Lessons Learned From The Great Armpit Debacle of 2001

As a student of DIY beauty over the years, I've learned quite a bit. Usually, I've learned these things by misadventure. At least I get a story and a lesson out of it, right? Let my mishaps stop you from making the beauty blunders I have. Today's story centers around my arm pits.

(You would never catch me in a halter now. I was so skinny I looked like a lollypop head, judging by this picture. Never mind that. Just take this as proof that the story below happened.)

No one likes arm pit hair. Even if you don't shave it and let it flutter willy-nilly in the breeze, I doubt you really LIKE it. I don't. It seems like a delivery system for stink and embarrassing moments, if you ask me. It was during a skinnier time in my life, when halter tops were a thing I could pull off and I worked part time as a makeup artist at a salon. The salon knew of my love of all things beauty, so they were awesome at teaching me how to do things properly. They taught me how to wax. They even taught me how to wax my own armpits.

Feeling brave one evening, after successfully waxing my own bikini and my roommate's bikini, I opted to wax my own arm pits. Forget needing to grab the gumption to WAX YOUR OWN PITS--that's is the easy part. HERE is where I went wrong.


(You should buy the whole thing and not just the wax and the strips.)

When you buy a pot of wax at the beauty supply store, they always tell you to buy a wax pot heater. Certainly, salons all have them to make sure the wax is heated to an optimal and safe temperature. But me, I opted to go the cheap route. I bought the metal can of wax and heated in in a small pan of water on the stove, at a low temperature. THAT IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. Forget the probability of spilling boiling water on yourself when you clumsily bump the pot with your elbow as your turn to wax your own knees (or whatever). You aren't controlling the temperature of the wax. And that is dangerous.

While the wax had felt fine on my ladybits which I had previously waxed without incident, apparently, it had gotten warmer and warmer as the evening progressed. By the time I put it on my armpits, it was hotter than anticipated. It felt too hot. While I applied the wax and ripped it off (OF BOTH SIDES. I WILL NOT BE DETERRED), it hurt, but not terribly. I got most of the hair and went to bed, feeling pretty dang proud of myself.

(It's feels like you are wearing Ralphie's little brother's snow suit, on the inside of your body. Oh yeah, that suit is made of hot pain.)

The next morning, I awoke to a horrible burning sensation under my arms. In fact, my arms hurt to move at all. I looked in the mirror and holy moley. My delicate under arm area was inflamed, swollen and bright red. It turns out, it doesn't take much to really injure that area. When you do burn your 'pits, here is what happens. You can't move your arms. You can't wear clothes. And sometimes, if you are really lucky, the swelling looks like weird hemorrhoid-ish blobs that swell out from under your pits. And since you can't wear sleeves or put your arms down, everyone can see what you've done. It was not one of my proudest days. Luckily for me, I had waxed with the anticipation of the coming weekend, so I only had to endure one day at work with no sleeves and 'pit'roids. I spent the weekend not moving in a tank top with ice under my arms every fifteen minutes. Well done, don't you think?

So, what do we learn from this lesson?

1. No one likes pit hair. Consider permanent hair removal if you don't fall into the category of people who show it off proudly.

2. NEVER heat wax on the stove. I know I'm sure you think you can. I was too. Fear the pit 'roids.

3. If you hate shaving and need something that lasts longer, consider waxing. Sure, it's a little painful at first, but you won't even have stubble for days or even a week.

4. Skip the slight pain of waxing and go for body hair removal, like laser treatments. You can do them with a doctor or at home, depending on your budget and type of hair. If you opt for a swanky at-home system, it will most likely save you money in the long run and you can use it on your legs too.

5. Your underarms are capable of swelling to tremendous sizes beyond what you would normally think possible.

You're welcome.


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CONVERSATION

11 Comments:

  1. if you have the initial pain tolerance (and time), just pluck. After a few months of this the hair comes back very sparse and at that point if I have really no time to pluck, I just shave. I've been plucking for over 15 years and really, nothing really grows back.

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    Replies
    1. I could maybe do that. Or go blind trying to see where the hairs were. I wonder if I could tolerate one of those home thingies that rips the hair out - like an Epilady.

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  2. More stories more stories more stories! *claps hands in Hercules-like manner*

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  3. If I can think of a good one, I'll try! You are the only one that appreciates my Woolsworth stories. Maybe I can think of some great story to tie into something for you. Like that woman that use to give me hot, wet change out of her bra everyday before she got on the bus. You should have written them down for me!

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    Replies
    1. YES that's what I'm talking about- Woolsworth stories are worth their weight in gold!! If only young Wormer had thought to write them down!

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  4. Do you have any stories that involve self-tanner in an aerosol spray can? (If not, you can borrow mine)

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  5. I have used an epilator on my 'pits and let me tell you.......the Nazis would have loved having one to use on their victims. I finally switched to the Sally Hansen cold wax strips. They are just as effective but without the Nazi torture aspect.

    Sidenote: when my hairy brother gets out of line I threaten him with my epilator and he shapes right up. So technically the epilator is good for something. :)

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  6. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. I found out how really sensitive my armpits are when I bought a chemical hair remover kit so I would look really "nice" in the sleeveless bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding. Instead, I burned the skin there and spent a week (including the wedding) with fiery red armpits.

    I use an epilady for my legs but it doesn't seem to work on my 'pits without hurting really bad. Sugaring and waxing both work ok. I've been contemplating laser but I have pale skin and pale hair and I'm not sure it would work all that well.

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  8. I think your armpits were just burned from waxing it, not the hot wax. I just did [attempted] to wax on of my underarms with a waxing strip and for the next day in a half it was red,swollen and burning :(

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  9. It kills, right?? I've had them waxed previously by a pro and was fine. I think it was a combo of the wax on the stove and the waxing itself. OUCH.

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