Beards might be big for the guys right now, but they aren’t so popular with the ladies (unless you have a career in the circus in mind). Most women prefer the hairless look for their faces, legs, arm pits and bikini line, but they don’t actually enjoy having to shave every few days or so. Waxing creates a smooth look and lengthens the time between hair growth, but it can be inconvenient (and costly) to go to a salon every week or so.

Plenty of kits are available to do your own waxing at home. Here’s what you need to know to get the best results:

Assess Your Skin
Certain medications and skin conditions can cause an adverse reaction with waxing. These include acne or acne medication, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, open wounds, and infectious diseases. Your skin can also be more sensitive in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Trim the Hair First
The longer the hair is, the more it will hurt coming out. Waxing longer hair can also result in swelling and bruising. To get the best results, you need to trim your hair first. The hair needs to be at least a quarter inch for the wax to get a good grip, so don’t trim it too close.

Also keep the length requirement in mind when you are doing your maintenance wax. Make sure the hair has grown long enough to get a good wax.

Work on Small Areas
Waxing can hurt. A lot. The more hair you include in each pull of the wax strip, the more it will hurt and the more you will irritate your skin. Work in smaller areas to make the process more comfortable and to reduce the trauma to your skin.

Pull in the Right Direction
You must look at the direction in which the hair is growing before you wax the area. If you pull in the wrong direction, you can just break the hair off instead of pulling it out. Always pull the wax off against the direction that the hair is growing.

Use these tips, and you’ll have beautiful, smooth skin. Repeated waxing will also cause the hair to thin and to permanently stop growing, which can give you long-lasting results.

Soothing and Cooling
Probably one of the most underestimated steps in waxing – the after thought of soothing and cooling the waxed area with a moisturizer. Make sure that you apply a rich, hydrating lotion to these places to keep potential swelling and redness at bay. Look for moisturizers that contain aloe specifically, just as with a sunburn, this miracle plant helps to keep skin cool and calm.