Going to aesthetics school is like studying for a driver’s license. They cover the basics what applies most of the time – and then they give the license. However, becoming a great driver requires being in the driver’s seat frequently. Working in the spa industry works mostly the same way. When a professional gets their license, they know the basics, but the school does not prepare them for all the variables encountered when working. Recognizing the exceptions to the rules will give professionals the confidence they need to act accordingly, so they can become the best they can be.
PUT YOURSELF IN THE CLIENT’S SHOES
Think back to the first time you received a Brazilian wax. You were probably nervous, did not know what to expect, and maybe were even a bit fearful of the pain. You probably searched the internet for how to prepare for a Brazilian wax to make sure you did everything right and then got more nervous because of the sheer volume of tips (that often contradict each other). Some professionals talk about their clients – the people that keep them in business –like they are ignorant children that are not capable of following simple instructions. Their biggest sin? Shaving in between waxes. Of course, professionals all want their clients to have the best results, but what many seem to forget is that life happens. Feeling sexy for a hot date or confident for a fun beach trip is more important to clients than sticking to a rigid beauty regimen.
REAPING THE BENEFITS
The professional cannot force a client to stop shaving between waxes, but they can show them the benefits of regular waxing. Regular waxing weakens the follicle and, therefore, slows down hair growth making the hair thinner and sparser. Regular waxing also ensures all hairs are in the anagen phase when they get removed, leaving the client with a smoother result that lasts longer. Regular waxing even makes the whole process less uncomfortable over time. But, for some people, those benefits do not outweigh having a flexible beauty routine. Sometimes, the professional may forget that waxing might not be on a client’s minds as much as it is on theirs.
Looking at clients, how many are actually on a perfect waxing routine? Chances are that over 80% of waxing clients are seasonal or occasional waxers. They get waxed in the summer, when they go on holiday and cannot be bothered to shave every day, or when they have a special anniversary coming up and want to surprise their spouse. Not many people are so wax-adapted that they reap all the benefits. If the professional considers that it takes up to four months for a client to get all those benefits, the professional might even come to the conclusion that for most clients it does not matter if they shave or not. Summer will end without them ever reaching that perfect stage and they will go back to shaving.
As a quick refresher, the hair growth cycle is made up of four phases: anagen, cathagen, telogen, and exogen phase. The anagen phase, in which hair is connected to the hair papilla and is actively growing, can last up to seven years and 80% to 90% of all body hair is in this stage at any time. The cathagen phase, or the transition phase, is when the hair stops growing and detaches from the papilla. This phase only lasts two to three weeks. The next phase is the telogen phase, or resting phase, in which the hair sits still in the follicle. This phase lasts about three months and 10% to 15% of all body hair is in this stage at any time. During the telogen phase, a new hair begins to grow from the underlying hair papilla. The final and lesser known stage of hair growth is the exogen phase, when the hair detaches from the follicle and sheds.
For the smoothest and longest – lasting result, it is important that the client has as many hairs as possible in the anagen phase. The effect on hair growth that shaving has compared to waxing is best illustrated in an analogy.
The different hair growth stages are all driving their cars on the highway. Anagen is in the fast lane, cruising along, cathagen and telogen are stuck in traffic in the middle lanes, and exogen is slowly but steadily taking the exit. If red traffic lights are put up (meaning shaving) all cars get cut off at the same point and traffic builds up behind the lights. Once it goes green again, cathagen and telogen are basically parked while traffic builds up behind them. Anagen keeps driving at the previous pace and exogen takes the exit, giving room to the driver behind them. There are always cars in every lane in front of the traffic lights, so when a client shaves, every follicle has a hair in it at all times, meaning it never takes long for prickly hair and stubble to show up.
Now, with waxing, instead of putting a red light in front of all the cars, they basically get airlifted out of their lanes. The ones that were sitting still in traffic are gone, leaving the road clear for new cars driving at a steady pace. With anagen out of the way, that lane is completely clear. The only car in sight is the driver that was sitting behind exogen. Meaning that when hair grows back after waxing, only a few hairs will be visible.
When switching from shaving to waxing, it takes at least three waxing treatments before all the old hair is removed and all new hair is in the anagen phase. Some hairs will be too short to be picked up by the wax and other hairs might still be in the resting phase. As stated before, the resting phases (cathagen and telogen) last about three weeks and three months respectively. After shaving, these hairs will gradually move to the exogen phase until they are long enough to be waxed. This process takes about three to four months. That is why it is totally fine if a client wants to shave in the first weeks after their first couple of waxes – they are only shaving hairs that are in the exogen phase. They have to stop shaving three to four weeks before their next wax, otherwise the hair will not be long enough.
