Wax On, Wax Off: Waxing Hair Has Never Been More Popular

Are you sick of shaving unwanted body hair or plucking facial hair each day? At-home hair removal techniques aren't just tedious, but they can cause irritation to the skin as well. This is especially true of shaving, which can cause ingrown hairs, redness and other skin sensitivity.

As more people get sick of shaving their unsightly body hair, waxing is growing in popularity as a form of hair removal. Unlike shaving, waxing doesn't have to be performed every day to be effective. Instead, individuals need only wax areas approximately once a month to stay smooth and hairless.

If you're new to the world of waxing, it might seem quite intimidating. However, understanding waxing is relatively simple. Keep reading to discover how you can kiss razors and Tweezers goodbye forever.

How Does It Work?

Waxing is more similar to plucking than it is to shaving, which is to say that it removes hair at the root. However, unlike plucking with a Tweezers, waxing removes large areas of hair at once. Conversely, shaving only cuts away the visible part of the hair; the hair's root still remains underneath the skin. This is why shaven skin only stays hairless for a day or so, whereas plucked or waxed skin stays hairless for multiple weeks.

Waxing can be performed at a salon or at-home, although it is a technique that can be somewhat tricky to master, which is why many people prefer to have it done by the pros at a salon or spa. There are two types of hair removal wax, hard and soft. Soft wax is the wax that most people are familiar with; it's applied to the skin as a thin layer, after which a strip of cloth or paper is firmly pressed atop the wax. After allowing the wax to dry, the strip is pulled away in the opposite direction of the hair's growth, removing all of the hair from the waxed area.

Hard wax is thicker in consistency than its soft counterpart and does not require a strip of cloth or paper; instead, the wax itself is pulled away from the skin to remove hair. Soft wax is used for areas where the hair is finer, such as the arms or the eyebrows. Hard wax is generally used where hair is thicker, such as the armpits or the pubic region. Different people need soft wax versus hard wax for their legs, depending on the thickness of the hair there.

The Checklist: What You Need To Wax

There are actually two checklists, depending on whether you're waxing at home or at a salon. If you've booked an appointment with the pros, your checklist is as follows:

  • Have at least four weeks worth of hair growth. If the hair is too short, the wax can't properly adhere to it.
  • Bring a list of medications that you're currently taking. Be forewarned that some medications can cause skin sensitivity.
  • If you're a first-time waxing client, arrive at the salon 10-15 minutes early. You'll need to fill out new client paperwork.

Waxing is best performed by the professionals, but if you want to try it for yourself at home, here's what you'll need:

  • The wax itself. Choose hard wax for coarse hair, soft wax for fine hair.
  • A wax warmer. This small device will heat up the wax so it can be applied to the skin.
  • Strips of fabric or paper if using soft wax.
  • Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors to apply the wax.
  • Alternatively, if you don't feel like purchasing these items separately, there are at-home waxing kits available at drug and beauty supply stores. Be advised, however, that the wax in these kits is sometimes of lesser quality than salon-grade waxes.

If you're doing an at-home wax, consult some of the myriad videos online demonstrating how to properly apply and remove wax. While there's definitely a learning curve, it's absolutely possible to master it yourself, which can help you to save a fortune on salon and spa costs.

Questions and Answers

Q: Does waxing hurt?

A: To put it simply, yes, waxing hurts. Any form of hair removal that pulls the hair from the root is going to cause some degree of discomfort. Areas where the hair is coarser are the most painful, particularly the pubic area. Areas where the hair is fine, such as the arms, can involve very minimal pain.

Q: Does waxing eliminate ingrown hairs and irritation?

A: Waxing causes less ingrown hairs and irritation than shaving, but it can still occur, especially for those who have sensitive skin. Combat this by using a soothing product, such as aloe vera, after you've waxed.

Q: What is a Brazilian wax? Is it the same was a bikini wax?

A: A bikini wax is where the hair surrounding private parts is removed but a small patch is left behind, i.e. removing only what would be visible in a bikini. A Brazilian wax involves all pubic hair being removed.

Q: Is waxing at a salon expensive?

A: Unfortunately, yes. Like most spa treatments, you need to make room for it in your budget. Watch out for coupons and promotions to help reduce the cost.

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