A Guide To Waxing Your Legs Safely At Home

Written by Urvi ShahJul 28, 2022
A guide to waxing your legs safely at home

Have you ever thought of waxing your legs at home? Sure, the thought of slapping a strip of wax on your legs, and yanking it off the correct way is a little intimidating - but fear aside, it’s not that complicated a process. If you’re bothered by cuts, scrapes, and ingrowth because of your razor, there’s a way to salvage your skin - and keep the hair from growing back quickly. And if you’re absolutely unable to schedule a waxing appointment, shrug off those inhibitions, and forgo the salon. In this guide, we’ve roped in Dr. Tipirneni Tipirneni, MD DVL AMPH, to share her insights with us regarding the at-home procedure - from pre-care and post-care to a step-by-step breakdown of waxing your legs at home, this guide has it all.


How To Prepare Your Legs For Waxing?


Before you contemplate waxing your legs, Dr. Tipirneni reiterates that you must have enough growth - a minimum of ¼ inches (the size of a grain of rice) - for the wax to have a grip on the shafts of each hair strand. This way, you don’t have to go over the same area repeatedly; your hair is waxed off in one go.  It’s important to note that waxing dislodges your hair by the root, and your newly-opened follicle is vulnerable to germs - following these steps is, therefore, crucial to maintaining the health of your skin.

Exfoliate: “Start exfoliating your legs a week before waxing - you must exfoliate twice or thrice a week regardless of whether you’re prepping your skin for waxing or not,” says Dr. Tipirneni. You can exfoliate your skin with a scrub or loofah to slough off any dead cells on the surface. This process loosens ingrown hair as well. Dr. Tipirneni recommends avoiding harsh body-scrubs. Steer clear of ones with abrasive granules in them. Be careful to not scrub your skin too harshly as this can result in irritation. Don’t exfoliate 24 to 48 hours before waxing though.

  1. Moisturise: “Moisturise your skin every day - at least once a day - as a general rule of thumb. Your skin must be hydrated, supple, and elastic before waxing. The process will hurt more if your skin is dry,” notes Dr. Tipirneni.
  2. Cleanse: Before you start waxing, ensure that your skin is clean. This step rids your legs of dirt, grime, sweat, and oils.
  3. Dry the skin: Waxing doesn’t work on wet skin. Use a towel to dry your legs thoroughly. You can apply a little talcum or baby powder to absorb all of the moisture too.
  4. Trim: Although your hair must be at least a quarter-inch, very long hair can complicate the removal process, and make it more painful. You can use a pair of safety scissors or an electronic trimmer for the trimming.

Dr. Tipirneni prescribes spraying a mild anti-acne or anti-folliculitis solution like clindamycin on the skin twenty-four hours prior to waxing. Make sure you’re waxing your legs in an area that’s clean to prevent infections. Spray the space with a disinfectant before you start.


How Do You Wax Your Legs?


  1. You will need a waxing kit containing an applicator, strips, and wax. Follow the instructions on the back of the packaging to understand how to heat the wax. You can invest in a kit with ready-to-use strips as well.
  2. Apply a little baby powder on the area you’d like to wax - this extracts any moisture from your skin and protects the epidermis.
  3. Work with small sections. Apply a thin layer of wax on the skin in the direction of the hair growth. Ensure you’re holding the applicator at a 90-degree angle while you’re doing so.
  4. Retrieve a strip, and press it down against the wax before it cools. Leave a part of the strip hanging off at the end - this will serve as your handle to peel the entire strip off. Smooth the strip with your hand in the direction of the growth a couple of times.
  5. Peel the strip off your skin in the opposite direction of the growth. Make sure you’re holding your skin taut with your other hand when you’re peeling the strip off. If your skin stings, applying pressure on the area with your hand can help.
  6. Apply aloe vera gel or moisturiser on your legs to soothe the skin.


Should You Follow a Post-Waxing Routine?


“Once you’re done, wash your body with lukewarm water,” stresses Dr. Tipirneni. This rids your skin of any remnants of wax, microbes, and germs on your body. Along with spraying a mild anti-acne or anti-folliculitis solution before waxing, you must ensure that you’re doing the same after waxing - especially if you’re prone to developing post-waxing folliculitis. This prevents pustules and boils from surfacing on the body.

