Back Waxing – Guide and 10 Top Tips
Whilst a lovely hairy chest might be masculine and attractive to many women, for some reason, a hairy back and shoulders rarely seems to hold the same appeal.
Waxing is a very popular method of back hair removal because it can be done relatively quickly and can last for anything up to 4 or 5 weeks.
Why do Some Men Have Hairy Backs?
The amount of hair you have on the different parts of your body is largely genetically determined, and there is nothing you can do about it.
However age can also play a part.
It seems a weird phenomenon but how many men start losing hair on their head whilst simultaneously increasing their back, nasal and ear hair as they age?
This is to do with testosterone in the body and its accumulative stimulating effect on the texture and life-cycle of your hair, which differs between your head hair and your body hair.
Why Choose Waxing for Back Hair Removal?
The main benefit is that the results are much longer lasting because the hair is pulled out from the root. Therefore you are likely to be able to leave around 3 - 5 weeks between waxes.
Shaving is very short-lived, and you are likely to need to shave every couple of days to keep your back smooth. As your hair re-grows it has a stubbly feel and the appearance often seems darker, as the hair shaft has been cut at its widest point.
The results of using depilatory creams are similar to shaving, although they may last slightly longer and regrowth is not stubbly. I think also, you need to consider that they involve covering a large area of your skin with harsh chemicals, and what the long term effect may possibly be.
Regrowth after waxing tends to be finer over time due to the result of the stress on the hair follicle from repeated plucking of the hair.
Shaving and depilatory creams have no effect whatsoever on hair growth, as the hair is only removed at the skin's surface, and does not touch the root.
Other more permanent options you could consider are laser or electrolysis, but you will need to be prepared to make a pretty hefty financial investment and understand that neither of these are quick fixes.
You will need to have several treatments over the course of many months as these methods are only effective on hairs that are in their actively growing stage.
To explore all your options for removing back hair, see our article here.
How Much Does a Back Wax Cost?
A typical back wax is likely to cost anything from around $40 to upwards of $100 depending on the salon, how large the area is and the density of the hair.
If you are going for the first time, the hair will need to be trimmed to the correct length (¼") which will be done there.
Subsequent treatments can be scheduled depending on how fast your hair grows, approximately every 3 - 5 weeks.
Is Back Waxing Very Painful?
Well, considering you are ripping out the hair from the root, it stands to reason that there will be some pain.
Obviously a definitive answer to this question is difficult because pain thresholds vary from one individual to the next.
However, the back is not the most sensitive part of the body (just imagine waxing your genitals for example) and in the hands of an experienced professional it should be bearable.
It is also the case that most people find the first time is the worst, and with regular treatments over time your skin becomes more tolerant to the process.
This can also be attributed to the fact that continually pulling the hair from the root weakens the hair follicle so that it releases the new hair more easily.
Top Tips to Minimize the Side Effects of Back Waxing
- 1Clean - make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and exfoliated to keep the pores clear from dead skin cells, body oils etc.
- 2Dry - your hair and skin needs to be completely dry to ensure that the wax adheres efficiently to the hair. Using talc such as a baby powder rubbed into helps to make ensure this as well as acting as a thin barrier between skin and wax.
- 3Heat - if you are waxing at home, it is ideal to wax after a warm shower or bath, which helps to soften the hair and relax the skin and open the pores.
- 4Pain - avoid stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes for a couple of hours prior to waxing as these tend to make the skin more sensitive. You can opt to take over the counter oral pain relief which can help, up to a point. There are topical pain relief creams, but I wouldn't recommend them for large areas like the back.
- 5Hair Length - this is critical, if the hair is too long you risk dragging on the skin and hair breaking off above the surface. If too short, the wax will not adhere properly and you will not achieve good results. Ideally it should be ¼" - if you are at a salon it will be trimmed for you if necessary, or if you are waxing at home, use a trimmer set to the correct length for an even trim. If your hair is too short you really must wait for it to grow.
- 6Technique - again, if you are in a salon you don't need to worry about this, but at home it is really important for the person waxing you to use the correct method, as outlined in the next section.
- 7Aftercare - you can cool the skin and close the pores with ice and apply a soothing gel or lotion such as aloe or witch hazel to help alleviate irritation and redness, but avoid using any products such as deodorant or perfumes etc. for a good 24 hours. Don't go off to the gym or have a hot bath, sauna, steam etc. as perspiration will cause further irritation and your skin is more prone to infection immediately after waxing.
- 8Clothing - wear loose, natural cotton clothing for as long as possible to avoid chafing the delicate skin.
- 9Moisturize - use a light moisturizer regularly between waxes to keep the skin hydrated and supple.
- 10Sun - avoid exposure to the sun for at least 48 hours after waxing. Tempting as it may be to show off your smooth new look, the skin on your newly waxed back needs looking after and will be tender, as the top layer will have been removed with the wax.
Correct Technique for Waxing at Home
Firstly, you need to make sure that you buy a hard wax that is suitable for male back hair.
I would recommend that you opt for a strip wax, which is the type more commonly used for large areas such as the back.
Some waxes can be melted in the microwave, or you can purchase a special wax warmer designed for the purpose, which would be my preference for ease and safety reasons.
A wax kit is a good idea for the first time, as these usually come complete with a warmer, waxes, strips and spatulas, so everything you need to get started. Some also include wipes to remove any residual wax from your skin.
The wax is melted to a runny consistence and then spread thinly across the treatment area one section at a time, using a spatula. It is important that it is spread evenly, in the direction of your natural hair growth.
A disposable strip is then pressed over the wax and smoothed down firmly in the same direction.
It is then immediately removed in one firm, swift pull in the opposite direction to your hair growth.
It is important that it is pulled off closely parallel to your skin, back across itself and not up and away from your skin at a 90° angle. It must be done firmly and swiftly, and not tentatively.
Your skin needs to be as taut as possible during the process to avoid dragging and pulling.
Pros and Cons of Back Waxing at Home
Pros of DIY Waxing
- Saves Money - the most obvious advantage. Waxing at home is much cheaper than regular salon trips
- Convenience - can be done as and when you like, in the comfort of your own home. The ideal time to wax is in the evening when you are not going out, to allow for any potential side effects such as redness and irritation to calm down overnight
Cons of DIY Waxing
- Help Required - for obvious reasons waxing your own back is not a viable option
- Correct Method - you really need someone who is adept at the waxing technique to get good results and reduce the risk of ingrowns and irritation