Does Waxing Hurt?

Woman at a waxing treatment
Thomas_EyeDesign/ E+/ Getty Images

Question: How Much Does Waxing Hurt?

Answer:

I know many people fear getting waxed. They know that the hair is removed from the follicle and can't bear the thought of getting hair ripped out. So just how bad is it? I'm not going to lie- yes, it can be painful- especially if it's your first time or you're getting rid of hair on the skin above the lip, bikini, genitals or chest. Those that have very thick hair or sensitive skin may find the experience more uncomfortable than the average person.

Waxing removes many hairs at once, which is much better than tweezing one by one. Personally, I find it much more comfortable than threading. Sugaring, which can use either a paste or gel, is known to be more gentle to the skin because it doesn't stick to skin as much as waxing does.

The paste wins out in the pain department because it removes hair in the direction of hair growth- unlike sugaring gel and wax- which both remove hair in the opposite way the hair grows.

Pain is also relative. We can have a different perception of pain or things we find irritating. In any case, here we have some help so it doesn't have to be a horrifying experience.

See: How to Find the Best Wax Tech

  • Going to the pros? Just because someone is licensed, doesn't mean they're skilled. Find someone experienced and crafty by asking friends and family for referrals of a great waxer. They'll be fast, hold skin taut so there's less pulling and use the right amount of wax and the best type of wax for your hair type and skin.
  • Waxing yourself? It can be difficult to remove hair at just the right angles and remove the wax quickly on yourself. If you choose to do your own hair removal, be sure to read and follow all the instructions provided. The steps in place for waxing are there for a reason. Not properly prepping skin, applying too much wax and removing hair the wrong way is just asking for unnecessary pain, not to mention possible bruising, breakage, missed hair and severe irritation (How to Wax Guide.)
  • Want a Brazilian?  This specialty wax that removes most or all of the genital hair and is considered more painful because of the sensitive nature of this zone. This shouldn't be done yourself. You need to go to somebody that specializes in this service to avoid needless waxing pain and other problems that could arise from someone not highly trained. Learn more: (How to Get a Great Brazilian Wax.)
  • The wax type can make all of the difference. Hard wax (compare prices), is also called stripless wax because you don't use a strip to remove the wax and is great for coarse hair like in the bikini area and chest. Cream wax (compare prices) is wonderful dry skin types or for sensitive facial skin.
  • Do a little prep. Taking simple steps will make waxing less uncomfortable, like relaxing the hair follicle and numbing the skin to name a few. Read all: Top 10 Tips to Reduce Waxing Pain.
  • What's normal post-waxing. Some pinkness, feeling a little sting and a little inflammation is considered normal. In areas with coarse hair, what's called 'lifting' or blood spots (not a continuous bleed) is also a normal side effect.
  • What are not normal side effects. Skin should never be red, extremely inflamed, bruise or scab. If that's the case, then something went wrong. The wrong technique, wax, application or temperature of wax was used. Another reason could be a health condition or a conflict with a medical or skincare routine. See: Waxing Precautions and Warnings
  • Soothe and calm. To take the pinkness and sting, check out: How to Calm Sensitive Skin after Waxing.