I’ve never been waxed before. How is it done?
Waxing is the most common method of hair removal in spas today. 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 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. Discuss any questions or concerns with your esthetician.
Preparing for treatment
Let the hair grow out to about a quarter to a half-inch above the skin. If hairs are too short, the wax won’t adhere strongly enough to pull them out. About a half hour before waxing, you may take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. This can help in two ways: it will provide some pain relief and protect you from minor swelling.
What to expect
An antiseptic lotion is applied to cleanse the area first. Next pre-wax products are applied to protect the skin and give you a more comfortable 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 waxing well, and are surprised that it isn't as painful as expected. Regular waxing decreases discomfort. The level of discomfort you will feel depends on your level of pain tolerance in general, and on which area is being waxed. 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. If you schedule a bikini or brazilian wax during your cycle, please let me know before your service.
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 beds, 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.
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 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. 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. I am 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. Ladies, 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. However, many of my clients do schedule their wax during their cycle. You can take 1-2 ibuprofen 30 minutes prior to your appointment to decrease sensitivity and inflammatory response following waxing.
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 me know so that I can add extra time to your appointment for trimming. There is an additional charge for trimming.
I 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 may 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.
I have learned and developed 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 remember, I am a professional and do this type of waxing every day and will be very professional and understanding with you.
Brazilian home care
I 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. I can also 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. (see Brazilian Maint.) In time, less hair will grow back, and it will become finer and lighter in color.
Bleaching, Shaving, Plucking, Waxing, and Sugar Waxing
Updated June 05, 2014
The desire to remove excess or dark hair usually begins in adolescence and seems to continue until the day we die. Whether it is hair on the face, armpits, legs, bikini line, or other body parts, many women AND men are intent upon having the hair on their scalp be the only visible hair on their bodies. With the emphasis on smooth, hairless skin, it is interesting to note that excess hair, especially in women, is still a taboo subject.
There are many options available to remove unwanted hair, but few options to get rid of hair permanently. The different methods of hair removal from the old stand-by, shaving, to the new treatments, lasers and Vaniqa, are discussed here. Each person should chose a method or combination of methods that works best for them depending on cost, time available, skin type, and the desired hair-free area.
Hair Growth Understanding how hair grows helps us understand how to keep hair from growing. Each hair is contained in a pilosebaceous unit, which consists of a hair shaft, hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and erector pili muscle. Hair growth and shedding is a continuous cycle through 3 phases. The anagen phase is the growth phase, the catagen phase is a transitional state, and the telogen phase is the resting phase. Hairs spend a variable amount of time in each phase determined by genetics, hormones, and area of the body. Hair in the anagen phase is more susceptible to injury than hair in the telogen phase. All of these factors must be considered when choosing a method of hair removal.
Bleaching Bleaching is actually not a hair removal method, but rather a way to make the hair less noticeable. This is especially useful for areas that already have thin but dark and therefore noticeable hair like the arms, face, or neck. Bleaching is performed by applying a chemical to the desired area, which removes the pigment from the hair.
Hair Removal with Shaving Shaving is the most temporary method of hair removal because it merely cuts the hair off at the skin surface. Shaving does not make the hair shaft thicker, darker, or grow faster or slower. However, the short hair shaft may be more noticeable as it grows out because it has a blunt tip instead of the normal tapered tip. Shaving should be done after applying some type of moisturizer to the skin to help the razor glide over the skin, not cut or scrape it. Common moisturizers include water, shaving cream, hair conditioner, or body wash.
Physical Hair Removal Physically pulling the hair out of the follicle is a common and fairly inexpensive method of hair removal. None of these methods changes the color, texture, or density of the hair. The hair takes longer to grow back because it must grow to the surface of the skin before it is noticed. Because hair grows at different rates, some of the hair that has been physically removed may take more time to grow back in. Repeatedly pulling hair out of the follicle may damage the follicle enough over time to keep it from producing more hair.
Physical Hair Removal - Plucking Plucking hair with tweezers is an effective way to remove hair but can be very time consuming. The hair shaft must be long enough to grasp with tweezers.
