most common issue you could run into is a staph infection. I'll never forget the time I was getting my nails done at a salon and a lady was waxing another client's eyebrows in the chair in front of me. Not only did she use the same stick for this client's entire wax, but she then took another client and used the same exact stick on her. If you see that this about to happen to you, get up and leave, but not before reminding the technician that it's against the sanitation code.
When they put you with the new girl
Never get a bikini, leg, Brazilian, back, or hell, any wax with the new girl. If she's new to the salon, that's different, of course — I'm talking about people who are new to the industry.
I know, I know — everyone has to start somewhere and gain experience, as did I, but it doesn't need to be on your vagina. They are newly trained and nervous, and they might do an amazing job, but they also might take three times as long to do it. They also might panic and need help. They also might burn you, get the wax stuck, or take your skin off. I'm serious.
If you're new to a salon and would like a wax, request someone who is experienced or see someone with good reviews. If you're seeing the new girl for something like eyebrows, tell her exactly how you like them done and pay attention to whether the wax is too warm or if she is going over the same area twice.
You have your period
A lot of technicians don't care if you get a wax during your period as long as you understand that your skin is more sensitive during this time and it can hurt more and become redder than usual. Some technicians still prefer that you reschedule your bikini wax (especially a Brazilian wax) if you have your period.
A Brazilian wax during your period can be unsanitary, and some pretty embarrassing stuff can happen. True story about a woman that got waxed at my salon while she had her period: As the technician was chatting and applying wax, she didn't realize that the tiniest bit adhered to the tampon string — until she yanked the strip off. Yeah, let that one sink in. That was quite the day for both my coworker and her client.
Strip wax has its own set of rules
Strip wax is the one that requires the rubbing of paper or cloth over the wax to remove it. I think strip wax is great for body waxing but risky on more sensitive areas, like the face.
Regardless of where it's being used, there are times you absolutely do not want to use strip wax, and even some technicians may not be wise enough to ask you about these possibilities beforehand:
- You have a burn — sun or otherwise. I mentioned sunburns above, but it's worth reiterating. All waxing should be avoided when there's a burn, but especially strip wax because it adheres to the top layer of skin as well.
- You're using topical products with retinol/vitamin A. These products make your skin more sensitive, and you will be more likely to burn or bleed after the strip has been removed.
- The same goes for Accutane, as well topical products containing ingredients to fight acne, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
- You just had a peel or resurfacing treatment done to your skin. Recently resurfaced skin is not the time to have a wax done. Just like with a burn, your skin needs time to heal.
It's always worth waiting or using a different hair-removal method if any of the above apply to you, so you won't become the next waxing horror story.