Q&A with waxing expert Andy Rouillard available here!
What's the correct waxing hair length for hair to be successfully removed?
If using strip wax, hair should ideally be at least 5mm long to remove cleanly. This means regular appointments every 4-6 weeks initially, and no tweezing or shaving between treatments as this messes with the natural growth cycles. Hot/non-strip wax can get shorter hair out, so it's great for clients who need to be smooth just before a holiday or special occasion when it's not quite time for their regular 4-6 week appointment.
If a client has been shaving before coming to see me for the first time, I want to wait at least 3 weeks after their last encounter with a razor before waxing them - some of the hair will be long enough after a week, but most of it won't and they'll be left with so much stubble that it just isn't worth the time or effort (and they'll blame me!).
It can take several appointments spaced evenly apart before clients start to see the best results, especially if they have been addicted to the razor or hair removal creams in the past, so it's a good idea to let them know this at their first appointment to avoid disappointment :)
What would you say is the best wax on the market?
There are lots of really great waxes on the market at the moment - technology and ingredients have come such a long way in recent years, so the choice is much better than it used to be. Spend good money on an excellent non-strip/peelable wax, this is where your clients will really notice a difference :)
Many companies will offer a sample pack for you to try before you buy, and see if they offer 'open days' where you can get to see their products in action too, as this is a smashing way to see if a brand is right for you and your customers. Everyone likes something different, so have a play with what's out there!
Are gent's upper lip & cheekbone waxing treatments popular? And do you have any advice on doing them?
I personally don't advise waxing hair from the beard area on guys - strays on the cheekbones and throat are fine to shift with peelable wax, but the beard hair itself is incredibly tough and coarse. It hurts, and can lead to infection and scarring - for this reason, my personal feeling is that it's not worth the risk :)
I have clients with two hairs coming out of one follicle. Can you tell me why this happens and how to avoid it?
Follicles can sprout multiple hairs, an extra one or two are generally nothing to worry about unless they start causing problems with ingrown hairs. Lots of hairs from the same pore can be treated with electrolysis if they become problematic.
In this hot weather, I'm finding my peel-able wax (outback gold) isn't setting & is sticking to the skin, even with pre wax oil on, any tips on how to prevent this?
Hot/non-strip wax takes longer to set on warmer parts of the body like the bikini, underarms, inner thighs, etc. and in humid weather like we're experiencing at the moment. If you are finding it's taking forever for your non-strip wax to set, saturate a cotton pad with cold water or toner and wipe over the surface of the gummy wax. You might get a few tufts of cotton stuck to the surface but that doesn't matter, it'll cool and harden the wax pretty much immediately and you might just get home in time for EastEnders after all... ;)
How often should you wax? And should you always have it done professionally as opposed to home waxing?
Well I'm a bit biased so yes, I would always recommend seeking the help of your friendly neighbourhood beauty therapist rather than doing it at home ;) Salon-only products are of a higher quality and there's no substitute for proper training. Safer, better, quicker and more comfortable results are always worth the price of a salon visit, in my humble opinion.
In terms of timing, every 4-6 weeks between waxes as a general rule BUT everyone is different. Some people seem to have turbo-charged underarm or bikini hair that needs waxing every 3 weeks, some people are happy coming every couple of months. I start my new clients on a 5-week cycle for a few sessions and then adjust from there if needed.
When using hot wax for intimate was, sometimes the wax takes for ever to set hard enough for it to be removed, why? Also sometimes the hairs do not fully come out again not sure why. Warm wax is never a problem on the upper leg of bikini line.
See a few answers up for tips on getting gummy wax to set. Here's a great technique for getting those last few short, stubborn hairs out with hot wax:
- Using firm pressure with your spatula, apply a section of hot/peelable wax AGAINST the direction of hair growth and allow to dry.
- Stretch the skin taut, as close to the edge of your wax possible.
- Lift and remove wax WITH the direction of hair growth.
- HERE'S THE KEY... instead of removing your wax in one quick motion, remove slowly in several tiny steps, re-bracing the skin at every step of the way (you can 'wiggle' the wax from side-to-side during removal if you find this easier - whatever floats your boat!).
- Admire removed strip of wax, replete with hair. Buy your favourite Wax Daddy a drink.
P.S. that technique is a marvel for dealing with leftover hairs on the underarms and mons pubis in particular; shaved hairs; and for removing the fine 'peach fuzz' on areas like the upper lip and chin of female clients.
How do I perfect the art of 'blending'? i.e. waxed buttocks into tops of legs?
There are two ways to blend between areas of hair and freshly waxed skin: with wax and with clippers, and it's a great way to create a natural looking fade on male clients in particular, after waxing areas like the lower back, upper thighs and t-shirt sleeve line. Guys love the finished look and it'll set you apart of the competition.
With strip wax: use a freshly removed paper or cloth strip that's got wax on it. Press the waxy side lightly into the area you want to blend and remove against the direction of growth as normal - it'll remove some but not all of the hair. Repeat a few times with varying pressure until you get the desired effect.
With clippers, start with a grade 2 or 3 and reduce the lenght as you get closer to the waxed bits.
How long before holidays or other special occasions should I advice my clients to get a wax?
Ideally 2-3 days before jetting off. You want enough time for any post-wax irritation to settle down before spending 11 hours on a plane or stripping off and frightening the locals ;)
If it's a new client, I like them to come for their first wax a month before a big event, to see how their skin will react, then they get their pre-holiday pluck 2-3 days before as normal. There's nothing worse than an enexpected rash or pimple on the eve of a special occasion.
