Reclaiming the Leg Wax?

phot of DIY leg waxing

A lot of people have been curious to know if I learned anything magical at Beauty U, like that has totally changed my daily beauty routine, or that works SO super well, I want to shout it from the rooftops because I can’t believe there are still women walking this earth without having been enlightened by this Good Beauty Word.


For so many reasons, this has not exactly been the case. But there is one beauty treatment that I initially had a lot of doubts about, but am now coming around to appreciating. Not in a rooftop-shouting way exactly. More “oh well, alright then.” I was reminded about it when I saw this great post over on beauty dart and I thought I better come tell you all about it.

It is leg waxing.

When we first started learning about waxing, and Miss Stacy insisted we grow in all of our hair so we could practice on each other, I completely did not get leg waxing. It took the most endless three weeks to get my leg hair to waxable length. (About a quarter to half an inch, or as we say in the biz, “the length of an eyebrow hair.”) I hated walking around all stubbly. I don’t want to admit that because I do not love the stigma that hairy legs have in our culture and I just felt like a big old hypocrite the whole time, always going on about challenging beauty standards while simultaneously feeling squeamish at the sight of my very own leg hair. But there you are. Challenging beauty standards is hard. Some days I have more energy for it than others.

Anyway, I was crazy annoyed about having such hairy legs for three weeks (and even more annoyed that I was so annoyed) and then, when I got them waxed for the first time, I was entirely underwhelmed. Because only half my leg hair came out. Seriously. You couldn’t see a ton of remaining leg hair, but if you ran your hand up or down my leg (not you, poor blog reader, but everyone at Beauty U, who I made do this over and over to see if I was crazy, like asking people to touch your legs a lot was not providing enough proof of that) you would feel hair.

Leaving aside the big picture question of should you remove your leg hair or shouldn’t you, I thought, what a fricking waste of time to spend an hour and all that money (if you go to a spa) having it done and not even feel silky smooth at the end. Back to shaving.

But then Meg needed a leg wax signature on Thursday night of a week when I’d been slacking on the shaving anyway, so I thought, okay, let’s give this another whirl. And she waxed, and again, only about half the hair came out. But then I had the brilliant notion to wait it out over the weekend and have her wax the rest that Monday (scoring two signatures for the same service, sweet) — and voila! Silky smooth. Plus, less redness because my poor skin had already been beaten into submission on the first go-round.

Because as it turns out, your hairs take something like 21-28-ish days to grow, fall out naturally, and start growing again. But every hair is on its own 21-28 day schedule. Which makes sense if you think about it, because the alternative is every hair growing up and falling out at once and you being sometimes bald. (That was a very scientific explanation and you are welcome.) So the follow-up wax, once the doing-their-own-thing hairs have gotten long enough, was key to the leg wax working.

Even better, this time around, for the first time in any of my waxing adventures, the it grows back so much finer myth turned out to be TRUE. My leg hair really did grow back finer. And kinda patchy, so I could deal with say, the back of one ankle suddenly being a little scruffy but the rest of my legs felt smooth. Which means, now that I’m almost a licensed professional and all, I can even do my own quick touch-up waxes at home every few weeks.

When you consider I used to shave daily or at least every other day, I think I’m at least breaking even on the time investment or even coming out ahead with monthly quickie home wax jobs. I’ll be tallying to see how the cost investment works out, but quality disposable razors ain’t cheap. So as long as this is a beauty standard I want to stick with, leg waxing seems to be working for me.

But I say this quietly, from the ground floor. Because I am not remotely convinced you need to get on my leg waxing wagon. I’ve seen too many scary skin reactions to think even most people should try waxing, let alone at home. It is awkward and messy until you really get the hang of it. And going to a salon just seems crazy expensive, especially if, like me, you need the follow-up wax to really clean everything up.

I’m also pretty underwhelmed by waxing from an eco-health standpoint. That’s a lot of petroleum for me to have stubble-free calves. So next up, I’ll be investigating sugaring, which seems to be like waxing’s hippie cousin. Theoretically, it contains just sugar, lemon, and water. Which seems like something I should be able to whip up in my kitchen, for Pete’s sake. Somebody swing by with a candy thermometer and we’ll go to town.

[Photo: Jan 31 2009: 118/365 by megan.barton. Via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensed Content.]



Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty U, Waxing

7 responses to “Reclaiming the Leg Wax?

  1. Megan

    If you try sugaring, please let us know! A how-to guide would be useful too, if it works, because it *sounds* awfully DIY friendly.

  2. Brianne

    I tried to wax with an at home kit and managed to pull off more than just hair. I had a ginormous red spot in that one place that I actually tried but the hair never grew back there. Still not worth it.

    I just bought a round of laser hair removal from Groupon so I plan to try it on my lower legs. I already did my underarms and bikini. The bikini is awesome but I still shave under my arms because it couldn’t catch the super fine ones. You can’t tell there’s hair there at first glance but I can feel it.

  3. As a now-licensed professional, I do all my waxing/sugaring myself at home and I use rinseable/washable reusable strips or stripless wax. This really combats waxing waste! And I love sugaring because you can rinse off the sugar—no tugging on remnants like with wax (ouch!), plus it’s safer when you can’t see where you’re spreading (you know what I mean).

    I’m not a fan of the brand Moom but I do like NYC-based Shobha a lot. Did you know there is a recipe for hair removal sugar in No More Dirty Looks?

    One caveat: I have found that I really put off doing my legs and bikini because it takes forever to do it myself. I think I’d actually prefer to pay for that service somewhere they do sugaring professionally.

  4. PS Laser has always seemed the “greenest” to me @Brianne, since you don’t need any hair removal products after a few rounds… I just have trouble coughing up that much cash at once. Good for you on the Groupon!

  5. Very informative Virginia, thanks! I’m still a bit scared to give leg waxing a try, and wish it was a little cheaper, but I’m definitely considering it now.

  6. Shae

    I used an Epilady for a long while, much to the cringing of everyone I knew. The hair DID grow back finer and finer, until it almost started to give up. I shave now but it’s easier since I harassed those hairs into fine submission.

  7. FM

    I actually very much recommend using an epilator in between waxes to make the effect last longer, or a day or so after a wax to clean-up the hairs left behind. Epilator is harder (for me) to use on the thigh because if the skin isn’t pulled tight it can pinch even to the point of bleeding, so eventually I always go back for another wax. Also because I get brazilians every few months, so may as well do the legs then too.

    I’m no pro, but the few times I’ve waxed on my own were so unpleasant and time-consuming. The waxers at my trust-them-in-nether-regions place can wax everything below the waist in about 35 minutes.

    Very curious about sugaring.

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