10 At-Home Waxing Mistakes You're Probably Making

The warmer months of the year tend to bring out the more revealing clothes from your wardrobe. You're eager to put on shorts, cute dresses, and crop tops, and you're excited to let your skin breathe. However, this change in clothing also tends to come with a desire for hair removal. 

Even though reaching for your razor while in the shower might seem like the easiest option, waxing comes with benefits that are hard to beat. In fact, waxing is the second most common hair removal method. You can enjoy more time between hair removal with waxing — typically about a month — as well as the added satisfaction of exfoliated and smooth skin, no razor burn or cuts, and less chance of ingrown hairs after you're done.

However, these benefits can only be yours if you avoid some mistakes you're probably making when you wax at home. Here's a list of what to watch out for. 

You're not waxing at the right time

Timing plays a big part when it comes to waxing. There is such a thing as too soon and too late. You have to have a certain length of hair — at least 1/4 inches long — before you decide to wax at home (via Byrdie). This might require some patience on your part. Anything too short could result in a painful experience. Longer hair could also result in breakage during waxing, leaving you without the smooth finish you desire. In other words, it's important to wait for the right time so you can get the results you're after. 

You're not paying attention to wax temperature and consistency

It might look simple on the YouTube videos you watch, but there is a science behind how warm the wax has to be in order for it to work. Whether you're using a microwave or wax warmer, make sure that you get the right consistency and temperature. What you want is wax that's not too runny or too hot, but a liquid that has a syrup-like texture and is warm to the touch, according to beauty enthusiast Alexandra Beth. You might want to understand the difference between hard and soft wax as well. 

You're not thinking about your skin before you start the waxing process

Your skin is the canvas for the waxing process, and making sure it's prepped and ready for waxing is a crucial part of it all. How you prep depends on the type of wax you're going to be using. There's sugar wax and waxes that are made using resin. With a sugar-based liquid, it's best to wash your skin and remove any oil and grime so the wax works better, but the same doesn't apply to waxes made of resin. Leaving the natural oil on your skin might actually make it hurt less. 

You're taking the edge off by consuming alcohol before waxing

Maybe you've seen that episode in "Friends" where Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) have a less than ideal experience with waxing — there's a lot of yelling. Perhaps you've opted to drink a glass of wine before you sit down to tackle your legs. This might actually be a bad idea, as both caffeine and alcohol can cause your skin to become more sensitive. Remaining sober is probably your best bet here. 

Your'e not checking your period clock before waxing

Another thing that causes sensitive skin is your period. Gynecologist Christine Greves blames the changes in hormones for this (via Health). What happens typically during your menstrual cycle is that the levels of estrogen which help "plump, thicken, and protect the skin" go down. You may want to avoid the mistake of waxing during your menstruation and shoot for a few days before or after your cycle.

You're applying too much wax

"Less is more" is the philosophy to embrace when it comes to how much wax you put on your skin. All you need is a thin coating over the hair. Anything more will only cause a mess, hurt more, and may not even end up doing the job properly. A trick to get the right amount of wax is to only get a thin layer on your wax applicator and to make sure you get an even and thin spread once you begin applying, advises Alexandra Beth. 

You're not thinking about direction

This is another area that needs careful attention. The wax should go on the skin in the direction of hair growth. Then, when you're stripping it off, you'll do so in the opposite direction. This method ensures you get all the hairs you want to remove in one go. It's a good idea to avoid applying wax on any inflamed or irritated skin too. Doing so will only cause more damage. Wait a few extra days until it's in better condition before waxing.

You're removing the strip too slowly

When it comes to waxing at home, you may want to follow the 1, 2, 3, and go method, per Alexandra Beth. Removing the strips too slowly can cause more pain and may not get the job done properly. Practicing one swift motion of removal or even asking someone else to do the stripping for you might help you avoid this mistake. If you're planning on doing a bikini wax at home, you might want to enlist the help of someone you trust, because as it's known to be one of the more sensitive areas to work on.

You're not using both of your hands

Tied into the area of getting help when needed, it's important to remember that the waxing will only give you the results you want (and hurt a lot less) if your skin is stretched out as you pull off the strip. This either means you use both of your hands to get the job done or get help. Despite its many benefits, the process of waxing is painful to some extent, so there's no need to make the experience any worse than it needs to be. 

You're not taking care of your skin after you're done

Aftercare is essential when it comes to waxing at home. What you accomplish with aftercare is exfoliation, soothing the skin, and avoiding ingrown hairs. If you have any residual wax on your skin after you're done, applying some oil on that surface might help. You can then move on to putting some cooling gel or moisturizer on your skin such as aloe vera. It might also be best to avoid exposing your skin to really hot water for a while to lessen any irritation.