The Ultimate Guide to Waxing Hair Removal

Waxing is one of the most popular forms of hair removal for both men and women. It is easy, quick and can be done both from the home or professionally to give longer lasting results than shaving or depilatory creams. It works by removing the hair from the root, therefore new hair will not grow back in the previously waxed area for up to six weeks.

In this guide you can find everything you ever wanted to know about waxing hair removal.

Is Waxing Suitable for Everybody?​

​Waxing, if done properly, is not a dangerous procedure. Although it is safe for most people, there are certain conditions for which waxing hair removal is not recommended. Before you start waxing, you should consider the following cases:

Diabetes

Haemophilia

Hypersensitive Skin

Any type of contagious skin condition

Electrolysis treatment in progress

Pregnancy

Sunburn / heat rash

Is There Any Age Limit for Waxing? ​

No, however salons may have their own rules and can refuse to treat a minor. Most beauticians agree that it is advisable for the parent or guardian to be present when treating teenagers under the age of 16. 

​The waxing of private areas, such as Hollywood and Brazilian waxing, are very likely to be refused for anyone under the age of 18. 

Hot wax hair removal

Blocks of hot wax come in different shapes, sizes, scents and colours

Comparing Different Types of Waxes

Hot Wax vs Cold Wax​

Basically there are two main​ types of wax: hot wax and cold wax. Each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. The chart below will help you to decide which technique is right for you: 

Hot wax

Cold wax

Before using

Wax is melted

Wax warmed up between hands

Wax

Applied on the skin, then removed by a pulling strip

Already on the pulling strip when applied

Effectiveness 

Better: wax adheres more to the hair

Wax adheres less to the hair

Cleanliness

Messy

Less messy

Home use

More complicated

Very easy

Pain

More, but doesn't need repeated application

Less, but needs to be applied repeatedly 

Wax vs. Sugaring​

​Besides regular waxing, sugaring is a very popular method to remove unwanted hair. The two methods are often put into the same category, because they work very similarly. Sugar paste or wax is applied to a part of the skin and as it is ripped off, it pulls out the hairs from the roots. However, there are a few important differences between the two:

Hot Wax

Sugar Paste

Ingredients

Artificial fragrances, resin and other chemicals

Only natural ingredients: water, sugar, lemon, salt and sometimes essential oils.

Application

In the direction of hair growth

Opposite direction of hair growth

Removing paste/wax

Opposite direction of hair growth

In the direction of hair growth

Pain

Yes

Much less painful

Temperature

Needs to be warm

Applied lukewarm

Skin cells

Removes live skin cells

Only takes away dead skin cells

Removing too much wax/paste

Difficult (with wax remover or baby oil)

Easy (with plain water)

Risks

Can burn the skin if overheated

Very low

Sugaring on female leg

Waxable Body Parts

Apart from eyelashes and eyelids, every body part can be waxed, from very large areas, such as the full back, to very small parts, for example the toes. However, it is not highly accurate, therefore wax is often combined with tweezers to remove the remaining few hairs, especially in the case of eyebrows. 

Most Common Area by Gender

Women

  • legs
  • arms
  • eyebrow
  • pubic area
  • armpit

Men

  • chest
  • back and shoulders
  • upper arms
  • legs
  • pubic area
  • unibrow
Man having his chest waxed

Waxing Sensitive Areas of your Body​

The pain threshold varies greatly from one individual to another and also depends very much upon which part of the body is being treated. The waxing of the most sensitive areas will obviously cause the most pain. 

The most sensitive body part for most people is the pubic area, however many people find that the waxing of the eyebrows, the armpit and the legs are equally painful. 

Waxing Compared to Other Non-Permanent Forms of Hair Removal

Wax

Epilator

Depilatory

Razor / Trimmer

Pain

yes

yes

no, but can cause burning sensation if overused

no, unless you cut yourself

Duration

3-6 weeks

up to 4 weeks

3-4 days

2-3 days

Regrowth

softer and thinner

softer and thinner

No difference

No difference

Time

Fast

Takes more time

Fast

Very fast

Why Choose Waxing?

