Waxing Facial Hair – Complete Guide
Is Waxing Facial Hair OK?
Waxing is commonly used to shape the eyebrows and remove unwanted hair from the upper lip, chin and jaw - but is it a good idea?
In fact there are some distinct advantages to waxing your unwanted facial hair as opposed to using other methods.
For one thing, it has much longer lasting results than shaving or depilatory creams - anything from 2 - 4 weeks, because it pulls your hair out from the root.
Shaving cuts your hair at the skin's surface and so regrowth is much quicker and you may need to shave more or less daily.
Also, regrowth after waxing tends to become lighter and finer over time, whilst shaving regrowth tends to be stubbly.
Depilatory creams may last slightly longer than shaving but they only dissolve your hair from from just below the skin's surface, so still need to be used often.
Having said all this there are some disadvantages too, for example waxing is painful and can lead to skin irritation or worse, if you don't follow the correct procedure and techniques.
The Pros and Cons of Waxing Facial Hair
When to Avoid Waxing
Certain medical conditions preclude waxing as a suitable method of hair removal, and if you have any of them or are in any doubt whatsoever, seek medical advice before proceeding.
Some of the more common one's are listed below:
Some medication makes waxing unsuitable for you and some may make the skin more sensitive, so always make sure that you read and take heed of all the recommended precautions.
Aside from medical conditions, there are certain times when it makes sense not to wax your face.
During your period, your skin becomes more sensitive and so waxing may be more painful at this time.
Post waxing, your skin is vulnerable to infection and may be red and tender, so it is advisable for you to wax in the evening, when you are not planning to go out, to give it time to recover overnight.
Additionally, you really want to avoid exposure to the sun immediately after waxing so plan your session to be a couple of days in advance if you are off on your holidays.
Choosing the Right Product
It is important to choose the correct product for the job - so make sure that whatever wax you use is recommended for facial use.
Ready to use, cold wax strips are by far the simplest for use at home, you just warm them between your hands to soften slightly and apply.
Alternatively, you can get cold wax that is applied from the pot and then strips are used to remove it.
The downside of this type of cold wax is that, because it is not melted it tends to be thicker and more difficult to spread thinly enough to be properly effective.
Then you have either soft or hard wax, both of which need to be heated to a thick, spreadable consistency.
Soft wax is used with a strip and hard wax doesn't need a strip, it is just spread more thickly over the area, allowed to cool and then grasped at one end and pulled off.
Using hard wax requires you to allow it to cool just the right amount - not enough and it comes away without the hair and too much and it just crumbles.
Of the two, I would recommend that if you are new to waxing at home, you go for soft wax as the technique is easier to master.
Whilst you can get wax that is microwaveable, I suggest that you invest in a wax warmer as a safer and easier to use option, specially if you are waxing a lot.
It will heat your wax to the correct temperature and keep it there, so you won't need to keep reheating as the wax cools and thickens.
Whatever you choose, make sure that you do a patch test on a small area at least 24 hours prior to the full treatment to make sure that you don't have any adverse reaction to the ingredients.
Method - Hints and Tips
Skin Care and Preparation
You need to cleanse your skin thoroughly to make sure that it is free from all cosmetics before you start.
Regular exfoliation is important to prevent your pores from being blocked by the build up of dead skin cells, dirt and oil.
Washing with warm water will help to soften your skin and hair and open the pores - ideally have a shower.
Make sure that you gently but thoroughly dry the skin prior to waxing and rub in a little baby powder to ensure that there is no residual moisture present.
Whatever wax you choose the principle is the same - the wax goes on in the direction in which the hair is growing, and comes off in the opposite direction.
If you are using pre-waxed strips you place the strip over the area to be waxed and firm down by running your hand over the strip in the right direction.
If you are using wax with a spatula, apply in the right direction holding the spatula at about a 45°angle.
When you remove it, firmly grasp the end of the strip with one hand whilst holding the skin as taut as possible with the other and rip it back parallel to the skin in one quick movement.
Immediately applying pressure to the area with your hand reduces the sting.
You should not keep going over the same area continuously as this is likely to irritate your skin.
You can remove any remaining wax with cotton wool steeped in baby oil or the like (some waxing kits come with oil infused wipes specially for this purpose).
If you have any odd stray hairs that have escaped waxing, tweeze them out - it is always a good idea to have a good pair of sharp tweezers to hand.
If your skin feels very tender you can soothe it with cool water or a cold compress, followed by a calming lotion such as aloe vera.
Waxing Mistakes to Avoid
Not Doing a Skin Test
You must take the time to do a skin test on a small area at least 24 hours prior to full treatment, as recommended in the instructions provided.
The absolute last thing you want to do is plaster your face with wax and then find that you have an adverse reaction to it!
Your hair needs to be at the optimum ¼" length for waxing to be effective.
If your hair is too short, don't be tempted to go for it but wait until it has grown to the correct length.
Conversely if it is too long, it not only runs the risk of breaking off above the surface, but will be more painful and drag on the skin, so give it a trim.
You may have a natural inclination, knowing that it will be painful, to try to be gentle and peel the strip back slowly.
However, not only will this be ineffective but it will actually be more painful and is likely to leave a lot of wax residue on your skin.
Direction of Pull
Whatever you do, don't pull the strip upwards at a 90° angle to the skin, but back on itself as parallel to the skin as possible in the opposite direction to the hair's natural growth.
Make sure your skin is as taut as possible to avoid pulling it up and causing more pain.
Usually you can do this with your spare hand. If you are waxing your upper lip, pull your lip down under your teeth to tauten it - you can then use two fingers either side to flatten the skin still further, working in small sections.
Wax needs to be melted to a thick, spreadable consistency and so if it is very runny it is likely to also be too hot.
Always test on a small area like the back of your hand to make sure that it is at the correct, comfortable temperature - you really don't want to burn the skin on your face.
Facial Hair Waxing FAQ's
How long does facial waxing last?
Hair growth rates tend to vary from individual to individual and are largely genetically determined so it is difficult to be precise. The results can last for anything from two weeks upwards but will likely be around 3 - 5 weeks. Remember that you need the hair to grow out to ¼" before waxing again.
Does waxing facial hair make your skin looser or cause it to wrinkle?
Honestly, there is no evidence for this. If you think about it - providing the skin is held nice and taut, and the wax is removed parallel to the skin there is little pulling or movement - it is the hair that is being dragged out, not the skin. Also there is likely to be several weeks between treatments, it's not as though you will be waxing on a daily basis.
How often can you wax your face?
you can re-wax your face after a minimum of a couple of weeks, but remember that your hair needs to be at least ¼" long and it is that which largely dictates how often you need to repeat. In all likelihood, over time, the gap between waxing will probably increase as all the hairs that were originally growing under the surface are caught. It is difficult to be more specific as hair growth rates vary between individuals.
Does waxing your facial hair make it grow thicker?
No it doesn't, and in fact over time it is more likely that your hair will appear finer and lighter. This is the result of your hairs being continuously pulled out at the root, which weakens them. In some cases the hair may eventually not grow back at all.
Can I wax the hair from my mole?
Moles tend to have a few hairs, which can be easily tweezed out one by one if you wish to remove them, and this is what I would recommend rather than waxing, especially if it is a prominently raised mole.