7 Biggest DIY Waxing Mistakes

DIY waxing mistakes can cause frustration, missed hair, breakage, including unnecessary pain and redness. Learn about the common blunders made at home and how to prevent them. You'll have a better hair-ridding experience and can save money over going to a salon or spa appointment.

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Not Having Enough Hair

Woman waxing her legs
Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images

Hair growth needs to be about 1/4" long to be grasped to be uplifted. Just because you can see or feel the hair does not mean that the wax can get a hold of it. Hard wax may be able to get hair a bit shorter, but there's more of a learning curve to getting the application and removal technique down.

You can wait until it gets longer or opt for threading facial hair. Sugaring paste can lift out hair as short as 1/16" on the face or body.

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Not Keeping Wax Warm Enough

Many waxing kits for home contain wax that's microwavable. It's incredibly convenient and less expensive than buying a separate wax warmer.

But microwaves don't always heat the wax evenly. Since the wax isn't on a continuous heat source, it will cool off. Wax that isn't meant to be used cool, won't spread or remove hair well.

If you're waxing a sizable area, be sure to keep checking the consistency. Microwave as needed. If it gets too hot or runny let cool first. If you plan on waxing a lot, warmers are a great investment.

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Not Holding Skin Taut

The skin should be held taut, which means slightly stretched when the wax is removed. When skin is held firm there's less tugging. This pulling on the skin is the main cause of pain and redness. It's not the actual hair coming out of the follicle.

Hold skin with your free hand when removing the strip or ask for help when you can't (like when waxing your arms).

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Not Prepping Skin

Skin first needs to be cleaned of dirt, oil, and makeup for a couple of reasons. First of all, soft wax will be repelled instead of sticking to remove hair. Secondly, there's more chance of missed hair, breakage, post-wax irritation and pimples.

Fortunately, it's very simple to do. If something to clean skin isn't included in your kit, a cleanser like GiGi Pre Hon is easy to find at your local beauty supply store. If not, at least use gentle soap and water.

A light application of powder (for soft wax) or pre-epilation oil (for hard) after the skin is cleansed and dried is another great prepping step. They both work with their kind of wax to buffer the skin and allow for optimal results.

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Putting on Too Much Product

It's easy to think, 'Let me really coat this on.' Really, a thin layer is needed- just enough to cover hair.

If too much is swiped on, there's ​a greater chance of wax staying on the hair when the strip is removed. It also may hurt more, cause bruising and there's an added chance of breaking hair above or below the skin's surface.

When applying the wax, keep the applicator at a 45-degree angle against the skin. This is the best angle for spreading.

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Removing Wax Too Slowly

The strip needs to be removed quickly in one motion from one side, past the other side. The natural reaction when you're doing this on yourself is to hesitate, go only so far or pull upwards instead of over all the way to the other side.

Do some practice pulls without the wax just using the strip to get the feel of the movement. Or, ask for someone to help. They will probably have less hesitation when ripping off the strip than you would.

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Thinking It Will Be Easy

The process doesn't look that difficult, right? You swipe some wax over hair in the direction of growth, put on a strip and pull it off in the opposite way you put it on. Well, the techs only make it look fairly effortless.

In reality, it's not that easy. They have gone to school, gotten a license to perform services and have experience behind them.

You need some practice to get the technique down. If you don't give up, you should be able to wax some parts of your face or body. Of course, if you would rather not be bothered, then make an appointment.

A wax that you should always leave to the pros: a Brazilian.