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Waxing and Hair Removal Tips and FAQs

Why waxing?

Waxing is one of the most effective hair removal methods out there – not only does it get rid of hair in the short term, but it also gradually works on weakening hair follicles and slowing/reducing hair growth over the long term.

Since it pulls hair out at the root (unlike surface hair removal methods like shaving or depilatory creams), it is also longer-lasting. In addition, there are little to no side-effects with waxing if it is done right – none of the rashes that might come with depilatory creams, for example, or the nicks, cuts and stubble you might have to deal with as a result of shaving, which lead to prickliness, irritation, and excessive ingrown hairs.

Waxing results in smooth, clean skin that remains hair-free for weeks on end.

Are there any risks/precautions associated with waxing?

While waxing is generally safe, there are certain precautions to keep in mind. Waxing is generally not recommended for people with diabetes, varicose veins, rosacea, phlebitis, poor circulation, and any condition that causes the skin to become thin and sensitive, thus increasing the risk of infection. It is also not safe for individuals suffering from diseases such as lupus and AIDS, or receiving treatment for cancer.

Waxing may also be unsafe if you are pregnant, on birth control, using blood thinners, taking hormone replacement pills, using Accutane, or on prescription acne medication.

It is also unsafe to wax areas that are inflamed, irritated, sunburned, have body piercings, have rashes/moles/warts, or are being treated with Botox, Retin-A/Differin/Renova or any powerful skin exfoliators. Areas that have recently undergone sun exposure for tanning (both real and fake) or have already been waxed during the past 24 hours should also not be waxed.

If you have any doubts whatsoever, please consult with your doctor before getting a wax, and also alert your esthetician about any conditions you might have beforehand (this includes any allergies you might have, so the waxing professional can ensure that the wax contains no ingredients that might be harmful for you).

Which areas of the body can I wax?

Wax can safely be used for hair removal on various areas of the body – these include legs, arms, underarms, bikini line, eyebrows, face (for women), chest, and back. When in doubt (and sometimes even when you’re fairly certain), it is always advisable to do a patch test, to gauge skin sensitivity and the suitability of the wax.

However, some areas which are completely unsafe and always a no-go when it comes to waxing includes beards, the insides of ears and noses, eyelashes, and male genitals. In addition, keep in mind the precautions mentioned in the question above (Are there any risks/precautions associated with waxing?). For certain areas, you can always just use a tweezer.

Is waxing painful?

Pain is subjective and depends on each individual’s pain threshold. Waxing pulls hair out by the root, so there is a certain degree of pain involved. However, using good quality wax (particularly good waxing beans) and employing the correct technique (or just going to an experienced professional for your wax) can minimize the pain to a great extent.

If you are particularly sensitive to the pain, you can use a numbing cream, or try distracting yourself with deep breathing, music, conversation, etc. Also keep in mind that the first time will probably hurt the most – if you develop a regular waxing routine, you will find that the pain will gradually reduce, and start to seem like nothing more than a slight pinch at most. Meanwhile, for a particularly painless experience, there’s always waxing beads to turn to.

How long do waxing results last?

A properly done wax can last from anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks. However, how long your wax lasts also depends on a number of factors such as individual traits and hair regrowth patterns, where your hair was in the hair regrowth cycle when it was waxed, the regularity/frequency of your waxes, and the quality of the wax you use. The weather can also make a difference, as hair grows back faster in summer as opposed to winter.

For more info, read our guide on how long waxes last and tips to increase their longevity.

Can I use wax for facial hair removal?

Yes – however, certain types of wax can be too harsh for the face, so use gentle cream waxes for the face, or waxing beans with nourishing, moisturizing, and soothing ingredients like chamomile, lavender or aloe vera. In addition, do not wax your face if you are using Accutane or anti-aging products that contain retinol.

Since the face is such a sensitive area, it is essential to follow the correct procedure. Make sure your hair is the right length to be waxed (not less than ¼ inch long), and always start with a clean and powdered face when you begin waxing. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth, and pull the wax strip/patch off against the direction of hair growth. Do not wax the same area twice (use tweezers to get rid of any leftover hairs), and always follow up with an aloe-based gel or cream when you are done, to soothe the skin and help it heal.

