I swim all year round at an indoor pool. I have been shaving the bikini line area but find it tiresome to do it so often and it is irritating. What does a bikini wax involve and how long does it last?

Waxing is an efficient way to remove hair on a temporary basis with the use of a warm honey or beeswax. Generally the results last four to six weeks but this varies with the individual, the season (in the summer the hair tends to grow more quickly) and even from one time to another due to the cyclical nature of hair growth. You do have to allow the hair to grow to at least one inch before it can be waxed again but it comes off more cleanly than with shaving or depilatories and it grows back without stubble or irritation.

For this treatment, many women wear their swimsuit or a pair of panties with a cut similar to their suit. In either case, you should know precisely how high you need to have the hair removed. The beauty therapist will first cleanse the area. Some will dry it with a light dusting of talcum powder and others may apply rubbing alcohol to prevent infection of the hair follicles. She then tests the temperature of the wax for comfort and applies it along the direction of the hair growth. Some waxes require use of cotton strips to be pulled off. In any case, the wax is pulled off in the direction opposite to the hair growth. This procedure removes the hair by its root, leaving the area smooth and clean. The skin may smart as the wax is removed but this is only momentary and can be eased by the immediate application of pressure to the area. The skin will be slightly red for a couple of hours, a hyper-sensitive skin may be reddened for one or two days. A soothing cream or lotion is applied or rubbing alchohol may again be used if there is the appearance of blood in the follicles.

Some ingrown and inflamed hairs may develop but these can be minimized if rubbing alcohol is applied for two or three days following the waxing. However, most people find that the incidence of ingrown hairs is less with the waxing than with shaving. It is wise to avoid sun exposure for 24 hours following waxing.

We should mention that many cosmetic counters now sell wax which can be used at home. In our experience, however, we have noticed that many women find the bikini area rather awkward to do themselves.

I can’t seem to apply eyeliner without its looking too harsh. Perhaps you could give me some helpful hints in its proper application.

Although some women prefer to use only eyeshadow and mascara, many others find that the look is incomplete without eyeliner. When applied properly, eyeliner can make a positive and noticeable difference. It can define or accentuate the eye, alter its shape, and make the eyelashes appear thicker. The most popular colors are dark brown and black but eyeliners are also available in sage, plum, midnight blue, charcoal, etc. They come in pencil, liquid or dry cake form.

To apply the eyeliner properly: Eyelids should be dry and free of oils and eyecream before application. (Eyelid cream should not be applied this close to the eyelashes.) Use a finely pointed eyeliner brush or a well-sharpened pencil. Because they have a soft lead you can freeze the pencils for a little while before sharpening them. Freezing hardens the colored tip and allows for a more precise point.

Draw a fine line across the upper lid, as close as possible to the lashline.

Limit the line on the bottom lid to the outer half, again close to the lash line. The open space will make the eye look larger.

Do not surround the entire eye with eyeliner and be sure that the application looks subtle. A heavy or obvious liner can make the eye appear smaller or cause the make-up to look hard.

My eyes are very sensitive to mascara so I prefer not to wear any. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to make my rather meagre lashes look thicker and longer?

There are a number of things that you can do to make your eyelashes appear thicker: Outline top and bottom lids with an eyeliner pencil drawing a line close to the lashes. Do not, however, completely surround the eye with the color and try smudging it slightly to make it softer. (See the advice above are eyeliners.) Use an eyelash curler and a touch of olive oil on the ends of the lashes. Place the curler at the base of the lashes, gently squeeze and hold – do not come down too hard on it.

Have your eyelashes tinted by a professonal esthetician. This is done with a harmless vegetable tint and lasts four to six weeks.

There are some new mascaras made for sensitive eyes, not to be confused with hypo-allergenic or dermatologist tested. One of these might be all that you need.