Less 'ow' and more 'wow' - 13 steps to practically painless waxing
By Wax Daddy, May 8 2018 09:59AM
Let’s be honest: until someone invents the Ultimate Wax Bar, where every pull of the strip is accompanied by an intravenous shot of gin and chocolate, it’s unlikely that waxing is going to feature on many peoples list of ‘fun things to do’. The unfortunate fact is that pulling hair out by the root is always likely to have an element of some discomfort about it.
But it doesn’t need to be dreaded - and neither should it be an exercise in endurance!
Let me state from the off that I have never been a fan of numbing creams or recommending painkillers to clients. Aside from the possibility that here in the UK you could land yourself in hot water with your insurance provider, in my humble opinion they are an unnecessary faff and expense.
Instead, there are a number of simple and cost effective steps that can be taken to introduce a little less ‘ouch’ and a little more ‘oooh’ into the treatment room.
1. Let it grow
It sounds obvious, but hair needs to be long enough for wax to grip successfully (about ½ cm is ideal, roughly the length of a grain of rice).
If a client has been shaving or using hair removal creams, recommend they wait at least 3 weeks before coming in for their first wax. Any sooner and they risk poor results. Short, shaved hair is a nightmare to remove and will result in a more uncomfortable treatment (plus lots of leftover stubble).
2. Timing is everything
Waxing always hurts more when tired, unwell, dehydrated or hungover. Female clients may also find their pain threshold is lower around the time of their period. And there’s a reason we ask customers to commit to regular waxing every 4-6 weeks: not only does this catch the hair on the best cycle for longer lasting smoothness, but less regrowth means less pain. Bargain.
3. First impressions count
The right impression will instil confidence in your clients and go a long way towards helping them relax from the outset. Nobody likes to see an overflowing waste bin, a dirty or messy work station, or pet hair all over their therapist’s uniform.
A rushed or nervous client is also more likely to experience stress and discomfort, so make them a cuppa, ask how their day is going, give them a few minutes to unwind before pulling off that first strip.
4. Explain yourself
Fear of the unknown is often worse than the reality of waxing. If this is your customer’s first appointment, take time to explain the waxing procedure, demonstrate the products you will be using and answer any questions they might have before starting. Once on the couch, continue to talk through what you are doing each and every step of the way.
5. Mow the lawn
Use electric clippers (grade 3) or brow scissors to trim long hair before slapping on the wax. This makes it easier to see the direction of growth and prevents longer hairs from becoming tangled or matted as you work.
6. Take control
Don’t be afraid to move your client into a position that makes your job easier and more comfortable, and get them to help with stretching the skin if necessary. If it’s easier for you, it’s going to be easier and more comfortable for your customer.
7. Upgrade your wax
Compared to old fashioned hot waxes, the latest generation of non-strip ‘hard’ waxes are an excellent choice for tough, stubborn hair and sensitive areas such as the face, underarms and bikini line.
Modern peelable waxes share all the benefits of traditional hot wax, but are lower in temperature, stick less to the body and remain pliable once dry. They work by ‘shrink wrapping’ individual hairs as they cool, meaning that even very short or strongly rooted hairs can be removed effectively from the most delicate of skins.
In short, they are much more comfortable for the client and a must-have for quick and easy intimate waxing.
8. Follow the rules
The rules are there for a reason, so a quick reminder won’t hurt…
Apply wax with the direction of hair growth and remove against. Failure to follow the patterns that Mother Nature blessed us with means that the hair simply won’t come out. Instead, the wax gets stuck, the skin tugs and you end up with all manner of heartache from bruising, broken hairs and gooey clumps of cold wax that won’t shift for love nor money. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to break things down into smaller, manageable sections to avoid losing track of where you are going.
Remember to keep the skin stretched taut during every stage of wax application and removal. Rub the strip firmly with the whole of your hand to get a good bond between wax and hair, and remove in one swift motion – don’t dither or yank it off erratically in multiple jerks like a learner driver at the traffic lights.
Also, be sure to keep your hand flat against the body during removal. Avoid waxing around corners or pulling up towards the ceiling as this will hurt, and makes bruising and hair breakage more likely.
9. Less is more
When working over particularly sensitive parts of the body or in areas of loose, fragile or fleshy skin, don’t try to remove too much wax in one go.
Smaller areas are easier to keep properly stretched. This means using less of your paper strip for soft wax and keeping your strips of hard wax narrow. If removing a long line of peelable wax, remove in stages (an inch or two at a time) and re-brace the skin after every pull.
10. Distract attention
Every client will have their own methods for coping with discomfort, but squeezy stress balls, deep breathing exercises (breathe out as you pull the strip off… the customer, that is, not you!) and good conversation are all simple ways of distracting attention and helping the time fly by.
11. Apply pressure
Press or tap the skin immediately after removing your wax strip. It’s an old trick but it works: pressure stimulates the nerve endings and takes away the sting.
12. Soothe and protect
End your treatment on a high note with a generous application of after-wax lotion to calm the skin and relax the client. Pick something with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, but don’t just slop it on willy-nilly. Spend a few moments massaging your chosen product in while you discuss homecare (which brings us nicely onto the final step).
13. Give advice
You don’t want all of your hard work being undone by a client who doesn’t realise that a 2-hour gym session followed by a sunbed and sauna is not the best way to treat freshly plucked follicles.
Emphasise the importance of homecare after every single appointment and provide customers with written guidance on what to do once they are out of your clutches. This encourages clients to take proper care of their skin and helps to avoid unnecessary discomfort or problems after they leave the salon.
So there we have it, folks. 13 may be unlucky for some, but follow these tried and tested steps to raise the comfort level in your treatment room and your customers will think they are the luckiest waxees around.
Now, has anyone got an aspirin…??!
© Andy Rouillard 2018