If you have a large amount of dense hairs that you wish to remove quickly and want it to last for at least a couple of weeks, waxing is the best solution. Although it is not permanent, this method is relatively cheap and makes the unwanted hair thinner and softer after every treatment.  Also, after time, treatments are needed less often and become less painful.

How to Prepare for the Waxing Treatment? ​

Waxing doesn't need much preparation, however, to make sure that everything is going to be right, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

24 Hours Before Waxing

As you remove your hair with wax, the top layer of your skin is also removed, therefore it is more easy for bacteria to get in. It is very important that you clean the area of skin that you wish to wax. If you go to a salon, the beautician should sanitise your skin before the waxing session starts.

It is also recommended to do a body scrub. Scrubbing removes the oldest skin cells on the skins outermost surface, which prevents you from having ingrown hair. Be careful: if you rub your skin too hard, you can cause irritation! 

Make sure your hair is long enough for waxing. No matter how expert your beautician is, if your hair is too short or too long, it is very difficult to remove it as it does not stick well enough. For the best result, hair should be at least 1/4 - 1/3 inch long, but not longer​ than one inch. 

Waxing for the First Time​

If you have never been waxed before, it might be a good idea to go a salon for the first occasion. This will give you a chance to watch and learn the correct technique from an expert.

Be warned that if you have always shaved before, removing the hair for the first time might not be easy.  Shaving causes thick and coarse hairs to develop and these are tougher to wax.

​The Waxing Procedure - what should you expect?

Once you are ready with the preparation, waxing can be started. The procedure is basically the same if done in the home or in a salon. Here is what is going to happen:

  1. ​You need to take your clothes off to uncover the parts of your body you want to be waxed. In many salons you will be offered a gown that you can wear to feel more comfortable.
  2. Your skin will be sanitised and talcum powder / baby powder will be applied on it. It prevents wax from sticking too much to the skin. 
  3. Wax will be applied to your skin in the direction of hair growth, and a strip will be smoothed on it in the same direction by giving it a little pressure. 
  4. The strip will be pulled off quickly from the opposite direction of hair growth, so that the hairs can be removed from the follicles.
  5. Step 3 and 4 are repeated until the whole area is hairless
  6. For the best result, the few eventual remaining hairs are usually removed by tweezers.
  7. Post-waxing treatment is very important and can't be missed. After wax lotion is added to the skin which removes the residual wax and prevents the skin from infection and irritation in the same time.

How Painful is Waxing?

Waxing is usually not too painful, but it can be uncomfortable for most people, especially for the first time. Also, there are many factors that can influence the level of the pain. 

What does the Pain Depend on?

As mentioned above, ​the pain depends on various factors. The pain that you are feeling during waxing can depend on:

  • how sensitive your skin is
  • which part of your body is waxed
  • how high your hormone level is  (e.g. menstrual cycle, birth control pills, pregnancy)
  • individual's tolerance to pain
  • how coarse your hair is (the waxing of previously shaved hair can hurt more! )
  • how much your skin is used to waxing

The good news is people tend to experience less and less pain the more sessions that they do.  This is because the hair becomes softer so it can be removed more easily from the roots, and at the same time your skin gets used to the feeling. 

How to Ease the Pain?​

For very sensitive clients it is recommended to take a painkiller that contains ibuprofen, or an anti-inflammatory at least 30 minutes before the waxing session or to apply a numbing cream about 45 minutes before the the treatment. 

Recommended Products to Ease the Pain

Clean + Easy Numb Anesthetic Solution 4oz

Quality brand solution, ideal to numb skin prior waxing.

Vienna's Lavender Face and Body Mist

100% natural product that calms and relaxes skin. Also ideal to relieve sunburn.

Advil Liqui-gel 200 mg

Quick and effective solution to temporarily relieve minor pains and aches. Contains ibuprofen.

Waxing during your period​

Although you can wax during your period​ you should keep in mind that, because the changing level of hormones, the skin can be more sensitive and therefore waxing can hurt more than it would normally. It is recommended to avoid waxing a few days before and during your period. 

