I recently received an email concerning at-home waxing techniques; I do not condone clients performing their own waxing services. Hair removal seems simple, but it’s a very strategic process. If waxing is not performed correctly, the client becomes victim to pain and bleeding (which can lead to infection) and even permanent scarring. When waxing, the first two (dead) layers of skin are removed along with the hair from the root; scarring occurs when more than two layers of skin are removed. Visual trauma, due to poor waxing techniques, is made worse and more obvious by the sun. Although salon services sometimes appear costly, their value and necessity increases when faced with permanent disfiguration. However, if you’re hell-bent on waxing at home, here are a few steps responsible Aestheticians always follow:
- CLEANSE: Cleanse the area twice with an oil-free cleanser to remove debris and surface oils. Apply a pre-waxing cleansing solution to a cotton ball or square and gently wipe the area to be waxed; this simulates a sterile epidermal environment.
- PREP: Once the skin has dried, apply a light coat of dusting powder. If you’re not using a professional powder, use cornstarch over talc or baby powder, which is loaded with perfumes and chemicals.
- TEMP TEST: Check the wax temperature on the back of your wrist. You don’t want to scald the skin.
Cream or honey waxes are good for facial, arm, and leg waxing; it also works well on the bikini and under arm area on clients who have fine body hair. If using a cream or honey wax, smear a super thin coat to the skin in the direction of the hair growth; globbing the wax will only “lift,” or remove layers of, the skin and lead to damage. Smooth the wax strip in the direction of the hair growth and leave ½-1 inch free so that you have something to grip. Hold the skin taught, grab the end of the strip, and pull in a fast motion parallel with the skin. That is to say, don’t rip up.
Hard wax is formulated for coarse hair, such as bikini areas, or male backs & chests. Hard waxing follows the same preparation and wax temperature testing practices as soft wax. However, it is applied in a thick layer in the direction of the hair growth. Instead of using strips for removal, create a small lip at the end of the wax patch. Wait a few moments for the wax to set (do not let it fully harden) and flip up the lip with your fingernail. Hold the skin taught, grasp the wax, and pull in a fast, parallel motion.
4. SOOTHE: Apply a post-waxing or oil-free moisturizer. Massage the moisturizer into the skin to remove any residual wax. If redness appears, or lingers for more than an hour, ice the waxed area to reduce puffiness and calm the skin.
- Avoid waxing services at nail salons—you know the ones I’m talking about. Products are generally low grade, which lead to break outs, and their technique is generally under-par because they specialize in nails, not waxing.
- Avoid waxing on or around your period; our bodies are more sensitive to pain and post-wax breakouts.
- If the house catches on fire and you don’t have time to pull the strip before running out of the house, do NOT yank it off once the firemen leave. Instead, apply coconut or olive oil to the wax to dissolve its bond to the skin. This also works well if wax ends up on hair for which it was unintended.