I’ve never been waxed before. How is it done?
Waxing is the most common method of hair removal in spas today. Hair on any part of the body or face can be waxed. Warm wax is applied to the area and then removed, bringing the hair with it. There are two types of wax: hard and soft. Hard wax, which is easier on delicate skin, is often used on the face, underarms, and bikini area. Soft wax is used on the legs, arms, back, and chest.
Waxing reduces hair growth when performed at regular 30-day intervals. Because waxing pulls the hair out by the root, it grows back softer, finer, and thinner. The more you wax, the less hair grows back.
Waxing should not be performed if you have particularly sensitive skin, because it pulls off a couple of layers of skin cells along with the hair. Waxing can cause tenderness and swelling. In addition, some medications will cause the skin to react badly to waxing. Don’t wax if you’re taking Retin-A, Accutane, or any type of acne prescription.
Preparing for treatment
Let the hair grow out to about a half-inch above the skin. If hairs are too short, the wax won’t adhere strongly enough to pull them out. Refrain from taking a shower or bath before the treatment. Soaking the hair will soften it, allowing it to break more easily and making waxing less effective. Do not apply lotion to the skin before your waxing session.
What to expect
An antiseptic lotion may be applied to cleanse the area first. Some estheticians apply a light dusting of baby powder to be sure the skin is dry before applying the wax.
- If soft wax is being used, the warm wax will be spread on the hairs in a thin layer. A cloth strip (muslin or pellon) is then applied to the wax, and rubbed in the direction of hair growth. The strip is then pulled quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth while the skin is held taut with the other hand.
- If hard wax is being used, a thicker amount of warm wax is applied and allowed to dry. No cloth strip is applied. The wax is flicked to allow the esthetician to grip it, and it is then pulled off quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth. Hard wax doesn’t adhere to the skin as much as soft wax, and is therefore used on more delicate areas such as the bikini area, underarms and face.
How much does it hurt?
Most people tolerate it well, and get used to the sensation after a few treatments. The level of discomfort you will feel depends on your level of pain tolerance in general, and on which area is being waxed. If you still find waxing very uncomfortable after several treatments, many estheticians offer numbing crèmes that can be applied 45 minutes prior to the service. Clients are also recommended to take two ibuprofen tablets prior to their appointment, to reduce discomfort and decrease inflammation in the post-waxed area. For women, it is generally best not to schedule waxing services just prior to or during your period, as you are more sensitive to pain at this time and will experience more discomfort.
Home care after waxing
It’s important to care for the waxed area properly after treatment to prevent ingrown hairs, breakouts, or other reactions. Exfoliation, using a pumice stone or exfoliating gloves with a bath gel, will help keep the skin clear. Avoid using a bar soap because it leaves a film on the body that could cause ingrown hairs. For the face, back, and chest, use a more gentle exfoliant and an anti-breakout lotion (ask your waxer about recommended products). Directly after waxing, avoid direct sunlight and tanning booths, especially while the skin is still red from treatment. For 24 hours after waxing, avoid exercise, hot tubs, and products with harsh chemicals, perfumes, or dyes. Apply a gentle moisturizer 24 hours after treatment.
Your skin care treatments should be provided by a properly trained professional. Don’t hesitate to ask your skin care therapist about her background, training, and experience—especially as it relates to the treatment you are considering. Your therapist is a professional member of Associated Skin Care Professionals. Our members have been validated as meeting their state’s licensing credentials and/or core training requirements, and agree to follow a code of ethics which ensures you’ll be treated responsibly and with the utmost respect. ASCP also provides its members with comprehensive resources that allow them to keep up with changing trends, making certain you’ll receive the most up-to-date therapies available.
What is Brazilian waxing?
Many people are familiar with bikini waxing, which removes pubic and leg hair that would otherwise show when a bathing suit is worn. Brazilian waxing got its start with the daring bathing suits worn by both sexes on Brazil’s sunny beaches. It is now common in the United States and is preferred by many for the sleek feeling it provides.
The treatment involves waxing off all pubic and labial hair from front to back for women and all genital hair for men, including that on the penis and scrotum. A full Brazilian wax involves the removal of all genital hair. You can also request a variation on the standard Brazilian if you prefer to leave a small amount of hair.
What to expect
Try to arrive relaxed and ready to bare all. There is no modest way to receive a Brazilian wax. Your esthetician is a professional, and your dignity as a person will be respected in the treatment room.
Be ready to fill out a questionnaire and describe what medications and skin care products you are using. For women, it is best not to schedule a wax just before or during your period as it generally will feel more uncomfortable to be waxed at that time of the month. You can take 1-2 ibuprofen 30 minutes prior to your appointment to decrease sensitivity and inflammatory response following waxing. There are also numbing crèmes that can be applied 30-45 minutes prior to your appointment that help minimize the discomfort of waxing. Ask your esthetician for suggestions.
You should trim the hair to ½” in length for best results prior to your appointment. If it’s shorter, the wax may not be effective, and if the hair is longer the wax will tug on the skin more, causing more discomfort. If you do not have time to trim prior to your appointment, be sure to let your esthetician know so that she can add extra time to your appointment for trimming.
Your esthetician will use an antiseptic wipe or lotion on the area first to cleanse. Wax is applied to the area one section at a time. The wax is removed quickly and pressure is applied to the area to minimize discomfort. Cool compresses and soothing gel after the treatment also help to calm and sooth the area. It is normal to have a histamine reaction following waxing in this area, in which you may see red irritated skin and bumps for 24 hours or even longer. This is very common and will subside.
Your esthetician has learned the best techniques for removing the hair efficiently and effectively. Some of the positions you may be asked to be in may be a little embarrassing, but your esthetician is a professional who does this type of waxing frequently and will be very professional and understanding with you.
What about home care?
Your esthetician can provide the best guidance on caring for your skin after a treatment. For 24 hours following a Brazilian waxing, you should not sunbathe, use a tanning bed, use a hot tub, be sexually intimate, or perform exercise that will cause significant sweating. Loose clothing worn after the appointment is the most comfortable.
Keep the area clean and gently exfoliate the area to prevent ingrown hairs. Special products can be purchased for this. Your esthetician will recommend which products will be best for you.
If you decide you want to continue sporting your Brazilian style, waxing at approximately four-week intervals is recommended to reduce discomfort on follow-up visits. In time, less hair will grow back, and it will become finer and lighter in color.