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The Roots of Waxing

Written by  Lilliane Caron
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The Roots of Waxing

Hair removal may not be considered the most glamourous aspect of the aesthetic industry, but it is one of the most lucrative. While there are many areas within the industry that may seem more glamourous, such as makeup or tanning, the reality is that hair removal is relevant to both female and male clients and is generally seen as a necessity rather than a luxury.

pic-1The demand for hair-free, smooth skin is as popular as ever and the options readily available to consumers have evolved over time. Gone are the days when hair removal consisted of sharp rocks, pastes made out of sugar and beeswax, and tweezers made from seashells! Clients now have access to waxing, sugaring, threading, hair removal creams, IPL, laser, and electrolysis. The options have increased because the hair removal market is huge. The transformation in available hair removal techniques over the past few decades is amazing.

The key to success in any field is finding a specialty. Professionals should choose their preferred method and become an expert, being sure their clients know they are the best in that field. Even with all the other options on the market, waxing is still the bread and butter of most salons. The industry is seeing more and more waxing bars or waxing-only salons open up as professionals realize the huge potential of hair removal and, specifically, waxing. Waxing has been around for thousands of years and has a permanent place in the industry because it is safe, effective, and attainable.

WAXING TOOLS
One of the biggest hurdles professionals specializing in waxing will face is deciding which wax to use. It is the most important tool in any waxing treatment. With so many waxes available, it is not surprising that professionals get overwhelmed or confused about what they should use. To make a truly informed choice, professionals need to look at resin – the core ingredient in wax. This ingredient is the base of all strip and hard waxes and is generally the first ingredient on the label. Usually, professionals are told natural is better, but when it comes to pine (tree) resin in waxes, unrefined resins can cause allergic reactions and product instability. Top-of-the-range synthetic resins are much safer, more consistent in batch-to-batch production, and easier for the professional to work with. High-quality synthetic resins are easy to color and fragrance and often appear fresh and clean. Pure white waxes can only be made from the best synthetic resins available. They provide the manufacturer with better quality control over the product and, in turn, give the professional confidence in the treatment being pic-2performed.

Considering synthetic waxes are a higher quality, professionals will notice that the price is also generally higher. It can be tempting to opt for a cheaper product, but one thing professionals cannot risk is the quality of their wax. Price should not deter them from a high-quality product. Paying that extra couple of dollars can make all the difference when it comes to securing repeat business and long-term clients. Using cheap waxes could ultimately cost the professional a lifelong client if they leave with irritated skin and substandard results.

When professionals assess their wax, they should ask themselves the following questions: "Does it grip the hairs? Is the consistency stringy? Does it smell of resin or chemicals? Is it dark and highly perfumed? Does it lift the skin?

Does it cause redness and irritation? Does it cause ingrown hairs or pimples?" If the professional answers "Yes" to one or more of these questions, they should look for a higher quality wax. Inferior waxes cause redness, irritation, and ingrown hairs and do not maintain temperature as well as a top-quality wax. Instead, look for a wax that is pliable, consistent, and nourishing on the skin; it should have a subtle aroma and remove hair properly.

quote-1Both hard and soft waxes are necessary for professionals to stock. A creamy hard wax is great for facial and intimate areas, whereas a clear soft wax is best for short and stubborn hairs. The professional should find a hard and soft wax that is right for them and stick with it.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the professional knowing what they want and what suits them best because the perfect fit for them could be completely unsuitable for another professional. It is important to pinpoint the aspects they like and dislike in a wax; it is worth putting in a little effort! Word of mouth, education, and wholesaler recommendations will get professionals about halfway; the other half comes from their own research and testing. If the professional is using a superior wax with a good reputation and is still experiencing difficulty, they should not jump ship too quickly, it may be their technique.

TECHNIQUE
While a professional's choice of wax is extremely important, proper waxing technique is crucial. Professionals can use the best wax in the world, but if they do not know how to use it or have a poor technique, their wax is not going to help. Using an incorrect waxing technique can cause serious damage to the client's skin, including unnecessary pain, skin lifting, and bruising. Waxing has a reputation for being painful, but with the right technique it does not have to be!

