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What Every Woman Needs to Know About Waxing

copyright Judy Zifka 2012

What Every Woman Needs to Know About Waxing

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  • Introduction
  • Why Do Women Remove Their Hair?
  • Comparison of Waxing to Other Methods
  • How Much Does it Hurt?
  • What are the Advantages of Waxing?
  • How is it Done?
  • Hard Wax vs. Strip Wax
  • How to Find a Waxer
  • Safety and Sanitation Issues
  • Confidentiality
  • Smart Questions to Ask a Potential Waxer
  • How Services are Priced
  • Tipping Guidelines
  • How to Prepare for Your Appointment
  • Menstruation and Waxing
  • Insider Tips to Reducing Pain
  • What Hair Can Be Waxed?
  • Caring for Your Skin After Waxing (including sex)
  • Tips for Reducing Inflammation
  • What can go Wrong?
  • Ingrown Hairs
  • Recap of Important Tips
  • A Final Note
  • About the Author

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Chapter 1 ~ Introduction

If you are a woman who wants to remove some of your body hair, waxing is an affordable and easy option that you should consider. Many women are curious about waxing, but they don’t know where to get trustworthy information about what it’s like. Does it really hurt that bad? Is it embarrassing to take off your clothes? How long does it last? Many women have no one they can talk to about their questions and concerns.

This publication is designed to take the mystery out of women's waxing. It will provide you with the basic information you need to decide if waxing is right for you. Once you have made that choice, it will explain how to find a good waxer, what you can expect during the appointment, and how to take care of your skin after waxing. It’s also going to provide you with many insider tips on how to make the experience the best one possible.

Despite its growing popularity, many women have never tried waxing. Or, maybe they have tried something simple like a brow or lip wax and they are curious about the body waxing options that are available. In particular, many women are curious about the Brazilian wax because they have heard so much about it yet aren't sure what all the fuss is about.

I have waxed hundreds, maybe thousands of women during my career as a waxer, and in the process I’ve learned what your fears are and what kinds of questions you have. I have seen every kind of body, every kind of hair, and I know all the tricks for how to make it as easy on you as possible. I’m going to share information that only the best waxers know. After reading this, you’ll be able to make smart choices about waxing.

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Chapter 2 ~ Why Do Women Remove Their Hair?

There is a long-standing cultural tradition that women should have very little, if any, body hair. That's great if you are a woman who doesn't grow much body hair, but there are a lot more women whose hair growth exceeds what is considered socially acceptable. In order to retain our culturally defined sense of femininity, many women feel they must remove their body hair.

Some people have tried to blame this cultural standard on advertising pressure. I don't agree. It's true that back in the 1920's there was a big media campaign funded by Gillette to convince women that underarm and leg hair was unsightly. Their purpose was to sell more razors, and they were quite successful. Ever since, women have been buying Gillette razors to shave their legs and underarms and it's been a very profitable business. But Gillette didn't invent the idea that women should be hairless. They were simply preying on beliefs that already existed in the subconscious attitudes of people.

Our attitude that women should have very little hair started thousands of years ago with the realization that women naturally have less hair than men do. This is something that makes women unique, and in order to emphasize our femininity we always accentuate the unique differences we have with men. We want less body hair because men have a lot. We want a big chest because men's chests are flat. We want a tiny waist because men have no waistline. Whenever we want to accentuate our feminine qualities, we exaggerate something we have that men don't. Therefore, it wasn't hard at all for Gillette to convince us that it is OK for men to have hairy legs and underarms but not for women.

As time has gone on, this attitude has become more extreme and now some women feel embarrassed or unfeminine if they have any hair at all. For many of my clients, their preference would be to have no hair at all except for on their head and around their eyes. They would be happy if everything else just disappeared. We have no love for body hair in the modern world of women.

Our desire to be hairless is part of what has driven the popularity of Brazilian waxing. It's not that women have become more sexually promiscuous (a common stereotype with Brazilians) as much as that women have become intolerant of hair.

There are probably as many different reasons for removing body hair as there are people, but in my years of experience I have seen a definite trend in the most common reasons why women remove their hair.

"It makes me feel clean."
Feeling clean is the number one reason why women remove their pubic and underarm hair. Having a lot of body hair means that you trap a lot of odors and sweat. That's what hair does best. It traps the natural odors that your body produces in sweat and secretions from your genitals. That might have been a nice feature of hair back in the Stone Age when smelling rich and ripe was an acceptable thing, but it doesn't fly too well in the modern era. Removing body hair will definitely decrease the amount of odors that your body holds next to it, and it will give you a feeling of hygiene that is much appreciated by many women.

"Being hairless is less itchy."
Hairs act like little antenna all over our body, picking up sensations from the environment and relaying their signals to the brain. This often results in hair being an itchy nuisance, always tickling and making you want to scratch. Getting rid of the hair eliminates the itchy feeling.

"I like the way it looks."
Removing body hair because of vanity is a perfectly acceptable reason. I like to compare it to the hair on your head. You don't let your scalp hair do whatever it wants. You cut it and style it. For many of us, we don't let our brow hairs do what they want, either. We tweeze and wax and trim to make them look nice. We even curl and color our eyelashes. So why should your body hair be any different. Why should we let it do whatever it wants, regardless of how it makes us look? If your pubic hair is a tangled mess, why shouldn't you trim it up and make it more manageable? If it makes you feel well-groomed when you look at yourself in the mirror as you step into the shower, then that is a perfectly good reason.

