Recently while browsing (of all places!) Anthropologie’s website I came across a product I thought was pretty genius but dramatically overpriced: A small and adorably labeled tin that contained pre-waxed waxing strips that, when warmed slightly, can be used for waxing your upper lip when you are away from home or salon. It’s a whopping $18 for 12 strips from both Anthropologie and Sephora, (BTW you can literally get 40 strips for $14 if you must go prepackaged) But today I’m going to teach you how to make your own travel waxing strips for next to nothing. I calculate the cost for the wax strip kit I traveled with on my summer 2017 adventures to be around $0.95 for a tin of 10 trips, including the purchase of the tin.


Lip waxing has been a part of my life since I was fourteen. I’ve tried spa waxing, bleaching, trimming, and chemical removal and the only facial hair removal method that has been sustainable (either financially or in terms of it not leaving my upper lip chemically burned) is waxing- specifically, DIY lip waxing.

If you’ve been paying for lip waxing, you’ve gotta try the DIY. A spa wax for an upper lip runs $12-$15 at salons near me, and the supplies to attempt it for yourself will only set you back about $25- so it’s a bargain for experimentation.

Doesn’t It Hurt (like Hell) to Wax your Own Upper Lip?

When I started waxing my own upper lip I was shocked to find that it actually hurt far, far less than when having my lip waxed at a salon. The only explanation I can come up for this with is that I feel more in control when I am in charge of removing the wax, and maybe in the salon my anticipation of the removal actually increases the pain. I can also wax weekly instead of bi-weekly, since the cost to DIY is so cheap, so less hair is removed each time I wax.

The question recently has been how to continue this regimen- which is really important for my self confidence- when I’m traveling for a few weeks at a time. This  tiny product at Anthropologie actually inspired me to try a new my own travel wax kit. I think the No Mo Stash kit uses a soft sticky-type wax, but for my coarse dark hair, hard wax, which expands as it cools and locks hair into the wax, is far more effective. Before my trip to Italy and Croatia this summer, I decided to try making my own strips with non-woven waxing fabric and hard wax, planning to experiment during my trip if warming the strips gently in the microwave might create a travel-size way to wax during travel.

The result? It worked! These to-go strips + microwaves in my airBnB’s during my trip made it possible for me to keep my personal regimen without the expense or anxiety of using a salon overseas.

What You’ll Need:

Waxing Fabric cut into strips

Wood Craft/Popsicle Sticks

Hard Wax

(optional) Adorable little storage tin

How To make

  1. To create these strips, first I cut large waxing fabric sheets down to size to use for my lip and to the perfect size fit in the tin I purchased for travel. I like to cut down larger sheets because I think it’s quite a bit cheaper than buying the small strips.

2. Warm the wax to waxing temperature. I use a wax warmer but before I committed to the practice, the first few times I simply warmed the wax in the oven. If you warm your wax in the oven,  make sure the container is metal with no plastic, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place inside of a metal or glass pan in case there are any spills while putting the wax in or taking it out.

3. Using a wood craft stick, apply a thin layer of wax- about 1/16” thick- in a strip in the center of each strip.

Apply wax to strips while the wax is hot, then cool and cut strips apart.
Apply wax to strips while the wax is hot, then cool and cut strips apart.

4. Allow to cool and harden before stacking the strips on top of each other and packing in your toiletry bag. Hard wax is not sticky once cooled so you don’t have to worry about separating the sheets with a divider.

This little tin, 3.11" x 1.38" x 0.39", is the cutest way to fit a waxing kit into even the tiniest open space in your luggage
This little tin, 3.11″ x 1.38″ x 0.39″, is the cutest way to fit a waxing kit into even the tiniest open space in your luggage


Important: these can be really messy so follow the instructions!

1. Cover a glass or ceramic plate with two to three layers of paper towels and lay wax strip down, wax side up, in the center (parchment paper or wax paper might also work but I have not tried. Never microwave plastic wrap or aluminum foil!).

DIY upper lip waxing kit for travel

2. Warm one wax strip at a time.

3. Place plate, paper towels, and wax strip into microwave.

DIY upper lip waxing kit for travel

4. Microwave at full power for 5 seconds at a time, till wax is a soft warm-caramel consistency- NOT LIQUID (hard wax in liquid state is hot enough to burn skin). Microwave wattage will make melt time vary.

Experiment- always erring on the side of not getting the wax hot enough. You do not want runny wax that drips off the strip, but a soft almost caramel texture. Always test the wax temperature (by using a fingertip to lift a portion of was and place on your wrist before applying to your skin)in order to prevent burns.

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