Shaving may get rid of hair fast, but stubble battles back just as quickly. For a more long-term solution, strip away unwanted hair with a hard-wax treatment. Unlike soft wax, which merely sticks to hair, hard wax shrinks around the hair as it dries. This gives the wax a better grip, allowing you to remove hair more cleanly. Hard wax is applied in a thick layer, so you don't need muslin strips to remove it when it's dry.
Fill a wax-warmer pot with hard wax. Set the pot to the highest temperature setting.
Allow the wax to melt for up to 45 minutes. Periodically check the temperature of the wax with a heat-proof thermometer. The wax should be between 125 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. Do not let it get above 165 degrees Fahrenheit; this can cause burns. Set the warmer pot to the lowest heat setting once the wax reaches the desired temperature.
Dip a wooden spatula into the hot wax. Spread the wax over your skin in the direction opposite the hair growth. Give the wax a moment to harden slightly, then spread more wax over the first layer in the direction of hair growth. Continue applying wax in this manner until the layer is as least as thick as a nickel, or 1/2 to 1 centimeter thick. If the hair is long, this might not be thick enough. Keep applying wax until the hair is completely covered.
Apply some extra wax at the end of the strip. Let it harden slightly, then lift the wax up a bit. This will serve as a tab for pulling the wax strip away from your skin. It's best to make the tab over skin where you don't have hair.
Let the wax harden just enough so that it's still soft and pliable. If you let the wax get too hard, it will become brittle and break when you try to remove it.
Grasp the wax tab between your thumb and forefinger. In one quick, fluid motion, pull the strip away from skin in the direction opposite hair growth. Press your hand over the waxed area immediately to soothe any pain.
Repeat this process for all the hair you want to remove. If any hair remains after waxing, pluck it out with tweezers.
Smooth a wax remover over treated skin using clean hands. Wipe the skin with a cotton pad to get rid of any stuck-on wax particles.
Spread an aloe or azulene lotion over your skin using your clean fingers. This will soothe irritated hair follicles.
- Milady's Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, 11th Ed.: Fundamentals; Milady, Joel Gerson, Janet D'Angelo, Sallie Deitz, Shelley Lotz; 2012
- Milady Standard Esthetics: Advanced, 2nd ed.; Milady
- GiGi: Hard Wax Tips
- Crafter's Touch: Candle Making FAQ
- Koger Cosmetic Clinic & Medspa: Waxing Treatment After Care Instructions (PDF)
- If the wax gets too hard on your skin, apply a layer of petroleum jelly or oil over it, then scrape it off.
- If you don't have a wax warmer, you can also melt wax in a double boiler on the stove. To make your own double boiler, fill a large pan with 1 inch of water, then set a smaller pan inside the larger one. Put the wax in the small pan to melt.
- Do not heat wax in the microwave. Microwaves may heat wax unevenly, making some areas very hot while leaving others cold. If the wax gets too hot, it may also splatter or boil over the container. This can cause serious injury.
- Don't exfoliate skin for the first 48 hours after treatment. After that, exfoliate two or three times per week to prevent ingrown hairs.
- Avoid exposing waxed skin to sunlight for 24 hours post-treatment. If you must go outdoors, wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. It's also best to avoid sweating or hot showers. Wear loose-fitting clothes and don't apply perfume, deodorant or other cosmetics to the treated areas.
- Do not attempt to perform a Brazilian or bikini wax alone. It's very difficult to reach all of the hair in this area by yourself. Brazilian waxing can also cause skin tearing, bruising or burning. It's best to have a professional esthetician or cosmetologist perform this service for you.
- Don't wax if you use oral or topical medication that contains vitamin A. These medications may thin skin, making it more sensitive than usual.
- Avoid applying bleaching cream or products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) for at least 48 hours post-treatment.
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