Believe it or not, hair removal isn’t a walk in the park. Whether you’re lasering your leg hair away, enduring the agony of a bikini wax or just shaving and tweezing like a total motherplucker at home, there’s a whole lot that can go wrong. Do yourself a favor and avoid these rookie mistakes. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so!
1. Sunbathing before and after waxing or laser hair removal
Unless you want to look like a burnt biscuit, you should definitely avoid getting your tan on at least 24 hours before and after waxing or a laser hair removal appointment. Sun exposure can make your skin too sensitive and thick for proper hair removal, points out Noemi Grupenmager, hair removal expert and CEO/Founder of Uni K Wax Center. Laser treatments often cause inflammation, so sunbathing before or after may lead to bad burns or hyperpigmentation. Eek.
2. Sharing a razor
By now you’re so used to borrowing stealing your boyfriend’s razor that you hardly think anything of it; it’s just become routine. Bad girl! Sharing a razor or using a dirty one can actually cause folliculitis (infections of the hair follicle), according to Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Yikes. It may also spread warts, jock itch or herpes!
3. Dry shaving
Sure, dry shaving may save you some time to get rid of a couple of quick hairs, but it can also cause skin irritation and increase your risk of cuts and nicks, explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research for the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. “Shave the right way, in or after the shower, when the skin and hairs are soft and hydrated. Use your shaving gel too, as it helps the blades glide on the skin and can prevent you from cutting yourself.”
4. Overplucking your eyebrows
Let’s be real, we’ve all gotten a little too pluck happy once or twice. “You need to resist the urge because repeated tweezings can end up damaging your hair follicles resulting in the hairs not growing back,” warns beauty expert Sherri Jessee. What’s more, over-tweezing can make your eyes look too close together, the bridge of your nose look wider and even make your face look heavier, adds Pamela Jeschonek, licensed esthetician, eyebrow artist and owner of Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio.
5. Getting waxed or lasered the week before your period
Meredith Foster, founder of Truth in Beauty Consulting, strongly advises steering clear of hair removal services such as waxing and laser hair removal a week before your menstrual cycle. “During this week, females tend to be more sensitive,” she notes. “So ripping, pulling, or zapping can feel much worse. Plus, hair follicles may swell more and skin can stay redder longer.”
6. Shaving with soap
Many ladies probably use soap to shave in a pinch, while some use it regularly, but there isn’t enough glide at all, cautions Dr. Jaliman. “Soap is drying to the skin. It doesn’t allow the razor blade to glide across the surface. The razor gets stuck on the skin and nicks it. With shaving cream or gel it provides a smooth surface so the razor can glide across and smoothly shave the legs.”
7. Using a dirty/old razor
If you’ve been using the same razor for what feels like weeks or even months now, it’s seriously time to toss it out or at least change the blade! “Bacteria collects on razors so it’s better not to store your razor in a steamy shower,” declares Dr. Jaliman. “Put it in a cabinet. You could also soak it in rubbing alcohol for five minutes before shaving to kill the bacteria.”
8. Putting on fragranced moisturizer after shaving
Unless you really want to feel the burn or potentially set off an allergic reaction, Dr. Jaliman recommends avoiding fragranced moisturizers right after shaving. “When acids or fragrance get into skin that has just been exfoliated by a razor it will burn or cause a reaction,” she said. It’s best to play it safe and use a fragrance-free cream instead.