Waxing 101

By Clare Dickens

A few minutes of waxing in the salon is worth a month of confidence on the beach, Clare Dickens blog on MiNDFOOD.

The first time I received a waxing treatment I was a model for our waxing class at beauty therapy college. There I was, lying on a freshly prepared treatment couch, brimming with nerves. It wasn’t that I’d heard horror stories about waxing, rather I felt like a hairy monkey! What’s more, the two beauty therapists in training who were waxing me had never waxed before.

Needless to say the experience is still fresh in my mind despite the decades that have passed. I vowed from that moment onwards that no client of mine would ever suffer the same anticipation that I had.

Here are a few things to look out for to ensure you get the most out of your next wax:

Prior to waxing, your beauty therapist should cleanse the skin to ensure all creams and oil residues have been removed. Make sure this stage is thorough as it will prevent any infection. Cleansing will also allow the wax to stick to the hair shaft and ensure complete removal. An application of talc maybe applied next to prevent the wax from adhering to the skin.

Warm wax will be spread onto the skin and hair like honey to bread. If a spatula is being used, make sure it is not dipped into the pot more than once otherwise the wax becomes contaminated with skin debris. Not a pleasant thought!

Next, a cloth strip is placed over the wax and pressed down firmly. It is then removed with haste. It is important that the wax is removed at the correct angle (at about 40 degrees the cloth should be pulled back on itself) so as to avoid bruising. Any odd hairs should be plucked with tweezers to ensure a smooth finish.

After waxing a soothing product should be applied. This may contain tea tree or lavender essential oils which have natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is ideal to continue applying soothing products at home for a couple of days to prevent infection and soothe the skin.

It is best to avoid heat treatments for at least 48 hours after your wax; this includes hot tubs, saunas, swimming and sunbathing. Fragranced lotions and deodorants should be avoided for 24 hours.

In addition to legs, hot wax works on more delicate and sensitive areas, such as the upper lip, underarms and bikini line. The wax should be worked into the skin to grab the hair. As the wax cools it hardens to form a solid strip. This is then removed with haste.  Despite the brief ‘ouch’ factor you will be hair free for several weeks.

Waxing treatments are recommended every four to six weeks depending on your hair growth. This tends to be shorter in the summer months, not just because you are constantly revealing your skin but because the hair actually grows quicker in a warmer climate. The hair needs to be 0.5-1 cm in length for successful removal. Be patient it will take a few treatments for the hair growth to slow down.

As with any treatment your ‘homework’ will pay dividends to the end result. Regular exfoliation with either a shower gel containing granular buffing particles or a rough glove will ensure the skin is free of dead skin cells. Not only will this give you smooth radiant skin but it will allow the new hair growth to rise to the surface without becoming trapped underneath forming ingrown hairs. Daily moisturising is also necessary to keep skin in tip top condition.

Remember, if you are embarrassed by your hairy legs/bikini line/chest/upper lip, a few minutes endured in the salon is worth a month of confidence on the beach.


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