Ever wonder how your wax might be affecting your workouts, or vice versa? Us, too. So we tapped Noemi Grupenmager, Founder and CEO of Uni K wax centers (with locations in California, Florida and New York) to get the scoop on how your hair removal habits and your hustle in the gym are related. Below, she spills some of her best waxing secrets as well as offers tips to help you get your sweat on while still maintaining soft and smooth skin.
For an athlete or someone who enjoys working out, what are the benefits of waxing over shaving? “A big plus is that waxing is safer than shaving and will help you avoid the daily risk of nicks, cuts, ingrown hair and razor burn that can irritate you while you’re working out and wearing tight clothing. Waxing removes hair below skin level making it a fairly long-lasting method of hair removal. Results can last from three to six weeks, which is ideal for those of us who swim regularly, or want to save time in the shower after a workout.”
Should you refrain from certain workouts like cycling or Spin class after a Brazilian or bikini wax? “With the right wax, you can enjoy any workout without a worry. I have my own trick to ensure clients can go straight to the gym after their service. Uni K uses an all-natural elastic wax made for sensitive areas and after the elastic wax is removed, we apply an individual ice pack, which closes the pores quickly to minimize any redness or irritation. We then apply a gel made from cool and calming cucumber, chamomile and calendula extract to comfort, refresh and hydrate the waxed area. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, prepping your skin to feel even better and more ready for a workout (or the beach, etc.) than when you walked in! If you don’t have access to Uni K, simulate these treatments on your own by bringing a cold pack and a cucumber-rich moisturizer to use post-wax. It’s important to note that hard wax or strip wax can irritate the skin more than elastic wax, so if you do feel uncomfortable after using those types of waxes, opt for a workout that doesn’t stress the bikini area and start spin class again the next day.”
Can swimming—in the pool or ocean—post-wax cause irritation? “Typically you can go swimming and not experience any post-wax irritation. The secret is to apply wax at body temperature so it doesn’t burn or aggravate the skin. This calms and gently opens pores, and using the cold pack described above closes them again, so you’re no more vulnerable to irritants in the water like chlorine or salt. Just be mindful that tight swimsuits can increase the likelihood of an ingrown hair.”
I was just going to ask, can tight leggings cause ingrown hairs? If so, how can you treat or avoid them? “If you wax regularly, you will have a slim chance of getting an ingrown hair. However, tight clothes, like workout leggings compress the hair against your body most of the time, and the chances of getting an ingrown hair increase. Don’t stay in your wet swimsuit or sweaty leggings longer than necessary after your workout. Exfoliating regularly will help to diminish your chance of getting an ingrown hair. I do recommend avoiding exfoliating one to two days before and after you wax because the wax will exfoliate your skin while removing unwanted hair. If you do experience ingrown hairs, try a gel formulated to gently exfoliate, like Uni K Ingrown Hair Roll-On ($22, unikwax.com).”
Often after any type of facial wax (eyebrows, lip, chin, etc.) and a workout, a breakout ensues. Is there any way to avoid post-wax zits? “To minimize breakouts, choose a wax that is not hot, contains no chemicals, is gentle on the skin and does not cause discomfort. It’s also important to hydrate with plenty of water and moisturizers before and between waxing to achieve a better hair removal result and reduce any irritation. Avoid applying retinol products to skin 24-48 hours before facial waxing. Retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A, and while it’s a great ingredient for treating adult acne, it’s extremely potent and even applying a thin layer makes skin more sensitive and prone to redness and irritation.”
If you wax your underarms, is it okay to use deodorant immediately? “Yes, it is okay to use a deodorant after waxing as long as the deodorant itself is not irritating for you. When considering what type of deodorant to use, it is always better to use bars and roll-ons over sprays, as sprays tend to be more harsh and difficult to control during application. Try to choose products that contain natural ingredients and skin soothers (like aloe, chamomile, cucumber, etc.) without synthetic fragrances which can be irritating to some people.”