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If you told us a few months ago that we’d be gearing up to do an at-home bikini wax, we would have laughed in your face. But with most salons still closed for the foreseeable future, here we are. And it sounds like tons of other women are with us; searches for ‘at home bikini wax’ are up 75 percent since February, at least according to Google Trends.

Since we’ve always left this particular aspect of grooming to the pros, we have no idea where to start...and we’re admittedly a little nervous. After all, hot wax down there is scary enough when it’s being handled by an experienced aesthetician. So, rather than suffer a disastrous waxing mistake, we decided to turn to two experts for some advice.

Here’s what they recommend for achieving a salon-worthy bikini wax at home.

RELATED: The 13 Best Hair Removal Products That Actually Work

Amazon

1. Exfoliate Before You Wax

Use an exfoliating scrub on your bikini area the day before you wax (and ideally, the day before that, too), says Beata Chyla, an aesthetician at Bliss. This will help prevent any ingrown hairs from forming post-wax. Opt for a gentle formula like Dove’s Exfoliating Body Polish which has ultra-fine fragments of macadamia nut to help slough away dead skin without causing irritation.
$6 at Amazon

Amazon

2. Do a Pre-Wax Trim, If Needed

If you haven’t done any maintenance since you last got a wax, you might be due for a trim. Make sure the hair down there isn’t longer than ¼ of an inch, or you’ll end up breaking the hair rather than removing it from the root when you wax, says Shobha Tummala, founder and CEO of Shobha, an NYC-based chain that specializes in threading, waxing, sugaring and laser hair removal. A pair of scissors will work just fine, but you might want to invest in a bikini trimmer, like this Panasonic one, so you can make sure it’s all cut to the same length.

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Ulta

3. Prep the Area with a Pre-Waxing Oil

If you’re using a hard wax formula, which Chyla encourages (more on that in a minute), prep your skin with a pre-waxing oil. This extra step will ensure that the wax only adheres to the hairs and nothing else. We like Gigi’s Pre-Epilation Oil because the lightweight formula also nourishes the skin, making it feel ultra-smooth post-wax.

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Ulta

4. Start Waxing

Now for the main attraction: waxing. Most experts recommend using a hard wax for your sensitive bikini area because it’s a lot gentler than strip wax or soft wax. Hard wax clings onto each hair, not the delicate skin around it, so it’s less painful all around. It’s also specifically made for coarse hair, which other types of wax aren’t. A simple kit like Gigi’s Brazilian Microwave Wax & Essentials, which contains hard wax and applicators, will provide everything you need.

Follow the package’s microwaving instructions until you’re able to fully stir the wax. When you think it’s ready, test the wax on the inside of your wrist to make sure that it’s not too hot.

Then, begin applying. Start with your bikini line and spread the wax onto a small section of hair, following the direction of the hair growth, says Tummala. Allow it to cool for 10-15 seconds, then hold the skin taught and quickly pull the wax off in the opposite direction of the hair growth. Repeat this process working from your hips inward until you’ve removed all the hair you want to.

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Amazon

5. Clean and Soothe the Skin

A little bit of pre-wax oil can also remove any leftover bits of wax that just won’t budge post-wax, says Tummala. Once you’re all clean, you’ll probably notice that your skin’s looking a little red. Calm it down by applying a cold compress, or a soothing lotion, says Chyla. Look for a light formula that won’t clog pores, like aloe vera gel. If you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort, you can also apply some hydrocortisone cream, says Tummala.

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6. Take It Easy Post-Wax

You need to let your skin heal for at least 24 hours after waxing. That means avoiding exercise, sun exposure, sex and steam showers, all of which could allow dirt and bacteria into your pores and irritate the skin, Tummula and Chyla both agree.

Bliss

7. Apply an Ingrown Eliminator

Once your skin has rested for 24 hours, apply an ingrown eliminator once a day for the next couple of weeks. The bikini area is prone to ingrown hairs, but applying an exfoliator like Bliss’s Bump Attendant on the reg can prevent them from forming. It contains glycolic acid and salicylic acid to eliminate dead skin and buildup so that new hairs can easily emerge. At the same time, its oat extract, lavender oil and green tea leaf extract will soothe any lingering itchiness or redness.

Buy It ($22)

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