Clients are a great indicator of whether a professional's technique is good or bad. Do clients come back or let the professional know they did a great job? Do they bring friends? Word of mouth can be a professional's biggest asset or downfall in this industry. Clients are much more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience than a good one. If the professional has clients going out of their way to recommend the professional to their friends, they are most likely doing a good job! However, if professionals find that their business is predominantly walk-in clients that never come back, then they may need to invest in some further training.pic-3

Another indication that the professional's technique might need a little work is ingrown hairs. They generally occur after hair removal when dead skin cells accumulate and form a papule as the skin heals. Hair growing in this area gets trapped under the papule and is prevented from exiting the skin. Ingrown hairs and pimples are extremely common after any type of hair removal. Waxing can sometimes result in broken hairs, which, in turn, can result in more ingrown hairs.

Some people are prone to ingrown hairs, however, poor waxing techniques can substantially increase the amount and severity of ingrown hairs that clients suffer from. Speed waxing is a technique that involves applying wax to large areas at once to make it quicker. This technique can result in many hairs breaking at the surface instead of actually being pulled from the root. Professionals are better off working in smaller, more manageable sections so that they do not cause any unnecessary contraindications.

If the professional is treating an older client, they should be especially gentle as their skin can tear and bruise easily. Remember to always ask clients if they have started taking any new medication before each wax. A lot can change in four weeks and medication can play a factor in how a client's skin will react to a treatment. For a pregnant client, there are particular techniques and positions that need to be used. For example, heavily pregnant women cannot lay flat on their back; they need extra support and the professional needs to be able to maneuver them properly and as comfortably as possible.

For spa owners, training is a great way to gear staff up, improve morale, and re-energize the team as a whole. If they learn to love waxing because it is easy and they are doing it regularly, they will want to perform it, just like other services. It is important for professionals to attend refresher courses regularly. Professionals
in this industry are constantly learning and finding ways to improve, so it is important to keep up with the times.

There are plenty of refresher waxing courses and online training courses available, making it easy to brush up on waxing techniques. Find a company that offers one-on-one training, group sessions, and in-spa workshops where a good technique can be learned. Professionals have to like what they do enough to stay interested and passionate about continually updating their skills. The worst thing professionals can do is stop learning and get stuck in their ways. Whether it be technique, products, or technology, being open to learning new things is never a disadvantage.

It is the professional's job to do all they can to make a client's waxing experience, including the treatment itself and the results afterwards, as pleasant as possible. With a combination of having the correct technique and using the right products, professionals can minimize their clients' side-effects and ensure their waxing treatments are an experience clients will want to repeat!

quote-2WAXING TRICKS
When it comes to maintaining a spa, there are so many things that professionals need to get right to ensure it is profitable and running efficiently. It all comes down to working smarter, not harder. Not only will smarter decisions help save time on clean up, they will ultimately save money.

Many spas are still using calico strips or wasting time cutting them to size. Pre-cut strips are the perfect size and do not end up being any more expensive when professionals work out how long it takes someone to cut calico strips. If the strips rip or tear, the professional will need to use another one. If the strip has wax seeping through to the other side, it will need to be thrown out sooner; professionals should be able to do a half leg wax with just three strips if they use the strip in its entirety. If the professional's gloves tear, they will need fresh ones. If their spatulas split, they will go through them sooner. In all these instances, not only is the professional wasting money by using more consumables, but they are also wasting precious time! More often than not, cheap products will end up costing more due to poor quality or performance issues.

The same holds true for cleaning accessories. Professionals need good-quality cleaning solutions that require very little physical exertion and get the job done quickly.

A great money-saving trick is to find multiple uses for one product. For example, use the back of a used wax strip as a cleaning tool to remove wax residue from the client's body or waxing station. Simply fold the strip in on itself and spray the back of it with after-waxing oil or citrus cleaner. Now, something that was going into the trash has a new purpose as a cleaning tool. This tip can only be done with a good-quality strip as cheap strips tear easily and allow wax reside to seep through to the other side, which is not ideal and cannot be repurposed.

A good waxing trolley and room set up can make a huge difference! Ensuring the waxing room and trolley are laid out logically with everything the professional needs during the treatment will make their life so much easier!

