What contra-indications should I check for?

In addition to the standard waxing contra-indications, Habia recommend that therapists should be checking for STIs and urinary tract infections. Also check that the client is old enough, as some insurance providers will not cover intimate waxing services for any customer under the age of 18, even with parental consent.

Are STI's a concern?

Debate continues within the industry as to the actual risk of cross-infection from STIs when waxing. Remember that clients might not even be aware that that they have an infection, as many STIs do not present with recognizable symptoms for several months after exposure. If in doubt, don’t wax and refer the client to his GP.

To protect ourselves and our clients, therapists should follow the universal hygiene procedures recommended by Habia: wearing of gloves, avoidance of double-dipping, disinfection or sterilization of equipment as appropriate, clean towels for each client and the correct disposal of salon waste.

How do I protect my client's modesty during the treatment?

To a certain extent, you can’t - the client is going to be naked from the waist down and you can’t wax with your eyes closed. We can make our customers as comfortable as possible, however. Discussing the treatment procedure beforehand, taking time to answer any questions the client may have, explaining what you are doing every step of the way, and maintaining a confident and professional demeanour will all go a long way towards making the customer feel relaxed and happy throughout the service.

What do I do if a client gets an erection?

Don’t panic! Most erections that occur during a Brazilian waxing service have nothing to do with sexual arousal. Instead, it is likely to be no more than an involuntary response to the manipulation of the client’s genitals. Any such arousal normally subsides fairly rapidly but can be discomforting for both parties if dealt with incorrectly.

Remember that the client is likely to be feeling embarrassed, so it is vital to respond with sensitivity and tact.

Unless the client says anything, I tend to ignore the situation and carry on working, asking the customer to hold himself out of the way or moving to a different area of the body if necessary. If the client draws attention to the fact or apologises, a simple acknowledgement along the lines of “don’t worry, it happens” is usually enough to put the customer’s mind at rest.

How can I ensure my personal safety / the safety of my therapists?

This is an important consideration, but rest assured that it is actually incredibly rare for clients to behave inappropriately during a waxing service. The vast majority of customers are polite, clean and respectful.

As a general rule, all technicians undertaking intimate waxing services should ensure that their appearance, behaviour, language and conversation is professional and appropriate to the task. This not only puts the client at ease but also helps to avoid any misunderstanding in terms of the nature of the treatment.

Use medical terminology when referring to parts of the body (i.e. penis, scrotum, buttocks). Avoid slang words and euphemisms, even if your client uses them.

Although rare, it is important that technicians feel confident in dealing with inappropriate behaviour. Where a customer’s language or actions are threatening or otherwise unsuitable, the therapist should stop the service immediately and ask the client to get changed and leave. Undesirable customers can often be deterred by stating the salon’s policy for dealing with such incidents on your price-list or website, for example: “Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, and we report all occurrences to the police.”

As an added safety measure, salons may wish to consider installing personal alarms in treatment rooms. Mobile therapists and lone workers are advised to operate a ‘buddy system’, whereby a colleague, friend or family member always knows where you are, what you are doing, and what time you expect to finish.

For more ideas, The Suzy Lamplugh Trust provides excellent advice on all aspects of personal safety, including useful information on safety in the workplace, working off-site and travelling.

How can I adjust the attitude of my therapists if they feel awkward or shy about offering this service?

This is not a service for the faint hearted. If you can’t imagine looking at, touching or even talking about men's bits, this is probably not the job for you.

Staff should not be forced to carry out intimate waxing services if they are unhappy about doing so. As a customer, there is nothing worse than entrusting your family jewels to the hands of a resentful or nervous technician!

What is the most common mistake new therapists make?

Inexperienced therapists are often afraid of putting their hands in the wrong place or hurting the client, so they sometimes neglect to stretch the skin taut enough and end up inadvertently causing the very discomfort they were trying to avoid.

Anyone thinking of offering this service needs to feel comfortable and confident in positioning the client, stretching the skin correctly, and instructing the customer in his role. The good news is that all of this is covered as part of your training with Axiom Bodyworks.

Where can I get specialist training?

Students should look for a trainer with commercial experience of providing this treatment and should always check that any class they take is recognised by their insurance provider. Habia, The Guild of Beauty Therapists and BABTAC all maintain lists of approved training schools.

In 2007, Habia introduced new National Occupational Standards for male and female intimate waxing. These standards represent the benchmark that therapists wishing to offer this specialised service should be aiming for, and I am immensely proud that the Axiom Bodyworks male Brazilian waxing workshop was the first training of its kind to receive official Habia endorsement.

It should go without saying that professional training is essential. Intimate hair removal is a specialised treatment with its own unique issues that a basic Level 2 waxing qualification simply doesn’t cover. Practitioners need to consider areas such as personal safety, the anatomy and physiology of the reproductive system, the impact of specific contra-indications, client draping and positioning, differences in aftercare advice… and that’s before even picking up a spatula. The waxing itself brings more challenges in terms of stretching, application and removal techniques. If you’ll pardon the pun, waxing a scrotum is a whole new ball game compared to waxing a back or a leg.

© Andy Rouillard 2009. All rights reserved.

Axiom Bodyworks are UK leaders in advanced male waxing training. Our men's Brazilian waxing class has been written to meet Habia's exacting National Occupational Standards, and is fully certificated and insurable. In addition to our popular in-house training programme, we also offer group workshops at regional training centres around the UK.