By Leah Fletcher
When Dee Jones was 15, her mother decided it was time to put some space between the eyebrows that appeared as a single swatch on her forehead. For what seemed like hours, Mrs. Jones plucked hair by hair with a pair of tweezers, recalled the younger Jones, who considered using her father’s razor to hasten the removal process. Not too late, she discovered waxing.
“The tweezing process proved torturous,” explained Jones. “The pain I endured encouraged me to seek another way to satisfy my mother’s desire for perfectly formed eyebrows. I was happy when I discovered another option,” recalled the 32-year-old being introduced to waxing by a schoolmate.
“Waxing, like tweezing, does hurt, but the pain comes with every strip, not hair by hair” explained Philadelphia esthetician Kim Williams Hunter, who believes waxing is also better than cream hair removers because there is no smell and less of a chance of getting a skin rash. Another bonus? Your legs or bikini line aren’t left full of nicks and cuts, unlike the occasional aftermath of shaving.
Unfortunately, squeezing in a trip to the salon for wax jobs can be tricky. You may not be able to confirm an appointment on the day you’re feeling pretty hairy. But do-it-yourself waxing can be done anytime right in the comfort of your home. It also might be more cost effective.
A variety of home waxing products are available. Most over-the-counter waxes are a combination of beeswax and paraffin and come in microwaveable containers or containers that can be heated quickly on the stove, according to Williams-Hunter. But they’re not your only option. Pre-coated wax strips are virtually mess-free, easy to clean up, and manageable for small areas such as brows and lips or for bikini line touch-ups. Water-soluble “sugar” products made from a sugar and water base are less sticky than traditional wax, so any excess washes off with soapy water. They’re also gentler on sensitive skin.
All-in-one at-home waxing kits are easy on your wallet and are typically less expensive than salon wax jobs. Williams-Hunter, a 25-year industry veteran, said that one of the biggest payoffs is the time span between touch-ups. “Waxing keeps regrowth from showing up for about two weeks, unlike the shorter shelf life of a shave or tweezing. It’s longer if you’re a routine waxer, because waxing weakens the hair follicle, and that slows the production of hair,” William-Hunter explained.
But, for those that opt for professional services, common body waxing services and prices vary based the quality of the product or service and the geographic location noted O’nisha Claire, founder of Koco Nail salon and Wax Studio. With waxing, in larger cities, prices can climb as high as $120 for a simple service. However, in less populated areas, prices are low and can start at as much as $15. For those who live in Philadelphia, Claire said, prices range from $20 to $100 or more. She also noted that some of the most common body waxing treatments include facial and bikini areas.
According to Claire, it is a good idea to check with your favorite body waxing locale for current prices before setting an appointment. Claire’s Koco Nail Salon and Wax Studio, located in the Manayunk, section of Philadelphia, has been cited as “Best in Philly” for nails, waxing, and makeup.
Ultimately, if a good, do-it-yourself waxing is your choice, Hunter-Williams noted that at-home waxing kits are safe and effective but only if you follow the instructions.
Hair Removal Options for Unwanted Hair
There might be times when you examine your body for unwanted hair. It is commonly found on the upper lip, chin, cheeks, back, legs, fingers, feet, and toes. Aside from what seems normal, there are many causes of undesirable hair, including genetics, certain medications such as steroids or higher levels of certain hormones.
The good news is that there are a number of options to assist in the removal of that unwanted hair.
Shaving is best for leg, arm, and facial hair. However, use caution when using this removal method because it can cause ingrown hairs, especially in the pubic region.
If you have only a few hairs to remove, plucking or tweezing, although they can be painful, may be good options. They may be sufficient when you want to reshape your eyebrows or pull out a few stray hairs that appear on your face. However, this hair removal method will not serve you well for large areas. It might cause ingrown hairs or scarring.
You might consider hair removal creams, also known as depilatory creams that are available without a prescription. Not all hair removal products are created equal, so be sure to read the label before using. For instance, you don’t want to use a hair removal cream intended for pubic hairs as a facial hair remover. The chemicals in these products are designed to dissolve the hair shaft. If you don’t use the cream properly, you might encounter an array of problems that include burning your skin due to leaving it on too long. If you have a history of allergies, you should first test your reaction to the product by a applying a little bit of the cream on a small area on your arm to ensure you don’t have a bad reaction to it. Be sure to follow the directions on the cream’s container.
If you are considering a hot wax, you can do this at home or you can have it done by a professional in a salon. Hot waxing can be messy and painful and it may leave some hairs behind because they don’t break off. One side effect you want to avoid is an infection. If the wax is too hot, you may get a burn. Don’t use this method if you also use certain types of prescription acne creams (such as Retin-A) or take isotretinoin. If you do, the wax will pull your skin off. Many women use this hair removal method in the bikini area and to remove hair on the upper lip.