On a related note, a word of advice – do not use cold wax strips for the face, as these can be highly ineffective and lead to you ripping the skin off your face. When it comes to facial hair removal, stick to heated waxes.

How to get wax off skin after hair removal?

Those pesky sticky patches of leftover wax, post-wax session, can be a real pain! While keeping the hair at an appropriate length, ensuring your skin is moisturized, and leaving the waxing to the pros can help minimize sticky wax residue, there are plenty of ways to deal with a pesky leftover patch should you come across one. Some effective removal methods include:

  • Oil: Take any oil (other than essential oils) and warm it up ever so slightly. Then, dip a fresh cotton pad in the oil and hold it over the wax patch for a few seconds, before rubbing in gentle circles to loosen up and remove the sticky mess with ease.
  • Warm water+soap: Get a bowl of lukewarm water nice and soapy. Then, soak a clean washcloth in the water, and rub it gently over the wax patch until the sticky residue comes off.
  • Petroleum jelly: Apply a thick smear of vaseline over the sticky patch, leave it for a couple of minutes, and then wipe it all off with a clean cotton ball/pad.

For more details, check out our quick and easy tips on wax removal from your skin after a waxing session.

Can I melt wax without a waxing warmer?

The short answer: yes! The long answer: you might want to look into a wax warmer, since it is one of the most effective and convenient tools in a DIY waxer’s arsenal. It is safe to use, portable and keeps wax at a nice consistent temperature throughout your waxing session. However, if you’d rather not invest in one, you can always use a stove or microwave! Simply follow the procedures outlined in the answer to the question “How to melt hard wax beans?” above.

Does waxing cause hair to grow back thicker?

On the contrary! Surface depilatory methods such as shaving and hair removal creams can appear to cause hair to grow back thicker (this isn’t the case, however – since they do not remove hair from the root, the hair grows back with blunt ends, giving the appearance of thicker hair). However, waxing removes hair from the root – this means that when it grows back, it retains a fine point and is smooth and soft. In addition, over time, regular waxing can actually thin the hair, making it sparser and finer, reducing growth altogether (since regular waxing gradually weakens hair follicles).

Does waxing have any side effects?

Aside from taking an individual’s detailed medical history into account in order to make a reasonable estimate, there’s really no way to tell how a person’s skin may react to waxing. Generally, most individuals do not experience any major side effects; at the very most, they may experience mild irritation and temporary redness, while those with more sensitive skin may experience breakouts, etc.

To avoid any minor or major side effects, it is best to take into account all possible risks (please see answer to question “Are there any risks/precautions associated with waxing?” above), and take some necessary precautions. These include:

  • Always conducting a patch test before you wax, if it is your first time or if you are trying out a new product. This will help you avoid allergic reactions.
  • Diligently applying sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure for 24 hours after getting waxed, since skin is particularly sensitive to the sun after a wax.
  • Steering clear of saunas, steam rooms, and jacuzzis for at least two days after a wax, and avoiding heavy exercise for at least 10 hours after a wax.   
  • Avoiding exfoliating the skin in any manner for at least a day after getting waxed.
  • Practicing regular exfoliation, moisturizing and avoiding tight clothing, in order to prevent pimples, bumps and in-grown hairs.

How long does waxing take?

This depends on:

  • Who’s doing the waxing: A professional esthetician or experienced DIY-er will take less time to complete a waxing session than a newbie
  • Which areas need to be waxed+hair thickness: If a full body wax is required, it will obviously take more time than individual areas such as legs, arms, face, etc. Similarly, a back wax will take longer than, e.g., an eyebrow wax. In addition, if the hair in the targeted area is thick/coarse, it will take longer than waxing a area where the hair is thin/sparse. Depending on these factors, you can expect a waxing session to take anything from ten minutes to an hour.
  • The quality of the wax being used: Poor quality wax may take time to melt, be hard to work with, splinter when you attempt to remove it, and require several do-overs, make the entire affair more time-consuming. However, better quality wax will help you get the job done easily and quickly. In addition, stripless wax, like hard wax beans, will majorly cut down on the time you need to spend on a wax, owing to minimal fuss and mess.
  • The equipment being used: Using the correct equipment can also help shorten the amount of time you’ll need to spend on waxing. E.g., a wax warmer, which is portable and can easily be placed wherever you plan to do your waxing, will be far more convenient and time-efficient than having to run to and fro from the microwave/stove to your bedroom/bathroom mid-session every time your wax starts to cool down.

