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A Mom's Guide To At-Home Hair Removal

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A few weekends ago, a sleepy Sunday afternoon came to an abrupt end when I realized that the kid’s swim class my sister-in-law had insisted my 2-year-old and 9-month-old attend was starting in 30 minutes. 2pm on a Sunday? Why? I put on the kid’s swim trunks, threw some diapers and towels into a Trader Joe’s tote bag and slid into my champagne colored Prism one-piece—because no one wears a two-piece to a kid’s swim practice, right? (I was wrong about that. This is New York.) “Not bad,” I thought to myself while looking in the mirror. Sacrificing “sleep when baby sleeps” for “work out when baby‘s passed out” was thankfully paying off.

Fast forward to the local YMCA locker room. I slid out of my favorite denim jumpsuit (aka mom uniform) and I was feeling pretty confident until my sister-in-law’s eyes narrowed at the sight of my bikini line. Let’s be real, I could barely find time to shower, let alone shave or wax—so my legs, pits, and pretty much anywhere that I could possibly grow hair, had gone full-on '70s style. My last Brazilian with Russian waxer Laura had been over two years ago, right before my first pregnancy. I had a lovely vision of being well-groomed in the delivery room, and Laura reassured me that other pregnant women still waxed without any issues. She even shared a story about a woman’s water breaking mid-wax, and insisting they carry on. What she failed to mention was that the 50-percent circulating blood flow increase brought on by pregnancy also ushers in increased pain, and you can feel every bit of it pulsating to your V with sensitivity. To top it off, the hormonal hair growth came on strong. So, yeah, the waxing stopped long before I gave birth.

Two years later, I’m ready to hop back to it. I put Laura on speed dial and pulled together an arsenal of hair removal products at home to see what works where. Here goes nothing…or everything.

The Bikini Line

Photo Jul 19, 5 26 09 PM

Based on Laura’s advice, I Amazon Primed this Lifestance Hard Wax Kit ahead of the next swim class. Laura recommended I have a second person apply the wax, but there aren’t many people I’m interested in inviting to my bikini line. So I jumped right in, trimming the hair a tad with a bikini shaver and adding a little powder to my dry skin, and then dipping the wooden spatula into the wax, allowing it to cool for a brief moment, and applying it in small portions– which she emphasized. Holding the skin taut when removing the wax is key to avoiding skin tears– as is doing all this when the kids aren’t home and screaming your name outside of the bathroom door. The result was a really clean bikini line that lasted for a couple of weeks. Sister-in-law-approved.

Random Chin And Areola Strands

Photo Jul 19, 5 11 36 PM

Chin hairs have always been distracting to me. It’s as simple as a pluck, right? No, it isn’t that easy. They’re the most stubborn, random hairs to remove and they grow back faster than you can keep up with. So, when the hair removal company Flamingo popped-up in my Instagram feed, I was lured by the minimal packaging and ease of the product. The result? Honey-like wax stuck to my skin, along with any and all hair I was trying to remove, still in place. Followed by a terrible breakout that I am still recovering from. The best solution? The hard wax that had worked for my bikini line. A small dollop on each strand and they were gone. Quick and painless.

Underarms

Photo Jul 19, 4 08 58 PM

I admit, I went a little hard wax crazy once I saw how well the at-home kit worked. Do I recommend hard waxing your own pits? No. I regretted it mid-pull and couldn’t back out at that point. It was painful and complicated, since you need to hold the skin while removing the wax, and that’s a bit difficult with one arm in the air. Instead, the easiest solution turned out to be a good ‘ole razor. The Venus Extra Smooth Sensitive Razor, a Christmas stocking gag gift from my husband, glided pretty easy. I’m all for anything that’ll create less friction to keep from darkening the area, and Completely Bare’s Smooth shave gel helped with that. Applying a post-shave/wax serum is also a good idea. I certainly have taken for granted (or completely ignored) moisturizing beneath my arms, but it’s a nice finishing touch that helps with irritation.

Legs

Photo Jul 19, 5 45 27 PM

Shaving my legs always feels like a chore, so Completely Bare’s foaming hair remover was a life saver. I literally “spray painted” my legs, freeing up my hands to take care of some other basic needs like brushing my teeth and washing my face. After about 7 minutes and a little tingling sensation, I wiped the hair and foam away with a warm rag and my legs were bare and stubble free. A definite upgrade from my teenage Nair days.

—Celia Roach

Photos via Danielle Jones.