Beauty & the Brush: Hair removal

The practice of hair removal spans all the way back to the prehistoric era.

Maria Saadat August 26, 2010

The practice of hair removal spans all the way back to the prehistoric era, when women experimented with abrasive materials like quicklime to make depilatory creams. In later years, glass razors made an appearance as well as crafted stones to scrape off unwanted hair. Over time, the methods became less barbaric - today, we no longer need to pumice the follicles on our arms and legs. We can now easily access disposable razors, lotions like Nair, and try one of the most popular techniques in Pakistan, waxing.

The use of warm wax to remove unwanted hair is quick and efficient, and best of all it is cost-effective. Most women opt for this method because of the long lasting results. However, many lament the side effects of the process, including ingrown hairs, bumps and the searing pain of ripping wax off the skin. To ensure that the idea of your next beauty session doesn’t make you cringe, read on for a few of our favourite waxing tips.

The preparation for a waxing appointment begins at home. Care for your skin beforehand to make sure your aesthetician can pull your hair out at the root and not cause breakage. To prep your follicles, begin by using a body scrub to exfoliate your skin a day or two before your session. The exfoliation will remove dead skin cells that trap the roots beneath your skin, allowing for easier removal. Allow at least 24 to 48 hours between this process and the waxing to prevent sore and irritated skin.

When the day of your appointment arrives, hop into a shower before heading over to the salon. Use warm water that will open your pores and help facilitate the removal of hair. Avoid coffee and tea that morning, as the stimulants in caffeine make skin more sensitive. Take a pain reliever like ibuprofen about 30 minutes before the procedure. The medicine has a numbing effect and helps to ease the suffering of many women.

Prevent further torture by waxing as soon as your hair has grown out to a quarter or half an inch. Anything longer and you’ll awaken the dead with your screams of agony.

Do not schedule an appointment within a week of menstruation. Your skin is extremely tender during this time of the month, and will be prone to bruising and discomfort.

Once you arrive at your salon, remind your aesthetician to use baby powder before the wax.

Powder is a crucial step as it helps wax grip the follicles, ensuring that any fine hairs aren’t overlooked.

At the end of the session, steer clear from any application of oil on your hair-free skin. Waxing leaves the pores on your skin open and any oil will clog them causing bumps and ingrown hairs.

To soothe your legs, opt instead for calming aloe vera lotion or gel. Over the next day or two, avoid any activity that will further irritate the newly waxed area such as spa pedicures, swimming or exercise that makes you sweat profusely. After 48 hours, make sure to lightly exfoliate your skin again to prevent the development of ingrown hairs.

Waxing is painful for almost everyone, but it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. The next time you’re lying on the waxing table, keep in mind our final tip - relax! It is human instinct to tense up one’s body in anticipation of pain, but stiffness will only exacerbate the aching. Try to loosen your muscles and take deep breaths, the result may just surprise you.

Maria Saadat is author of the popular desi beauty site Lipstick Masala.


Do you have a question about make-up? Can’t figure out a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding? Do your attempts at smoky eye make-up leave you looking like a raccoon? Have no fear! E-mail your questions and issues to [email protected] and Maria Saadat will respond to them in an upcoming column.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2010.


suzanna masih | 11 years ago | Reply great but could u suggest any tips for those of us who use an epilator instead of wax
Sakina | 11 years ago | Reply I feel appillation is the best remedy.. though a bit painful for beginners but then it gets is less messier plus cost effective too..
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