Keep your technique as smooth and ‘ouch-free’ as possible with these tried and tested waxing tips and tricks to remove hair like a pro


When it comes to at-home hair removal, waxing is a smart choice. Unlike shaving, it removes the hair from the root – delivering ultra-smooth results that can last for weeks. Plus, there’s no risk of razor burn (a big tick).


There is, of course, the pain factor. While waxing is more painful than shaving, we can assure you that it does get easier with time and practice. And if you prefer to be fuzz-free in the long-term, the results are worthwhile.


Looking to make the overall process simpler and more seamless? Follow our top 10 home waxing tips and tricks to hone your DIY technique.


Here are 10 top at-home waxing tips for super-smooth skin


Tip 1: Check hair length

Tip 2: Consider the type of wax

Tip 3: Do a patch test

Tip 4: Exfoliate prior to waxing

Tip 5: Prep the skin

Tip 6: Avoid using retinol

Tip 7: Pick the perfect product

Tip 8: Remove in the right direction

Tip 9: Don’t wax the same area more than twice

Tip 10: Aftercare


Tip 1: Check hair length


If your hairs are too short, the wax won’t be able to grip on and pull them out. But if they're too long you run the risk of the hair breaking just above or below the skin’s surface – which can lead to ingrown hairs.


‘The optimum length is 1cm,’ says Imogen Hope-Simpson, waxing expert at Nails & Brows Mayfair. ‘If your hairs are longer, make sure you trim them down before waxing.’


Tip 2: Consider the type of wax


There are two types of wax to choose from: soft wax and hard wax. Hard wax sticks to the hairs and not the skin which makes it ideal for sensitive areas. ‘It works best for the bikini area and underarms,’ says Imogen. ‘It’s much kinder to the skin and can be less painful than strip wax,’ she adds. To use, hard wax can be spread onto the skin where it will harden (hence the name), before being pulled off – no strips required.


Soft wax, on the other hand, adheres to the skin as well as the hairs which can make it slightly more painful. It can be applied at lower temperatures and requires material or strips to remove the wax. ‘This wax works better on finer hair and is much quicker to use on larger areas, like the legs,’ says Imogen.


Tip 3: Do a patch test


‘Always do a patch test to ensure the wax formulas react well with your skin,’ advises Biz Lindsay, Head of Marketing and Communications at hair removal brand Flamingo. ‘And if you can, wait 24 hours to make sure there’s no unexpected reaction later.’


Imogen seconds this and adds that, ‘When using hot wax, you should always check the temperature of the wax on a small area before applying.’


Tip 4: Exfoliate prior to waxing


‘Exfoliating before a wax is really important,’ says Imogen. ‘It will remove dead skin cells and encourage any ingrown hairs to come to the surface.’ Try using a physical exfoliator in the bath or shower at least 24 hours before waxing. ‘It’s best to avoid exfoliating just before a wax as this can lead to irritation and skin sensitivity,’ warns Imogen.


Looking for some exfoliator inspo? Check out our pick of the best body scrubs around.


Tip 5: Prep the skin


‘Depending on what wax you’re using, you should prep the skin differently,’ says Imogen. ‘For hot wax (or hard wax), it’s advised to cleanse the skin first and then apply an oil – the oil creates a barrier between your skin and the wax, so that the wax mainly grabs the hairs.’


‘When using strip wax (or soft wax), you want to do the opposite and remove any moisture from the surface of the skin by applying talcum powder (post cleanse),’ she continues. ‘This will help you grab all the teeny tiny, fine hairs while also removing the top layer of dead skin cells, exfoliating as well.’


Tip 6: Avoid using retinol


‘Don’t wax after using retinol,’ says Flamingo’s Biz. ‘They can make you more prone to wax irritation.’ To be safe, avoid using retinol products in the week before and after a DIY wax. 