What are the first steps to a career as a wax therapist?
Invest in your training. Research the school, Google the trainers, ask previous students what they thought of the classes. Don't be afraid to ask questions! How long has your trainer been in the business? Do they keep up-to-date with their own waxing skills ans dtill work with customers, or have they not set foot in a slaon in 25 years? What will you learn on the course and what types of wax are used (you want tuition in both strip AND non-strip/hot wax to ensure you can offer your clients the best service possible). What's the teacher to student ratio? Check that the course is accredited and that you will be able to get insurance to work on the public after qualifying. BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology) and Guild Of Beauty Therapists both have online directories of approved training schools, which are a good place to start.
Top tip: look for a training provider that has up-to-date commercial experience of waxing and running a business, as they will be able to jelp you with the practical side of things AND the commercial side like retailing, pricing, timimg and marketing your new-found skills. Someone perhaps a little like me, haha... ;)
What new treatments can be offered to men to get them to come back for something different that the usual back wax?
Facial waxing (brows, nostrils, ears) is a great way to get guys into hair removal, and it is really easy to upsell. You tell a male client that you offer nostril waxing AND it doesn't hurt, and I guarantee you have their full attention!
You can also create 'combo' packages to introduce male clients to your other skin care services - a brow tidy with a facial, toe and finger waxing with manicures or pedicures, nostril and ear waxing with a traditional wet shave, for example.
Of course, the infamous 'back, sac and crack' is also hugely popular at the moment. On my Axiom intimate waxing classes you'll get lots of advice on promoting your services, as marketing definitely goes hand-in-hand with being a brilliant therapist if you want to get the men through the door.
What's the best way to remove nose and ear hairs?
Oooo, I love nostril and ear waxing! It's a GREAT way to get the guys on-side and introduce them to the magic of the spatula! It's bizarre because if you tweeze one nostril hair it feels like you're pulling your brains out through your nose, but for some reason if you pull a clump out with wax it genuinely doesn't hurt at all. Bargain!
To start with, you absolutely need to use hot/hard wax for ears and nostrils, strip wax won't cut the mustard. Also, never stick a spatula into the nose or ear canal, you just don't need to, it's dangerous and we're only removing the visible bristles that poke out.
It's easier to demonstrate than to describe, so head over to my Youtube channel or Facebook page to see a video tutorial on nostril waxing, and come to my seminar at Professional Beauty North in October (How To... Keppe The Guys Coming Back For More) where I'll be demonstrating ears, nostrils, cheekbones, eyebrows... the whole shebang!
What after-care should I suggest to my clients?
Freshly waxed skin needs a little extra TLC, and the easiest way to remember your aftercare advice is to think of sunburnt skin - everything you'd avoid after sunbathing you also want to avoid after waxing. So that means no heat or friction for 24-48 hours:
- No hot baths or showers (cool to lukewarm is fine)
- No saunas, steam or hot tubs
- No sunbathing, sunbeds or fake tanning
- No gym, sport, swimming or other exercise
- No Make-up, lotions or potions on the waxed bits, other than the ones we recommend, of course!
- Do wear clean, loose-fitting clothing
- Do apply a soothing, antibacterial lotion often and liberally to the waxed areas
- Do slather on the sunscreen if going outside
- Do exfoliate gently 2-3 times a week and moisturise every day to help prevent ingrown hairs
Put aftercare advice in writing and on your website, too. Most people will forget a lot of the above before they even walk out the door, so make it easy for clients to refer back to :)
What do you love best about your job?
That's a tough one! I still work in my salon 3 days a week and would never want to give that up because I really enjoy working with clients and seeing the satisfaction of a good job done and the difference it makes to them. I also love the training side of things, I get to travel all over the world with the education and meet some amazing, passionate people and I love working with fellow therapists - there's so much talent and passion for our industry out here, it always inspires me! And I love the work I do with Outback Organics, helping to create waxes and products has always been a dream of mine so I'm very lucky to have that opportunity. So I'm afraid I can't pick just one thing LOL
How can you avoid ingrown hairs after waxing?
Ahh, ingrown hairs... the bane of waxers worldwide! A dual approach of exfoliating and moisturising can work wonders. Starting a few days after waxing: exfoliate gently 2-3 times a week with a cosmetic scrub, dry brush or nylon/polyester exfoliating mitt (I love the Japanese-style wash cloths). This will shift the dead skin cells and lift new hairs to the surface. Couple this with a twice-daily slick of moisturiser to keep the skin supple and help new hairs to grow through easily.
Go easy on the exfoliation - some clients (especially guys) think that scrubbing themselves red raw every day is the way to go, but this just winds up irritating the skin and makes the problem worse. And no picking!! Clients love to pick and it nearly always ends up a hot mess.
For really stubborn ingrowns, chemical exfoliation is the next step, but again don't overdo it. A lot of the ingrown hair treatments on the market are stuffed to the brim with alcohol - combined with the peeling effects of the AHA/BHA ingredients, the skin can quickly end up dry and irritated if customers over-use them. So shop around and see what is out there, and be strict with instructions on use ;) By the way, ingrown hair products also make great retail items for guys to deal with razor bumps after shaving the beard!
Andy Rouillard will be at both Professional Beauty North in Manchester and Professional Beauty Ireland in Dublin, demonstrating the latest techniques in waxing: on the live stage at Professional Beauty Ireland on Sunday 5th October - this is free to attend and you can register your interest here; he will also do a seminar at Professional Beauty North on Sunday 19th October on 'How to keep the guys coming back for more' - this session costs only £5 and you can register your interest here.