With the pain associated with waxing it's surprising that so many people actually choose to include it as part of their beauty regime! However there are lots of advantages to being waxed, so those who do decide to get waxed regularly obviously find the benefits outweigh the discomfort. In fact, the discomfort of being waxed is usually exaggerated, and as long as you visit a professional beauty therapist or waxing salon the 'pain' should only last a few seconds at most, and as they say ... no pain, no gain! Most beauticians will swear it's only a slight discomfort – but if you're new to waxing you may want to start off slowly e.g. with an eyebrow wax!
Some of the advantages include: large areas of unwanted hair being removed quickly to reveal a smooth area of skin, regrowth of hairs being finer and softer and the freedom from unwanted hair for long periods of time (usually about 4-6 weeks). You need to ensure the minimum length of the hair to be waxed is about 0.75cm to 1cm so that the wax will easily remove it. As your hair grows a different times, even after the best wax you may be left with fine, short hairs which had not grown long enough to be grabbed hold of and pulled out by the wax.
What is the waxing process?
Whether offering waxing for men or women, your appointment at a waxing salon will usually involve the following, firstly the beautician will cleanse the area you're having waxed – usually with a specially formulated lotion. Talc is sometimes sprinkled over sensitive areas (such as the bikini area) to prevent the wax from sticking to the skin as well as the hairs. The beauty therapist will then apply a generous amount of wax to a wooden spatula and smooth over the desired area. Fabric strips will carefully be placed over the wax and left on for a few seconds at most.
The beautician at your waxing salon will rip the strip off with a quick, smooth movement to pull the hairs completely out from their roots and you'll experience a short pain for a couple of seconds, and then a stinging sensation for a few more. Usually the more experienced the beautician, the less the waxing will hurt, but it can also depend on the type of hairs you have and your pain threshold! After the desired area is hair free, a smoothing lotion (often tee tree) is applied to soothe the skin and ease the stinging.
Which parts of my body can be waxed?
You should be able to find a waxing salon that will wax almost any part of your body, however these are the most common parts:
You can opt for a full leg wax, a half leg wax or even a three quarter leg wax depending on how hairless you want to be! Many salons will also offer a discounted leg and bikini area.
A full arm wax or half arm wax are both possible. A half arm wax involves waxing the arm to just above the elbow (which is usually where most of the hairs are on the arms). An underarm wax is also available for women that don't like shaving, or don't want to shave regularly.
Bikini wax (Brazilian wax or Hollywood wax)
Women can opt for a standard bikini wax, a Brazilian wax or a Hollywood wax. A standard bikini wax involves waxing any excess hair that would show outside of a bikini or underwear – and the beautician will usually ask if you'd like to remove any extra hair e.g. another cm inside your bikini or underwear. If you are just having a standard bikini wax then the beautician will normally ask you to position your underwear to where you would like the waxing. Once they have taken hair from the sides of your bikini area they will also ask you if would like some hair removed from the top too.
A Brazilian (also called the 'landing strip'!) leaves a natural looking central strip of hair. This gives the freedom to wear even the most revealing bikini or lingerie and many women opt for this to give a clean, groomed appearance. You may have to wear a paper thong if you visit a salon, but often you'll be asked to just remove your underwear if you go for a Brazilian.
A Hollywood wax removes all pubic hair. Prepare to be waxed thoroughly if you opt for this! If you're a wax virgin it may be worth trying out a standard bikini wax or Brazilian before you attempt a Hollywood wax!
You can have a lip and/or chin wax, an eyebrow wax or even a full face wax (lip, chin, jaw and cheeks) if you prefer. An eyebrow wax will usually begin with a consultation on a suitable eyebrow shape.
Waxing for men - Back/Chest wax
Men with lots of back hair or particularly hairy chests may decide to get them waxed. Or even if they're not overly hairy, they may just prefer a smoother appearance (or their other halves might!) Men can also have a 'back, sack & crack' wax - which will leave the whole area smooth and completely hairless.
How much does waxing cost?
The price of wax depends mostly on the area that you want waxed and the amount of hair on that area. For example a full leg wax could cost you around £20 - £35 but an eyebrow wax would usually be around £6 - £10. Many salons will offer deals if you are getting more than one area of your body waxed, or if you buy your waxing sessions in bulk. Be sure to ask whether this applies when you talk to your beauty therapist.
There are home waxing products available, and these can work out cheaper, but on the downside the process can get very messy and it is easy to miss spots when you wax yourself.
Waxing for men can be more expensive as their hair tends to be more coarse, thicker and there is usually a lot more of it. Men can expect to pay between £10 - £60 for various waxing treatments. The more hair being taken off or the bigger the area, the higher the cost.
- Don't book a waxing appointment the week after your period as you'll be extra sensitive
- Have a bath before having a wax to open your hair follicles and make the process easier but don’t have a bath for at least 24 hours after a wax, a shower will be ok though
- Try not to use products on your skin once you have had a wax as the skin will be extra sensitive
- Wear loose clothing when going for your wax to make you more comfortable afterwards
- Some beauticians recommended you take a couple of paracetamol before your appointment to help dull the pain
- Exfoliate the desired area regularly - you'll achieve better results when waxed
- Check the salon is hygienic and fresh bed covering and wax supplies are used for each customer
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