November/December  2005 




Ask almost any mammal other than a Homo sapien, “When is a good time to grow a little extra fur?” and you’ll find the unanimous answer to be, “Winter.” With trousers and dark-colored tights back in use and summer’s bare tanned legs a memory, now is the perfect time to begin a regime of growing your fur and subsequently waxing your legs without the fear of your hairy state being seen by all.

Follow the instructions on your jar of wax at all times! If it says not to heat your wax in the container in which it came, DON’T!

Waxing usually leads to the thinning and almost complete and permanent removal of hair. With each removal of the hair with its root, the root space shrinks and the hair grows in finer than before, eventually leading (ideally) to it being too small to accommodate a root. It may take a few years or longer (depending on the thickness of your hair when you begin), waxing every two to four weeks. The process is time-consuming at first, although I now have it down to twenty minutes, maximum. The first few times waxing can be painful, especially if you do it yourself and don’t know how to pull a strip. You also need to grow a healthy little crop before you have enough to effectively remove it.

So why wax? For me, it was a great alternative to ‘giving blood’ every time I shaved. I have very boney ankles and knobby knees. I am also often in a hurry in the shower. This is an equation for unsightly and painful little razor cuts. A few years ago, after giving myself an especially nasty cut – the one right down the side near the ankle bone – I decided I’d had enough and wanted to try waxing. Not sure that I could get to a spa every time my fur needed tending, I decided to go to a beauty supplier with a salon and waxing specialist and ask her to show me how to use hot/cold wax at home. What I learned from her was invaluable!

First I needed to gather the proper tools:

1. Antibacterial ointment with a little anesthetic in it. (Neosporin is a great product!)

2. Isopropyl alcohol.

3. Talcum powder.

4. Epilation strips. (Some people make their own from old cotton sheets or remnants). For your legs, be sure to buy the bigger epilation strips; 9 x 3 inches or 6.5 x 2.5 inches. The little strips are sold for waxing your face.

5. A good brand of hot/cold wax that is water-soluble.

6. Application sticks – like Popsicle sticks or wider – which are available at most places where you buy wax. My first choice of wax is Moujan Cold and Hot Wax in the big 12 oz. plastic tub, but if you’re new to waxing try the little 6 oz. tub until you’re sure you want to continue. It heats evenly in the microwave and being water-soluble means cleanup is a breeze! The company also includes a little applicator stick.

I keep all of my waxing supplies – wax, strips, powder, alcohol, and antibacterial ointment – in a big plastic freezer bag in my closet. It expedites the process because I don’t go searching for each item when I want to wax.


Preparing my skin for waxing is the key to making the process work optimally. I wet my legs in the bathtub under warm water. Using my hands, I rub on some liquid soap, or soap that leaves little residue. It is important to get all products off of the skin. I rinse my legs and use a clean wet washcloth to gently scrub the skin with warm water only, so no soap is left. I then dry thoroughly. Using a paper towel or my hands, I wipe a little isopropyl alcohol on my legs to finish cleaning and to disinfect. I then allow my legs to dry completely.

Skin Protection

I have learned the hard way that two things that make waxing painful are poor protection of the skin and wax that is too hot to be applied. The first problem can be controlled by spreading a very thin layer (almost unnoticeable) of baby powder over my legs. . Too much powder leads obviously to the wax only removing the powder. A thin layer means the wax grabs more powder than skin. The hair sticks up, so it is still grabbed by the wax almost as well as without powder. This step reduces pain dramatically!!

The second error, wax heated to too high a temperature, can be controlled as well.
NOTE: Follow the instructions on your jar of wax at all times! If it says not to heat your wax in the container in which it came, DON’T! A full 12 oz. jar of wax usually takes me no longer than 20-30 seconds to heat in my conventional microwave oven. I never put it in the microwave and leave it. If it boils over, water-soluble or not, it’s an unholy mess! When I remove the wax from the microwave, I make sure it’s not bubbling. If it is, it’s WAY too hot and I set it aside to cool. After I heat my wax I stir it with the applicator stick. It should not be runny like maple syrup, nor cool enough to make “stiff peaks”. It should be of a consistency between thin cookie batter and thick cake batter. (I’ve eaten a lot of both, so I’m an expert.)


Now I’m ready to be “de-furred”, as my husband calls it. I put a little wax on my fingertip to make sure it feels barely warm (it will feel warmer on my legs). Holding the jar in one hand, I use my writing hand to apply a very thin layer of wax with the applicator stick, being careful to stroke downward in the direction the hair is growing. Think about petting a cat in the direction in which its fur points. You’ll get the idea.

After I apply the wax, I lay one of the epilation strips over the wax, gently smoothing it downward with my hand – again in the direction in which the hair is growing. Making sure I have a good hold on the bottom edge of the strip, I pull directly upward quickly in on fast motion. It is important to pull the strip AGAINST the direction in which the hair is growing.

I often cheat and use the strip a second time on another area of the leg. It saves on wax and on time. After I wax the entire leg I inspect it for tough little hairs. I then wax a second time in those areas. The removal of the powder on the first pass means that it might hurt a bit more, but you’ll likely grab the little monsters this time. If necessary, I use eyebrow tweezers and go for them individually.


After I wax, I toss all of the strips (although some people wash and reuse them). I wash my legs with a washcloth and warm water to remove all of the wax. I sometimes clean the skin with a little more alcohol. After I dry my legs, I rub a little antibacterial ointment between my palms to make it warm and smooth and gently rub it all over the waxed skin. It moisturizes and sooths grumpy skin, and also treats any pores that are bleeding slightly – a risk when you first start to wax. I usually wax in on a weekend morning, so I apply a little more antibacterial ointment before I go to bed that night.

While all of this sounds like quite a production, it’s just like shaving or applying makeup; once you’ve mastered the technique you can do it quickly. Wax and waxing supplies are available at many beauty supply stores and on the Internet. Be sure to stop and consult a doctor if you have problems with serious skin reactions or allergies, ingrown hairs, infections, etc. Read the waxing instructions carefully and follow them. If growing your hair makes you feel – well, like you have gorilla legs, stick to waxing only during the chilly season. Remember, you can always run to your razor in the summer months!




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