Mardi Gras for many people means hair removal, and for many people hair removal means unsightly red spots. But there are things you can do to prevent yourself looking like a freshly plucked chicken when you hit the dancefloor.

Waxing, the most popular form of hair removal, can leave skin red, rashy and prone to ingrown hairs for weeks. We asked Maria Taormina, owner of The Beauty Room, Darlinghurst, for some tips on how to help prevent skin irritation.

Taormina uses a form of wax called Strip Wax on most of the bigger parts of the body, like the arms, chest and back. For more delicate areas like bikini line, underarms and eyebrows she uses a much more gentle form called Hot Wax, which is strawberry-based and calming on the skin. If you have sensitive skin all over, you might want to ask for Hot Wax to be used everywhere (though the procedure will take longer).

After waxing Taormina recommends doing three things. One is to use a loofah, which plays a really key role in exfoliating and preventing ingrown hairs, she said. But you can’t use that for four days after the procedure because the skin will be too sensitive. But after that you can use it three to four times a week.

We also highly recommend using an anti-bacterial skin wash because, after waxing, the pores are really open, making you more prone to infection.

The third tip is to use a body cream with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in it, which also encourages the exfoliation process which prevents ingrown hairs as well, Taormina said.

The results of waxing usually last from a few weeks to a couple of months. The Beauty Room charges $50 for back and shoulders, and $55 for a woman’s full-bikini.

For those who are over waxing, there’s laser hair removal, which is becoming increasingly popular with both men and women. While it is expensive, it does last a lifetime (most people need between three and six treatments to make it totally permanent), so you’ll never need to worry about hair removal again.

At Catherine Wood’s salon Absolute Care By Catherine, in the Strand Arcade, one full-back treatment will cost you around $780, while prices for a bikini treatment start at $210.

Wood explained laser hair removal works by applying a heat lamp directly onto the body which scatters light beneath the skin. The light is attracted to the pigment in hair, loosens it and makes it fall out. The lamp covers a fairly large area of skin at a time, and you may feel a slightly uncomfortable heat sensation. An area as big as a back takes around 30 to 40 minutes.

Unlike waxing there’s no risk of ingrown hairs, though there can be some redness of the skin for up to three hours after the procedure. People with sensitive skin may experience redness for up to six hours. Other side effects -“ though these are very, very rare, Wood said -“ include blistering from the heat and, for people with darker skin, temporary skin pigmentation.

The Beauty Room, 220 Goulburn Street, Darlinghurst. Phone 9212 4844 or go to

Absolute Care By Catherine, inside John Azzi Hair Salon, Level One, Strand Arcade, 193 Pitt Street. Phone 0433 247 117.

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