Who knew wax is actually an acronym for “without any experience.” Perhaps that is why big brand and beauty supply stores that service the public thought it was a good idea to offer wax to the general consumer (insert Youtube at-home waxing disaster video). The irony, is in the professional arena, intimate wax takes an incredible amount of experience and safety and would not be addressed in a three-page pamphlet. Is there a career in waxing alone? Depending on skill level skill and confidence in the product, service, and space, waxing for artistry can be incredibly lucrative.
According to Transparency Market Research, the waxing industry is set to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% annually from now until 2026, with North America being 25% of that growth. The dual benefits of offering this service are instant gratification with each pull, revealing slippery smooth surfaces, and steep profit margins considering waxing costs. Pubic hair removal, referred to as Brazilians, the Hollywood, or the Sphinx, have been increasingly more requested as swimsuits cover less and body hair is no longer mainstream.
Do not discredited male counterparts as potential clients. The male to female ratio is about one to eight as they are joining in the love of unfurnished basements and a deep appreciation for not having to groom themselves.
Men remove hair for various reasons, including athletics, hygiene, and confidence. Knowing how to perform these services on either gender is no longer potential future understanding, but instant expectation from clients and employers alike. We are in the epitome of living out loud with social media, so professionals not only need to blend the skill, with knowing how to market themselves, but also receive public praise – or worse disapproval – on various platforms. Beyond the skill itself lies a need for verbiage no one taught professionals in the game of Operation – open communication with clients and proper tools and tactics.
Technical verbiage is the area where the industry differs the most, starting with the fact that professionals are waxing the vulva. Most say vagina when, in fact, they mean vulva. It is also intriguing how professionals made the leap to words referencing food or animals. Names like snake, one eyed willie, taco, cookie, beaver, kitty, hooha, or the dreaded p-word are a few of the top contenders, none of which appreciate a professional’s skillset, nor build the client’s self-esteem, which is already shot when they are on the treatment table. There are over 159 slang terms for the nether region, most of which ebb and flow with generations and the Kardashian’s latest self-discovery, but the anatomical eight are all that are needed – vulva, labia, perineum, mons pubis, mons venus, anus, scrotum, and penis.
Communication really is key as no one likes awkward silence. Before the appointment, the front of the house or receptionist should explain some pre-wax instructions for the client. This includes telling them how long is too long, how short is too short, and how to prepare for the service – meaning showering and exfoliating the morning of or day prior, but not right before. Professionals know that dry or brittle hair will break off at surface level, preventing that smooth feeling, and will have the client needing another appointment in a week. As this is a lunchtime service for many, keeping intimate wipes in the treatment room helps everyone. The professional should help the client plan their outfit accordingly, because wearing a romper to the appointment will have them needing to disrobe completely. It is also not the day for silk or denim, especially if tight fitting.
Waxing will expose their pores to the elements, so for both ladies and gentlemen, if they approve, recommend they go commando post-wax with loose fitted, breathable fabric. Intimate waxing is anything but, it is the professional’s job to set the tone with a strong consultation and good liability insurance. The waxing of soft tissue can result in bleeding, tearing, or bruising depending on the professional and the client’s history. That is not information a professional wants to discover after a disastrous pull. The top of the pubic bone, the mons pubis, known as simply mons for the boys and venus for the girls, should be discussed if any remnant of hair will be left behind in the form of a rectangle or popularly known as the landing strip or triangle.
POSITIONING MALE CLIENTS
Discuss different poses that are preferred and see if they can safely and comfortably get into them. Some clients, based on their biological gender, will require a tweak to the usual go-to move and it is better to know that going in. For clients that are biologically male – as almost all of them remove the hair completely – discussing shape is usually moot. Discuss needing to move the penis, usually with a small drape or towel to access the hair on the mons, and that their help may be needed. Remind them that the scrotum is curved and textured and needs to be held taut, and there is a lot of moving around to achieve the narrow sections in order to do it safely and effectively.
Address the white elephant in the room that an erection is common and when it happens, it is no big deal. Also remind the client that a true Brazilian includes the anus, so there are no surprises on the back end. Some male services even include the lower back and are named the back, sack, and crack – but that is discretionary.
Men’s grooming, male brazilian, brozilian, and manscaping are what most spas title their services. Most spas choose quirky names as code words, so it is not super obvious for other clients around them to hear what service they are trying to book. Removing hair can include the thighs, outer mons, and perhaps the top of the mons or venus, so the hair stays hidden while wearing modest underwear or briefs. Another is the modified bikini, taking the shape inward, following a slenderer under garment, and can include the mons or venus, but still no labia, scrotum, anus, or perineum.
