Despite being one of the most common rituals in our beauty routine, hair removal is easily of the trickiest processes to perfect—especially when we attempt to take matters into our own hands. We chatted with Maria Cristina Bruno, co-owner of Ritual Spa in Toronto, for a run-down of the top hair removal blunders we’re all guilty of, and how to safely get that smooth summer glow all season long.

Hair removal mistake: Not properly prepping skin

Here’s why we exfoliate: our skin is constantly shedding and if we don’t buff regularly, the dead cells collect and give skin a dull-looking appearance. Not only does exfoliating improve the overall brightness and texture of skin (hello, summer glow!), it readies the area for a smooth, clean wax.
The fix: “Exfoliating prior to getting waxed will help get all those little hairs out from under the skin,” says Bruno. But it doesn’t stop there. “Proper exfoliation within 48 hours of your waxing session prevents ingrown hairs from forming afterward.”

Skin care products: The best EXFOLIATORS AND SCRUBS

Hair removal mistake: Waxing after applying self-tanner
Glowing, tanned legs or smooth, hair-free skin? Fortunately, you’ll never have to compromise one for the other, but you do need to consider the order in which you perform each beauty task. “If you apply a self-tanner and then shave or wax, you’ll get streaks and discolouration on the skin,” says Bruno. “It’s one of the most common mistakes women make.”
The fix: Always wax first—but you need to give skin a 24-hour grace period before applying a self-tanning product, to avoid aggravating the skin. And continue to exfoliate and keep skin well moisturized for a healthy summer glow.

Hair removal mistake: Shaving in between waxing appointments

One of the most common at-home hair removal blunders is shaving in between waxing appointments (though we can see why it happens so easily). But taking a razor to those same areas you plan to get waxed again creates a more painful waxing experience the next time. “When you shave, hair becomes thicker and more coarse,” says Bruno. It also causes breakage in hair, which can leave pores infected and swollen. When you wax, the hair follicle grows weaker each time, making it able to slide out of the pore more easily.
The fix: If skin is red and bumpy after a shave that didn’t go over so smoothly, apply Tend Skin liquid skin care solution—think of it as Aspirin for the skin—to reduce inflammation and disinfect the area, while preventing ingrown hairs from developing.

BEACH BEAUTY: Your complete summer beauy guide, from sunscreen to hair sprays

2 more hair removal mishaps and how to fix them for a perfect summer glow on the next page …

Hair removal mistake: Not using sun protection

neglecting to wear sunscreen is a whole other skin care issue, just-waxed, exposed skin is especially vulnerable to harmful summer rays (creating a different kind of summer glow we definitely don’t want). “Shaving the bikini line in particular causes hyperpigmentation in that area because of sun exposure,” says Bruno, when sunscreen isn’t applied immediately before hitting the beach.

The fix: If a last-minute pool party invite came up and you couldn’t get to a wax bar in time, try PFB Vanish, a roll-on gel that prevents ingrown hairs from forming after shaving. It will also soothe irritation and gently buff away those tiny red bumps on just-shaved skin.

Summer skin care: The keys perfect SUMMER SKIN

Hair removal mistake: Exfoliating freshly waxed skin

Yes, this one is just as painful as it sounds. After hair is ripped from the pore at the root, you need at least 48 hours before you can safely exfoliate the area.
Plan to
start your daily exfoliation from that point right up until your next appointment, which is typically every four weeks.

The fix: Use Merben Body Brush, which uses bristles to exfoliate clean, dry skin to prevent ingrown hairs from forming and increase blood circulation throughout the body. “It also can be used to
treat cellulite and improve the appearance of varicose veins,” says Bruno. Smooth, hair-free skin allover? We’ll take it!

Read more:
9 beach bag beauty must-haves

The ultimate summer prep checklist

Smooth skin: Nix cellulite and hair
8 tips for your best bikini wax this summer