Graduating from a traditional razor to booking your first wax appointment is a big deal. Those who have made the switch boast silky smooth, hairless skin for far longer than a shaver can offer, and they often never look back.
But with new beauty techniques come new rules to remember. Just like you wouldn’t shave dry, there are definite waxing no-nos you should always keep in the forefront of your mind.
One topic about waxing that people are especially curious about is the aspect of showering – more specifically:
When can you shower after waxing? As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you shouldn’t wax for 24 hours following a wax. However, there are other details and tips to think about to ensure you get through a shower with the least amount of irritation possible.
Trust us- while showering after a wax may sound intimidating at first, it does not have to be rocket science. Read on while we break down all the intricacies of the topic, and we promise you’ll be an expert by the end of it!
Should I Shower Before Or After A Wax?
If this is your first time experiencing a wax done by a professional, your esthetician should give you instructions of things you should and shouldn’t do prior to your appointment.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much consensus in the beauty community about whether or not it’s okay to shower prior to a wax – wherever it may be on the body. But with some research, we were able to come up with some definitive answers.
You probably already knew this, but it wouldn’t be the nicest thing in the world to show up to your waxing appointment sweaty or unclean. While your esthetician is probably used to some B.O. – it definitely won’t hurt to hop in the tub before your session.
Showering Before A Wax
If you do choose to shower, please don’t show up to your appointment with wet hair and damp skin! We suggest showering 3-4 hours prior to your meeting.
This will ensure that you’re squeaky clean, but that your body temperature has had time to regulate, and that your skin has had ample time to absorb any lotions your put on.
You don’t have to worry about exfoliating or doing anything special in your shower routine prior to your appointment. However, we do recommend being thorough with your body wash – this will ensure that you’re cleaning your skin of any sweat, bacteria, or leftover creams or perfumes that could make removing hair difficult.
Showering before your appointment can also help open up your pores, making it easier for the wax to stick to your hairs. But, make sure you’ve given your body ample time to absorb any excess moisture, because another way to ensure you get the best results out of your wax treatment is by having dry skin.
Applying lotion after a shower is a step you shouldn’t ever skip, but we recommend really taking the time to rub the lotion into your skin to ensure it’s fully absorbed. We don’t want super supple skin, so opt for a lighter, water based lotion as opposed to a cream or ointment like formula.
More Pre-Wax Don’ts!
Let’s be real – waxing is among one of the more painful methods of hair removal out there on the market. Because of the hurt you have to undergo to get rid of unwanted hair, we would hate for you to experience further irritation because your skin wasn’t ready for treatment!
To avoid unnecessary damage, and to ensure you’re making the most of your session, keep these things in mind:
- Don’t use hot water before an appointment – We know, hot showers are kind of the best, but if there’s a way to ensure you damage your skin waxing, it’s by taking a hot shower before your appointment. This includes saunas and hot tubs! Hot skin means your pores are open and extremely fragile – waxing on this surface could potentially rip off your skin (graphic, we know, but this is a serious warning).
- Don’t use exfoliating tools – We want to keep the surface of your skin as strong as possible, so doing anything to potentially minimize or damage your moisture barrier is a definite no. This means no body brushes, exfoliating mitts, body scrubs, or chemical exfoliants for at least 48 hours before your appointment.
- Don’t wear tight clothes – After waxing, your skin is sensitive and can be easily irritated, you don’t want to further damage it by adding friction to your clothes. Remember, even the silkiest pieces can aggravate sensitive skin. Opt for something loose, flowy, and airy.
Can You Shower After Waxing?
If you’re feeling pretty clean before your appointment, you can definitely shower after the fact. But, take it from us- the last thing you want to do is wash off immediately after getting home.
After a wax appointment, it’s best you take it easy. While it may feel like you’re ready to hop into the pool, exercise, or even take a hot bath, doing so will put your skin at risk.
Post-wax, your follicles are open and your skin is irritated and superficially damaged. In this state, your hair shaft can be easily infected with bacteria, and excess moisture could lead to aggravation or infection when you’re not careful.