PRICING AND DURATION
When it comes to pricing, support a “starting at” structure, with a flat rate increase to differentiate new talent from a senior waxer and maintenance services from a first-time client. Demographics play a huge role in determining this figure, as nationally they range from $40 to $120. Block out anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes of time. The entire process can seem lengthy, especially when it includes an organic conversation with the client. Highlight the benefit of sticking with the same waxer, so they can skip the introduction next time.
When they are finally ready to get on the table, do not step out of the room. This service takes confidence, so most senior waxers simply turn around and check the temperature of the wax while the client disrobes.
Some professionals do not do draping with female Brazilians, as it simply hinders the speed and efficiency, but it cannot exactly be worded that way for the client. If a client asks for a drape, it means the professional has not established trust. The professional often forgets that the client needs reassurance – this is the profession and the client’s pain is not the professional’s pleasure. Discuss familiarity with fidgeting, fussing, or the F-word, and remind clients that the professional may have short term memory when it comes to the client’s own genitalia. This will determine their comfort and, therefore, acceptance of baring it all for a stranger.
TOOLS AND TACTICS
Pubic hair will differ based on genetics, but the professionals agree: products and tools will ultimately determine one’s rise or fall in this industry. The professional needs a product that will work on dense and coarse hair, as well as thin and fine hair. There are countless brands of professional wax, including those now focusing on sustainability as vegan wax comes to the forefront. Double heaters (preferably with big enough basins that do not require a refill after every other client) and hydraulic tables (for ergonomics to save the professional’s own anatomy) will pay for themselves in the long run. Having products ready for high volume, antiseptics, and skin cleansers in spray bottles and powder in those clear, ketchup squeeze bottles will help efficiency.
Start with the mons or venus and corpse pose is comfortable and easily achieved. For the labia, or scrotum, use supine butterfly. Supine figure four is better if slower with technique and frog pose if they are plus size. When working on the thighs and labia, applying wax in the shape of js, ls, or hockey sticks will ensure no flicking or pulling from dense hair.
Practice application with a peach after the pit has been removed or a fleshy orange cut in half. It is very easy to visualize the female anatomy when looking at this fleshy fruit. For the anus, tabletop pose is easy for all – it is the same as cow pose. A “simple twist” or “happy baby” are alternatives and will prevent the professional from having to say “doggy style.” While working in this area, it is quite common for a client, especially after giving birth, to have skin tags and hemorrhoids and, as one can imagine, with some of the positions needed, unavoidably, the professional may experience a toot from time to time – sometimes with a waft of freshly applied powder billowing into the air. They are usually not unaware, so be sure to tell the client it happens all the time. They are usually far more embarrassed than the professional is and avoiding it altogether makes it awkward for both. While the professionals are limited to the number of times they can go over an area, if any hair was missed and the professional notices, the client will notice as well. Simply communicate the multiple hair growth phases, point out where and why some hair is left behind, and tell them it will be gone the next time. If both parties are satisfied, remove any residue with a cooled four-by-four, tweeze if preferred, and spritz on a soothing tonic.
One of the best ways to boost the spa’s bottom line with waxing is with education. Strangely, the service itself has seen little evolution in the last 5,000 years, but that does not mean a waxing strategy from even five years ago is relevant today.
The hair removal industry dictates that the professional delivers not only a service, but an experience, which is why people vote with their dollar currently. Post-graduate classes will leave the professional with the latest techniques and a fresh perspective, ready to de-fuzz the masses. The professional can offer designs in the form of hearts, arrows, dollar signs, and even vajazzling. Throw on a temporary tattoo specifically designed for intimate waxing and it becomes a walking business card. As the professional’s skillset increases, so should their service price, along with a decrease in the time it takes to perform, so when met with sticker shock, explain the price is for the time spent learning and perfecting, not the amount of time it takes to perform. It is hard to devalue the professional at that point.
There is a clear message here: pubic waxing is here to stay. In addition to being quantifiable, a proficient waxer is likely to produce upwards of $90,000 in revenue, as waxing allows for self-driven raises which create longevity and retention.
Make this a long-term goal, whether a new graduate, waxing wizard, booth renter, franchisee, or employee of a spa owner. It is no longer just about the wax – it is about self-empowerment and strengthening an industry one pull at a time. Lastly, remember to take care of yourself because the only thing that should be spread thin is the wax.
Trisha Dowling is a National Aesthetics Institute graduate and was a service provider for the Forbes Five Star Spa at the Phoenician/ Scottsdale 2005 to 2014. Dowling was also a lead trainer for Massage Envy – Desert Massage from 2013 to 2015 and “Aesthetician of the Year.” She found her forever home with Aveda Inspire Greatness Institute of Phoenix as their department lead and head instructor.