Skin looks better when there is no hair on it. If you want your skin to look firmer and more toned, remove the hair on it. That's why body builders always remove their hair before a competition. Hair has a softening effect on the lines that define our muscles, and our culture appreciates good muscles. Whether it is your calf, your arms, or your stomach, you want your muscles to look as good as possible for whatever condition they are in. Removing body hair, even if it downy, will instantly make your muscles and skin tone look better.

"It's respectful to my sex partner"
Many women, especially those who are young or those just entering into a relationship, present their genitals to their sexual partner like a gift and they want it to be as clean and fresh as possible. Isn't it just like us women to be so thoughtful, even when it comes to sex? It explains why more women than men remove their hair down there. Women are more willing than men to go the extra step to make others happy.

A woman who removes some of her pubic hair is being respectful because she is creating a more pleasant environment for her partner, but the same is true for guys. Why shouldn't women have lovers who are just as thoughtful? Increasingly, women are telling their partners that if they are willing to remove their hair then the guy should be, too. Pressure from women is one of the top reasons why men try waxing. It's only fair, they say, and I can't disagree. Both parties should experience the benefits of hair removal.

"I don't want to look like a man."
Because of our biological conditioning, women often interpret any hair at all as masculine. Even if it really isn't that much hair in the big scheme of things, if it reminds us of a man then it has the potential to rob us of our feminine self-image. Whether you actually look masculine or not isn't really important, because it is how you "feel" that you look that really matters. If you feel like you look masculine, no amount of rallying from me would convince you otherwise.

Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to remove your body hair to improve your feminine self-image, regardless of what anybody else says. In fact, one of my unofficial rules of waxing is that it is always best when you do it because it makes you happy rather than because it makes someone else happy. So many times women have first come to me to get a Brazilian to make their partner happy, but then keep coming back because it makes them happy. Even if their partner says they don't care whether there is hair down there, once they experience the benefits of hair removal a lot of women will reply, "Well, I care." I'll talk more later about the benefits that women enjoy from having a Brazilian wax.

The bottom line is that everyone is free to do whatever they want with their body hair. Leave it, remove it, it doesn't matter because it is a personal freedom that we all have. There should be no judgment about what someone decides to do with their hair. Women are sensitive to the fact that we have the right to make our own body choices because of the movement for reproductive rights, but it's true of men, too.

Many times, when I have told a woman that I wax men she will say something like, "Oh my gosh! Why in the world would a man get his hair removed?" My answer is always the same, "Because he wants to." That's the only reason a person needs, and it is true for women and men alike. We hold too many stereotype assumptions about why people remove their hair and what kind of people they must be. Very little of what we believe is true, however. People remove or don't remove their hair for all kinds of reasons, and that is a freedom I totally respect.

Next ~ Comparison of Waxing Other Hair Removal Methods

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Chapter 3 ~ Comparison of Waxing
to Other Hair Removal Methods

There are five common ways that hair can be removed from our body: shaving, cream depilatories, waxing, electrolysis and laser.

Shaving is the least expensive method because you can do it in your own home. However, some body parts are difficult or impossible to shave and shaving makes some people’s skin painfully irritated. This is what we call razor bumps. Shaved hair grows back very fast, sometimes overnight, so it requires a lot of maintenance. Shaved hair feels very coarse and stubbly when it grows back and is not pleasant.

Cream Depilatories
These are products like Nair that are able to dissolve the hair right off your skin. It takes about 5 days for the hair to grow back, which is better than shaving, but still a fairly high maintenance alternative. The chemicals penetrate down into the follicle and dissolve the hair below the surface, which is why it takes a few days for the hair to grow back.

Anything that is strong enough to dissolve hair will be hard on your skin. In fact, there is a fairly high rate of people who burn their skin with these products, a result that most people would agree looks far worse than their hair did. Skin can be red and irritated for several days if you happen to have a bad reaction or if you leave the product on too long.

Electrolysis is a method of removing hair by inserting a thin wire into a follicle and discharging an electrical current. It takes several sessions to be effective and it is not without pain. It works best when the area to be treated is small because it treats one hair at a time. But if you have enough time, money, and patience you can treat large areas. Electrolysis is the only method of hair removal that the FDA considers permanent. Once the follicle is destroyed, hair never grows from it again.

Laser Treatment
Laser hair removal is quicker and less painful than electrolysis, but it is not pain-free. It is the most expensive option but is fairly effective and widely available. It does not always permanently remove the hair, however, and there are cases where hair has started growing again several years after receiving treatments. It may not remove 100% of the hair, even though that is what people want. It will not work on hair that is blonde or gray, or if the hair and skin are both dark. For those people, laser is not an option.

Waxing is the best option for most people because it solves all the problems of the other methods. Waxed hair does not grow back rough and stubbly like shaving, and it doesn’t cause as much irritation for sensitive skin. Waxing keeps hair away for weeks instead of days like cream depilatories. Waxing is less expensive than electrolysis or laser treatments, therefore falling within the purchasing power of more people. Waxing can be done on all colors of hair, and can be done on almost every part of the body.

Waxing is not a permanent solution, but it is relatively low maintenance and can eventually cause hair to grow less dense. You may not see these results right away, but many women notice that their hair is growing in thinner within a few waxing sessions. Not every part of the body responds the same, I will tell you whether you can expect hair to get thinner with repeated waxing in the area you want to wax when I describe each area of waxing.

Next ~ How Much Does it Hurt?

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