So season 2 is finally here, and I know book fans like myself were happy that the “Honeypot scene” was included in the second episode. Basically, we find our twentieth century woman using 18th century ways to rid her body of unwanted body hair, and perhaps spice things up between the sheets in the process. Claire is introduced to body waxing by the ladies of the French court who used a mixture of honey and beeswax to do the job. (DIY copy cat recipe in the works!)
Personally, I think one of the first things I’d miss about 18th century life – apart from the obvious (health care, hot water, toilets, grocery stores, and electricity) would be the basic beauty items that a girl needs to look and feel her best. Because I know for me – I would not be all that thrilled to be meeting up with a hunky Highlander with no hand mirror or set of tweezers to catch those little buggers that insists on growing out of my chin. (Seriously, why haven’t we humans evolved past this yet?!!) Admit it ladies, we’ve all been there. As a friend once told me, “Have you ever been having a conversation with a woman and all of a sudden you see them start rubbing their chin with a glazed look to their eye?… Chin hair.”
I personally have been waxing for years, and had to give Diana props for writing that bit into the book. I’ve heard rumors of a few pixie type women who only grown light, fuzzy, soft body hair and never seem to have to do any sort of body hair grooming. These fairies apparently can grow not one but TWO perfectly shaped eyebrows and only occasionally have to shave their legs above the knee.
Pffffft!! … Myths and legends, I say!! And as we’ve seen from the example of Louise’s parlor, we women excel at finding flaws in our personal appearance – have done so for centuries in fact, and have developed myriad ways to groom ourselves into something a bit less apelike.
If you happen to fall into the category of women who require a bit more work to maintain the “woman is hairless” appearance our society favors, we turn to wax, creams, tweezers, razors, or lasers to assist our efforts. And with that said – however a woman decides to grow (or not grow) her hair is fine by me. It’s a personal choice. But for me, I’m not going to be growing out my armpit hair ANY time soon soooo, off it goes.
A few years ago I decided that I didn’t want a lifetime of shaving to result in a permanent five o’clock shadow in my armpits so I decided to start waxing. I bought myself a waxing kit, and haven’t regretted it one bit. In fact, I HAVE found that the rumors are quite true. There’s LESS hair over time. It IS softer. And it actually helps me sweat better. (Added bonus: if any of you are into natural deodorants and use a salt crystal for deodorant, the perk of waxing versus shaving is you’re not rubbing salt into tiny shaving wounds. No more ouchy from the rock!)
So… what did I buy, you ask? A kit very much like this one. And now a few years later, it looks like this:
Believe it or not, this picture shows all of the things that I’ve found I really need. If you decide to go down this DIY path of hair removal, you WILL be overwhelmed by the amount of product available. That’s why I found the starter kit mentioned above so convenient. I had no flippin’ idea what I really needed to start off with, and for around $50, I had probably way more than I needed. BUT… it definitely gives you an idea (in smaller affordable sizes) of the types of products that are out there, and heck, if memory serves, I think it even came with a DVD!
FWIW, here’s my very own gotta have it list of supplies, along with their approximate individual costs if you decide to go shopping. I find all of these products at stores like Sally Beauty Supply, and I’m sure other cosmetic retailers would carry them as well. If not, you can always browse and order online.
- electric wax warmer, with disposable paper collar (approx $45)
- all purpose hard wax (approx $12)
- cloth strips, large and small size (large $11, small $5)
- wooden craft sticks, large and small sizes (idk… cheap? $2)
- baby powder, and baby oil (or sweet almond oil) (~ $4)
- assorted cotton balls, swabs, or pads ($2, not pictured, but you all know what they are)
In any case, I know I’ve not only saved myself some money from the spa by doing my own waxing, but I like being able to do this whenever the need arises rather than have to wait for an appointment. And one final note about the type of wax I use – I prefer to use hard wax versus some of the softer type waxes. I find it MUCH less messy and I feel that I get most of the wax off in one rip rather than leaving a gooey wax residue behind (personal preference only).
With all of that, I’ll pass along my own personal tips if you decide to give waxing a go.