Dr. Tipirneni warns us against spraying any deodorant, perfume, or product containing alcohol as a preservative - or in its content - on the skin for a minimum of 24 to 48 hours post-waxing - this triggers a severe reaction in some people, and causes stinging, burning, and even contact dermatitis (rashes caused by contact with an allergen or irritant.)

You can use a cube of ice to soothe the skin, and calm irritation, inflammation, and the appearance of bumps. Just wrap it up in a handkerchief, and massage your legs with it.

“Make sure you’re wearing loose-fitting, breathable cotton clothing after you’re done. Don’t wear spandex, nylon, or any material that sticks to the skin. Let your skin breathe,” she says. This is to avoid friction and sweating, which might irritate or infect the skin. You can exfoliate your skin two or three days after waxing - by this time, your pores will have closed, and your skin will have healed.

Do not pick on ingrown hair at all. And resist the urge to scratch your freshly-waxed skin. Don’t go swimming. Don’t expose yourself to the sun for a minimum of 48 hours. And don’t apply scented, chemical-laden products on your skin immediately after - it is counterproductive as it will intensify irritation.


How Do you Prepare Sugar Wax at Home?


Sugar-waxing is far better than regular waxing. It’s gentle on the skin, not as painful, and delivers promising results to you. Unlike waxing, it doesn’t stick to the skin, or remove the topmost layer of the skin either - the sugar binds to the hair instead of the skin. This concoction of wax doesn’t need to be heated for application. It works best at room temperature - bid adieu to burns caused by hot wax. In other words, sugar-waxing doesn’t result in too many bumps or unnecessary inflammation, and it is perfect for skin that’s sensitive. Typically, it lasts for about six to eight weeks.

  1. You need three organic ingredients to prepare the wax: sugar, lemon, and water. In this method, unlike waxing, you apply the wax in the opposite direction of the growth, and flick it off in the natural direction of the growth - this technique doesn’t disturb the follicle on the inside of the skin.
  2. You need a 2:1 sugar-to-liquid ratio. If you’re using a cup of sugar, you must use ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of water.
  3. Start off by transferring water and lemon juice to a pan. Heat the mixture slowly. Lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C, which hydrates and nourishes the skin, strips your skin of dead cells, and is known to ward off bacteria that could trigger breakouts.
  4. Add sugar to the mix and stir. Turn the heat up to high.
  5. Once the concoction starts bubbling, reduce the heat to medium, and stir for another 5 minutes.
  6. When you notice that it has turned golden and smooth, turn off the heat, and place a spoonful of the mixture in the refrigerator to test the consistency of the wax.
  7. After it has cooled, check whether the wax is thick and tacky. If it is, you’re good to go. If not, pour it back into the pan, and warm it up - stir continually for another 5 minute
  8. Transfer the mix to a stainless steel bowl or a glass storage container, and let it cool for 30 minutes.




Can I wax without using powder?

You must layer your skin with powder before waxing. This soaks up the moisture from your skin, and makes it easier for the wax to adhere to your hair. It forms a barrier over your skin, and protects your epidermis.

Should I trim my leg hair before waxing?

You must have a minimum growth of one-fourth inches before you attempt to wax your legs - or any part of the body. If the hair is too long, though, you must trim it to a quarter of an inch - if you don’t, you might risk breaking the hair above or below the skin’s surface. In one case, your hair isn’t removed from the root, and in the other, you run the risk of getting ingrown hair. When you’re coating your skin with wax, your hair lays flat on the surface. A few of the longer hair might cover the shorter ones, and in the process, prevent the shorter ones underneath from getting waxed off.

What should you not do before waxing?

Don’t try shaving two to three weeks before waxing. Don’t wax when you’re on your period. Your skin is more sensitive during this time. Don’t coat your skin with lotions or creams on the day of waxing. Avoid waxing parts of your skin that are bruised or wounded. Don’t moisturise right before waxing - this just makes your skin slippery for the wax. Try staying indoors during the day - the harshness of sunlight can irritate and burn the skin.

How long does a leg wax last?

It lasts about six weeks; however, you will start to see growth at around three or four weeks. There are multiple factors that impact the rate at which your hair grows back - genetics, age, season, and hormones are a few.

Urvi Shah

Written by

A professional writer by day, and a poet by night, I'm a journalism graduate with experience in the news, travel, and food sectors. A frantic compiler of excerpts from books I've read, you can count on me to incorporate quotes and phrases into everyday conversations without a warning. On days I'm not working, I station myself in front of my laptop, and try to work my way through month-old drafts of my writings.


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