How to tackle the various side effects of waxing
By Lilliane Caron
Having been in the beauty industry for almost 40 years I have seen and heard about every possible waxing side effect you can imagine. Everyday people we have just met literally strip down to the nude and reveal to us personal experiences or side effects they have had from waxing (and often a whole lot more, but that's a different story!).
'Is this normal?' 'What's gone wrong?' 'How do I fix it?' I'm sure you can all relate to these questions and most of the time, the side effects they're referring to are completely normal. In saying this, it's much better for these questions and queries to arise before the client leaves the salon so that we can work together to eliminate them. I'm going to tell you how you and your clients can reduce the chances of nasty waxing side effects getting in the way of your waxing treatment to ensure your clients keep coming back.
REDNESS & INFLAMATION
A common and natural side effect of waxing is redness and inflammation. Now, to a degree there will always be some redness particularly with people with pale and sensitive skin. We are literally ripping the hairs out from the follicles; that's always going to cause the skin to react in some way. However using a superior wax, with high quality ingredients is going to decrease the reactions and cause much less irritation to the skin. I can't stress this enough; wax is not just wax. Cheap, inferior wax, made with poor quality products is the main cause of irritation.
Usually we are told "natural" is better but when it comes to pine (tree) resin in waxes, unrefined resins can cause allergic reactions and product instability. Top of the range synthetic resins are much safer, more consistent in production batch to batch and easier for the Therapist to work with. Synthetic resins are usually declared as hydrocarbon resin or polycyclopentadiene. High quality synthetic resins are easy to colour and fragrance and often appear fresh and clean. Pure white waxes can only be made from the best synthetic resins available. They provide the manufacturer with better quality control over the product and in turn give the Therapist confidence in the treatment being performed.
Not only do you need to choose the right wax, you also need to choose the right pre and post products to go with your treatment. If you're using a wax that requires pre-waxing oil, make sure you use one! This removes any traces of dirt, makeup, cream, body oil; you name it. Peppermint oil provides a refreshing cool feeling and acts as a soothing agent. It also improves the adherence of the wax to the skin meaning you won't have to go over any areas more than once – another sure way of reducing irritation to the skin. In saying this, if you are using a superior gentle Hard Wax, no pre waxing oil is required at all!
When you have finished your waxing treatment use an After Waxing Soothing Lotion – I suggest one with either Tea Tree or Mango and Witch Hazel. These ingredients have soothing properties which calm and replenish the skin with vital nutrients. Not only does the After Waxing Lotion help with soothing the skin but it also helps prevent the formation of ingrown hairs and pustules. This brings me to some other common side effects of waxing. That's right, those dreaded bumps!
INGROWNS, BUMPS & PIMPLES
Ingrown hairs and pimples are extremely common after waxing. Ingrown hair treatments are the perfect addition to any treatment as well as a great retail product for your salon. An ingrown hair Concentrated Serum is best used after waxing as natural fruit acids soothe irritated skin and help prevent ingrown hairs from occurring. If your client has already existing ingrown hairs, I suggest recommending a targeted ingrown hair spot treatment. It is ideal for healing ingrown hairs quickly and can also be used on pimples as it rapidly draws out the infection. These products are easy to upsell with any waxing treatment. Don't forget to encourage your clients to exfoliate daily too, every client you treat should walk out the door with an Exfoliating Mitt; after all, prevention is always better than a cure!
At the end of my treatment I always use an After Waxing Oil to remove any wax residue. The one I use contains Tea Tree Oil and also works an anti-bacterial. Unlike paraffin and vegetable based oils, it is easily absorbed and doesn't leave the skin greasy. Leaving a clean, smooth finish it also helps prevent ingrown hairs and bacteria from causing pustules and pimples.
PAIN & BRUISING
We all know that waxing doesn't tickle however there are ways to make it a less painful experience. Using an incorrect waxing technique can cause serious damage to a client's skin including unnecessary pain and bruising. Get to know your wax. Invest in a good heater and get to know the perfect consistency of your chosen wax.
If you are treating an older client, be especially gentle as their skin can tear and bruise easily. Always remember to always ask if they have started taking any new medication before each wax. A lot can change in 4 weeks and medication can also play a factor in how a client's skin will react to your treatment.
Another product to help ease discomfort as well as speed up your treatment is a Quick Dry Wax Mist. Quick Dry Wax Mist not only sets your wax instantly but it also contains natural AHA which is known to reduce redness. It can also be used to spritz over your client to cool and add an ambience to your treatment during the warmer months.
As Therapists, it is our job to do all we can to make a client's waxing experience, including the treatment itself and the results afterwards as pleasant as possible. After all, if they suffer from severe side effects because we aren't using the right products or technique - they definitely won't be back! With a combination of having the correct technique, using the right products and offering the appropriate aftercare advice, we can minimise our clients' side-effects and ensure our waxing treatments are a 'waxperience' they will want to repeat!
Lilliane Caron is Owner & Director of Caronlab Australia. If you'd like to ask Lilliane Caron for some advice on your own salon, email firstname.lastname@example.org