Waxing & Hair Removal: An Esthetician’s Guide

Medical esthetician with laser hair removal device

Unwanted hair can be a nightmare to deal with. It can come with a lot of different variations and show up in a lot of different places on the body. This is hair that can be as inconvenient as it is difficult to get rid of. Your clients may find it unattractive or they may find it uncomfortable. Whatever the reason for not wanting it, your client may be concerned or confused about how to remove hair in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Part of your job as an esthetician involves communicating with clients about their many hair removal options. This might be a topic that makes your client embarrassed or uncomfortable so you should go out of your way to be attentive and sensitive. It is important that you treat people with respect, listen to their concerns and talk to them honestly about the options that are available to them.

This may mean discussing their home grooming habits as well as offering and providing professional solutions to their unwanted body or facial hair. The good news is that they have several options to pick from and a professional to talk them over with. Choosing the right option for your client’s facial or body hair will depend on factors such as skin sensitivity, the thickness of the unwanted hair, and where on the body the hair is located. We are going to take a brief look at several of the methods currently available so that you can feel better informed when you are helping your clients make decisions about what type of hair removal best suits their body.

Waxing

Waxing is an extremely popular method of hair removal for a couple of very good reasons. One being that it is effective on large areas of unwanted hair. It can help your client tackle leg hair, back hair, and even the unwanted hair in more intimate areas. Another reason it is increasingly popular is that is a semi-permanent removal option. It takes care of hair for lengthy periods of time while still leaving the option to switch later if the urge should ever arise.

Even though waxing is a popular way to rid oneself of unwanted hair your clients may still have a few questions about it. Let’s briefly take a look at what you and your clients can expect and how they can prepare.

What to Expect with Waxing

Essentially, you will apply wax over the hair your client doesn’t want. The wax will be warm, allowing it to become liquified. However, it should not be hot enough to burn the skin. Removing the hair happens when a special piece of paper is put over the wax. The wax adheres to the paper and the hair, then the paper is quickly pulled away and it takes the wax and the hair with it. This part of the waxing can feel momentarily painful or uncomfortable, but the unpleasantness is brief and tolerable. Your client may have redness or slight swelling in the area for a short period after the appointment, but their skin should return to a normal color and texture quickly. The recovery time and discomfort will both diminish the longer they keep up the waxing routine.

Preparing the Hair and Skin for Waxing

It may seem silly that you would need to prepare your hair before you have it waxed off, but there is a method to the madness. To prepare hair for waxing the client needs to let it grow out. Enough so that the wax can really stick to it enough for a good even pull and uniform smoothness. You also need to look out for any skin issues before beginning the waxing appointment. This kind of hair removal can be stressful on the skin, so it is a good idea to make sure that your client’s skin isn’t dry, cracked or cut before you get started waxing it. You should also have some soothing, natural skin balm for after the appointment to enhance the comfort and speed up any minor recovery time they might have post-wax.

The most important part of a good wax is the person who is doing it. Finding a good esthetician is a vitally important for the health of the skin, which means becoming a good esthetician is important, too. Only a trained professional knows how to avoid burns and minimize impact or trauma to the skin. There are certainly home versions of the waxing experience available, but amateur work can lead to sloppy hair removal jobs and even serious injury.

Chemical Hair Removal

This technique is generally used at home. It comes in several patented variations but the majority of them use a combination of salts, thioglycolic acid and thiolactic acid as their active hair removal ingredients. These ingredients break down the bonds of the hair and allow them to be easily wiped away, rinsed off or otherwise removed. Once water is added (after the prescribed window of time following the application of the chemical solution) the bonds hydrolyze, and the hair can be wiped away.

This sounds like an easy at-home hair removal method, initially. But upon closer inspection your client will see that it comes with several possible side effects that can be extremely uncomfortable and leave them feeling more like hiding their newly smooth skin than showing it off. These kinds of hair remedies can leave burns, discoloration and can be ineffective against particularly stubborn follicles. It is importance that you advise clients against these products, as there are much safer and far more effective methods available.

Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal

These methods require equipment and special training before they can be performed. Without knowing how to properly apply these techniques you risk serious damage to the skin so your knowledge in the technical department matters. While electrolysis is technically the only hair removal method approved to advertise permanent hair removal, laser hair removal can come close if your client is willing to dedicate themselves to multiple laser sessions. They are also more expensive than waxing and other such methods.

The essential and most notable difference between the two removal techniques is in what exactly is used to remove the hair. In the case of electrolysis, you would be using a focused electrical current to remove the hair’s roots. Laser hair removal uses concentrated light rays to damage the hair follicles and prohibit or delay further unwanted hair growth.

Tweezing

While effective, this method is only for small areas and stray hairs. Tweezing is exactly what it sounds like. You take a pair of tweezers; you take firm hold of the stray hair and you quickly yank it out. It is briefly uncomfortable, but your client can become use to it with enough time. Tweezing is great for the here-and-there eyebrow touch up or for getting rid of a wayward chin hair or two, but it is a bit unrealistic when removing hair from the legs. As an esthetician, your relationship to tweezing will likely be catching any strays or wandering hairs that other removal methods missed.

Shaving

This is the most common method and usually takes place at home. Shaving removes hair by running a sharp razor careful across the surface of the skin and cutting it as close to the surface as possible.

Shaving is common because razors are cheap and highly accessible. However, just because it is the most widely accessible form of hair removal does not make it the best. Continuous razor use can be rough on skin. It can lead to an imbalance of moisture and can lead to cuts if careless or in a hurry. If you are an esthetician or hoping to become one you may want to advise your clients against shaving if at all possible, to avoid skin perforations or excessive dryness.

Going Natural

As a professional esthetician it might be tempting at some point to try and nudge a client in the direction of hair removal that they are unsure about. Your client may even feel pressure to have your body or facial hair look a certain way. However, a good esthetician knows that the job is about helping your clients feel as confident and attractive as they can possibly feel. That doesn’t happen when you are shaming clients into hair removal. Don’t forget that there is more to the work of an esthetician than getting rid of body and facial hair. It’s about skin health and overall appearance. Estheticians have plenty of products and services for skin health outside of taking care of bothersome hair. How to wear your body hair, as with anything related to appearance, should be a personal choice. Whether or not your client chooses to keep or remove that hair should be an equally individualized decision.

Removing stubborn, unpleasant hair from the body or face can require a team effort and a trained eye. There is no shame in it. Looking good is important for many people’s overall happiness. So, when your clients come to you with questions or concerns about their own hair removal needs it is important that you are able to discuss those things easily, openly, and professionally with them. With the proper training you will help any of your clients determine how to take care of their skin while keeping it beautiful and smooth. You will provide confidence to those you work with while exercising your creative problem-solving skills to determine what you believe to be their best available option. It is a career that is both rewarding and exciting.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning waxing and hair removal interest you? If you have a passion for skincare, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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