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Does Waxing Before Laser Hair Removal Get the Green Light?

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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As the technician reviews your medical history, they ask when you last waxed or used any other hair removal methods. Suddenly you second guess if your bikini wax from last week will interfere with today’s laser session.

This is a common conundrum for those seeking permanent hair reduction. Dr. Soni recommends proper timing of waxing and laser as it’s crucial for safe, effective, and lasting results. Allow us to explain in greater detail by answering all your questions about this specific concern. 

Should you wax before laser hair removal?

laser hair removal treatment

You should not wax before laser hair removal because waxing removes the entire hair follicle that the laser needs to target. The same answer applies to those who wonder if it’s OK to wax between laser treatments. In short, the two procedures work against each other.

Still, there’s one interesting pilot study by Lehrer et al. that found waxing 2 weeks prior improved outcomes at 1 month compared to shaving. It said that this improvement might happen because waxing seems to bring in more of the sensitive hairs that are in the early stages of growth, making the treatment more effective.

According to our experience, patients are better off refraining from waxing before laser hair removal, though. Besides the one we mentioned above, here are the other reasons why:

  1. It triggers increased hair thickness.

The laser aims to damage the actual hair follicle to inhibit regrowth. On the contrary, waxing triggers the body’s response to grow hair back thicker temporarily as a form of protection. This regeneration effect counteracts the laser’s goal of disabling follicles to prevent thick regrowth.

  1. It risks blistering and scarring.

Additionally, the skin remains sensitive after laser sessions and requires time to properly heal. Studies have shown waxing too soon after can increase risks of irritation, blistering, or even scarring. For patients, gentle shaving when needed is a safer temporary option while their skin recovers from treatments.

  1. It could lead to subpar long-term results.

Lastly, waxing may work against laser hair removal’s objective of damaging follicles enough to stop regrowth long-term. Analyses suggest it’s best to avoid waxing and other methods that remove the entire hair for at least 4 weeks before starting treatment. This enables the laser to fully disable hair follicles over the patient’s entire course of sessions.

If waxing is unavoidable due to a special event, we always advise our patients to consult Dr. Soni about their case. Some providers say occasional waxing is acceptable if continuing laser is impossible for a long period. However, waxing can still reduce treatment efficacy and require more sessions overall.

What happens if you wax before the procedure?

If you wax before laser hair removal, the laser will have nothing to target since waxing removes the entire hair follicle, making the procedure ineffective. Based on our experience, overall permanent hair reduction will be less successful if the laser cannot disable a sufficient proportion of follicles during each session.

The laser needs to heat up and destroy the hair follicle situated below the surface in order to prevent that follicle from stimulating new growth. If you’ve waxed, fewer follicles get damaged according to most of our clients’ experience. 

Skin may be extra sensitive from irritation and still-healing follicles if you wax 1 or 2 days prior. The heat from the laser then may feel more painful as it interacts with the swollen hair pores and inflamed skin.

What can you not do before laser hair removal?

You should not wax, tweeze, bleach hair, tan, or use skin products like retinol for 2 weeks before laser hair removal. Dr. Soni advises performing all these steps during the days and weeks leading up to your scheduled treatment day:

  • Stay out of the sun and avoid tanning beds for 2-6 weeks prior. Recently tanned skin cannot be treated.
  • Clean and wash the treatment area, removing any lotions, makeup, creams, etc.
  • Some medications like retinoids or blood thinners may need to be discontinued 1-2 weeks before. Consult your provider.
  • Shave the treatment area with a clean razor 12-24 hours before your laser appointment. Do not arrive with visible hair.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment that allows easy access to the treatment area.

Can you shave between laser appointments?

You can and should shave between laser hair removal appointments, ideally 24-48 hours before each session, as shaving leaves the hair follicle at an optimal length for the laser to work effectively. The shorter the hair, the easier the laser can target the follicle.

According to our experience, patients should wait approximately 3-4 days after each laser treatment before shaving the area again. This waiting period allows adequate time for the treated skin to heal. In contrast, shaving too soon can increase irritation risks, especially if any redness or sensitivity lingers.

Additionally, as patients progress through their laser hair removal treatments, research shows hair often grows back finer and thinner between sessions. This means patients will likely need to shave less frequently as hair regrowth decreases with ongoing laser appointments over time.

We recommend you follow Dr. Soni’s specific recommendations on when to shave, how long to wait after treatments, and proper skin care between sessions. 

How soon can you wax after laser hair removal?

You can wax to maintain the treated area after at least 3-4 weeks after laser hair removal, again because of the possibility of irritation, scarring, hyperpigmentation, etc. 

If taking a break from laser treatments for an extended period, such as for pregnancy or travel, waxing hair regrowth is reasonable. Even so, allow 3-4 weeks from the last waxing before resuming laser sessions. Dr. Soni will guide you to maximize your results and prevent complications. 


How long should you stop waxing before laser hair removal?

You should stop waxing at least 4-6 weeks before starting laser hair removal to allow the hair follicles to regrow so they can be targeted by the laser. Some sources note at least 1 month (4 weeks) and others say 6 weeks specifically, so feel free to follow Dr. Soni’s exact recommendations. 

Does laser hair removal work on stubble? 

Yes, laser hair removal can work on stubble. The laser targets the hair follicle below the surface, so some visible stubble does not impact treatment efficacy. However, long stubble can damage lasers, so shaving before appointments is still recommended.

Does laser hair removal leave stubble? 

No, laser hair removal does not typically leave stubble. The heat damages follicles to prevent regrowth. However, shedding dead hairs after treatment may briefly resemble stubble before falling out. Most see permanent reduction, not full removal.

Ready for Fast, Convenient, Long-Lasting Results?

laser hair removal treatment

At Ethos Spa, our experienced technician team provides customized guidance on properly timing any waxing around your laser hair removal schedule for your greatest comfort, convenience, and satisfaction. 

Discover the smooth, stubble-free skin you’ve always wanted through our advanced laser technologies. 

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Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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