A few years ago, I decided I’d had enough with shaving my legs. It’s one of the more tedious body-grooming tasks if you choose to do so, and there’s so much to be annoyed about it, from the occasional skin irritation to the fact that—surprise—you’ve got to repeat the process the very next day if you want to be silky smooth (having thick hair is a blessing in most cases, but not so much when you’re talking legs). I blocked off new time with the woman I see for my bikini waxes, and off I went, never looking back…until I realized how much money I was spending.
In my suburban salon, a half-leg wax runs me about $40. Go every three weeks and you’re looking at an annual line item around $680—not cheap. While I was pleased with the way regular waxing made my hair grow in thinner and less spiky-feeling, I decided I couldn’t keep handing over my credit card. Armed with a few Googled testimonials and a DIY waxing kit purchased on Amazon, I took matters into my own hands and starting waxing at home. Two months after I bit the bullet, things have been both messy and good. It definitely requires a time commitment, and I’ve never had a result as perfect as what I got from the pros, but I am happy to be saving the cash.
All that said, there are few lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way. If I could start all over again, here’s what I wish I had known about how to wax your legs at home.
Look for a solution that will be easy to wash off.
One perk of doing waxing at home is I have more control over the formula. I’d frequently return home from the waxer with sticky spots left over that needed to be removed with baby oil. The Nair wax I’ve been using is way easier to clean—warm water and soap does the trick. I hop in the shower after I’m done for easy clean up, and any spots that land on my bathroom sink or on the applicator are gone with a soapy swipe.
This is not the time for a rush job.
I was the most careful during my inaugural run and slowly got lazier. When I’m hurrying or not paying attention, things get messy: I’ve stepped on a used strip (so gross), pieces have landed on the carpet sticky-side down, and I’ve destroyed my sink top. Lesson learned: Take your time.
Keep the strip close to your skin when pulling.
Some of my attempts have been more successful than others, and I’ve learned hair removal is about the direction in which I’m pulling the strips. It’s your first instinct to pull the strip straight up and off, but that can actually leave more hair behind. While you still want to move quickly, try pulling the strip in toward your body and keep it close to your leg. That’ll help give you more control.
Buy extra strips.
When using a roll-on wax, you’re going to need more strips than you think. The kit I use comes with 10 strips which doesn’t cover the entire job. I’ve rinsed the strips with sudsy water and reused them in a pinch (thanks, helpful Amazon commenters!), but I recommend stocking up ahead of time.
Don’t jump straight to DIY’ing.
In terms of the ouch-factor, I can’t speak to everyone individually. I typically grimaced a bit at the salon, but have actually found my DIY method to be less painful. Although, to be fair, I’ve been waxing for longer, so the hair isn’t as thick as my first trip in. I’m happy with my decision to take waxing into my own bathroom, but I’d suggest anyone start with a professional. You’ll get to see how things are done, and you’ll be dealing with slightly less stubborn hair when you step into the driver’s seat. But if you want to jump right into it, try taking a pain reliever an hour before waxing so it doesn’t hurt as badly.