How to prevent skin rash and bumps after waxing?

Redness and bumps after waxing are not an unusual complaint – since the hair is pulled out by the root, those with sensitive skin may experience irritation and inflammation. This is known as folliculitis (a rash which develops immediately after waxing, characterized by bumps and redness owing to the inflammation of hair follicles), and it usually requires little to no treatment, clearing up on its own in anything between a few hours to a day. If the bumps are filled with white liquid, this indicates a mild infection, which may take two or more days to clear up.

If the bumps occur a week or more after waxing, you may be dealing with ingrown hairs. These bumps resemble acne, with hair trapped inside.

Here are a few tips to prevent skin rashes and bumps altogether:

  • Maintain a regular cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing routine. This will ensure your skin remains clean, nourished, and hydrated on a regular basis, without any dryness, or dead skin cells build up. Healthy skin leads to more effective waxing, and is less prone to breakout or react badly.
  • Stay regular with your waxing schedule, maintaining a 4-6 week gap between sessions, in order to allow your hair to work its way through its normal growth cycle. Any disruption in growth patterns increases the risk of skin irritation. Also avoid shaving in between wax sessions, as this can also disrupt hair growth patterns.
  • Consult your dermatologist or aesthetician, to help figure out the best routine and products for your skin.
  • Prepare your skin before each waxing session – stop using skin thinning products a week or more before your wax, exfoliate a day or two before your wax, and on the day of the wax, take a warm shower and cleanse your skin a few hours before the session, to ensure it is clean and optimally prepared for hair removal.
  • Avoid getting waxed close to or during your periods, because skin tends to be more sensitive during these days.

However, if you do end up finding yourself with inflamed/bumpy skin, here are some things you can do to treat and soothe the complains:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes to avoid friction.
  • Keep the irritated areas clean to prevent infection.
  • Use ice/cold compresses to soothe the irritated areas.
  • Do not pick at or pop the bumps.
  • If dealing with ingrown hairs, use a warm compress to draw them to the surface.
  • Avoid sun exposure, excessive exercise, saunas, hot tubs, and perfumed skin products during the healing process.
  • Use an ointment, after consultation with your doctor.
  • Try out some home remedies for soothing the skin, such as applying aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, or witch hazel.

On a related note, never get waxed on the day when it comes to special occasions – always plan ahead and get waxed a day or two before any special events, to avoid having to deal with any possible redness/irritation on the day.

How to check for allergies before waxing?

There is no conclusive way to completely rule out allergies when it comes to waxing unless you consult your doctor on the matter. However, a patch test can be a quick way to check for any immediate adverse reactions to wax.

To perform a patch test:

  • Wash and dry the testing area – this can be either the inside of your wrist or the upper portion of your inner arm, at the crook of your elbow.
  • Apply a small amount of melted wax to the area.
  • Let it dry, then cover it with a bandage.
  • Keep it in place for 24 hours, without messing with it or exposing it to moisture or wetness.
  • If, after 24 hours, your skin does not show signs of irritation, redness, or any other reaction, it will generally indicate that the product is probably safe to be used.
  • If, within these 24 hours, you experience irritation or any other sort of reaction such as reddened skin, or burning/itching sensations, immediately remove the bandage and the wax patch, and wash the area with water and soap. These symptoms indicate that the product contains something that your skin is allergic to, and ought not to be used.

