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Waxing 101

3 estheticians spill on achieving a Miley-worthy bump-free bikini line.

So aside from the superhuman choreography, the majestic thighs and the Tumblr to end all Tumblrs, there’s one more thing we can’t help but add to our list of oft-copied-never-done-justice Beyoncé-isms. 

Yes, we may be talking about the Bey-kini line. 

Granted, when your everyday uniform is comprised of being vacuum-sealed into bodysuits one can only assume were developed in NASA labs, a razor-bump-free crotchal region is high on the priority list. But the baby-smooth, freshly waxed bikini line she flaunts onstage on the almost-daily? With no rashy redness or—gasp—off-day ingrowns in sight? One can only assume she most certainly did not (all together now) wake up like this. 

That’s where the experts come in. Ladies, tell ‘em. 


—Chelsey Burnside

On prepping for the smoothest Bey-kini line humanly possible...

At least 24 hours or more before your wax, exfoliate skin. Avoid exfoliating the day of, to eliminate excess irritation. Remember, waxing is also a form of exfoliation!" 

On her pre-wax do's and don'ts (spoiler: it involves avoiding caffeine)...

"Stay away from stimulants like caffeine because they will tighten pores. Skin should be kept hydrated and moisturized both pre and post wax, but immediately before you wax, avoid any lotions or oils that may inhibit the wax from working properly."

On your new favorite excuse to skip the gym...

"For 24 hours post-wax, avoid intense exercise, saunas, steam rooms, and swimming. Wear breathable, soft clothes to keep skin calm and comfortable. To avoid ingrown hairs after waxing, exfoliate with a product like Tend Skin to keep area free of bumps."

On growing it, um, out, as pre-wax prep... 

"If you've been shaving, I recommend letting your hair grow for at least three weeks. Some people may be able to get away with two weeks, but I feel if [you] let it grow three or four weeks, you’ll have a smoother finish after waxing."

On to pre-wax wine or to not pre-wax wine...

"Some clients like to apply a numbing cream to the bikini area to help take a little of the sting out of waxing. There are clients who feel having a drink beforehand [as it] relaxes them a little, but alcohol can make your skin irritated and inflamed and that's not ideal if you are waxing. Each person and their skin reacts differently. I think the best thing to do is come in relaxed, not in a rush, in loose clothes and keep breathing deep breaths."

On her favorite wax hack (it's totally a thing, you guys)...

"I think what makes waxing last, is to stay on [a] regular wax routine, come in every 4-6 weeks depending on how fast your hair grows, and no shaving or picking at your skin in between! My clients find that if they get on a regular wax routine, generally their hair will start to come back finer, and for some it comes back less and less, which will naturally make their wax last longer."

On obtaining a Miley-esque bikini line (seriously, how on earth...):

"If they were born with dark hair, then most of them have probably had laser, especially if their bikini line tends to be out all the time. Some of them may shave as not everyone gets razor bumps from shaving, so that’s also a possibility. They also may use body makeup!"

On banishing red bumps for good...  

"Applying something soothing after waxing will help calm the skin, and hopefully remove some of those red bumps. At Stark Waxing Studio, we apply a post-treatment oil that is rich in apricot seed oil and lavender. It's called Soothing Oil and it's gentle. Clients love it! There are a lot of ingrown products out there to try out and find which one suits you."

On DIY-ing it...

"If you’re going to wax at home, just make sure you don’t burn yourself, or bruise yourself! Sometimes when waxing your own bikini like, it’s a little hard to hold, and get a good pull, and you may end up hurting yourself. It would probably be easier to come in a see a professional, but if not, just be careful…"

What Cara Delevingne is to eyebrows, [blank] is to bikini waxes...

"Cara does indeed have beautiful brows! I don’t really feel Brazilians are going anywhere, the majority of the waxing services I do are women who are taking all the hair off. But I do notice that there are more women who are leaving hair, either doing bikini lines, or leaving a little strip of hair. I’m from the East Coast, and I was always shocked if someone told me they wanted to leave hair, because it so rarely happened, so I figured on the West Coast, EVERYONE was taking it all off too. To my surprise, they’re leaving hair out here, more than you’d think! But I still don’t feel the Brazilian will ever go away."

On why waxing is a little bit like Fight Club...

"What happens in the room stays in the room. Just like Vegas!"

On the not-so-obvious do's and don'ts of prepping flashing your down-there to a stranger...

"Make sure that the hair you want removed is long enough for waxing. If your hair is long, don't trim it yourself; people tend to over-trim before their appointment but it's better not to—let your technician do that. When you call to make an appointment, provide information about the products you use, if you have allergies, or if you take any blood thinning medication."

And the obvious, too...

"I don't need to mention this, but it is considerate to take a shower before your waxing session. Apply moisturizer around the area to make sure your skin is hydrated. And wear a comfortable skirt and underwear!"

On giving the thumbs-up to that pre-wax glass of wine (and a little gossip)...

 "We use numbing spray or cream before we wax clients, but if you have very sensitive skin, a pain killer like ibuprofen or a glass of wine can help.  Some professionals don't like these methods for pain control, but if it helps clients, why not? Just don't overdo it. We also apply a cooling gel afterward to reduce the pain and red bumps. I also try to distract clients by talking to them!"

On breaking out the tweezers (yes, really) for the ultimate Miley-worthy maintenance...

"The way you get waxed is very important; make sure that your hair is removed from the roots! If hair breaks while being waxed, it grows out faster.  It's good to exfoliate the area very gently after the waxing to prevent in-grown hairs and to reduce and treat bumps. Some hair grows back shortly after a waxing, so you can tweeze those hairs to extend the life of your waxing."

On her stealing her bikini-line crib notes from past photoshoots...

"I think in many cases celebrities have laser hair removal. I've noticed that models on shoots tend to shave at the last minute, on the day of the shoot. If you can't wait for the next waxing because your hair isn't long enough but you have to remove hair, you can tweeze the hairs one by one or use an electronic device that removes a lot of hair at once. With waxing, once you establish the perfect the bikini line, you can pretty much follow that for future waxings."

On shoo-ing red bumps away...

"You can use Tend Skin, aloe, or ointment with cortisone—one of my dermatologists/clients recommends this."

On her favorite tips for DIY-ing it...

"Brush your hair so you can align the direction of it, trim a bit of hair if it is too long (but not too much!) and decide if you want a straight line or a triangle and use your hands as a template for the shape you want, or you can simply follow the line of your favorite underwear."

On her favorite (anonymous!) waxing horror story...

"I have a regular client who I've known since before I opened my first salon. I had always done her eyebrow wax and one day she came to me in the evening and told me that her eyebrow areas were all burned—I could see the exact burn line where I put wax, which was really frightening to me.  I asked her if she used any different products on her face and I found out that she started using Accutane! She was a TV reporter—can you imagine how horrible it was for her to be on TV with burned skin marks?  She had to cover up the area with make-up and she told me it took a long time to get rid of the marks. Since then I have trained my technicians that even with regular clients, they must still ask them what they use on their face every time before doing a waxing."


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