Tips Before You Rip
- Put down the tweezers and hide your razor. Not much in the way of advice as one would think this is rather intuitive, but….stop. In the case of armpits, you’ll have to let things grow for at least two weeks to get an adequate length for ripping. Most people have a VERY tough time with this one, because after about 5 days you take one look at your armpits and want to scream in horror. Stick with it. The longer the hair is, the better the outcome of the waxing. And by better, I mean that your hair grows in stages – not every follicle is growing at the same rate and at the same time, so allow time for all those hairy mothers to rear their fuzzy heads. Might this mean less time in a tank top? Probably. Find a t-shirt. You’ll be fine.
- Seek professional help. Again, not great advise from a DIY-er like me, but booking an appointment at your favorite salon or spa will not only give you some great tips for how one actually gets waxed, but it’ll give you an idea of what to expect in the way of your tolerance to being waxed. Tolerance not only to the pain of having your follicles ripped out, but a test of your skin’s tolerance to the waxes and lotions used in the process. Ask questions. Questions about the products being used, your particular skin type, or the options of waxes available. Relax. Listen to some piped in pan-flute music while being tensely laid out on a salon table. Try to make polite but mildly embarrassed conversation while someone else rips it all out for the first time. It’s more affordable than you might think (some visits like brows, lip or chin are frequently less than $10), and definitely worth it if you’re thinking about going big and investing in your own setup.
- Prep your workspace. Don’t get all dirty minded on me. I actually mean prep your work space. If you’re going to do this all in the privacy of your own bathroom, lay down some towels first and plan for drips of molten wax to land on everything within a two foot radius of you. It’s much easier to fold up an old towel than it is to chip half dried wax off of your counter tops, so trust me. Why so much room, you ask? Well imagine this: hot drippy wax headed to meet your skin on a wooden popsicle stick. It drips, leaves little stringers much like a hot glue gun does, and you just might be a bit shaky. Then imagine switching to your non-dominant hand. If you’re planning on doing your armpits, that’s exactly what happens. You might be right handed and full of swagger when you do your left arm, but once you shift things to the other hand, fuhhgetabowdit, to quote Donnie Brasco. It’s a whole new pot of wax.
- Prep your personal space. If you’ve got long hair (on your head) that you’d like to keep and/or keep wax out of, pull it back into a pony tail. If you’re wearing clothes you’d rather not get wax on, take them off. Have the things you’ll need all laid out within easy reach because there WILL be a time when you’ve got one sticky wax-laden armpit waving in the air while you reach back for the one dumb thing you forgot to get out of your cabinet.
- Keep wine away from your eyebrows. I may have had the need for a glass of liquid courage before the waxing procedure commences, but I have learned the hard way, WAIT for the drink. I’ve also learned that you should employ a top-to-bottom method for diy hair removal. Start at the top of your body – your face – where the most attention to detail matters. And if you’ve got any question on whether or not you could wax your own brows, perhaps leave that to the salon and fork over the $10. Eyebrows require tinier tools, bigger mirrors, a lot of patience, and a bit more time than one would think. For ME, a glass of wine makes me forget about taking my time and leaves me instead with a lopsided expression similar to one you’d find on Wayne “The Rock” Johnson, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Don’t drink and rip.
- If you get wax IN A BAD PLACE, do not panic. Simply reach for your baby oil and cotton ball and slowly start to remove it. This might require a little picking and scraping with a fingernail, but the oil works well and does remove the oil.
- Expect to learn a whole new way to count to three. We all do it. Get ourselves all pumped up, ready to take action, and chant some sort of inner monologue of …. “You can do this. You’re strong. You’re brave. You’ve had children. It can’t hurt that bad, right?!” And with our neatly applied wax, our smoothed out muslin cloth, we bravely grab one corner of cloth and prepare for that one quick moment of follicular liberation and begin the countdown….
“On Three. Ready?
…. still not ready.
.… oh enough already I’ve got stuff to do this is taking forever why am I scared stop being a wienie!!!!
“AHHHHHH KELLY CLARKSON!!!”
Welcome to Waxing.
- The 40 Year Old Virgin, Universal Pictures 2005
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Gold Circle Films et al, 2002
- The only dude who can get away with calling himself The Rock.
- And a few cute chimpanzees who I could totally hang with.