Man getting his back waxed in a spa

​How to wax safely

The most important thing when it comes to waxing is to avoid any kind of infection and injuries. First of all, be careful with the temperature. If the wax is overheated, you can easily burn your skin. Secondly, make sure you observe all the rules regarding pretreatments and post-waxing treatments. 

​Post Waxing Treatments

After the waxing session, the treated skin has to be washed by post waxing lotion. It is very important in order to ease the burning sensation and to avoid ingrown hair and any kind of infection. Products that contain aloe vera or lavender help the sensitive skin calm down the best. If you are waxed in a salon, your beautician should do it automatically (if it doesn't happen you can ask for it), and you should never forget to use it if you wax yourself.

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Waxing​

Although waxing is very safe if done properly and all the rules are observed, it is not completely risk free. Here you can read about what risks you should be aware of before you decide to do a waxing hair removal.

The most serious risk is to get an infection, however it is very rare.

Folliculitis is a more common risk, which is the inflammation of your hair follicle. In many cases you can avoided by keeping your skin clean and hydrated. The pubic area is the most likely to get this inflammation, because that is the most warm and humid area of the body. 

Waxing can also cause dermatitis, which is the inflammation of the skin. This condition is usually not serious, but it can cause a very uncomfortable feeling. You can prevent it by avoiding dry skin and by using oils, creams and mild soaps.

48 Hours After Waxing

After waxing hair removal, there are a few things you should be careful with in the first 48 hours. First of all, you mustn't expose your skin to direct sun or use a tanning bed. Also, you should try to avoid perfumes, going to a swimming pool and hot tubs. These things can cause inflammation, irritation or infection.

Waxing from Home

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of waxes. Although many people prefer to go to an expert, all of them can be used in the home as well. In this section, we help you decide which to choose.

How to Wax in Your Home

You may prefer to choose waxing in the home for various reasons: you need hair removal soon, but you don't get an appointment in time, you don't like planning ahead, you are too shy to show your body to a stranger, you want to save money - no matter what the reason is, if you decided to do it yourself, you need to find out which kind of wax is the most suitable for you. Here is a guide on how to use cold wax, hot wax and sugaring at home:

Woman waxing legs with cold wax

Cold Wax

It is a very popular method for home use. It is very easy to use it and it is not very messy either. The only disadvantage of it is that this is the least effective type of waxing.

You can buy cold wax in any drug store and it is sold in many different shapes and sizes.

After having cleaned your skin properly,  you need to warm up the stripes between your hands.

Place the strips on the area you want and smooth it down in the direction of the hair growth.

Then hold your skin above the strip and pull the strip off quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth. You may need to repeat it in the same place if the hair isn't removed totally. Use baby oil to remove wax from your skin or moist towel that cold wax kits usually contains.

Recommended Cold Wax Products

Veet Leg and Body Cold Wax Strips 

​Quality brand ready-to-use cold wax strips, specifically for legs and body. 

Veet Facial Hair Cold Wax Strips

Quality brand ready-to-use cold wax strips, specifically for facial hair

Hot Wax

Using hot wax in your home is more complicated, but it is also more efficient than removing hair with cold wax strips. 

​To use this method at your home, you will need a waxing kit, wax, cloth strips, baby powder, spatula and moist towel. You need to be aware of the mess it may cause!

Heat the wax to the required temperature. A wax heater can help you not to overheat it, which can be dangerous.​ The ideal temperature is about 86-104°F / 30-40°C. You can test on a very small area of your skin whether the wax is too hot. 

Once you have cleaned your skin properly, put some baby powder on it and apply a very thin layer of wax in the direction of hair growth​.

Put the cloth strip on the top​ of the wax an smooth it down with a bit of pressure in the direction of hair growth.

Then you need to rip off the ​strip quickly starting from the opposite direction of hair growth. 

​Repeat applying wax and removing it until you have removed all the unwanted hair. 

Try not to wax the same area again in order to avoid irritation - if there are a few hairs left, you can remove it by tweezers.​

​Once you are done, clean the waxed area with moist towel. Using an after wax lotion is highly recommended to prevent irritation, inflammation or infection.