In addition to employing the patch test technique, it is also a good idea to read the ingredients list on any waxing product you may be thinking of using, to ensure it does not contain anything that is a known irritant for your skin. Likewise, if you are getting waxed from a salon, make sure you inform the technicians about any allergies you might have beforehand, so they can ensure that the products used are suitable for your skin.

How to make hair removal wax at home?

Homemade hair removal wax can be a fun project or a good alternative for individuals who have ultra-sensitive skin that is unable to tolerate commercially produced depilatory waxes. Here is a simple recipe for making hair removal wax at home:

  1. Warm 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan over low to medium heat (do not stir!) until the sugar melts.
  2. Pour in half a cup of honey (skip this ingredient if you are allergic to honey), half a cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine. At this stage, you can also add in a drop or two of a preferred essential oil, such as lavender, chamomile, or tea tree essential oils.
  3. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth and syrupy. Keep a careful eye on it as sugar burns easily! When the mixture is golden brown, you’ll know that it’s done. If you happen to have a candy thermometer, you can also use it to check whether the wax is done (at approximately 260 degrees Fahrenheit, the wax is ready).
  4. Pour the wax into a heat-proof container. Let the wax cool slightly before using, and if you don’t plan on using it right away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it will keep for a few weeks.

Is waxing better than shaving?

When it comes to hair removal, it is hard to fix upon a conclusive “right” or “wrong”, “better” or “worse”. The best hair removal method will be the one that caters to your specific needs and works best for you. For some, the convenience of a quick shave in the shower to get rid of unwanted hair can’t be beat. However, others might prefer the longevity of a wax, which ensures that the hair does not grow back for a long time.

The advantages of shaving include the facts that it is quick, painless unless you nick yourself (since it is a surface hair removal method), and does not require your hair to be of any particular length in order to be effective. It addition, it takes little to no skill to wield a razor and use it effectively. However, the results generally do not last long, and regrowth tends to be an uncomfortable process involving tough stubble, redness, bumps, and ingrown hairs. Cost can also be an issue, as you will need to keep purchasing new razors and shaving cream every time you run out.

The main advantage of waxing is that the results last longer, because the hair is removed from the root – you can go for 2-3 weeks without seeing much regrowth, whereas shaving results generally do not last for more than 2-4 days. In addition, when waxed hair grows back, it is smoother, softer and finer than hair that has been shaved. Regular waxing, over time, can significantly reduce hair growth altogether. Cost is also a plus with waxing if you DIY – you need a one-time investment in a wax warmer, after which you only need to replenish your wax and applicator supply every time it runs out.

However, the disadvantages of waxing include the fact that there can be a certain degree of pain involved since waxing pulls hair out from the follicle (although this can be minimized with the correct products, processes and techniques), and the process of waxing may take longer than a quick shave. In addition, hair that is shorter than 1/4th of an inch cannot be waxed, so you’ll need to wait for it to grow to the correct length before it can be waxed off. Waxing also requires a certain degree of skill and practice if you plan to DIY, unlike shaving.

Therefore, there is no clear winner here. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what you are looking for – the quick fix of a shave, or the longer-lasting effects of a wax.

Are hair removal creams better than waxing?

When it comes to hair removal, there is really no set “right” or “wrong”, “better” or “worse”. The best hair removal method will be the one that caters to your specific needs and works best for you.

Depilatory creams have the advantages of being painless (they do not penetrate to the roots of the hair and work at surface level only), quick (even on the coarsest of hair, the creams do not take longer than 15-20 minutes to work), and easy to use (you need no special skills, simply spread on the cream, let it stay on for the instructed time, and then wipe it off).

However, in terms of disadvantages, hair removal creams provide short-lived results (hair regrowth starts 2-3 days after use), often give off a foul odor (even if a cream claims to be scented, the smell cannot be avoided owing to the chemicals involved in the depilatory process), and leave shadows underneath the skin (since the hair is only removed from the surface and is still present underneath the skin).

The main advantage of waxing, meanwhile, is that the results last longer, because the hair is removed from the root – you can go for 2-3 weeks without seeing much regrowth, whereas depilatory cream results generally do not last for more than 2-3 days. In addition, when waxed hair grows back, it is smoother, softer and finer than hair that has been removed via hair removal creams. Regular waxing, over time, can significantly reduce hair growth altogether.

