Pouring hot wax onto your most sensitive areas, and then ripping out hundreds of tiny hairs at once… what are we thinking? But it doesn't have to feel as bad as it sounds. Just follow these steps from April Meese, an esthetician who owns Customized Beauty Ltd, a salon specializing in permanent makeup, and Katherine Goldman, esthetician and owner of Stript Wax Bar in San Francisco.
• Take two Aleve 30 minutes before your appointment, recommends Meese.
• Make sure hair is long enough to be waxed, says Goldman. Go "hippie chic" for at least two weeks prior to the appointment.
• Apply 4 to 5 percent topical lidocaine, available over-the-counter at most pharmacies. "This is a numbing cream that can be put on the area and covered with plastic wrap 20 minutes before treatment. It is messy, but it's helpful for the extremely sensitive skin clients," she explains. If you do this, however, be sure to let the esthetician know you used numbing cream, so they will double check the temperature of the wax (since you might not be able to tell if it's too hot).
• Offer to help the esthetician stretch your skin during the appointment, says Meese. "The tighter the skin is, the less pain there will be."
• After you've been waxed, Goldman recommends avoiding extreme heat or exercise for 24 hours (that means no sunbathing, saunas or hot tubs).
• And, finally, Goldman's golden rule: "Do not shave in between waxes!" You don't want to irritate the area, plus you need to let the hair grow in for the next session.