How to Get Wax Off Skin (Post Waxing Cleanup)

While waxing is a great way to remove unwanted facial and body hair, removing the leftover patches of wax from your skin, post-session, can be a tricky and annoying process. You’ve just endured having your hair ripped out from the roots – the thought of post-wax clean up, to get rid of any residual wax sticking to the skin, can be irritating and daunting, given the current sensitivity of the area.

Waxy residue often remains, post-waxing session, when the skin is inadequately moisturized, the hair is too long, the wax is of poor quality, or if the wax patch/strip is not removed in one quick, smooth motion. So even though you may be admiring your smooth, hair-free skin, you will still be left with the question of how to get wax off your skin.

Pro tip for skipping the “how to clean up post wax” dilemma entirely? Try out hard wax beans - less pain, stripless, and zero post-wax clean up. You’ll never look back.

Luckily, there are better ways of tackling the situation rather than picking at sticky wax residue with your fingers (which is ineffective and just results in more mess). If you’re wondering how to get wax off your skin, here are a few quick and easy ways you can go about it.

hair removal waxing skin cleanup

(FYI – Please wash your skin before attempting any of the following, and also ensure that the washcloths/cotton pads you use for any of these methods are absolutely clean! Freshly waxed skin is particularly sensitive and prone to infection.)

Good old warm water

Pop a bowl with some water in the micro and get it nice and hot. Then, dip a clean washcloth in the warm water, and hold it over the sticky patch for about a minute, to loosen up the wax. Then, simply wipe the wax off with the washcloth.

If the wax patch is particularly stubborn, you can also add a few drops of hand washing soap to the warm water, and then apply it to your skin – the warmth of the water, coupled with the slippery/foamy properties of the soap, will make for quick and easy wax residue removal.

Break out the alcohol

Soak a clean cotton ball/pad in some alcohol, and rub it in gentle circles over the sticky residue until the area is clean and wax-free. Alcohol does tend to dry out the skin, however, so make sure you follow this method up by moisturizing the area under treatment.

Use oil

This is probably the most effective method, in my experience. Select any oil (other than an essential oil, obviously) – this can be mineral oil, almond oil, olive oil, or even a massage oil. Dip a cotton ball/pad into it, and hold it against the waxy residue for a few seconds, before rubbing gently to remove the sticky patch.

To make this method even more effective, you might consider warming the oil before using it. Simply pour a small amount into a bowl, and warm it up (ever so slightly, it shouldn’t be hot enough to burn your skin!), and then apply it to the wax residue using a clean cotton ball.

If you don’t happen to have any oil on hand, an oil-based lotion will work too (you shouldn’t heat it up though, obviously).

Try petroleum jelly

Another good tip for how to get waxing wax off skin is to spread a thick, generous layer of petroleum jelly all over the sticky patch, let it sit for a while, and then after 3-5 minutes, wipe it all off with a clean cotton pad – the wax residue will come right off.

Ice ice baby!

Probably not the best method, as it can cause some damage to the skin, but worth a shot if you are dealing with a particularly stubborn patch of wax. Grab an ice cube or two, and hold it against the sticky wax patch for 10-30 seconds. This will help the wax to shrink and become hard and brittle, after which you can pick at it to flake it off your skin. However, if it is stuck fast and not flaking off with ease, it’s best to try another method instead of scraping at it and risking damaging your skin.

How to minimize waxy residue to begin with:

Instead of worrying about how to get wax off of skin, you can also take steps before your waxing session, in order to ensure you don’t end up with any residue:

  1. Keep your skin moisturized – Dry skin is more likely to suffer from residual wax patches. To avoid this, moisturize your skin a day before you intend to have it waxed, as this keeps it hydrated and supple. In addition, opt for a water-based moisturizer, to prevent excessive oiliness.
  2. Ensure correct hair length – Hair that is too long can become a messy, tangled jumble when wax is applied to it, increasing the chances of sticky post-waxing session messes. Before you wax, ensure that the hair is no more than half an inch long, as this is the optimal length for effective waxing and little to no residue.
  3. Leave it to the pros – Waxy residue often occurs when the person waxing you doesn’t know what they are doing (whether this is an inexperienced technician, or you yourself). Pick a good waxing salon and ask for their most experienced esthetician, who is sure to know how to leave your skin hair-free AND free of sticky patches. In addition, if you’re completely new to the waxing game, try having a pro wax you a couple of times before you go the DIY route.
  4. Tips for DIY waxers – If you’re a DIY waxer, you can take some simple but vital measures to prevent waxy residue. Make sure the area that needs to be waxed is clean and has been exfoliated a day in advance (so there is no dry, flaky skin for the wax to cling to). Before you apply the wax, try powdering your skin, as this absorbs sweat and also prevents extra wax from sticking to the skin. It is also crucial to ensure that the wax is warm and thin (of a runny honey consistency) when you start application – cold, hard wax tends to be sticky and stodgy, which makes it more prone to clinging to your skin. Lastly, when you pull off the wax patch/strip, ensure you do so in one quick, firm and fluid motion, as parallel to your skin as possible – pulling it off jerkily or slowly will lead to guaranteed sticky residue.

About the Author Isabella Avon

Hardcore beauty enthusiast, fashion maven, fitness fanatic, and aspiring dermatologist, Isabella is a long-time-frequenter-of-waxing-salons turned DIY-er. Always on the lookout for depilatory products that are painless and easy to use, she's a waxing beans convert and determined to teach you everything she's learned about achieving perfectly hairless and smooth skin!

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