Waxing Wahala

Style | Mitindo, Writing | Maandishi

Since my first death by Brazilian some years ago, I’ve favoured the hair removal method for its silky and long-lasting results. The process is notoriously painful and, generally, costly; the latter for good reason, given that it’s a luxury on the part of the client and requires very intimate contact from the provider. Between Boston rent prices and my generation supposedly draining our income on avocado toast (eye roll), my finances do not allow for upkeep as regularly as I’d prefer. But they say necessity is the mother of invention — so, I decided to do it myself.

Let me start by saying that I’m writing this from the afterlife, where I just about went at least twice during the endeavour. It all began with a gander on Amazon, where I purchased this small wax warmer that came with four packets of hard wax pellets. Of the two forms of body waxes, hard and soft, the former is what has proven to be most effective at gripping my type of hair — plus, I like that hard wax does not need cloth strips for removal. I poured a small quantity of the pellets into the bowl, turned it on, and waited. My intention was simply to start with my eyebrows and see how I felt about self-waxing… An hour later, I had all but ripped off the hair on my head in excitement at how easy it had proven to be. I even did my armpits too, because why not.

Waxing 2

The cerulean aftermath.

While this was my first adventure into solo waxing and I am therefore by no means an expert, here’s what I learnt from the experience:

  • Let the wax melt completely and I mean completely — otherwise it won’t spread smoothly and will crack before you’ve had the chance to pull it.
  • Start with a low-risk area, like near your ankle/wrist or the inside of your thigh, to test whether you can handle the sensation and ensure that your skin will tolerate the wax (in case you find you’re allergic).
  • Spread a layer that’s not so thin as to set too quickly, but not so thick as to take too long; there’s an optimal thickness that you will arrive at through trial and error. In my research beforehand I read varying opinions about which direction to apply the wax in and which direction to pull… I’m still not certain which is correct, so find what works best for your hair growth pattern.
  • This will likely be a messy undertaking, so do it on a surface that you wouldn’t mind staining.
  • You’ll want to flick one end of the strip up as it’s setting, to give you a tab to grip for pulling off. Do this too soon and you’ll end up with wax stringing from your fingertips, do it too late and the wax will merely flake; there’s a sweet spot, you’ll find it eventually.
  • Find a position that allows you to access the areas you’ll be working on — if you’re doing a full Brazilian, the back strip will be easier if you’re supine with your knees to your chest and a mirror in front of you.
  • If you are a beginner like me, curtail your ambition and do not coat large swaths all at once. Do not do it. Do not do it. Do not do it. Which ties into my next point…
  • It is in your utmost interest to move as quickly as you are able, otherwise the wax will set hard and then you’ll have A Major Problem™ out of which there will be no way out but through. Take it from me who found myself in the undignified position of having a large, thick chunk firmly solidified in a particularly dense area. I envisioned every scenario from calling one of my flatmates to come yank it for me, to how I would explain to hospital staff why my nether regions were encased in blue wax. Also, don’t take too many breaks otherwise all your nerve endings will have caught up by the time you resume and the sensitivity will be heightened. I found this out the unpleasant way.
  • As for the agony: to my surprise, I realised that (for me) the pain in certain zones is actually due more to the hot temperature of the wax rather than the uprooting of the hairs. Your mileage may vary, though. I also found it very helpful to focus on the process and not on the sensation; play your favourite music in the background to give yourself a rhythm to pull to, and also to drown out the sound of your own gasps. Kind of like exercising.

Breaks and all considered, it took me about an hour to arrive at baby-bottom smoothness; I look forward to becoming more deft over time. Was the final result perfect? It was actually more thorough than usual, because I was in control and could review at leisure and go over sections again as needed. Will I attempt this again? Until I can comfortably pay someone what they are worth for the service, yes. One professional Brazilian costs approximately thrice what I bought the starter wax kit for, so it has definitely been a sound investment already. Now, if only I had a third arm so that I could give myself salon-perfect manicures…

Stay cheap, friends — it keeps you creative! 😉



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