Because of that, we suggest staying away from any sweat-inducing exercises, or any other activities that can expose your freshly waxed skin to unnecessary moisture (pools, baths, showers, beaches, saunas, etc).
Don’t worry- you won’t have to avoid water for long. You just need to give your skin at least 24 hours to heal up. This is ample time for your follicles to close and for your skin to calm. But even then, we recommend the first shower you take after your wax to be in cool or lukewarm water.
As for exfoliation, we suggest steering clear of any physical or chemical exfoliants for at least 2 days after your appointment. Afterwards, you are free to scrub as you please. In fact, this will keep your skin smoother, longer (and it’s the best way to prevent ingrowns).
What To Do After Waxing
While it may seem tempting to revel in how slippery and silky your freshly waxed skin is, try and keep your (or other peoples) hands off! Your hands carry a lot of different bacteria and germs, and direct contact with open skin is a sure fire way for infections to harvest. It can also increase chances of pimples.
Sunscreen post-wax isn’t so much an option as it is a necessity. But, you can’t apply it right after the hair is removed.
So, for 24 hours following your appointment, we suggest you stay indoors and avoid direct contact with the sun. This is because freshly waxed skin is more sensitive to its rays, making sunburn and hyperpigmentation more likely to occur.
If it’s your first time getting waxed, you may not be a fan of how irritated your skin feels afterwards. It could be red, hot, or sensitive to the touch. To help sooth the area without angering your skin further, take a cold compress (a clean, damp towel works fine), and press it to the skin.
Skip any scented products for at least 2 days after your treatment. This includes body washes, lotions, creams, and of course, perfumes. These can be extra irritating to the skin. Instead, opt for moisturizing, soothing products. Aloe vera is a great, mild gel, that can help sooth and moisturize the skin without being to abrasive.
Continue wearing loose and soft clothing for 2-3 days after the appointment. It’s best for your skin to be exposed directly to the air – so wear shorts if you’ve waxed your legs, or a tank top if you waxed your underarms. If you had a Brazilian done, going to bed without your underwear can reduce ingrown hairs and other bumps.
Some skin is more likely to get irritation bumps and ingrown hairs, even with the most meticulous aftercare. If that’s the case, try not to pick at any existing irritation. Instead, use a gentle cortisone cream on the affected area to sooth it.
Wax Strips Before Or After Shower
There are two different types of waxing methods you can get done, one involving hard wax, and one involving soft wax.
Hard wax is what most people picture when they think of waxing. It’s a thick liquid that’s applied directly to the skin, cooled, and pulled off using a wooden stick or spatula.
Soft wax involves muslin strips, which are laid on top of a thinner wax, cooled, and then pulled to reveal baby soft skin. Wax strips, which are accessible to the public (making them a popular choice for at-home waxing), fall into the soft wax category.
You can shower prior to using wax strips- but ensure you used cold to lukewarm water, avoided exfoliants, and that that your skin is completely dry (water and lotion entirely absorbed) before you start the process. We recommend waxing 3-4 hours after your shower to ensure your body and hairs are ready for the treatment.
Unlike your skin after a hard wax treatment, your skin after using wax strips is less irritated and damaged. This means you can hop in the shower sooner, about 7-8 hours after your removal.
Even though you have the okay to get clean (and remove any excess stickiness the strips may have left behind), you do not have the okay to take a lobster-boiling shower! Keep it cool to warm, and keep the products gentle and scent-free.
Can I use a numbing cream before my appointment?
Unlike a tattoo, waxing over skin treated with numbing cream is not advisable. Clean, dry skin and hair takes to the wax better. Fortunately, people claim that the pain that comes with waxing gets better over time, so you won’t have to deal with pain for long!
If you have a super low pain tolerance, taking an aspirin an hour before your session can help.
Why can’t I drink coffee before I wax?
Caffeine is a stimulant, and an effective one at that. But not only does it make your brain more aware, it actually makes your skin more aware too. That’s right- coffee stimulates every part of your body, not just your mind.
Because of that, drinking coffee before a wax can actually make the process even more painful than it needs to be (and who wants that?).