However, the disadvantages of waxing include the fact that there can be a certain degree of pain involved since waxing pulls hair out from the follicle (although this can be minimized with the correct products, processes and techniques), and the process of waxing may take longer than depilatory cream usage. In addition, hair that is shorter than 1/4th of an inch cannot be waxed, so you’ll need to wait for it to grow to the correct length before it can be waxed off. Waxing also requires a certain degree of skill and practice if you plan to DIY.

Therefore, there is no clear winner here. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what you are looking for – the quick fix of a hair removal cream, or the longer-lasting effects of a wax.

What are hard waxing beans?

Hard waxing beans are depilatory wax pellets/beads, made of specially formulated wax, designed to remove unwanted body hair effectively, with little to no mess and pain. Waxing beans are stripless – you can melt the wax, apply it to your skin, allow it to harden, and then pull it off directly with your fingers. This also means there is minimal mess and fuss involved – simply apply, let dry, and rip off. They are also super effective at hair removal, relatively pain-free, easy to measure out in precise amounts and come in multiple colors and fun scents. To learn more, check out our complete guide on waxing beans.

Are waxing beans painless?

Pain is pretty subjective and depends on each individual’s unique threshold. However, waxing beads can be a pain-free (and super effective) hair removal method, if used correctly. You can enjoy pain-free hair removal if:

  • You use good quality waxing beans, which contain rosin and various other ingredients which work in conjunction to ensure the wax is non-sticky, pliable even after hardening (so it can easily be removed with the fingers), and shrinks wraps only your hair (without sticking to the skin) for optimal and painless hair removal.
  • You use the right technique – this means applying the wax in the direction of the hair growth, and once it hardens, pulling it off in a quick, firm, and smooth motion against the direction of the hair growth.
  • Your tolerance for pain is moderate to high – but, even if your threshold is particularly low, you may feel a bit of a pinch, at most.

For more details on the painlessness of waxing beans, go here.

What are waxing beans made of?

While they may come in different brands, colors and scents, all good waxing beans will contain three key ingredients – rosin (a resin extracted from coniferous plants such as pine trees), beeswax (purified wax from bees’ honeycombs), and EVA copolymer (a copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate, which gives wax beads their pliability and clinginess). For more details on what exactly these beads are made of, click here.

How to use hard wax beans?

In addition to being painless, effective, and mess-free, hard wax beans are also super easy to use. All you have to do is melt them using the method of your choice, apply a patch on the desired area, allow it to harden, then pull it firmly and quickly off your skin. However, remember to start slow and small if you are a first time DIY-er! For a more detailed guide on what you’ll need and the exact process (step by step) for effective usage of hard wax beans, click here.

How to melt hard wax beans?

There are three main ways to melt hard wax beans, and here they are in order of least to most effective:

  • The stove: you can use a double-boiler method to get your wax to the desired temperature and consistency. However, this method can be inconvenient and has the potential to get messy.
  • The microwave: to use the microwave for melting wax beads, lower the machine’s power settings by 20%, and warm your wax in 10-second intervals (stirring between breaks) until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • The wax warmer: this is a dedicated contraption for heating and melting wax. Reasonably priced and incredibly convenient, a wax warmer is the best way to get the most out of your waxing beans (and any other type of hard wax, really). It will keep the wax at a consistent temperature, and can be placed wherever you plan to do your waxing, for utmost ease and convenience.

For more deets on the exact processes and methods, go here.

Can I melt wax beans in the microwave?

Please see the previous answer to question “how to melt hard wax beans”. However, to cut a long story short, yes you can use a microwave. Simply pour your beans into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave them in 10-second intervals at a heat setting of 20% or less, stirring between intervals. Once they reach a runny honey consistency, they are ready to be used.

If you have any more questions about waxing and hair removal, please feel free to contact us with your queries. Meanwhile, you can browse some of our latest waxing guides below.