I’m a devoted waxer. By which I mean, I have—for decades—paid someone else to shape my brows and bikini line. But at numerous times in my life I would randomly get hit with this inspired thought: “Why do I pay for this when I can do it myself?” And I’d go out and purchase some variation of a hair-removal product. My enthusiasm would drop once I actually sat down to do it myself. Just standing in the bathroom and unfolding the seemingly-tiny instruction pamphlet, watching it grow exponentially, and take over my entire sink like some sort Rand-McNally map on steroids, would be enough to make me realize this was wayyyyyy too complicated and time-consuming when I can just pay someone to do a better job anyway.

Enter Coronavirus

Suddenly, I could NOT pay someone to do a better job. Luckily, even though I totally gave up on trying all those hair removal products I bought, I could never bring myself to throw them away since they were never used. I dug them out of the closet and to see what I had. Over the course of the last three months, I tried home waxing kits, depilatory creams, and an epilator. The results were… hairy.

Home Waxing Kit—Eyebrows

This was the product where simply unfolding the instruction booklet was enough to exhaust me. Luckily, I was so worn out after I first opened it, that I didn’t bother to try to recreate the advanced origami required to get it back to its original form, so I when I pulled the box out from the depths of my closet, the gigantic instruction booklet immediately reconstructed itself like a massive pop-up tent. I had purchased a kit that was intended for facial hair and eyebrows. It included a jar of wax that you needed to microwave, an applicator, strips to pull the wax off, and post-wax oil. Seemed like everything you’d need.

I microwaved the wax per the instructions and dipped the applicator in. I do need to note, the applicator was the size of a giant emery board. I also need to note, the wax was at a consistency that it dripped EVERYWHERE in long, stringy, web-like dribbles. My bathroom looked like Spiderman had been hit with some seriously awkward premature ejaculation issues. But clean-up was for later.

I spread the sticky, gooey, sort-of-warm wax along the underside of my eyebrow. Which, given the aforementioned size of the applicator, meant I also spread it along my entire eyelid and half of the side of my face. Well, okay. That’s what the oil is for, right?

I applied the strip of wax remover to the area, pressed tight as instructed, and ripped it off. Ripped might be an exaggeration. Ripped is what happens when the professionals do it. What happened to me was more of a sludging, goopy shift. It sort of slid off. Not only were there no hairs on the strip, there was not any wax on it either. It was all still glopped on my eyebrow! I tried again with a new strip. And again. Nothing. By now the wax had cooled and hardened and I could no longer blink because my eyelid was stuck to itself. I pulled out the oil and a cotton ball and tried to remove it but ended up with an eyelid that was not only stuck to itself, but it was now oily to boot. I really wanted to blink so I gave up and showered. Side note: the wax that had trickled into web-strings all over the sink hardened while I was in the shower and it pretty much took a chisel to eventually get it off.

Depilatory Creams—Bikini

This one was short and not-so-sweet. I’ll give you the low lights in a few quick bullets:

1) It stinks to high heaven.

2) It burns like the bottom of hell.

3) It’s messy. Once you’ve applied the cream, and nearly passed out from the 20 required minutes, you then use a special cleaning cloth in the shower to scrub all the burnt-off hairs away. However, post-shower, you will need a special cleaning crew to scrub all the burnt off (and now super sticky) hairs from your shower walls and floor.

4) it’s less effective than shaving because after going through an hour of the smelly, burny torture, within two days it looked like I hadn’t done anything at all.

Epilator—Bikini

An epilator is like an electric razor but instead of cutting the hairs down to the surface level of your skin, it grabs them and pulls them out by the roots. It’s a bit like electric waxing or threading. For someone who has been waxing as long as I have, you’d think I’d be used to the feeling of my short and curlies being yanked out by the root, but seriously? This was a whole new level. However, of all the methods I tried, it was the most effective. The pain was sharp, but quick, and the results lasted for about as long as waxing does. The downside? You definitely can NOT use this on your eyebrows. Or any other remotely sensitive areas, small areas, or areas where your skin isn’t naturally on the tighter side.  So, if you’re not catching my drift, moving down from the traditional top of your bikini line is pretty much out of the question. Keep this device far away from your upper-inner thighs.

The Hair and Now

When all is said and done, I have a much deeper appreciation for my waxer. It is one of the first things I will do when the world opens back up and she will be getting a gigantic tip. I also seriously regret not reading this article by fellow Taffeta writer Kelly Burch before I embarked on my adventure. The brand recommended in this article was not the brand I used, and the simple instructions Kelly provides should be included in every box. No origami needed.

About Lily Winters

A full-time copywriter, Lilly Winters lives outside Washington, D.C. in a house full of animals—which include her husband and teenager. Under a different name, she’s written a book of short stories, a Young Adult novel, and was most recently published in Gravity Dancers. Lilly Winters isn’t posting her real picture because it’s possible she is currently wanted by the Mexican drug cartel. It’s also possible she watches too much Ozark.

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