Tip 7: Pick the perfect product


If you’re looking to wax finer, shorter hairs on the face (eg, upper lip), seek out products that have been specifically designed for this area. ‘Often, they can remove even the shortest hairs for smooth results,’ says Biz.


For areas like the legs, look for body wax strips that are designed to cover a larger surface area. Considering pre-applied wax strips or a wax pot? If you’re a beginner, ready-to-go strips are a great option as they’re quick and easy to use. A bit more experienced? View a wax pot as your next challenge which, while messier, offers impressive results once mastered.


Tip 8: Remove in the right direction


The biggest mistake is to remove the wax in the wrong direction. ‘Apply the wax in the same direction as your hair growth,’ says Imogen. ‘Then remove it in the opposite direction while holding the skin taut.’   The big incentive here? ‘The better the stretch, the less painful it will be.’


Be sure to pull the wax back in one swift motion, close to the skin, for best results. ‘You have to be confident when removing the wax,’ says Imogen. ‘Stretch below the wax that you’re about to remove.’


Tip 9: Don’t wax the same area more than twice


‘Start by waxing each section once,’ advises Biz. ‘You may need more than one pull to remove all of the hair in one area but listen to your skin.’ Her general rule of thumb? ‘If you find yourself going over the same spot more than twice, stop to avoid irritation and skin damage,’ she says. Instead, come back to that same spot tomorrow.


Tip 10: Aftercare


‘Once you’re finished, remove any excess wax ASAP,’ says Biz, ‘as wiping off dried wax can irritate your skin.’ Either use a post-wax cloth or some baby oil and a cotton pad to do this.


‘Next, apply an after-wax cooling gel which will help reduce redness and soothe skin,’ says Imogen.


‘It’s important to avoid any kind of heat treatment, eg, steam rooms and saunas, as well as hot baths and showers for the next 24 hours,’ says Imogen, ‘as you don’t want to aggravate the skin further.’ Also, avoid exercise for 24 hours – especially if you had a bikini wax. Excessive sweating in this area could cause folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicles.


Our pick of the best home waxing products
Veet Body & Legs Wax Strips - Sensitive Skin, £13.19


• Size: Pack of 40


Designed to be used on the body, these maxi-sized wax strips feature a new gel formula that expertly grips onto hairs (even short 1.5mm hairs) to remove them swiftly.

Veet Miraculous Oil for Pre & Post Hair Removal, £8.99


• Size: 100ml


Blended with almond oil, argan oil, avocado oil and shea butter, this super nourishing skin treatment can be used post-wax to deeply moisturise and soften skin.

Sunny The Bikini Wax Strips, £7


• Size: Pack of 20


These easy-to-use waxing strips can be applied on the bikini area to remove hairs for smooth results. Inside the box, you’ll find six wipes to take off any excess wax.

Veet Cold Face Wax Strips & Veet Hair Lightening Cream for Face and Body Bundle, £14.73


This beauty bundle comes with 40 facial waxing strips designed for sensitive skin as well as a lightening cream to make dark hairs less visible.

Nad's Brazilian & Bikini Wax, £9.85


• Size: 140g


Looking for a hard wax formula that doesn’t require strips? This is for you. Simply remove the lid and heat in the microwave before applying to skin. Let the wax cool and then remove.

Flamingo Face Wax Kit, £9


• Size: Pack of 20


These no-heat strips are formulated for fine facial hairs – featuring a soft gel wax that grips on and pulls them out. The kit comes complete with a post-wax calming serum, too.

Flamingo Body Wax Kit, £9


• Size: Pack of 24


Remove body hair with these soft gel wax strips that are the perfect size for those larger areas like the legs.

Sunny The Caramel Wax Body Hair Removal For Women, £11


• Size: 150ml, 20 strips


This caramel wax doesn’t require heating and effectively removes hairs from the face and body for pro-level results. Apply the wax with a spatula and use a strip to remove.

Found this helpful? Learn more dos and don’ts of at-home waxing in our guide

All prices correct on date of publication