In the world of professional hair removal, the treatments leading the pack are waxing, electrolysis and laser hair removal. While at-home hair removal products are gaining ground in variety and convenience, many patients and physicians say that professional services are still safer, more effective options for long-term hair removal.
Of the three aforementioned professional hair removal options, waxing is the cheapest per treatment and sometimes thought to be the safest as well. But what really separates professional waxing from at-home waxing and other hair removal treatments? Does a lower price tag mean lower quality treatment results? What kind of side effects do waxing patients need to be wary of?
Many people favor professional salon waxing treatments when they are in need of hair removal in a hurry. Waxing hair removal, or hot wax hair removal, is a non-invasive, temporary solution to unwanted hair on the face and body.
Hair removal wax is generally a combination of natural waxes, like beeswax or paraffin wax, and added resins and oils. The wax is applied directly to skin in a thin layer, and in the direction of natural hair growth. Once the wax is applied to skin, a strip of cloth is pressed onto the waxed area and allowed to set until the wax hardens and dries. Then the cloth strip is removed in a quick, fluid motion, simultaneously removing the wax and treated hair.
The two main categories of hair removal wax are hot wax and cold wax. Hot wax hair removal is the more popular and prevalent of the two options. Hot wax is the type primarily used in salons and cosmetic clinics, while cold wax is more often found in drugstores. Hot wax isn't as common for at-home waxing kits because it requires a wax warmer, and a greater need for skill and precision. By comparison, cold wax is available in many drugstores and comes in ready-to-use, coated waxing strips that can be applied right to the skin. On average, cold wax is also cheaper. Both wax varieties can successfully remove unwanted hair, so the decision to use one or the other will come down to your treatment preferences.
The main differences between professional waxing jobs and at-home waxing kits are seen in the cost, the level of results achieved, and their efficacy on specific treatment areas. Possible side effects and harm to the skin are other considerations when choosing between these treatments.
For many people, the cost of hair removal weighs heavily on their treatment choices. Per treatment, at-home hair removal waxing is cheaper than professional hair removal waxing. While a lower cost can be quite persuasive when making a treatment decision, many hair removal patients agree that a reduced cost isn't worth reduced effectiveness. Additionally, the likelihood of mistakes and shoddy hair removal results is increased for at-home waxing kits versus professional treatments. Also, consider the fact that poor results mean more frequent hair removal treatments, and more frequent treatments mean a greater cost over time.
The average length of time for hair removal waxing results is 2-6 weeks. This estimate may vary from patient to patient depending on individual hair density, hair growth rate, and treatment area. The treatment area selected can alter the regrowth results because body hair grows more quickly on some body areas than on others. The length of waxing results is longer than tweezing and shaving, but shorter than laser hair removal and electrolysis.
In order for waxing results to turn out well, the wax needs to be applied evenly and completely to unwanted hair. Sometimes, failing to correctly align the strips or uniformly apply the wax can create uneven, spotty hair removal.
Waxing is proven to remove hair, but even when done correctly, hair-free results are still quite temporary. Laser hair removal and electrolysis are the treatments that come closest to producing permanent hair removal.
By Treatment Area
Waxing for hair removal can be performed on most areas of the face and body. Treatment area options with hair removal waxing may be different for at-home kits than for professional wax jobs, simply for the difficulty that can come with waxing oneself. Let's be honest, accessibility and visibility are pretty crucial when performing a successful bikini wax—the odds of side effects with a Brazilian bikini wax are greatly reduced if a professional performs the treatment.
Hair removal treatment areas that are more ideal for at-home waxing are the legs, face and possibly the underarms. Waxing our own back is next to impossible, and, as just mentioned, a bikini wax or Brazilian wax will require not only an improved sight line, but expert accuracy. The bikini line and/or genitals are among the most popular areas for waxing hair removal, and it's not hard to understand why. In the summer months, having a tidy bikini line can mean the difference between fun in the sun and razor burn-out. A professional hair removal provider can even create trendy bikini line designs during a waxing session.
Even for easily accessible treatment areas like the face, professional waxing is still preferred for many patients. That's because a professional hair removal provider has superior training and experience with the procedure, and they can help a hair removal patient to achieve the best look possible. Eyebrow waxing is another very popular treatment area, and most patients who undergo it will only entrust their eyebrows to a professional. Changing the shape and thickness of the eyebrows can drastically change the overall appearance of the face, and a waxing misstep there can have embarrassing consequences. If you already have thin eyebrows, or have no first-hand experience with eyebrow waxing, you should, at the least, have a professional perform your first eyebrow wax.
While most areas of the skin can be treated with wax, such as the eyebrows, face, arms, legs, back, chest and bikini line, wax can be quite risky to use on the genitals, on very sensitive skin, or near an open wound. Hair removal patients who are taking certain medications, or who have certain skin conditions or skin infections like folliculitis should also avoid at-home waxing, if not waxing in general.
The majority of professional waxing patients will experience temporary redness on treated areas, however there are some more serious hair removal wax side effects to be mindful of, such as:
Patients with acne or other forms of skin lesions on treatment areas should not use wax. Then of course, there's also the pain associated with waxing. Both hot wax and cold wax can create pain and discomfort with treatment, ranging from a mild stinging sensation to more intense pain. An individual's pain tolerance will affect the level of discomfort they experience during treatment.
In the end, you will be the one deciding which hair removal method is best suited for you. Hopefully the tips and info provided above can help you narrow down your choices, and if you want more info, you can read about other hair removal options, like laser hair removal, depilatory creams and threading hair removal.
Once you've determined a hair removal budget, identified the unwanted hair areas you want to treat, and decided you want professional advice and a personalized assessment before starting treatment, we recommend having a consultation with a hair removal provider near you. They can give you input about the hair removal method best suited to your needs, discuss financial options, and help you plan out your personalized hair removal treatment experience.