Is one form of hair removal better than another?
There are many methods of hair removal and all are very effective but vary in time needed, level of pain, difficulty of mastering and cost of continuing education.
Spa clients who do not have professional services rely on depilation, which is shaving or the use of chemical depilatories to remove hair. Depilatories use a chemical for three to 15 minutes to dissolve unwanted hair and most products can be purchased for minimal investment over the counter. Vaniqa is a prescription-only topical cream that has been FDA-approved for reducing and inhibiting the growth of unwanted facial hair.
Epilation services provided by a licensed esthetician includes tweezing, waxing, sugaring, threading and the use of lasers or electrolysis, all of which remove the entire hair from the follicle. In some states, for an esthetician to offer electrolysis or be a laser tech requires additional training and or a separate license all together.
By far the most popular method of hair removal is waxing. Waxing is a derivative of sugaring in the Western world and can be found in most spas. Many spas have come full circle and are replacing waxing with a sugaring form of hair removal. Both waxing and sugaring are an excellent choice for hair removal.
Wax hair removal is one of the most popular because it is inexpensive, convenient, fast and lasts between three and eight weeks. Less hair regrows and the hair is generally finer. Eventually, some hairs never regrow.
Waxing is an effective method of removing large amounts of hair at one time. In this method wax is warmed to allow it to be spread easily over the skin in the direction of hair growth and a paper or cloth strip is then placed on top of soft wax. The hair becomes embedded in the wax, which cools and firms up grasping the hair. The wax is then quickly pulled off in the opposite direction of the hair growth, pulling the hairs out of the follicles along with dead skin cells leaving the skin smooth.
Hard waxes are available usually attached to strips, which are patted onto the skin to better adhere to the hair. Wax that is still left on the skin must be peeled or scratched off. Caution must be used when heating wax so as not to burn the skin.
It is very important to ask clients to fill out a hair removal form to find out if they use Retin-A, Renova, Differin or Accutane. These medications tend to weaken the skin and tearing of the skin may occur when the wax is removed. Some physicians do not recommend hair waxing for persons suffering from diabetes, varicose veins or poor circulation because they are more susceptible to infection. Waxing should not be done on areas of skin affected by warts, pimples, moles or rashes or on skin that is irritated, chapped or suffering from sunburn. Never apply wax to peeling, broken skin or varicose veins.
A simple way to greatly minimize the discomfort is to press hard on the skin right after the waxing strip is pulled off. Additionally, to reduce the risk of swelling and skin irritation ice cube can be rubbed over the area being wax.
The downside to waxing is that when it is done incorrectly it can cause pain, bruising, additional bleeding and even a lawsuit.
Sugaring is an ancient hair-removal practice that’s gaining popularity today.
Many spas are replacing waxing with sugaring, although they often will still use wax where appropriate and when requested. There are several variations of the sugaring formula available for use by professionals and not all formulas are created equal. Some of the ingredients and the method of manufacture are a closely guarded secret. Many estheticians find that sugaring is easier to work with than traditional wax because the hair is extracted in the direction in which it grows. It is also gentler on the skin because it only adheres to the dead cells rather than live skin, thereby eliminating redness and skin damage. Sugaring is applied at room temperature and thus will never burn the skin.
It takes a certain skill to perform this procedure. Sugaring classes are available by a manufacturer’s representative and the course often around 16 hours. The technique is different from waxing and may be easily learned with practice.
Sugaring is very sanitary. There is no double dipping and it is a natural anti-bacterial product. It is also less painful than waxing.
Treatment should be carried out every three weeks or less and in some cases has led to permanent hair removal. In any event, the hair becomes finer over a period of time. Another advantage of sugaring to the esthetician is the clean up because the sugar paste can be washed off with water.
Master Your Technique
Whether waxing or sugaring or another use of epilation is used in your salon or spa, master your technique. Clients do not want to leave bruised, sore or chaffed from a service. Remember, there isn’t a best method of hair removal, but what matters more is understanding why a client would benefit from different methods and either become an expert or send them to an expert. The most beautiful products in unskilled hands will not get the results desired. Learn about all the methods and find technicians you can refer clients to that will also refer back to you and your clients will that know you have their best interest at heart. Hair removal is a service that is profitable and no one should be splitting hairs over what method a spa offers but trying to give the client the best treatment.