Real Talk: Is Nose Hair Waxing Cool, or Just a Bad Idea?
Waxing your bikini line? Sure. Legs? Have at it. But what about slathering the insides of your nostrils with wax to yank out all of your nose hairs? Apparently, more and more people are doing exactly that. "Nose hair waxing is very popular and one of our top-requested services by both men and women," says Gina Petak, education manager for European Wax Center.
While there's something admittedly satisfying about the idea of super smooth, hair-free nostrils, is nose hair waxing a good idea? Ahead, experts weigh in on everything you need to know before you wax the inside of your nose.
(Just sayin': It's always up to you whether you want to remove body hair, but you shouldn't feel like you need to because of society's "beauty standards." Find out what stopped one Shape editor from lasering off her pubes.)
Your Nose Hairs Serve a Purpose
Before you consider removing them, it's important to keep in mind that the hairs inside your nose are there for a reason. "Nose hairs are super important for the respiratory system," explains Purvisha Patel, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. They're the first way you filter the air that you breathe, acting as a physical filter to block out both larger particles of debris as well as microbes, she adds.
In short, your nose hairs play an important role in respiratory protection. Removing them puts at you at risk of not only inflammation in the nose — signs include itching, burning, sneezing — but also lung irritation, says Dr. Patel. (Also worth checking out: Air purifiers to help filter allergens from your home.)
So, Is Nose Hair Waxing Okay?
Dr. Patel advises against nose hair waxing, saying that trimming any nose hairs you find unsightly is a far safer bet than regular waxing. Simply use a small pair of cuticle or eyebrow scissors to snip the tips of the hairs that stick out and are visible below your nostrils. Try Tweezerman Facial Hair Scissors (Buy It, $12, amazon.com), which reviewers say easily take care of pesky hairs that might be ~hanging out~ and also have rounded tips for safety.
If you'd like to trim more than a couple of hairs or address ones deeper inside your nostril, electric trimmers can be a good option; they're safe and can be even easier to maneuver than scissors, says Dr. Patel. Try TOUCHBeauty Hair Trimmer (Buy It,
$19 $14, amazon.com). (Related: Your Complete Guide to Body Hair Removal and Grooming)
That being said, both Patek and Dr. Patel agree that, if you do want to proceed with nose hair waxing, this is one hair removal service you might want to leave to the pros. Why shouldn't you DIY? The nose is a prime spot for bacteria in the body. Waxing, if done incorrectly, can oftentimes lead to a removal of not only the hairs but also some of the skin. This creates open wounds or ulcerations, which in turn can become infected by the bacteria that are already living in your nose, explains Dr. Patel.
Professionals, on the other hand, are trained to both apply and remove the wax properly — as well as gauge the temperature of the wax — in order to safely and effectively remove nose hairs without damaging the skin, says Patek. (Related: Your Complete Guide to Body Hair Removal and Grooming)
If You Still Plan to Go Through with It, Listen Up
One more time, for the folks in the back: Do not DIY. While there are plenty of at-home nose wax kits on the market, seeing a professional will undoubtedly yield the best results (and, more importantly, is the safest option). Everything from the type of wax used to the temperature of the wax to the actual waxing technique all plays a role, notes Petak. There are simply too many factors for the average person to be able to master with an at-home product, particularly when there is a very real risk of potential infection, she adds. (However, if you're looking to remove hair from other parts of your body, check out these best at-home wax strips.)
It should (hopefully) go without saying, but you never want to wax skin that's irritated, so if you have a runny nose or any type of irritation in your nostrils, hold off on booking a waxing appointment, advises Petak. In order to minimize the risk of infection, Dr. Patel suggests cleaning your nostrils — both before and after waxing — with antibacterial soap, lathering it up, and wiping it around the nostrils with a washcloth or cotton swab. To minimize the likelihood of any inflammation or irritation, apply a very thin coat of Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly (Buy It, $5, amazon.com) on the inside of the nostrils post-waxing, adds Dr. Patel.
Most people can typically go anywhere from two to four weeks in between nose hair waxing appointments, says Petak. If you plan to do it regularly, the upshot is that the hair will get thinner over time, making each visit more comfortable, she explains. (The thicker and coarser the hair, the more painful it can be to remove because there's more force required to pull it out.)
TL;DR — Nose hair can be annoying but exists for a (very) important reason, so you might want to think twice before waxing it. If you do want super smooth nostrils, however, the best and safest bet is to see a professional for an expert-level nose hair waxing.