How to Minimize the Pain of Waxing Facial Hair

Six Helpful Tips

Facial hair growth is a common complaint of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Known as hirsutism, unwanted facial hair is caused by an increase in androgen hormones and affects roughly one in 10 women.

Many women with PCOS choose to have their facial hair waxed because of its low cost and effectiveness. The pain involved in the procedure, however, leaves some women wondering if there is anything they can do to make it more comfortable.

While waxing will never be a pain-free procedure, there are several things you can do to make it a little more bearable. Here's what you need to know.

Pre-treat for Pain

Woman waxing her lip
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Take an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen or Tylenol, 30 minutes to 1 hour before your appointment. Pre-treating with a mild painkiller can help reduce post-waxing inflammation and help ease some of the discomfort of the procedure.

Numbing Creams

Some salons will allow you to apply a mild numbing cream to the skin about an hour before your appointment. A popular brand to try is DOTC Blue Topical Analgesic Cream.

Check with your salon before hand to ask their recommendations or see if they have a numbing cream available to help ease the pain.

Prep Your Skin Beforehand

Prior to your visit, exfoliate your skin to eliminated dead skin cells, which may be trapping new hair growth.

Make sure your skin is clean and dry and avoid using toners or astringents beforehand. These cleaners can tighten your skin and its pores, making it more difficult to pull the hair out.

Do not use any prescription or over-the-counter retinoids, such as Differen, Renova, or retinol, in the 10 days prior to waxing. The combination of retinoids and hot wax could cause serious skin irritation, including having your skin ripped off along with the wax.

See a Professional

Some women find do-it-yourself at home kits to be an inexpensive alternative to going to a salon. Other women, however, find it difficult or intimidating to wax their own facial hair.

If self hair-removal makes you uncomfortable, find a professional who has a lot of experience in facial hair waxing. Ask your friends for recommendations — you may be surprised to find how common it is for women to get their face waxed.

Take a Deep Breath

Once you are in the waxing chair, try to relax. The more uptight you are, the more it may hurt. Deep breathing exercises and visualizing calming images can help you to de-stress.

Try this exercise: First, take a big breath and exhale quickly, lowering your shoulders. Next, inhale through your nose for a count of four, bringing your breath deep into your abdomen. Hold for a count of two, then slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat several times.


If all else fails and you can’t tolerate waxing, as many women can’t, check out some of the alternatives. Shaving, electrolysis, and laser therapy are all great options and may be the right one for you.