Waxing is big business for estheticians and the salons where they work. According to a 2016 article in Inc Magazine, revenue related to hair removal grew at an annual, average rate of 7.6 percent between 2010 and 2015.
In 2014 about 300,000 establishments made more than $11 billion in sales related to waxing alone. Just in the US, men’s grooming (“manscaping”) has ballooned into a $4 billion industry—more than $1 billion of which comes from hair removal services and products.
If you want to expand your esthetician offerings to become a waxing whiz, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the industry, and that includes staying current on the latest techniques and products – and keeping your skills sharp when it comes to using them.
Most state esthetician licenses permit waxing of the face, including the eyebrows, forehead, upper lip, cheeks, and chin, as well as the body, including the upper/lower leg, underarms, forearms, and bikini area. It is always important to check your state’s specific rules and requirements regarding waxing services under your esthetician license.
Depending on your skill level and comfort level, you may choose to offer complete body waxing services or focus solely on facial waxing.
Types of Waxing Material Estheticians Use for Hair Removal
You can choose to use soft waxes, hard waxes, or a variety of the two, depending on your preference, your clients’ preferences, and the part of the body to be waxed. Here’s the difference between hard and soft waxes:
Hard waxes are kept at lower temperatures and used without a strip or cloth. Hard waxes, often desirable for use on sensitive areas, such as the bikini line and the face, are removed by lifting the edge of the wax and pulling in the opposite direction of the hair growth. Using hard wax reduces the likelihood of damage to the soft tissue. When hard wax is applied to the skin, it begins to cool and harden as it lifts the hair off the skin. This allows only the hair to be pulled off and not the top layer of skin upon removal. Because of its consistency, hard wax can only be effectively used on small areas of skin; otherwise, it tends to break.
Soft waxes are kept at a higher temperature and are therefore softer and easier to spread over large areas. Soft waxes are spread over the area of skin using a tool, and then removed by placing a strip or cloth over it and removing both in the opposite direction of the hair growth. Soft waxes are generally used on areas such as the chest, arms, stomach, and back.
Important Things to Consider When Working with Waxing Products
There are a host of factors to consider if your esthetics business involves waxing:
Sanitation and Sterilization
Every state board of cosmetology has a clear set of rules and regulations regarding waxing sanitation and sterilization. When the process is done improperly or the tools and supplies are handled and stored improperly, the likelihood of cross contamination and infections rise.
Although each state board will have specific language regarding the sanitation and sterilization procedures licensed estheticians must perform when performing waxing services, most have clear instructions regarding:
- Storage of cosmetic preparations, including paraffin wax
- Labelling of all bottles containing waxing supplies
- Disposal of cosmetic preparations, including paraffin wax
- Disposal of products that come in contact with the client and cannot be disinfected
- Wax applicators – No double dipping into product; disposal after use
The skin—both on the body and the face—must always be prepped for waxing. Preparation for both body and facial waxing generally consists of wiping the skin with an alcohol-soaked cotton pad to remove any oil and dirt.
Preparation for waxing also involves client education, particularly if the client has never been waxed before. It is important to examine the skin for signs of sunburn, open cuts and sores, infection, and other skin conditions.
Not everyone can and should be waxed. Therefore, some of the most important questions to ask your clients before waxing include:
- Are you diabetic?
- Do you bruise easily?
- Do you have a thyroid condition?
- Do you use the following products (a number of products are contraindicated for waxing)?
- Glycolic acid
- Alpha hydroxy acid
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
You must also ensure the wax is prepared and heated properly—too hot and it will scald the skin; too cold and it will not kill bacteria.
Following facial waxing, cold compresses or cold stones are applied to the face to sooth the skin and prevent redness. You may also choose to follow facial waxing with an alcohol-based astringent or calming gel with green tea or similar antioxidants that soothe and repair damaged skin.
For sensitive body areas, you may also apply a calming mask and follow it up with a calming gel or lotion.
Educating your clients on how to care for their skin post-wax is also important. A post-waxing skincare regimen should include:
- Avoiding hot baths or steam showers immediately following the procedure (It can burn new skin.)
- Using a tea-tree based moisturizer on the waxed areas (It’s a natural antiseptic that reduces the likelihood of ingrown hairs and small pimples.)
- Avoiding the use of any deodorant, perfumes, or alcohol-based products for at least 24 hours (They can irritate the skin.)
- Exfoliating the skin about a week following the procedure
Advanced Esthetician Training in Facial and Body Waxing
An initial esthetician program leading to state licensure includes all aspects of superfluous hair removal, including waxing. An esthetician training program includes both theory and skill development in topics related to waxing, which include:
- State laws and professional requirements
- Physiology and histology of the skin
- Disorders and diseases
- Bacteriology, sanitation, and disinfection
- Removal of superfluous hair
But for many estheticians, education and training in facial and/or body waxing doesn’t end there. If you want to establish yourself as an expert in waxing and build your waxing business, the pursuit of additional training is always beneficial.
In addition to learning about the newest methods and techniques in waxing, additional training through an advanced facial/body waxing course or program keeps you current on product knowledge and waxing etiquette.