A trolley on wheels is a must for any waxing room. For a small waxing room, push the bed against the wall and, as long as there is enough room to walk beside the bed and comfortably move the trolley around, that is all the professional needs.pic-4

The trolley should be set up with pre-care and post-care products hanging from the side while the hard and soft wax pots sit at the front. There is no need to reach over products to get to the wax – this situation only creates more clean up after each client. Furthermore, keep wax pots turned on throughout the day, even if there are no clients booked. When spas turn their pots off, they can potentially miss the opportunity of servicing walk-in clients or lose time waiting for their wax pots to heat up.

In order for professionals to ensure they are always ready to wax, they should purchase a timer. Timers are the simplest way to ensure that the wax pots automatically turn themselves on and save professionals at least 30 minutes every morning. With this tool, professionals will never have to remember to turn their wax pots on or off.

Be sure to top off the wax pot after each client either by pouring in more wax or adding a hard wax to melt. Having two separate wax heaters is an absolute must for spas that are serious about waxing. Double wax heaters are connected by the one thermostat, so even with two temperature dials, when professionals change one side, the other side will be affected. One side could be too hot and the other side could run too cold. Professionals should keep in mind that if one of the thermostats breaks, the whole heater is obsolete! Instead, they should look for a single heater that has the option of a hard and soft wax setup. Today, some heaters allow professionals to place the jar of wax in the heater without having to pour it into the insert; this feature can save time on cleaning. Being able to microwave waxes can also save the professional time and is especially practical for mobile professionals.

RETAIL AND EASY ADD-ONS
Many professionals struggle with retail. Retail products have a much higher profit margin than most spa services. They have the ability to increase the bottom line dramatically, which makes them a very important part of the business.

pic-5Many professionals feel like they are not working in retail and do not want to force their clients to buy something. Upselling retail products can be a challenge, especially when the client is already handing over money for their treatment. There is no need for professionals to stock every skin care, makeup, or lotion brand available; in fact, they should do the opposite. Professionals should be very specific in what they stock and find products that are actually going to help their clients at an affordable price point. If the professional is offering a solution to a problem, their clients will be eternally grateful, not annoyed, that they have recommended a product to help them.

Ingrown hair treatments, for example, are the perfect addition to any waxing treatment. A retail product, such as an ingrown hair serum, is best used after waxing as it can soothe irritated skin and help prevent ingrown hairs from occurring. For clients that suffer from infrequent ingrown hairs, professionals can recommend a targeted ingrown hair spot solution. It is ideal for healing ingrown hairs quickly and can also be used on pimples as it rapidly draws out the infection. These products are easy to upsell with any waxing treatment as they are a solution to a problem.

Another thing for professionals to consider is not just what they retail, but how much they retail it for. Price plays a huge factor in whether or not a product will sell successfully. Professionals are much more likely to upsell a $20 product rather than a $90 product. The key is to be sure to stock products that are affordable
to clients, yet still offer a reasonable profit margin for the professional.

Professionals should be sure they only choose products they believe in as it will make selling them much easier. Professionals will no longer feel like they are selling; instead, they are simply recommending products they know will be right for their client's needs. Their recommendation will start building a trusting retail relationship with their clients, which will ultimately lead to further retail sales.

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No matter what road professionals choose within the hair removal industry, one thing remains the same: hard work and commitment is vital for success. Professionals should always remember to perfect their technique, use only the best products, work smart, and be prepared to go above and beyond to help their clients. There really is not much more to it! So if waxing is where the professional's roots are, they should grab onto each hair like it is a new opportunity and do what they do best!

Lillian-CaronLilliane Caron is the founder and director of Waxxxpress USA. Known worldwide for her waxing techniques, she is dedicated to helping create better salons by delivering superior products, exceptional service, and industry-leading education. In her untiring quest to make beauty therapists' jobs easier, Caron continues to devote herself to salon innovation. Her success is attributed to a high standard of customer service, training, and customer support. Therapists can deliver every treatment in confidence knowing that Waxxxpress products care for the health, comfort, and well-being of their clients as they indulge in their
salon treatment.

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