Hot Waxing versus Cold Waxing – Which is Best for You?

There are two main types of waxing: hot waxing and cold waxing. ​Although they work nearly the same way, both types of waxing have their advantages and disadvantages. Read more to learn about the merits and drawbacks of both.

Hot Wax 

There are several kinds of hot waxes available mainly divided into two groups - hard wax and soft wax.  Regardless of the type, they all work the same way.

Woman has her leg waxed at a salon

Just as its name suggests, hot wax is applied hot. The wax needs be melted prior to application. The melted wax is applied to the skin and it is removed by a piece of cloth strip or by hand (if you use hard wax) or by a piece of cloth strip (if you use soft wax).

As the hot wax dries on the skin, it clings to the hair, making it easy to pull it out in the opposite direction of growth with a sudden movement. 

Here's a great hot waxing tutorial video to walk you through how it works:-

Pros of Hot Waxing

  • The pores and hair follicles open up by the heat, making it easier to pull the hair out. 
  • Adheres well to the hair so all strands will be removed at once.
  • Ideal even for shorter hair - some hot waxes are designed to be able to remove even 1 mm (0.03 inch) long hair.

Cons of Hot Waxing

  • Wax can burn the skin if applied too hot.
  • It is quite messy and can be difficult to remove wax once it's dried out.
  • Although the process itself is fast, the preparation takes some time, especially if done at home.
  • Takes some time to learn the correct technique
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.

Woman waxing legs with cold wax

Cold Wax

Cold Wax is mainly designed for home use. The wax is already applied to the pulling strip as you buy it. You will only need to warm the strip up a little bit between your palms to make it stick better to the hair.

The strip itself is applied to the skin with its pre-waxed side down, it's pressed down in the direction of hair growth and pulled from the opposite direction. The strips are therefore ready to use when you take them out of the box.

Pros of Cold Waxing

  • Easy to use
  • Cheap - it usually costs only $5 - $15 dollars per pack
  • No mess
  • Less painful for most people
  • No special preparation is needed

Cons of Cold Waxing

  • May not adhere to the hair well so the wax strip needs to be applied repeatedly to the same area, which can lead to irritation.
  • Increased risk of ingrown hairs
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

Choosing the Right One

There is no universally better waxing method.  The question is which method of waxing is right for you given your treatment area, circumstances and skin type.  Follow our recommendations below to determine which method is best for you:-

When Hot Waxing is Better than Cold Wax

Hot wax does a better job of removing hairs from the treatment area so is recommended when you're willing to spend the extra time for preparation in order to get the best results.

​It's also the recommended method of waxing when you have coarser hair as cold waxing generally struggles to effectively remove these type of hairs.

Hot waxing is also recommended for people who have sensitive skin as it's less harsh on the skin a​nd thus leads to less irritation.

When Cold Waxing is Better than Hot Wax

woman waxing leg

Cold wax is the method to choose if you're in a rush and don't have time to do any preparation.  It's the common choice for people who are travelling or who don't have the time to do the necessary preparation work for hot waxing.

Whi​le the results are generally worse than hot waxing, they are still decent enough for most people.  It's generally regarded as being less painfull and it's a far simpler and less messy process.  This method of waxing is more suited for people who don't have extremely coarse hair to be removed.

The Hot Wax vs Cold Wax Debate

Here's a great video about whether hot wax vs cold waxing:-

Which Waxing Method is best by Body Part

Hot Wax

is good for:

  • Armpit Hair
  • Bikini Line
  • Male Waxing

Hot waxing is preferred for these body parts because it removes coarser hair more effectively.  

Also, the increased temperature opens up the pores in the skin making it easier to remove hair from these "tougher" body parts.

Cold Wax

is good for:

  • Leg hair
  • Arm hair
  • Facial hair

Cold wax is effective on body parts where the hair is thinner and is a better choice given that the process is much faster and less messy.

Cold waxing strips come in all shapes and sizes which is very useful for parts of the body, such as the facial region, whereby certain sized strips can be more helpful and easier than hot waxing.

To learn more about waxing hair removal, check out our ultimate guide to waxing.


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:

  • Avatar lindsay anne dizon says:

    I used the cold wax (wax strip) for my underarm. The problem is the packaging only provided 2 pieces of the after wax oil which is not enough to remove all the gel on the surface of my underarm. this resulted to residue of black markings of the strip on my underam. I don’t know how to remove it. Can you help me? Coz its really annoying to see those black markings. It looks like i have a black underarm. Please attend to my concern immediately.

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