Wax on the carpet

This is many a therapist’s worst waxing nightmare! If working mobile, ALWAYS protect your client’s carpet by placing sheets underneath the treatment couch. Even so, accidents can happen and it helps to know what to do should you ever find yourself in this situation.

A small amount of plain, unscented oil will often dissolve any minor drips. Test on an inconspicuous area of carpet first, then sponge off with clean water.

Dried-on drips can sometimes be shifted by placing a clean tea towel or a sheet of brown paper over the spillage and ironing with a low heat setting over the top. The heat from the iron transfers the wax to the towel or paper. Again, always test on an inconspicuous area of carpet first.

Larger spillages are best dealt with by professional cleaning companies.

In all instances, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Rest assured you won’t be the first!

Wax slides about during application

This happens when there are products left on the body that interfere with the adhesion qualities of the wax, or when the client’s skin is too damp with perspiration.

Ensure you cleanse the area thoroughly to remove any excess oils and skincare products, and check the treatment area is dry before applying your wax. Blot with a tissue if necessary. A light dusting of powder can also help if your client is perspiring excessively.

If you are using a pre-depilatory oil under your wax, take care not to apply too much otherwise the wax will slide right off the skin. If this happens, simply blot any excess with a tissue and try again.

Wax where you don't want it

Stray dribbles and drips are a hazard of the job, but help is at hand!

To remove any undesired soft wax from the body, massage oil into the area and wipe with a folded fabric strip to loosen. Depilatory oil or any basic carrier oil (such as grapeseed or sweet almond) will work. Repeat until the wax dissolves, then follow with your normal post-wax cleanser. This is also a great trick for shifting any sticky residue at the end of your waxing service.

If you accidentally get wax on a client’s eyelashes, don’t panic! With the client’s eyes closed, apply petroleum jelly to a cotton bud and wipe gently in a downward motion over the lashes. Tissue off any excess.

Unwanted hard wax can also be removed from the skin with oil, although it takes a little longer to loosen. If you have a larger rogue dribble, it is often quicker and easier to let the offending wax harden and then carefully cut it away from the hair with nail scissors.

Wax still on the skin when fabric strip is removed

There can be several reasons why wax is left on the body rather than coming off cleanly with the strip:

  • Often, the client’s skin is too cold due to poor circulation or cool weather and the wax has subsequently solidified on the body. Knees, elbows, hands and feet are prime examples of where this can happen. Make sure the room is warm enough and do not leave wax sitting for too long on the skin, especially during the winter months.
  • The client’s skin might be too dry. Instead of using powder, massage a small amount of oil into the area prior to applying your wax. This creates a lipid barrier that prevents wax from adhering to the skin, making its subsequent removal easier.
  • Wax can be left behind when the skin is not held taut enough, particularly in areas where there are folds of skin (such as the bikini line, underarms and upper thigh). Take care to stretch the area at all times during application and removal, and ask your client to assist with stretching if necessary.
  • Soft wax works best when applied thinly - thick, gloopy patches of wax are harder to remove. Ensure your product is warm enough to stay fluid upon application, hold the spatula at an angle between 45° and 90° to the skin, and apply in thin, even layers.
  • If wax is not applied with the direction of hair growth and removed against, hairs can get matted and become stuck together in clumps.
  • Your strip may be too clogged with cold wax and hair to pick up any more. Discard the strip and try again with a fresh one.
    • Do not ‘dab’ at the skin to remove any remaining wax, as this is uncomfortable for the client and can cause bruising. Instead, lay a clean fabric strip over the residue at a slightly different angle, rub briskly several times, hold the skin as taut as possible, then quickly and firmly pull the strip off as normal.

      Adding more wax over the top often only makes the problem worse and should therefore be carried out with caution. Apply thinly and remove as quickly as possible.

      If all else fails, rub oil into the skin until the wax dissolves and wipe off with a clean fabric strip.

Hair breaks when waxed

The client’s hair might be brittle, although hair snapping can also be the result of incorrect technique.

Make sure your wax is applied with enough pressure. This ensures as much hair as possible is encapsulated, making it less likely to break during removal.

With soft wax, rub your fabric strip firmly to create a good bond between the wax and the strip. Ensure that you apply soft wax with the direction of hair growth and remove against.

Remember to remove your product briskly and keep your hand parallel to the body. Do not pull up into the air, as this makes hair breakage more likely.

Particularly brittle or stubborn hair may respond better to hard wax, due to its stronger ‘shrink wrapping’ properties.

Unable to get an edge to remove hard wax

The edge where you start your lift needs to be a little thicker than elsewhere, in effect creating a ‘lip’ for you to grasp and pull from. Wherever possible, the wax should overlap onto a hair-free area of skin, which will make things easier for you and more comfortable for the client when lifting that first corner. If this isn’t possible, be firm and fast in flicking up an edge.

You can also use the end of a clean spatula to help with the initial ‘flick’.

Another tip is to overlap the wax onto a small piece of fabric strip, or press the hair-free side of a recently removed piece of wax into a corner of wax still on the body. Both methods will effectively give you a ‘handle’ to pull from.

Hard wax snaps during removal

Make sure your wax layers are thick enough, particularly along the edges. When it comes to hard wax, overly thin strips with uneven edges are fragile and more likely to break when you try to remove them. If necessary, go back over the area with more product to thicken up any patches that need it.

Some hard waxes also become brittle if they are left too long to cool. To avoid this happening, make sure the temperature of the room is warm enough (particularly during winter) and do not leave wax on the skin for too long. A quality hard wax at a good working temperature should take less than a minute to set, and will contain elastomers to keep the dried wax pliable.

Finally, take care not to overheat your hard wax, as high temperatures may cause some brands to degrade and lose their plasticity over time.

Hard wax won't set

If your hard wax has a gummy consistency or stretches when you try to remove it, it needs longer to dry. Press the strip back down and wait another few seconds before trying again. When the surface becomes dull and does not stick to your fingers or ‘squidge’ when pressed, it is ready to remove.

Hard wax will take longer to set in warm and humid conditions, and when applied to warmer parts of the body (e.g. the bikini line, nostrils, underarms and inner thighs).

In hot weather, you may find it helps to direct a fan at the wax while it sets, or cool the skin with a cold compress prior to application. A slightly thinner application will also result in faster drying times.

Small bits of hard wax left behind on the skin

Don’t pick! Picking at the wax is irritating and uncomfortable for your client. Either press the shiny side of a recently removed strip into any residue and lift quickly to remove, or massage an oil-based product into the skin to loosen any leftover wax at the end of your service. Follow with your usual post-wax cleanser.

© Andy Rouillard, 2008. All rights reserved.

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