Many of us are now into week three of coronavirus self-quarantine, and there's a large swath of the country staying home and avoiding nonessential businesses. Unfortunately, the closed businesses include many salons and spas, and for those who choose to remove body and facial hair, that can be a problem.
Fortunately, with a few tips from professionals, you can stretch the life of your last wax and even remove hair at home.
If you're not sure where to start, Natalie Ismiel, brand ambassador for hair removal brand Nad's, has some advice. "Always exfoliate first," she says. "A well-timed scrub has plenty of benefits. It removes dead skin cells that block the hair follicle, the cause of undesirable ingrown hair."
Exfoliating also boosts circulation, encourages cell regeneration and improves skin tone and appearance.
Lancôme Exfoliating Rose Sugar Scrub ($25; nordstrom.com)
Pamper your skin with this warming sugar scrub that can give skin an even, plump tone.
Dove Pomegranate Seeds & Shea Butter Exfoliating Body Polish ($5.99; target.com)
Formulated with one-quarter moisturizing cream, this body polish helps slough away dead, dry skin.
ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment (starting at $24; nordstrom.com)
This cult-classic facial exfoliator is a favorite of beauty editors and delivers smooth, dewy-looking skin with a gentle scrub.
La Roche-Posay Ultrafine Exfoliating Scrub ($17.99; target.com)
This exfoliating facial cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin and won't scrape or irritate.
For your face, be sure to use products that are recommended for the face, as they're gentler than body treatments.
"These formulas are more sensitive to delicate skin," says Ismiel. "Before starting, ensure that the areas are clean and free of makeup, moisturizers and oils. For best results, any facial hair should be at least 2 millimeters long. The hair on the upper lip grows in two directions, so treat it in two sections. Hair on the chin should be removed by pulling the wax strip upward towards the nose."
Flamingo Women's Face Wax Kit ($9.99; target.com)
This kit comes with 10 double-sided soft gel wax strips, six soothing post-wax cloths and one roll-on calming serum to help chill out skin after waxing.
Nad's Facial Wax Strips ($4.99; target.com)
Just apply these easy-to-use strips to your upper lip, chin or wherever you want to remove facial hair.
Joey Healy Grooming Dermablade Trio ($18; amazon.com)
These high-quality, stainless steel razors remove facial hair and peach fuzz, resulting in smoother skin, better absorption of skin care products and easier makeup application.
Japonesque Pro Performance Touch Up Razors ($5.99; target.com)
For a more affordable facial razor option, this trio from Japonesque comes with protective covers and precision blades that can get right into tiny areas.
For brows, what you want in a tool is precision. You can maintain your look for at least a month with tweezers, or use wax or wax strips.
Nad's Natural Precision Eyebrow Wax Wand ($9.99; cvs.com)
Ismiel recommends this tool because of the SlimTip precision applicator that gives complete control for DIY waxing, and wax can be easily removed with water if you make a mistake.
Nad's Ultimate Brow Shaping Waxing Kit ($16.59; target.com)
This kit includes the applicator, prewax cleansing wipes and a soothing balm for post-wax.
After exfoliating, you're going to want to make sure your skin is clean, dry, has no oil or moisturizers, and the hair is trimmed. One important tip from Ismiel? Make sure you can see what you're doing. "Before waxing, find a position you are comfortable with and gives you good visibility," she says.
She continues, "Always work on one small area at a time, starting from the outside and working your way into the more sensitive areas. Leave a small amount of wax at the end of the patch curling up as that will make it easier to remove. Remove by holding the skin taut with one hand and then lift the end of the wax with the fingers of your free hand."
Bliss Poetic Waxing Hair Removal Kit ($22.99; target.com)
The famous bright blue of this kit makes it super easy to see where it's been applied, and the chamomile oil makes it gentle for sensitive skin.
Sally Hansen Hair Remover Face and Bikini Wax Kit ($5.29; target.com)
Ismiel suggests this product, saying "It's a great salon quality hard wax that is formulated with beeswax to soothe delicate skin. It's also gentle and can help skin stay smooth and hair-free for up to eight weeks."
Waxing your body — arms, underarms, legs, etc. — at home isn't impossible, but there are a few things to know, and other options.
"Try not to shave in between waxing, to prevent ingrown hairs and so that hair does not continue to grow back coarsely," Ismiel says. "If you are nervous about the pain associated with waxing, body hair removal creams are a great alternative, as they remove hair quickly and painlessly."
Flamingo Women's Body Wax Kit ($9.99; target.com)
These double-sided gel wax strips are free of artificial colors, fragrance, parabens, mineral oil and petrochemicals.
Nad's for Men Hair Removal Cream ($4.29; target.com)
Although this product is marketed toward men, of course anyone of any gender identity can use it. Best for thick and coarse body hair, it can remove hair in as little as four minutes — you just wipe it away with a hand towel. While the results don't last as long as waxing, they will definitely last longer than shaving.
Sally Hansen Extra Strength All-Over Body Wax Kit ($9.49; target.com)
This kit comes with a jar of microwavable wax, 20 cloth strips, spatulas for easy application and even a finishing oil to help calm skin after waxing.
If at-home wax is still scary...
... there are always razors available to save you. And if you've got ultra-sensitive skin, your concerns about at-home wax and creams could be valid, according to European Wax Center education manager Gina Petak.
"When you wax at home, you can hurt your skin or make it more sensitive and prone to ingrown hairs," she says. "You could also hurt the natural protective barrier of your skin making it more sensitive to outside environmental factors."
Vera Bradley + Venus Designer Women's Disposable Razors ($6.99; target.com)
Who can resist this ultra-feminine mashup of the beloved Venus razor and Vera Bradley style? It's the razor you love with a fun, feminine twist. Treat yourself!
Panasonic Close Curves 4-Blade Wet & Dry Rechargeable Electric Shaver ($29.99; target.com)
This electric razor is rechargeable, so no cord, and you can use it in the shower, where your skin and hair are soft and primed for removal.
Eliminate unsightly and painful ingrown hair — this is not the time to get an infection — with these treatments meant to keep your skin soft and free of bumps.
Fur Ingrown Eliminator ($18; dermstore.com)
These easy-to-use, serum-soaked finger mitts help soothe sore skin after hair removal.
Malin + Goetz Ingrown Hair Cream ($34; nordstrom.com)
This plant-based, residue-free cream addresses the irritation associated with hair removal, including ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.