My daughter has been getting regular eyebrow waxes for about a year now with zero problems. I, on the other hand, haven’t gotten a wax since my 20s. My eyebrows aren’t as thick and full as they used to be so I’ve been hanging onto every damn hair that I can.
Welcome to middle age.
But that all changed recently when my kids told me my brows needed some help. Just because I don’t have as much hair there, that doesn’t mean I should ignore them — apparently they still needed some shaping. Who knew?
I started doing my own brow jobs, and by that I mean I got out the tweezers and tried plucking them myself. While I liked the results, it’s a pain in the ass and I have other things to do with my time besides stand over the bathroom sink and slowly torture myself trying to get the miniature hairs pulled out of my face.
So bring on the wax, baby.
A few weeks ago, I took my daughter to get a hair cut and brow wax so they’d be fresh, and she talked me into getting mine done too.
Long story short, I had no idea what I was getting into.
The next morning I looked in the mirror and the skin below my new brow job was gone. As in there were red sores over my eye balls when my skin used to be. It hurt like a motherfucker when I’d washed my face the night before and the waxed area was very red and swollen, but I just thought it was because my skin is more sensitive.
It turns out, however, it was burning because the top layer of my skin was gone and I was using my special face wash with lots of anti-aging ingredients. The combination made me want to reach for the fire extinguisher.
I wondered why I was having this problem if my daughter never did, and it had never happened when I was younger. So, of course, I googled away and found Jen from Yellow Beads and Me. Her eyes looked just like mine did and I learned she got her eyelids waxed off from using products with retinol — like I do. She learned the hard way to bring her products in with her to the salon or waxing center so they can see exactly what she’s using to avoid this from happening again.
After a talk with my aesthetician, Miranda Brannigan, who has been waxing people’s faces for over 16 years, I found out all the ins and outs of a proper eyebrow wax.
First, if you are on any internal or external antibiotics, using retinol creams or pregnant, these things can weaken the epidermis and cause a thinning of skin, so that getting a wax can actually pull the skin off. YIKES.
Brannigan also said she always asks her clients if they are using any antibiotics, have had a skin peel, are using retinol creams, or are pregnant before each wax. I wasn’t asked any of these questions and had no idea they’d have an impact on me. Had I known this information I might still have under eyebrow skin.
Brannigan also said you “should wait two weeks after a chemical peel, or you have used products with retinol, or have been on antibiotics” if you want to get any area of your face waxed.
But don’t fret if you are in desperate need of a wax and find you can’t get one. Some places will pluck the entire area for you.
“A great, experienced waxer will see your skin and know what to do,” says Brannigan.
Brannigan also told Scary Mommy hard wax is great because “it goes on soft, then hardens pulling away from the skin while still holding the hair.” Hard wax is much gentler on these sensitive areas, and she highly recommends it for places like your bikini area, eyebrows, upper lips, and Brazilian waxes.
If you do lose skin from getting a wax, Brannigan says the best thing to do is treat the area like a burn. Apply a topical cream with clean hands and leave it alone — no make up or lotions or potions on the face until it’s healed. Even if you aren’t putting cream on your eye area, it can still make its way there so just forgo it all together.
I followed her instructions and in less than a week my wounds looked almost completely healed and felt much better.
Take it from me, it’s worth it to go to reputable place and have your wax done correctly. Keeping the skin on your face intact is kind of a big deal, and no one wants to have it ripped off just for a good brow job.