The World of Hair Removal

Have you ever seen a hairy upper lip or happy trail and felt like you have to wax it? We’ve likely all been there. As estheticians who wax, it’s hard to leave hair behind. Anywhere there is hair, we wax on, wax off and viola, baby smooth skin. It is so satisfying.

Society has framed the story in a way that reads, if a woman has hair anywhere other than on her head, it is deemed as unattractive or masculine. Traditionally, the gender stereotypes say it’s attractive for men to keep body hair, but it’s not for women. In the same way, if men choose to remove their body hair, it is looked at as non-traditional and against societal norms.

“Januhairy” is a body positive movement encouraging women to grow their body hair to fight these gender stereotypes. Women have embraced the movement in record numbers by growing in their facial and body hair. With the Januhairy movement, you will see thousands of heated comments on Instagram. People have strong feelings about whether women should grow in or remove their hair. Comments from “to each his own” to “gross, wax it” and even people critizing celebrity Halsey for not growing her hair long enough for the Januhairy movement. However, other celebrities are helping by supporting the movement and pushing back at societal norms. “Body hair, don’t care.” This tells us professionals that times are shifting, and we need to take notice. Clients are embracing their body hair and are feeling body positive with grown-in hair that they are proud to flaunt. Even a popular razor brand has jumped on board, which may seem counterintuitive since they sell razors. By spreading the body positive rhetoric, female empowerment and inclusion, the campaign to give female-identifying people the choice to shave or not and has strengthened their relationship with their consumers.

Does this mean professional hair removal like laser, electrolysis, or waxing is becoming less common? The answer is absolutely not. For each person who chooses to keep some hair here or there, another decides to go for a whole body wax. Add in men, who are waxing in greater numbers to the mix, and the clients seeking waxing continues to grow.

Overall, waxing is increasing with changes. Men are waxing their underarms, legs and Brazilians and women continue to do full body waxing as well. What has changed is that hair removal is becoming more of a choice than a necessity. Men with smooth, waxed legs or women with long, fluffy underarm hair are no longer taboo. The images of female celebrities with fully grown underarm hair are equal to the number of men with silky smooth underarms. Letting go of ideas of what is expected, traditional or acceptable is important. All rules are out the window. There are no longer rules when it comes to hair maintenance. People have specific individual preferences that may ebb and flow. The where to remove or keep body hair can change, just like a haircut.

When it comes to body hair choices, it is important to understand your client’s needs and have an
empathetic and non-judgemental approach to meet and exceed their needs. Don’t assume. Say your client is booked for a Brazilian and you notice her legs are grown out. Don’t assume that because you may be feeling the urge to wax her legs to reveal a smooth, shiny surface that this is something the client would want.

Offering an add-on service is a good practice, but don’t assume that when you see hair, the client would want it to be removed. A perfectly sculpted eyebrow is essential for one person where another may prefer a fluffy brow. This is the same with any given body part—a smooth Brazilian may be the desired result for one, but a full bikini for another. And one person may love fully grown leg hair while also wanting a full Brazilian. If you see hair, you can offer an add-on service without assuming.

One approach is to offer time versus a designated body area to be waxed. For example try, “My next client cancelled, would you like any other waxing services?” versus “My next client cancelled, it looks like you really need a leg wax.” We cannot assume this person wants their legs waxed. They might, but we can easily offend the client by assuming so. By offering time, it leaves the conversation open for the client to specify what they may need.

In the same vain, be sure your male clients are offered the same body waxing options as your female clients. Offer all clients the same waxing offers. Waxing is simply removing hair from a specific body area that is not tied to gender. Athletes may remove every hair on their body for performance and some people remove every hair for the look or feel. Models, celebrities and everyday people have body hair on all areas, and it’s refreshing to not have to do what is expected. Some women want a back wax, some men want an underarm wax and so on. If any gender wants hairy legs, they should have that. If any gender wants to be hair-free they should have that too. In addition to supporting your clients needs, your business will likely increase. And if you do not offer male waxing, you are missing out on a whole demographic that will likely increase your business.

A non-judgemental approach is a good practice that your clients will be grateful for. As estheticians, we see all types of situations when it comes to hair removal. Hormones may induce wirey beard hair where it is not wanted. Some people have a lot of body hair that makes them self-conscious, or some people are gender transitioning, which can be awkward when it comes to hair removal. Offering acceptance in the choices people make when it comes to hair removal or hair embracing goes a long way, and it will leave your client feeling confident and likely to return.

In changing times, the benefits of waxing remain solid. Waxing reduces hair growth when performed correctly every four to five weeks. While shaving removes the hair at the skin’s surface, strengthening the hair and making it more coarse, waxing removes the hair from the root, so it grows back slowly, softer, finer and thinner. Waxing is great for those who are tired of the hassle of daily shaving. The more you wax, the greater the benefit. The benefits of waxing are coveted by many people. The way your skin looks and feels, the length of time waxing lasts and the cost effectiveness are desirable. Because the benefits of waxing are so great, people love it and will continue to book waxing services for whatever area they choose.

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