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shower before of after waxing

Should you Shower Before or After Waxing?

As a man, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to offer much helpful information when it comes to the intricate world of waxing. One of the main reasons being, I simply don’t do it! What I can do, however, is offer an objective point of view based on research (and a few medical studies here and there), and answer the question of whether you should wax before or after taking a shower.

You might be wondering how? Well, my intention is to offer an unbiased, medical approach, explain what goes on in your skin when you're waxing it and how both cold and hot water affect it.

waxed mans chest

If you’re not interested in reading the entire article, here’s a quick answer to your question - you should take a shower before waxing because it will soften up your skin, open up your pores and relax your muscles. But make sure you don't use a moisturizer as it will make it harder for the hairs to be gripped.

How Cold Water Affects Waxed Skin?

It’s no secret that waxing is stressful, (in many cases) painfull, can burn your skin, irritate it, make it red and swollen. Looking at the list of possible “side-effects”, you might be inclined to believe cold water is the perfect solution to all of these.

And if you do, I can tell you that you are 100% right! Cold water actually acts as a mild astringent (a toner) and, as such, can tighten the pores, and make them appear less visible.

According to the National Library of Medicine, cold (water) has another beneficial effect on the blood vessels - it constricts them allowing for a restricted blood flow. This restricted blood flow may make your waxed skin appear less puffy and swollen. Of course, this might be a short lasting effect as, as your skin warms back up again, the blood vessels will be less constricted.

How Hot Water Affects Waxed Skin?

Besides bringing joy, relaxation after a long day or simply being one of the simplest life’s pleasures, most dermatologists agree that hot showers have absolutely zero benefits (when it comes to skin at least). It’s a bummer, I know!

Hot showers are especially “harmful” for those suffering from diseases that are damaging to the “skin barrier” as they may strip the skin of sebum, necessary moisture and healthy fats. Put simply, hot showers dehydrate the skin.

And how do they affect waxed skin? As you can imagine, not too good! When it comes to waxed skin, as we’ve already mentioned in the previous paragraph, it’s already stripped of moisture, irritated and swollen… and a hot shower might only make matters worse. 

So, the main takeaway here is you should avoid getting a shower immediately after you’ve had your skin waxed.

Showering Before Waxing - Pros and Cons (Dos and Don’ts)

For those of you who decided to go ahead and take a shower before waxing, we’ve prepared a few guidelines you can follow, to ensure everything goes as smoothly and safely as possible:

  • Avoid (overly) hot showers - if you’ve read the article carefully up until this point, you know that hot showers have virtually no benefits (but we love them nonetheless). Not only that, they might damage your skin, strip it of its natural moisture and make it more prone to damage during the waxing process itself. Therefore, we advise against engaging in a hot shower but, if you must, you can take a shower using lukewarm water. When should you take a shower? - spread it out as much as you can and make a wide enough window between taking a shower and getting your skin waxed. Also, steer clear of saunas, as they might also make your skin more prone to irritation and infection.
  • Exfoliating - exfoliating skin before waxing is one of the crucial preparation steps as it will soften the follicle and make the entire process smoother. But you must not exfoliate your skin too close to your waxing appointment. If you can, it would be best to spread these two 36 or even 48 hours apart. Why? Well, your skin is delicate and sensitive after exfoliation; and if you go in too soon with waxing, you run the risk of damaging it further.

  • Moisturizing - we touched on this briefly earlier in the article… you should not apply a moisturizer, oils, lotions, pretty much any product that might minimize the adherence of wax to your hair.
  • Trimming your hair - though it may sound a bit counterintuitive (wax will “have a harder time” gripping to shorter hair), it’s true that your hair can be “too long” for waxing. But this is not always the case. This only happens if your hair is longer than ½ inch. Longer hair might be thicker, thus making the waxing process uncomfortable.

waxing before showering

Showering After Waxing - Pros and Cons (Dos and Don’ts)

If you went through the entire article, you probably don’t need me at this point; you already know I’m going to suggest taking a shower before waxing.

But, if you absolutely insist on taking a shower after waxing, here are some tips to help you make it as effective and tolerable as possible:

  • Avoid it - I know, I know, I already advised you against taking a shower after waxing but I wanted to add a bit more information to my initial answer. Taking a shower, though it might make you feel more comfortable and “clean”, is not really necessary as the person waxing your skin will use lostions (after the treatment) that will remove wax residue, soothe your skin and clean your skin real good.

  • Wait - if you absolutely insist on taking a shower, give your skin some time to relax and loosen up. Wait at least a couple hours before heading to a shower. 

  • Use lukewarm water - we already touched on this in a few sections through this article but it doesn't hurt to say it again - avoid water that’s too hot as it may make your skin even more dry and irritated.

  • Pat your skin dry - if you do decide to take a shower, know that your skin is still sensitive and rubbing your towel up and down won’t do it much good! Use a cotton towel and gently pat yourself dry. 

  • Avoid saunas and public pools - after you wax your skin to perfection, you might be tempted to show it off, but hold off this urge for a little longer! Why? Well, because of a little something called “Pseudomonas aeruginosa foliculitis”. Commonly known as hot tub rash, this is a skin condition caused by a germ commonly found in public pools and hot tubs (hence the name). According to a study done by the Dermatology and Microbiology Department  of S. Antonio Abate Hospital in Trapani, Italy, this infection is commonly caused by being exposed to contaminated water. Of course, visiting such places right after you’ve waxed your skin, might increase your chances of developing this condition.

Igor Marcikic

I've struggled with acne and oily skin for the better part of my life. Along the way, I've picked up some valuable information, tips, and tricks, which helped me manage my "situation." This website is a way of giving back and trying to help others like me! Enjoy your stay, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.