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The Lowdown on Do-It-Yourself Waxing Options

By Amalah

Dear Gorgeous-and-Brilliant-Amalah,

I am a long-time reader of your blog & column(s), and a huge fan, but I can’t recall you ever covering this topic, and if you have, well…. do it again! For Me! Please, please, pretty please?!

Thanks to the economy and the fact we had to replace our entire AC unit last summer, I’ve been forced to give up my bi-weekly eyebrow waxing, so I learned to do it myself at home with a Sally Hansen wax kit. The first time was a little… hairy (puns are fun!). But now I’ve got the hang of it, and was wondering if you’ve ever DIY waxed… other … places. Like your legs, or… other… places. While I do like the little kit I got for my eyebrows, I’m not really sure the wax is strong enough for coarser or more stubborn hair. The kit I got IS marketed as a “sensitive areas” or whatever, but I have to rewax my eyebrows a couple times to get everything, and I really don’t want to be having to do that in my really sensitive areas, once is enough, TYVM. I’ve never waxed anything but my eyebrows, so I really have no idea what type of wax one might use, or if there are any secret tips for making it as painless as possible. Are there pros/cons for pre-waxed strips, or is melted wax & cloth strips more effective? And what is UP with this Nads stuff (WHO names their product Nads anyway?? I mean really, the silly 13-year-old in me gets a good giggle every time I see that!) I’m also figuring this is something that I’ll likely not be able to do by myself, which is fine, because I have a husband who would be more than willing to help if I promise that he will enjoy the results when we’re done, ifyouknowwhatImean.

Any tips, or advice, or product trials would be appreciated!

One of my many personal flaws is that I am really, really bad about making and keeping appointments. The doctor, the dentist, the hairdresser, and most of all the waxer. I mean, that last one is hardly the most pleasant way to spend a chunk of the weekend or precious, precious preschool hours, so I generally only sack up and do it before special occasions. In between this handful of occasions, I am a dedicated plucker, tweezer and shaver.

But a few years ago I did try out a slew of home waxing kits. The pre-waxed strips, the cloth strips — even the Nad’s. Which I believe is named after the owner’s daughter Nadine, but…wouldn’t that make it pronounced Nade’s? Why do they say Nad’s? Didn’t anyone ever say something to them about that? Focus groups? FRIENDS? These questions drove me bonkers every time I used it, swear to God.

Nad’s actually can work pretty well, but I found that the product breaks down very easily and loses effectiveness after a few uses. I don’t know whether it was exposure to air from opening and closing the jar, the temperature I was storing it at or what, but all those natural ingredients like molasses and honey did exactly what happens to molasses and honey — the consistency changed from a smooth, ridiculously sticky wax-like substance to a chunky, sugary paste. And the sugary paste does not remove a damn thing. This happened to two barely-used jars of the stuff (I thought it was a fluke the first time), and that was the end of Nad’s for me.
I moved on the pre-waxed strips. I used the Parissa kits you can buy at Whole Foods and I really liked them for my eyebrows — they’re quick and easy and relatively mess-free. (I should interject here that I am not a particularly hairy person — my brows are thin, and except for a smattering of stray dark-blonde hairs that need cleaned up, I’m mostly waxing very fine and very light-blonde hairs. Not exactly the hardest thing to remove.) My success with the strips led me to try using them…ahem…in a coarser, more sensitive area. And like you, I found that I needed to wax several times on the same patch of skin in order for the strip to really get everything. The result? Lots of irritation, and still a need for a good deal of post-wax tweezing. (And OH, I am ONLY talking about neatening up the…ahem…outer edges. Please do not attempt an at-home Brazilian with these things.) The Parissa kits come with azulene oil, which I do really like for the irritation, but…eh. The kits aren’t exactly and I went through soooo many strips before coming close to the desired results. And so my enthusiasm for them burned out after a few purchases. I’ve always intended to try the Sally Hansen version, but have just never gotten around to it.

I finally moved on to the real stuff — melted wax and cloth strips, like they use at the salons. That stuff does not mess around with the hair removal, but oh. My God. The mess. The time. The set-up, the clean-up, the huge pile of hairy, sticky cloths perpetually adhering themselves to the bathroom wastebasket. I thought it was entirely too much trouble to go through for my eyebrows (although, again, my eyebrows are not as high-maintenance as some). However, for waxing significant areas like your legs or coarse, stubborn areas like your bikini line, I wouldn’t really go with anything else. Make sure you know how to avoid waxing disasters and have good products on hand for irritation.

In the end, my infatuation with DIY waxing faded. I admire the dedication it takes, but it’s dedication that I just do not have. For salon brow wax die-hards who are trying to cut back on expenses, the pre-waxed strips are a great option. They aren’t perfect, but oh, they’re easy. For anything else, go for the real thing. Test a small patch of hair and skin first. Follow package instructions carefully re: prepping your skin and ideal hair length, pull your skin as taut as possible and pay attention to the direction of the hair growth. Be prepared for not getting everything on the first try. I don’t know if it was just me, but even when I was using “real” salon-quality wax ad strips, I still could never get salon-quality results. Guess there’s a reason why you pay so much for some services. Imagine that!

(Oh! And one time I bought Nair. I do not like Nair. Smells bad, takes forever, makes a mess, doesn’t really work that well. The end!)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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