Should Your Hair Be A Specific Length Before You Try Waxing?

From shaving and epilating to sugaring and even electrolysis, body hair removal techniques are routine for many people. One of these techniques is waxing, which Ogle School describes as a process that involves pulling the hair out of the follicle using either strips of hot wax or the stripless technique. For anyone new to waxing, there are a lot of questions that need answering: How much does it hurt? How fast will my hair grow back? What kind of wax do I use? Aftercare tips? 


Another frequently asked question is the issue of hair length and whether it can make or break a good wax session. The answer to that several experts say is a resounding yes. Waxing only at the right hair length helps prevent breakage, ingrown hairs, and irritation. It also helps you lengthen the time between your current appointment and the next time you'll need to get on your wax lady's table. So, if hair length is that important to waxing, what length is appropriate and how do you know you're ready for another session?

What length should your hair be?

According to Waxxpot, the best wax is done when your hair is about a quarter of an inch long, the length of a grain of rice. At most, your hair should be half an inch long, or a grain of basmati rice. Waxing is effective because it works by adhering to hair and pulling it clean out of the follicle. If your hair is shorter than ¼ of an inch — or the length of stubble after a fresh shave — the wax will not be able to adhere, leaving some short hairs behind on the skin (via Healthline). The hairs left behind and your now empty follicles cause two separate hair growth cycles to occur, meaning your hair will grow faster in some parts than in others. This can get pretty uncomfortable and confusing to deal with for some. To prevent this, wait until all your hair is long enough so they all grow at the same (via Nacach Wax). Your hair can also be too long for a good wax when it is longer than half an inch. 


Where short hairs lead to irritation, waxing on too long hairs can cause breakage and leave short hairs on the surface, leading to ingrown hairs and further irritation. It can also make the process more painful than it needs to be, per Miss Cire.

What to do between waxing sessions

The waiting period for your next wax appointment can be uncomfortable, as your hair has to grow to the required length (¼ to ½ of an inch). Yet, the waiting period is important to reduce your chances of irritation, ingrown hairs, and more pain. It might be tempting to shave but all that'll do is leave you with sharper stubble that is more vulnerable to ingrown hairs. What you can do is exfoliate and moisturize regularly to keep your skin soft and prepped for your next wax appointment (via Depil Brazil Waxing Studio). Using an oil-free moisturizer daily will deeply hydrate your skin and reduce the chance of ingrown hairs. Exfoliating once or twice a week, preferably with a chemical exfoliant like Topicals' Slather Exfoliating Body Serum, will keep your pores free from debris for when your wax appointment finally arrives.


If you're still a bit confused about whether your hair is the right length for a wax, try measuring against a grain of rice. Or, as Starpil Wax suggests, gently grab some of your hair. If they are too short that you can't hold them up, you should wait for a bit more growth.