Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Eyebrow Waxing Horror Story

Waxing is a quick, effective way to groom your eyebrows, and if you know what you're doing, it can turn a pair of average eyebrows into the "on fleek" brows we've always dreamed of. This is what I thought two years ago when I decided to have my eyebrows done professionally for the first time, and my mom and I set out for Ulta to have them waxed.
When the lady brought out the wax, she first asked me if I was taking any oral medications for my skin. I told her that I wasn't, but I'd been using two topical acne medications over the past few months. She assured me that those wouldn't be an issue and continued getting out her supplies.

She applied the hot wax to my eyebrows, explaining that, since it was my first time, she was using a gentler wax that wouldn't be as painful. She put the strip over the wax and ripped it off, taking the brow hairs with it. So far, so good- it hadn't hurt nearly as much as I'd expected, and the lady said that it was going well.

She proceeded to wax the top of that eyebrow and my other one, but by the time she'd finished my other eyebrow, she started to notice some discoloration around that first strip she waxed. Additionally, they'd started to itch. The longer she waited, the worse they began to look and feel, and, too late, she realized that she hadn't just waxed my eyebrows- she'd taken the skin with it. Every part of me touched by the wax was bare. The skin was completely gone.

Naturally, seventh-grade me went into panic mode. I had a birthday party to go to that weekend! How could I possibly show my face when the skin above and below my eyebrows was scabbing over? Luckily, I had a dermatologist appointment already scheduled for later that day, and he told me that it was definitely a reaction between the retinol acne products I'd used and the wax that had caused this to happen. He told me that it would go away soon, and that in the meantime, I should put apply Neosporin to the areas on a regular basis.

Fortunately, my skin had mostly cleared up before the much-anticipated birthday party that weekend, and all was well- but ever since then, I've avoided eyebrow waxing like the plague, and since I still use the same products on my face, there isn't much chance I'll ever give it a try again.

If you're considering waxing your eyebrows for the first time, make sure to follow these guidelines to assure that your poor skin doesn't end up like mine did.

1. If you use retinol products, eyebrow waxing is always going to be off-limits. Topical retinol products make your skin much thinner; therefore, it's going to come right off during waxing.

2. Always, always, always have a patch test done before diving in head-first! If I'd been smart enough to ask for a patch test beforehand, I would have known how badly my skin would react before it was too late.

3. Lastly, do some research! Try a Google search on any product you use on your face that isn't makeup, and see if others that use it have had reactions when waxing. If they have, chances are, you will too!

If you've double-checked on all of these, you should be good to go! Waxing can be an amazing form of hair removal, and tons of people swear by it. Good luck!


  1. OH NO!!! Thankfully your brows went back to normal in time for your party. I once had an allergic reaction to wax and broke out in hives so I feel your pain. lol

  2. Oh girl that sucks I'm sorry! That happened to my friend in high school and it was a mess. I'm definitely never going to get my eyebrows waxed now since I used a retinol moisturizer!


  3. Oh my, that is horrible but I have heard of it happening. Surprisingly I didn't ever have my eyebrows waxed until I was 23 (or maybe 22). Before that, I plucked them myself with tweezers but would have to hide the tweezers every now and then b/c I would get obsessive and leave myself with super thin eyebrows. Luckily I go to a really good place to get mine waxed and I love it.

  4. You are lucky you didn't lose more than the skin. I can't even think about such a terribly painful thing happening to someone so young. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

  5. That's so scary!! I get my eyebrows waxed on occasion, but I tend to pluck mine myself instead! I'm just too lazy to schedule an appointment anywhere!

  6. I've never gotten my eyebrows waxed and am too terrified to ever do so, haha. This sounds awful!

  7. Yikes!! I get hives after waxing but they clear up after a few hours usually.

  8. You have a very good site, well constructed and very interesting i have bookmarked you, hopefully you keep posting new stuff, many thanks

  9. Sorry to hear that you did not have a good eyebrow waxing experience. That is a great tip that you offered about avoiding waxing if you use topical retinol products. Glad to hear that you are now ok and that your eyebrows worked out for your big event. Hopefully, that will be the last time you ever have pain from waxing.

    Maureen Fleming @ Nirit Reani

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  11. This is very helpful; I'm glad I found it. My wife has been bothered by her eyebrows for years, and she has discussed getting them waxed. She takes the same products for her skin, and she would probably suffer the same consequences. It is nice that you would share your story to help others, and we will pass it along.