Hair Removal Essentials

Written by Heather Fowler, L.E.

With advances in hair removal options and technology over the years, it is important for skin care professionals, new and seasoned, to understand the options available to clients inside and outside the treatment room, as well as how to market hair removal services year-round.

Clients want to achieve soft, smooth, and hair-free skin, and not just for swimsuit season. Investing time to learn new techniques and methods will ensure that you are abreast with an ever changing market! As skin care professionals, we will primarily focus on how to provide safe and comfortable waxing services.
With the client’s desire for quick, comfortable, and lasting hair removal services, the question arises – how can you provide your clients with the best solution to match their individual needs? Gain an understanding of a few options available for hair removal, as well as how you can provide waxing services in a safe and comfortable manner!

The Pros and Cons of Waxing
Waxing removes hair from the root, leaving skin soft and fuzz-free for a longer period than with just depilation methods. Since hair is removed from the root, it must travel through the follicle before reaching the skin’s surface where it can be seen and felt. For clients desiring smooth, hair-free skin for a longer period of time, waxing is a great option.
Since hair must be at least a quarter-inch long for effective hair removal, clients must be willing to commit to growing their hair out at three to four week intervals, perhaps longer, depending on hair re-growth. That means there will be a period of time when hair is going to be visible and felt. Also, most people can expect to experience some level of discomfort with waxing services, since hair is being removed from the root.

Clients on certain medications, or with sensitive skin types, may be contraindicated to waxing services, or more prone to skin lifting. It is important to have an up-to-date health history of clients to determine if waxing is an appropriate service for them. Along with performing a visual inspection of the skin, be sure to ask vital questions or have your client fill out a health history form to cover yourself and to protect them. Potential contraindications could be many topical and oral medications: adapalene, avage, benzyl peroxide, differin, epiduo, tazorac, tazarotene, alustra, avita, retin A, renova, isotretinoin, tretinoin, clindamycin, doxycycline, accutane (one year), isotretinoin, tetracycline, minocycline, or erythromucin.
When considering whether or not to perform waxing services for a client, it is important for skin care professionals to consider and be cautious of a few things. Find out if they have had recent: exposure to sun or a tanning bed; sunburn; dehydrated skin; use of alpha hydroxyl acids, beta hydroxyl aids, retinol, acne medications, or antibiotics; laser resurfacing within one year or a physician-administered chemical peel within two years; a light chemical peel or microdermabrasion within one week; or if the client is diabetic.

quoteHard Versus Soft Wax
Hard wax is commonly used as an alternative to strip (soft) wax for small or sensitive areas, although some find it useful for large areas as well. What makes hard wax different from soft wax is that no pellon or muslin is used to remove the wax. When applying hard wax, a thicker amount of wax is applied to skin than with soft wax, which keeps borders thicker for easier removal. I recommend creating a tab at the bottom of where you will be removing the wax or purchasing special tabs made for hard wax to prevent having to flick up on the wax, which can be painful for the client. Once the wax sets and cools, it is ready to be removed. Since hard wax sits on the skin and shrink wraps around the hair, it does not pull on skin in the same way soft wax does, which is why this wax is great for sensitive areas like the face and bikini.
Soft wax comes in varying forms – honey, gel, or cream – and is applied with a spatula in the same direction of hair growth. Soft wax is generally used to remove hair from large areas of the body. After applying the wax, a pellon or muslin strip is applied on top, firmly pressed onto the skin, and removed in the opposite direction of hair growth. When removing soft and hard wax, never lift up as this can bruise and damage your client’s skin. Rather, remove at a 45-degree angle while holding skin taut to prevent pulling on the skin and bruising.

Good Technique
At times, waxing can get skin care professionals into sticky situations! For this reason, I cannot stress enough to obtain professional training and practice! Learning proper application and removal techniques will prevent having to break bad habits. Learn and master a good waxing technique and earn the trust of a very loyal clientele. From the moment a client walks into a treatment room, they can sense fear, tension, and uncertainty. To be a confident waxer, it is essential to not only learn a good technique, but to practice the waxing technique until it is perfected!
Here are some simple tips to help prevent a sticky situation!

  • Temperature Control – Varying factors can cause the temperature of a wax pot to be either too hot or too cool. It needs to be room temperature, or spas should have multiple waxing services throughout the day. Slowly lowering the level of the amount of wax can cause temperatures to vary. It should be a habit at the beginning and end of each service to check the wax pot temperature. Overheating wax can deteriorate and compromise the integrity of the wax. If the wax changes color or consistency, it has been overheated and should be replaced.
  • Preparation – For a smooth, quick and efficient waxing service, skin care professionals should have all tools and supplies prepared in advance. It is important to keep a supply of pre-cut wax strips for face and body, as well as disposable waxing sticks, scissors, cotton rounds, or gauze and gloves ready and easily accessible. Perhaps there will be a client scheduled for another service and there will be time to spare after their scheduled service. Why not offer them an eye shaping or upper lip wax while they are there? 
  • Sanitation – Clients are spa savvy and are certainly watching spa’s sanitation practices. Let us get one big elephant out of the room – double dipping. Just do not do it! The most obvious reason being that it will simply call into question the spa’s professional integrity and cleanliness in the client’s mind. With word of mouth and online customer reviews, the last thing you want is your level of professionalism being forever marked on an online review as an aesthetician who double dips and is not sanitary. Remember, after one dip, ditch the stick. 
  • Keep Calm – There is nothing more frightening than an unsteady hand when it comes to hair removal. All skin care professionals have been in a sticky situation where we just simply have a brief moment of panic where the wax just did not do what we wanted, was too hot, too cold, or we simply questioned how to remove it from a tough spot! Even the most talented and seasoned waxers have experienced a waxing mishap. In these situations, remember to keep calm, composed, and confident to earn the client’s trust. I have seen aestheticians go into panic mode and completely ruin a service that was easily salvageable if they had just taken a moment to think through the service and then proceed. Confidence is key; no one wants a waxer who is unsure and insecure. Again, the key to confidence is honing in on proper application and removal techniques for a quick service with minimal discomfort. If you want to have a loyal returning clientele, remember to keep calm.

With a smart and nimble marketing strategy, skin care professionals can have a constant flow of clients year- round for hair removal services! When marketing hair removal services, keep in mind the location and clientele desired. Do not forget to market hair removal services for men and invite them to try out an eyebrow cleanup, ensuring him that you will maintain his masculinity! Adding services specific to men on treatment menus will appeal to male clients. Consider adding the following services, specifically for men, to peak their interest: eyebrow clean up, nose, ear area, neck line, chest, or
back waxing.

Heather-Fowler2015Heather Fowler found herself in the skin care industry in 2011 as a licensed aesthetician after struggling with skin issues herself and being frustrated with spa treatments that seemed lacking in scientific, naturally-derived products. Since then, Fowler has tirelessly worked to launch international product line marketing campaigns, education literature, product development, and brand strategy. As business development manager for Skin Fitness Therapy, she serves as a national educator and brand manager, specializing in advanced, corrective skin care. Her expertise in marketing, merchandising, menu, and treatment development has led to successful partnerships and relationships with many licensed aestheticians, spas, and medical facilities.

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