There are some beauty treatments, like facials and manicures, that are fairly easy to treat yourself to at home. But bikini waxes? Not so much. For most people, the thought of ripping hair out of their nether regions lands somewhere between hell no and full-on terror. But if the thought of shaving or extending the situation for a few extra weeks feels even more terrifying to you, there are ways to deal that don’t involve heading into a salon.
Thanks to easy-to-use wax products, giving yourself an at-home bikini wax is far less daunting than it used to be. Pre-prepped wax strips, like Flamingo Face Wax Kit ($10) and No Mo-Bush Hair Removal Body Wax Strips ($10) come ready to use on your bikini line (yes, the face wax kit is the way to go for your bikini line), meaning that you don’t have to deal with the mess of heating up wax on your own—all you really need to do is let it rip.
In order to make it as painless as possible (and to ensure you won’t need to ask for a helping hand from someone else in your household), we tapped Flamingo’s Allison Melnick to walk you through the process. Read on for her step-by-step guide to an at-home bikini wax.
How to give yourself an at-home bikini wax
1. Do some recon
First things first: Get to know your vulva. Grab a mirror and check out the situation down there so that you know what you’re dealing with (because, let’s be honest, you don’t want to go in blind). This will help you get a sense of where the hair is so that you can come up with a game plan for how you want to tackle removing it.
2. Prep the area
With any at-home waxing you do, you want to make sure that the skin is clean and dry—you can use some toner or micellar water to rid the skin of excess oils (just don’t use it inside your vagina, please). Allow the hair to grow out enough so that it’s at least between two and six millimeters long (this should leave you with around four weeks between waxes). “If your hair is too short, the wax might not be able to fully grab onto it,” says Melnik. “If your hair is too long, it’s harder to be accurate with which areas you’re waxing, and hair mats down into the wax, making it less effective.” If you shower before your wax, she suggests waiting 10 to 20 minutes to ensure your skin has had time to cool down to its regular temperature, which makes the removal more even.
3. Start waxing
Ok, now for the scary part. You’re going to want to start slowly, because Melnik says that the biggest mistake she sees people making with at-home bikini waxing is trying to wax too big of an area too quickly. “Start on the outer edges and work your way in,” she says. “It’ll be easier to get the shape you want, and you’ll be more used to the sensation of waxing as you move towards areas with more nerve endings.”
A few other things to make the experience as painless as possible? “Wherever you’re waxing, you’ll want to make sure you’re holding skin taut and pulling in the opposite direction your hair grows,” says Melnik. “Typically hair grows towards the center of your body, so on the mons pubis, aka the triangular area atop your pubic bone, that means downward. On the labia majora, you should be pulling inward.” She also suggests taking a deep breath before you remove the wax, which can help you relax. You may need to go over the same spot twice, but since the skin down there is sensitive, if it takes more than two tries you should take a break, give your skin 24 hours to recover, and try again tomorrow.
4. Treat the skin
Immediately after your wax, you’ll want to take a few steps to moisturize to help your skin calm down. Ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and lavender can help, and coconut oil can help clean up any excess wax. Since your pores will be wide open post-wax, Melnik suggests steering clear of tight pants for a few hours to let the area heal and breathe, and board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD recommends staying away from the gym and hot showers for the same reason.
5. Be diligent about aftercare
Once you’re hair-free, it’s important to keep up with aftercare so that you don’t run into any issues down there. “Exfoliating regularly will help keep ingrowns at bay, and make it easier for hair to grow back smoothly,” says Melnik. Ingrowns form when bacteria or dead skin cells clog your pores and prevent the hair follicle from breaking the surface, and using a glycolic pad, like Malin + Goetz Resurfacing Glycolic Acid Pads ($52), can help keep the area clear. Melnik also suggests using a conditioning spray, like Flamingo Mons Mist ($12), or a moisturizer, like Fur Ingrown Concentrate ($28) to keep skin healthy and hydrated between treatments. And if all else fails? Embrace that #bigbushenergy until the next time you can make it into the salon.
For more intel on how to deal with the hair down there, check out the video below:
Dealing with an unwelcome mustache? Here’s how to wax that at home, too. And if you do decide to shave down there, this is the best way to do it, according to a derm.