Recommended Home Waxing Kits

GiGi Brazilian Waxing Kit 14 oz

Easy-to-use Brazilian home waxing kit to remove unwanted hair from the pubic area.

Clean + Easy Professional Waxing Spa Basic Kit

​One of the best home hot waxing kits available on the market. Read more about this product here.

Sugaring

This is one of the easiest methods for home use, and it is efficient in the same time. The good news is that you can easily prepare sugar paste in your kitchen, but if you don't like experimenting or spending too much time on the preparation, you can purchase it for a decent price. 

​Sugar paste contains natural ingredients. The recipe is very simple as you only need:

  • 8 units of sugar
  • 1 unit of water
  • 1 unit of lemon juice

Heat and mix the ingredients constantly until they are completely liquid and the colour of the solution changes from white to gold. When it is ready, let the solution cool down. 

Just like you would do before any waxing session, clean your skin.

Apply some of the sugar paste on your skin in​ the opposite direction of hair growth. Sugar paste can be applied on the skin just by hand - for the best result push is more times on your skin. 

Rip the sugar paste off quickly from the direction of the hair growth. ​

Repeat the previous two steps until you are done. ​

Clear your skin with after wax lotion when you are done. ​

Recommended Sugaring Products

MOOM for Men 6oz

Organic home waxing kit specifically for men. Good for sensitive skin. Read more about this product here. 

MOOM with Tea Tree 6oz

​Organic home waxing kit with tea tree oil. Good for sensitive skin. 100% natural ingredients.

Woman has her leg waxed at a salon

Waxing in a Salon

When is it Better to Go to a Professional?

If you're trying to cut back costs, waxing from home is much more cost efficient, although if you want to be treated by an expert, wish to get rid of hair parts that you can't reach by yourself, get through the whole procedure quickly and minimise the possible risks, then we recommend you to choose a salon.

​How to Find a Good Waxing Salon

​The number one thing you want to be sure about is the cleanliness of the salon. Waxing increases the risk of infections, so the salon you will be treated needs to follow recommended practices for hygiene.

​The best way to start your search is listening to word of mouth. You can ask about previous costumers' opinion about a given salon.

Make sure that in the waxing salon you choose you will be treated by licensed cosmetologists. You can ask the salon if you are not sure about it, but this information should be on display.

You can call the salon over the phone or ask for information by email. They are bound to give you all the information you wish to know. If they refuse it, you should not trust in them and we recommend to look for a different salon instead.

Make sure the salon cares about hygiene. Ask them if the beautician treats clients wearing disposable gloves, if there is a disposable paper sheet on the bed or seat you will be treated it. 

Ask the salon about the product they use. A good waxing salon refuses to use harsh chemicals, because they can cause skin irritation. You can ask about the products the salon uses over the phone or by email. ​

Ideally, before your treatment, you will be asked whether you have any kind of allergies, medical issues or skin condition in order to avoid complication. ​In the best salons you will be asked to fill a questionnaire for this purpose before the waxing procedure. Ask the salon whether this is offered.

Overheated wax can be very dangerous: before applying the wax on your skin, a proper beautician will always check its temperature. You should ask how they make sure that the wax is not too hot. 

How much does Waxing in a Salon Cost?

​The cost of a waxing treatment differs from salon to salon. Here is a list for a typical range of price for certain body parts: 

Body Part

Price

Underarm

$15 - $25

Arm

$25 - $40

Half leg

$35 - $40

Full leg

$60 - $70

Bikini

$30 - $35

Brazilian

$45 - $80

Chest

$45 - $55

Back

$40 - $55

Brow

$8 - $20

Chin or lip

$10 - $15

Sue
 

For the past 12 months, I have been testing and playing with all sorts of hair removal products for Hair Free Life. My goal is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date hair removal consumer information on the internet. When I'm not photographing, reviewing and researching hair removal products I play the drums in a samba band and am a volunteer for the Swindon Lions! Got any questions? Write to us below:

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