Of the two options – wax strips being one, hair removal cream being the other – I think I was probably expected most from the wax strips. I’ve already had both my back and brows waxed, and some initial surprise at the feeling notwithstanding, I’ve been very happy with the results.
Given that I’m right-handed, I thought I would use the strips on my left armpit so that I could control the crucial pulling motion with my good hand. How would that pan out? Read on! And be warned – there are a lot of armpit photos coming up. If that’s the sort of thing that triggers you and you’d rather see something nicer, maybe go here instead.
So what is it?
The wax strips are about an inch and a half wide by about three inches long. They’re on some sort of greaseproof paper in pairs so that when you pull them apart, you have two wax strips on backing paper.
For reasons best known to the design wonks at Veet, one end has a convex curve and one has a concave curve. That means that the convex end has a useful tab that makes gripping and yanking easy. The other end has an unhelpful gap where that tab should be. More on this in a moment.
How do I use it?
I didn’t realise until I read the instructions, but your armpit hair grows in different directions. Grab a brush, draw a hypothetical horizontal line through your armpit and create a centre parting, combing half up and half down.
Now, take your first strip. It doesn’t matter where you start as long as you don’t put a strip across that centre parting (I started below the centre parting so I could pull down, I just thought it would be easier).
Back to that tab. When you place your first strip, make sure that the convex end is where you want to start pulling. If you do it the same way as I did, pulling down, make sure that the tab is at the top. If you get it the wrong way round, you only have a miserly little strip of paper on one edge to pull at, and it’s unnecessarily difficult both to grip, and to pull in a straight line. Why they needed to have curved ends is completely beyond me – it’s just pointlessly over-designed.
Press the strip firmly down. Smooth over the strip, making sure to press it down hard, in the direction that you’re going to pull. You want to make sure that it’s full pressed down, in contact with your skin, with no air bubbles.
If this is your first time, you’re going to feel highly unsure of yourself. You’re going to have grave misgivings about tearing sticky wax out of your armpit, taking handfuls of hair out from the very root. You’re right to have those feelings. Take those feelings, acknowledge them, tell yourself that you’re not going to let the feelings beat you, really own those feelings.
Then rip that sucker off as quick as you can.
There’s no real technique to it. Grip it as hard as you can, as close to the skin as you can, and tear it as fast as you can. The slower you go, the more like peeling it will be. You’ll just be disentangling the wax from the hair and you don’t want that. Just do it. It’s going to hurt like buggery, but when it works the results are fairly satisfactory.
Then, continue working round your armpit in an organised fashioned. If you think of your armpit as being divided into zones, just work through each zone. It’s a lot easier than trying to do it in a haphazard way.
What does it do?
Fuck all, in a nutshell.
Firstly, there’s the previously covered issue with the curved tabs. That doesn’t help and you definitely will get strips the wrong way round at some point.
Then, they’re just not sticky enough. Even if you position the strip so that it has 100% coverage of hair, you’ll be lucky to pull 25% of the hairs out.
And thirdly, the more strips you use, the more residual wax builds up in your armpit. It gets to the point where you’re putting your strips over wax-covered hairs, and you’ll quickly get to a point where you’re only pulling three or four hairs out per strip.
At one point I had to stop and scrub my armpit to get rid of the residual wax. It’s extraordinarily difficult to do, and even though I literally scrubbed I barely removed half of it. Basically, the very first strip you put down will get the best results. Once you have to start going over the same place (and you will, you definitely will) the strips lose their effectiveness exponentially.
By the time I’d used the whole packet, I would say I’d removed about 40-50% of the hair in my armpit, and the results were noticeably better below the centre parting, where I originally started.
My first ever zero rating, and it couldn’t go to a more deserving recipient. The only thing this product has going for it is that it’s cheap. For your £5.50 from Amazon, you get 16 wax strips and three wet wipes. I guess at that price you’d be tempted to buy a couple of boxes, but I hope I’ve dissuaded you from that because the more you use, the worse the results will be.
I’ve mentioned the tabs a couple of times, but they really are an issue when you get them the wrong way round.
The effectiveness of the wax is dubious at best. It takes off far less hair than you expect.
The residual wax is horrific to remove. I was scrubbing for a long time in the shower to get rid of it, and of course that was in an area that was already agitated, so that wasn’t a whole lot of fun.
Ultimately, it just doesn’t remove hair. This is my armpit after using all the strips, all the wipes, and then showering:
There is literally nothing to recommend this product and if I were you I will steer well clear. I’ll do a post so that you can see what it’s like after a week or so and how quickly the hair regrows, but given that the hair wasn’t completely removed in the first place, don’t expect great things!