Whether you let it grow, trim it down or remove it all, what you do with your body hair is a personal choice and anything goes. However, if you choose to remove your body hair then there are even more choices to think about - shave, wax, epilate? Pluck, thread, laser? Whatever method you currently use, the chances are that you've thought about waxing.
A lot of people like the idea of being hair free for 2-3 weeks but are put off by some of the hair-removal horror stories they've read about. But how much of this waxing hearsay is true? If you decide you want to go the waxing route this season, you’ve probably heard a lot of myths about getting it done. If you’re second-guessing your wax-appointment post-Google search, the good news is that not everything you’ve read is necessarily is true.
We've debunked some of the most common misconceptions about waxing, so you might just be tempted away from that razor...
1. MYTH: Waxing will hurt, A LOT
As waxing involves the hair being pulled from the root, it's obviously going to hurt more than simply shaving it off. But is the pain from waxing unbearable? The truth is that everyone's pain threshold is different, so what might be too much for some is barely noticeable for others. "It's like pulling off a plaster," explains Danni, Senior Beauty Therapist at Regis Birmingham. "If done quickly and efficiently, it’s not that painful. Plus, it’s always worse the first time." Most people report that the pain from waxing lessens significantly each session, and it's also worth mentioning that our pain thresholds can change due to different factors. We may be more sensitive to pain when run-down or ill, and women often feel it more a couple of days before their period. If you plan your wax at a good time and choose a professional, then there's no reason why the sting should put you off waxing.
Another way to make your waxing experience less painful is to wax regularly. By having frequent sessions, about every 4 weeks, will not only give you visiblly smoother results, but it will also be less painful. Why do we recommend regularity? Because there are 3 different stages of hair growth and each stage grows at the same pace. Just imagine, if our hair only had one stage of growth, then all the hair would grow together, fall out together and then, after a month, re-grow...can you imagine how often our bodies would be bald because, don't forget, what happens on your body, happens on your face too...think about your eyebrows!
2. MYTH: A bikini wax will be embarrassing.
Bikini lines are one of the most annoying areas to keep in good shape, but some people don't like the idea of letting a therapist near such an intimate area. The important thing to remember is that Regis beauty therapists do this day after day - and will likely have waxed several bikini lines before yours that day! If you're feeling uncomfortable, simply explain this to your therapist and they'll be happy to alter their method to give you more modesty when you need it.
3. MYTH: Waxing can cause wrinkles or sagging skin.
Some people worry that tugging at the skin can cause it to sag, or even wrinkle. However, a good waxing therapist will always keep the skin taut while removing the wax or strip. Plus, as waxing is something that you need to get done so infrequently, it's not something that could have a long-term impact on skin.
4. MYTH: You have to let hair grow for weeks and weeks before.
People who choose to remove their body hair probably aren't the sort who relish letting it grow long for weeks beforehand - especially during the leg-baring summer months! Fortunately, nowadays hair can be waxed at much shorter lengths than ever before. "Hair only needs to be showing with enough length for the wax to grip," explains Fran - around a quarter of an inch is all that it really takes for legs and the bikini line, and an eight of an inch is all that's needed for brows.
5. MYTH: Waxing from a young age will guarantee you will have less hair as an adult
There is no guarantee that waxing will result in permanent hair removal. Though it’s important to point out that waxing can help to reduce re-growth and result in thinner hair over years of frequent waxing, however for some, this won't make any difference at all – sorry!
6. MYTH: I have curly hair, that's why I get ingrown hairs
Unfortunately, ingrown hairs affect every kind of hair type as well as skin type – if that’s any consolation to our curly haired gals? Ingrown hairs form when a hair cannot 'escape' through the follicle wall, and it often results in a pimple like bump that can feel painful and looks irritated. Fortunately in some instances, the hair will just find its way out naturally and fall out as its cycle comes to an end. If you find you have a bump that looks red and sore that may begin to fester, then our therapist’s advice is to gently exfoliate during a warm to hot bath or shower. If you find that this doesn't lift the hair out, then brace yourself for the next step. Grab a couple of cotton buds, apply pressure either side of the bump as to extract the follicle and have a sterilised set of tweezers ready to pull out the ingrown hair. Try not to break the skin around the follicle however, and try to avoid temptation to pick at it continuously. If your ingrown hair persists and you’re worried because it's resembling a cyst-like bump, we recommend that you consult your doctor.
7. MYTH: You Can't Wax When You're Pregnant
If you're expecting, don’t worry, you can still be hairless! You’ll be pleased to know that it’s still safe to maintain your usual waxing routine. “It’s safe to wax at all stages of a woman’s pregnancy," Danni says. "We recommend starting waxing in the early stages of a pregnancy so that by the time you’ve finished your first two trimesters, the hair will become finer and thinner, and fingers crossed your waxing will become more comfortable during your final trimester."
8. MYTH: Waxing is bad for your skin.
Your skin might be sensitive, red or even a tad swollen immediately after a wax; but none of these effects are long-term. In fact, waxing is often seen as better for the skin than other hair removal methods. It essentially acts as an exfoliant, getting rid of the top layer of dead skin, and can also reduce the chances of ingrown hairs and irritation post-shaving. However, it's still essential to listen to the aftercare advice of your therapist in the hours following your wax to ensure no problems develop.
Another myth that often gets thrown into the mix is that waxing causes skin to sag. The notion of pulling away at your skin does make it seem quite plausible that it could, over time, cause the skin to sag. However, a good therapist will know to hold your skin as taught as possible when removing the wax strip so there is a very little amount of actual skin movement. If your skin is being held taught, you’ll know that you’re in a good hands.
Ready to take the plunge?
Did you know that we offer waxing in selected Regis salons? Check our list of beauty salons to see if your local Regis salon can offer this service. For more hair and beauty tips, don’t forget to sign up to our Newsletter.