By Alexis Wolfer

As the weather starts to warm, we all start thinking about showing some skin. For those of us who have been hibernating all winter, though, our legs, bikini lines, under arms and more may more closely resemble the bears whose winter-weather-habits we’ve been mimicking than the smooth, sexy skin we’d like to show off come spring (and, dare we say it, bikini season).

For those of you for whom winter has meant growing a fine layer of fur-like hair on your body, waxing can seem like the best way to confidently bare all. And, heck, unless you’re up for ¼ inch growth every 6 weeks, this may just be the only time during the year that waxing really makes sense. But before you book a pricey spa day (no need, this is something you can do at home) and prior to microwaving the wax and suffering second-degree burns, we want to tell you this: you don’t know jack about wax (well, until you finish reading this anyway)…

Waxing Tips You Need To Know

Exfoliate. The day before you plan to wax, exfoliate the area to remove dead skin cells and make those short hairs easier to grip.

Find out which areas are safest to wax at home here!

Pick Your Poison. Whether you go for the microwavable variety or pre-made strips, hard wax or soft – make sure you pick a wax that works for you. We personally like Veet’s pre-made strips for our legs or Bliss’s Poetic Wax Kit (a hard wax) for our bikini areas.

Start with an Advil. Let’s all be honest here: we’re pulling hairs (yes, plural) straight out by the root. With hot wax, no less. This will hurt. You will get red, sore and swell. Get a head start on the pain with an Advil or two (or three). It will not only help with the immediate pain, but also will help reduce the subsequent redness and tenderness. (If you’re particularly sensitive, you can always lather on some numbing cream too.)

Powder Up. Wax adheres best to dry, moisture-free skin. So, brush baby powder on the area to soak up any residual moisture.

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Temperature Control. Sure, you may want to turn up the A/C before breaking a sweat at the thought of pulling your hairs out by the root (potentially from your bikini area, no less!) – but we’re talking about the wax. When you heat up the wax, test the temperature on the back of your hand or forearm first to be sure it’s not too hot.

Go with The Flow. Of your hair growth, that is. Apply the wax in the direction of the hair and pull it out in the opposite direction. This will allow you to grip (and remove) the most number of hairs.

Get Taught. Pull the skin around the area as tight as possible to hold the skin tight while you pull away the hairs.

Legs First. Sure, it may be tempting to get the painful private parts over with first, but, trust us, the legs are the way to go when starting on a DIY waxing project. You can see what you’re doing best and the risk of screwing it up is minimal at most.

3rd Time’s A Charm. For skin irritation, that is! Do not wax the same area more than 3 times. If you don’t get all the hair out, go for the razor or tweezers.

Covet Cortisone. After waxing, apply a thin layer of cortisone cream on the area to reduce irritation, redness and prevent ingrown hairs.

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