How to Really Prevent Ingrown Hairs After Waxing

How to ease the pain (it’s possible!) and maybe even enjoy your next wax appointment.

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after waxing care woman swimming in donut
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First things first: Prep for your wax

In order to ensure everything goes smoothly during and after your wax, it’s important to be prepared for the initial appointment. We spoke to Jessica Frampton, co-owner of Fuzz Wax Bar in Toronto, for advice on prepping for a wax and caring for just-waxed skin.

Before you book an appointment, make sure your hair is long enough for the wax to grab onto (about ¼ inch or 6 mm). “This ensures there’s no damage to the hair follicles,” says Frampton. If you’ve just shaved, you should typically allow for at least three weeks of hair growth before waxing. (What’s the difference between men’s and women’s razors anyway?) And, as Frampton points out, the wax specialist can always trim the hair shorter.

In the days leading up to your appointment, be sure to exfoliate and moisturize skin regularly, which will help prevent ingrown hairs. Frampton recommends using a hypo-allergenic moisturizer. Fuzz Wax Bar carries several skin care products including a Canadian line called ‘I love my muff’. Maintenance kits include a gentle wash, a freshening spray, a natural moisturizing lotion and feminine refreshing wipes.

On the day of your wax, keep skin product-free says Frampton. “Don’t apply any oils, gels or lotions as they may prevent wax from properly adhering to the hair.”

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after waxing care woman relaxing in bed
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Post-wax care: Take it easy for 24 hours

“No exercise, intercourse or tanning for at least a day after waxing,” says Frampton. You should also avoid steamy saunas, hot tubs and baths.

If you’re going for a Brazilian (which are totally safe, btw) or bikini wax, Frampton suggests bringing a fresh pair of cotton underwear to change into after your appointment. “Post-wax, your pores are exposed and more prone to infection. A clean pair of underwear will help [keep germs away].”

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after waxing care drink water
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Reduce pain and inflammation

If you’re worried about pain, you can pop an ibuprofen half an hour before your appointment, which may also reduce inflammation. A numbing product such as Bare Ease cream ($10, 85 g) can also help make the procedure more comfortable. If you’re experiencing soreness or redness after your wax, try resting with a cold compress applied to the waxed area.

You may also want to avoid waxing in the week before your period (days 23 to 28 of your cycle). According to medical experts, painful procedures may hurt more during that time because endorphins are at their lowest level. Consider booking your wax appointment during the time of the month you’re ovulating (days 13 through 15 of your cycle). That’s when estrogen levels, and your body’s natural painkiller system are at their highest.

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after waxing care exfoliate
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Exfoliate regularly

“After at least 24 hours have passed, you can lightly exfoliate the skin that’s been waxed and also moisturize,” says Frampton.

In addition to using a body scrub, a Merben bikini brush ($16) is a great option. “You use it to exfoliate dry skin prior to having a shower,” says Frampton. “Plus, it has other benefits such as helping to boost circulation, improve blood flow and reduce the appearance of cellulite.”

Regular exfoliation, combined with moisturizing, should keep skin soft and prevent bumps and ingrown hairs. Collagen supplements also have amazing benefits for your skin and hair. 

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after waxing care woman legs
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Prevent ingrown hairs

Once you start exfoliating skin again, Frampton recommends regularly applying an ingrown hair serum such as PFB Vanish ($15, 60 mL). The serum comes in a roll-on bottle and includes both exfoliating and moisturizing ingredients to help prevent ingrown hairs and bumps.

After approximately four weeks have passed, it’s time for another wax appointment.

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