Physical Hair Removal - Waxing Waxing is an effective method of removing large amounts of hair at one time. In this method wax is warmed to allow it to be spread easily over the skin in the direction of hair growth. The hair becomes embedded in the wax, which cools and firms up grasping the hair. The wax is then quickly pulled off in the opposite direction of the hair growth, pulling the hairs out of the follicles. Cold waxes are available usually attached to strips, which are patted onto the skin. Wax that is still left on the skin must be peeled or scratched off. Caution must be used when heating wax so as not to burn the skin.
Physical Hair Removal - Sugar Waxing Sugar waxing is a popular form of hair removal that works in the same way traditional waxing does. A thick sugary substance similar to caramel is spread on the skin in the direction of hair growth. The hair becomes embedded in the caramel. A cloth or paper strip is patted onto the caramel and then pulled off quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth, pulling the hairs out of the follicles. The advantage of this method over traditional waxing is the clean up. The sugar substance is water-soluble and can be removed easier than wax by rinsing with water.
Hair Removal with Depilatories Depilatories use a chemical called thioglycolate mixed with sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide to literally melt the hair away. Thioglycolate disrupts disulfide bonds, which are chemical bonds that hold skin and hair cells together. The disulfide bonds that hold hair together contain more of the protein cystine than do the disulfide bonds that hold skin cells together. Thioglycolate is more effective on disulfide bonds that contain cystine. The major side effect of a depilatory is skin irritation because the chemical can melt away skin cells.
A depilatory is applied to the area with unwanted hair and left on for 3 to 15 minutes. During this time the chemical dissolves the hair and the resulting jelly-like substance is wiped or washed off after the appropriate time. The chemical should be tested first on a small skin area at least 48 hours before applying it to a large area. Applying a hydrocortisone cream after hair removal may help decrease irritation.
Hair Removal with Electrolysis Electrolysis involves inserting a fine needle into the hair follicle and applying an electrical current to the follicle root. This procedure actually burns the hair root theoretically preventing it from producing more hair. Each hair follicle must be treated individually and may take several treatments to destroy the follicle. Electrolysis is a permanent form of hair removal but it has several drawbacks. First, there are no standardized licensing guidelines for electrolysis so finding an experienced, effective technician is difficult requiring talking to clients who have experienced permanent results. Second, this method requires repeated treatments for up to 12 to 18 months. Hair follicles that are in the telogen phase are more difficult to destroy than hair follicles in the anagen phase. Shaving approximately 3 days before an electrolysis treatment ensures that the hairs that are visible are in the anagen phase. Finally, side effects can include pain, infection, keloid formation (for people who are susceptible), hyperpigmentation, or hypopigmentation.
Hair Removal with Laser Laser treatment of various skin conditions has blossomed, as laser technology has become more understood. Hair removal is a common application of laser technology, but it is not permanent and not for everyone. Lasers work by emitting light at various wavelengths, energy output, and pulse widths. The wavelength used determines the skin structure it will affect such as veins, melanin, or water. Most lasers used for hair removal target melanin and are therefore designed to burn structures that contain melanin. The more melanin, the more damage. It makes sense that laser hair removal works best for light-skinned people with dark hair. As with electrolysis, hair follicles in the anagen phase are more easily destroyed than those in the telogen phase. Therefore, laser treatments for hair removal must be repeated. At this time it appears that laser treatment, while not causing permanent destruction of all hair follicles, does retard the regrowth of new hair.
Hair Removal with Vaniqa Vaniqa is a prescription-only topical cream that has been FDA-approved for reducing and inhibiting the growth of unwanted facial hair. The active ingredient in Vaniqa is eflornithine hydrochloride, which has been used to treat African sleeping sickness and certain cancers. Vaniqa works by inhibiting an enzyme that is needed for cell reproduction and other cell functions necessary for hair growth. Vaniqa is applied twice a day to areas of unwanted facial hair. Noticeable results are usually observed after 4-8 weeks of therapy. Application must be continued for as long as inhibition of hair growth is desired. Vaniqa continues to reduce facial hair growth for up to 8 weeks after discontinuing treatment.