Sticking to a waxing routine is not just a client’s responsibility. It is just as much the professional’s responsibility. If you want waxing to be the go-to method of hair removal for a client, make sure that they love everything about it. From the technique to using the right wax to minimizing the awkward positions clients are put in and proper after care – it all adds up to a positive experience that the client will want to repeat.
USING THE RIGHT TOOLS AND TECHINQUES
First time wax clients are often worried about the pain that is associated with waxing and about the embarrassing positions they might be put in. Using the right technique will minimize any discomfort they might experience. For instance, consider a technique that does not require the client to hold their legs in the air or be on all fours. They can even keep their legs closed for more than 80% of the treatment. Combine that with using the right wax for the job and the client will be able to relax and enjoy their treatment. Consider combining strip wax and hard wax when waxing a Brazilian: strip wax for waxing the outer areas like the bikini line and the pubic bone and hard wax on the inner areas like the labia and anus. A synthetic wax with titanium dioxide is the gentlest option, as it does not stick to the skin and will not cause a histamine reaction like its natural counterparts. If applied correctly, a creamy, hard wax will warm the follicles, making it easier and less painful to remove hair completely, without breaking. Most importantly, using the right wax and the right technique will give the professional confidence when waxing a Brazilian and that is something that clients will notice from the minute they walk into the room.
PRE- AND POST-TREATMENTS
A client that is happy with the results, but also with the whole experience, is a client that will return. Waxing may be the house-keeping side of the beauty business, but it is still a spa treatment and clients will appreciate a little bit of TLC. There are great products to use during a Brazilian that offer relief to the client and make the professional’s job easier at the same time, like pre– and post-wax products and wax setting sprays. Do not forget to give the client a good run-down of proper after care. A good result does not stop at the spa; there is some maintenance involved in keeping smooth, hairless skin for longer.
MAKE SURE THE CLIENT COMES BACK
Another technique to ensure a client sticks to their waxing routine is to book their next appointment right there and then. This gives a feeling of commitment, which helps to ensure they come in for their second wax. A good loyalty program is very effective, like giving the sixth wax for free, offering an ingrown hair serum for cost price with every Brazilian wax, or giving discounts on products and treatments when rebooking. The most important thing is to be available when a client needs you, so they do not have to resort to shaving.
If all else fails, and a client expresses that they simply cannot make it until the next wax without shaving, give the client advice on what the least detrimental options are for their routine.
Shaving Only Exposed Areas
Being hairless, especially as a woman, is still the social norm. Understand that a lot of people already feel quite uncomfortable when they are in a bikini and they do not need the added worry of unwanted hair sticking out the sides. They just want to enjoy the beach. If a client can stick to shaving only the areas where hair sticks out from under their bikini and let the rest of the hair grow out until their next wax, there is hardly any damage done to the cycle. The client will have to make sure to exfoliate before shaving and to use a sharp razor. This helps prevent ingrown hairs from forming.
For clients with light skin and very dark, coarse hair, bleaching might be a solution to extend the time between waxing. Light hair is less noticeable against fair skin, so when it comes to enjoying a day at the beach, bleaching might be a quick and easy solution.
Use Products That Slow Down Hair Growth
Partially shaving and bleaching both do not cut it when it is an anniversary or Valentine’s Day. For occasions like these, it is important to plan and book a client’s next waxing appointment as close to that date as possible. There are great products on the market that slow down hair growth just enough to tie them over to their next wax.
We must be flexible and work with clients and not against them. Yes, they might be right and yes, the professional knows what is best for clients, but in the end it is their body and their choice. If professionals give their clients a great waxing experience and explain the benefits of being wax-adapted, they have done their part. It is not about being right, it is about doing the right thing and clients will make the right decision.
Lilliane Caron is the founder and director of Caronlab Australia. Known worldwide for her waxing techniques, she has dedicated herself to her motto “for a better salon” by delivering superior products, exceptional service, and industry-leading education. But, Caron is about more than just wax. In her untiring quest to make beauty professionals’ 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. Professionals can deliver every treatment in confidence knowing that Caronlab Australia’s products care for the health, comfort, and well-being of their clients as they indulge in their salon treatment.