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Does Waxing Hurt? Here’s What You Need to Know Before Waxing

By Laura
April 6, 2024
6 minutes
Does Waxing Hurt?

Waxing hair removal means hair removal using a sticky substance. This substance sticks with the hair and removes hair from the roots giving you long-lasting hair-free smooth skin. It also removes dead skin cells thus making your skin fresh and healthy. Also, the new hair comes out to be thinner and sparser. 

That is why, it always has been the most commonly used hair removal method for centuries. But, have you ever wondered about the pain caused by waxing? Does waxing hurt? What can be the possible pain intensity? Let’s find an answer!

Table of Contents:

Part 1: How Does Waxing Work to Remove Your Hair?

How Does Waxing Work to Remove Your Hair?Waxes are of different types; soft wax, hard wax, and strip waxes are the most commonly used types. Soft wax and hard wax are usually found in hard form and you need to heat them to a slightly flowy consistency before applying on the skin. In contrast, wax strips are rubbed between both hands for a few seconds and can be applied directly on the skin.

A soft wax is useful for larger areas while hard wax works well for smaller and more sensitive areas. After application, the wax sticks to your hair. To remove soft wax, strips are used and hard wax can be directly removed by peeling off the wax from the skin’s surface. Once removed, the wax pulls off hair from the roots. The new hair takes more than 2-3 weeks to grow back. 

Part 2: Why Does Waxing Hurt So Much?

Why Does Waxing Hurt So Much?How bad does waxing hurt? On a scale of 1 to 10, most people rated it 4-7 in terms of pain level. 

A wax sticks to your skin’s surface and hair. When you remove the wax, it forcefully removes hair from the roots. It not only becomes painful but also irritates the hair roots causing redness on the skin after hair removal. 

Scientifically, the hair roots lie close to your nerve endings responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. On removing hair, these nerve endings are stimulated to send pain signals increasing the pain sensation. The intensity of pain varies from person to person depending on:

          • Skin sensitivity: Waxing is more painful for people with sensitive skin. Even dryness makes your skin more sensitive and hence more prone to pain during waxing
          • Free Nerve Endings Present in a Particular Area: Some areas of our body such as the face and fingertips have more nerve endings. More these nerve endings, more will be pain caused by waxing hair removal  
          • Type of Wax Used: The type of wax used for hair removal also determines the pain level. For instance, hard wax and sugar wax are more gentle on the skin while soft wax can be more painful 
          • Hair Removal Technique: The wrong hair removal technique can also add to the pain felt during waxing. To remove the wax, you need to pull it quickly against the direction of hair growth. This makes waxing less painful
          • Hair thickness: Long, coarse hair with more thickness is difficult and more painful to remove as compared to smaller and thinner hair 

Luckily, the pain does not last longer. The discomfort is only for a few seconds when the wax is removed. It will subside quickly after. However, you can expect a little bit of redness on the waxed area for some time. 

Part 3: Where Does Waxing Hurt the Most?

Where Does Waxing Hurt the Most?Do waxing legs hurt? Does waxing armpits hurt? Yes, it does. But the pain in both these areas is variable. 

Wax can be used for the whole body including the bikini area, face, arms, legs, underarms, and even the upper lips. The intensity of pain for each area varies. It is because of the difference in the number of free nerve endings present in the skin and the varying thickness of skin throughout the body.

The face, underarms, upper lip, and bikini area have more delicate skin making the underlying nerve endings more sensitive to any external stimulus. Additionally, the hair on the pubic area and underarms is thicker as compared to other body hair. So these areas can hurt more than the others while waxing. 

Since hard and sugar wax is gentle on the skin, they can be used for the bikini area, underarms, and upper lips. On the other hand, soft wax is preferred for arms, legs, and chest hair. 

Part 4: Alternative Hair Removal Methods

If you cannot get used to the waxing pain, consider replacing your hair removal method with these:


 ShavingShaving is the easiest and pain-free hair removal technique unless you get a nick from the razor blade. Unlike waxing, shaving cream does not stick to the surface of the skin nor does it go deeper into the skin. So, you are safe from any kind of pain during shaving.

However, keep in mind that dry shaving can cause discomfort. Therefore, always use shaving cream to minimize the chances of abrasion, skin damage, and nicks on the skin. These shaving creams not only act as a lubricant but also make your skin softer and better. Moreover, you do not need to pre-heat any ingredients for shaving. Just take the cream, apply it, and start the hair removal. 

Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams are another quick and pain-free alternative to waxing. These creams have chemicals incorporated in them. These chemicals make your hair weaker by dissolving its protein structure. As the main framework becomes frail and fragile, the hair can be easily removed with a spatula. 

These depilatory creams work for all the areas of the body including the bikini area. It takes 3-10 minutes for the chemical agent to do their work and make hair removal a breeze for you. However, the chemicals can be harsh for sensitive skin types and cause chemical burns. So, if you have dry or sensitive skin, conduct a patch test to ensure their compatibility with your skin. 

IPL Hair Removal

Ulike Air3Similar to waxing, IPL hair removal also removes hair from the root. In addition to this, it also destroys the roots to slow down hair growth by destroying the hair-producing follicles. Therefore, the results for IPL last for six months or even longer depending upon the individual hair growth rate.

If we discuss the pain during IPL hair removal, some individuals state this method is a completely nearly painless hair removal method while others find it a bit discomforting. As the heat from an IPL device reaches the roots and burns the hair, you will feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin. 

If your skin is healthy and hydrated before the session, the unpleasant zapping sensation will surely be less. Moreover, IPL hair removal can also be done at home. With devices like Ulike that have ice-cooling skin-soothing technology, the session will go almost pain-free. 

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a technique that works on a similar principle to IPL. It used light energy to destroy the hair follicles present deep in your skin thus temporarily retarding the hair growth. The results last for up to a year or even more. This saves you from doing hair removal sessions every other day. 

Does laser hair removal hurt more than waxing? Certainly not. However, you can expect laser hair removal to be more painful than IPL. To reduce this pain, professionals usually use anesthetic agents on the skin that can make your experience completely pain-free. 


Lastly, you can go for long-lasting hair removal to nip the evil in the bud. Electrolysis uses a current that passes through the hair follicles and destroys them completely. This retards the hair growth forever giving you ever-lasting fuzz-free smooth skin. There are only a few chances that you will need hair removal treatment ever again.

Since a thin wire containing current is inserted into the hair follicles, it is more painful than an IPL or laser. You can also expect temporary redness, irritation, and swelling on the skin after electrolysis hair removal. But, waxing will always be the number 1 in terms of pain caused by any hair removal method. 

Comparison Table

Hair Removal Method Pain Level
Shaving 0 out of 10
Waxing 4-7 out of 10
Depilatory Creams 0 out of 10
IPL Hair Removal 3 out of 10
Laser Hair Removal  4 out of 10
Electrolysis 3-5 out of 10


Waxing hair removal has been an ever-loved hair removal technique. It is affordable, easy, long-lasting, and quick. The only downside is the pain. Waxing causes pain as the hair is forcibly pulled from the roots. It is even more painful for sensitive areas like underarms, upper lip, and pubic area.

But, hair removal cannot be stopped. So, you can try a less painful hair removal method. IPL, laser, depilatory creams, and shaving can be the possible options. You can choose depending on your skin type, area of hair removal, and affordability. 

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