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Waxing Hair Removal 101

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Woman Waxing Her Legs
Adam Gault/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Waxing hair removal uses a resin-based wax like product to remove the entire hair follicle from the root. Results can last up to six weeks.

How Does it Work?

Wax on. A warm wax mixture is spread over hair in the direction of its growth and a paper or cloth strip is then placed on top of soft wax. Hard wax doesn't require a strip because it cools solid enough, and becomes a strip in itself. Cold wax is usually already applied to pre-made strips, but a little friction over it helps generate some heat for wax to soften and better adhere to the hair.

Wax off. Once wax has slightly cooled or has grasped enough to the hair, it’s pulled off in the opposite direction of hair growth. The entire hair follicle should be removed from the root, if the waxing is done correctly.

The Pros

  1. Overall, it can be done fairly quickly. It’s not as fast as shaving, but each hair doesn’t have to be individually removed like in tweezing. Wax can be spread over large amounts of hair, and removed all at once. For example, an esthetician experienced waxing hair can get both full legs (ankle up to bikini line) done in about an hour.

  2. Wax at-home or make an appointment. Entire waxing kits, supplies and even videos can be found at your local beauty supply store. (Be aware of conditions or circumstances in which you shouldn't wax, watch a video so you know what you’re doing, and follow all waxing instructions.) Or you can get a professional service, offered at most salons and spas.

  3. Temporary results can turn into permanent. Over time, frequent waxing can cause the hair follicle to become damaged, and stop growing hair.

The Cons

  1. You have to be hairy before getting smooth. About one quarter of an inch of hair is needed for the wax to adhere, which is approximately 3-4 weeks of hair growth.

  2. Results last for a couple weeks. Waxing can keep an area hair-free for up to 6 weeks, but be back in as little as 2 weeks. Sure, that’s much longer compared to shaving. But that can seem all too soon, once you have paid a pretty penny for a professional service, or took the time and effort to wax yourself.

  3. Lack of knowledge or cleanliness can lead to disaster. If waxing contraindications(circumstances or conditions when you shouldn't get waxed) are simply unknown or ignored, skin could end up extremely red, burned and even become scabby. Salons or spas not adhering to safe and sanitary waxing procedures could give a client a skin infection, or even a disease.

  4. It's not as easy as it looks. The inexperienced often find waxing hair removal messy, slow and difficult. They usually end up breaking a lot of hair above or below the surface, instead of removing the entire hair follicle from the root. Hair will grow back much quicker if it's only broken, and not removed.

  5. You can only wax on, wax off once. When you wax an area and all of the hair doesn't come off, you shouldn't try to wax over it again, or skin can become irritated or even bleed. That can be pretty frustrating if large patches of hair are left, so you'll have to tweeze or shave them.

Waxing Hair Removal Costs

At Home: Waxing hair removal kits cost $25 - $100.

Professional: There is a wide range of pricing based on where the facility is located and type of salon or spa. A 15 - 20% gratuity on your total bill is customary and suggested.

Face:
  • Eyebrow (both eyebrows, including in-between) $8 - $50
  • Lip (skin right above upper lip) $5 - $25
  • Sides of Face (side burn area) $5 - $18
  • Chin $5 - $25
Body:
  • Underarms $18 - $40
  • Chest $40 - $120
  • Shoulders $20 - $40
  • Full Arm (wrist to shoulder- both arms) $35 - $70
  • Half Arm (wrist to elbow or elbow to shoulder- both arms) $15 - $40
  • Back $35 - $100
  • Bikini $19 - $75
  • Brazilian Bikini $55 - $100
  • Half Leg (ankle to knee or knee to thighs, not including bikini- both legs) $30 - $55
  • Full Leg (ankle to thighs, not including bikini- both legs) $45 - $100
Related Video
Hair Removal: See the Waxing Technique
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