Waxing is a popular hair removal method that many people rely on for smooth, hair-free skin. When getting a wax, you’re often presented with options for different colored waxes. But does the color of the wax really make any difference?
What is wax made of?
Wax is made from a combination of resins and oils. The resins help the wax adhere to the skin and hair, while the oils keep the wax malleable so it can be easily applied and removed. The most common resins used are rosin, beeswax, and sugar derivatives. Oils like mineral oil, coconut oil, and soybean oil are commonly added.
The color of the wax comes from adding pigments or dyes. These coloring agents don’t change the properties of the wax itself. Rather, they affect the aesthetic appearance only.
Common wax colors and their meanings
Here are some of the most common wax colors and what they typically signify:
- Yellow or honey – This is the natural color of wax made with beeswax or rosin. Yellow waxes are gentle.
- White – White wax is usually synthetic and indicates a wax suitable for sensitive skin.
- Blue – Blue wax often contains antiseptics like azulene to help soothe the skin.
- Pink – This color signifies a wax infused with rose extracts or oils for a more luxurious spa-like experience.
- Purple – Lavender or other herbs are commonly added to purple wax for relaxation.
- Green – Green tea, cucumber, or aloe extracts are popular additives for green waxes to reduce irritation.
- Red – This bold color indicates a harder, stronger wax, usually with a higher melting point than other colors.
- Black – Charcoal is added to this wax to help draw impurities from congested pores.
- Chocolate or caramel – These fun colors contain skin-nourishing ingredients like cocoa butter or coconut oil.
Do the additives make a difference?
While the pigments themselves don’t change the wax, some colored waxes do contain extra ingredients for skin care benefits. For example:
- Blue wax may soothe irritated skin from the azulene.
- Pink wax can provide a comforting aroma from rose oil.
- Green wax might reduce redness thanks to aloe.
- Black wax can help detoxify pores because of the charcoal.
So in some cases, yes – the additives infused into certain colored waxes can provide advantages. But it’s not the actual color itself that makes the difference.
Is colored wax more expensive?
Typically, yes – colored waxes are more expensive than plain yellow beeswax. Here are some reasons why:
- Pigments and dyes add cost.
- Essential oils and botanical ingredients are pricier than the base wax.
- Imported plant derivatives like lavender, rose, and tea extracts increase cost.
- Exotic butters like cocoa and shea are more expensive than common oils.
- Making multi-colored wax requires special swirling and mixing techniques.
- Colored wax is often marketed as premium or luxury.
Even though the colors don’t make the wax work better necessarily, the natural ingredients added to tint the wax mean it costs more to produce. And because consumers associate fun colors with high-end spa treatments, they’re willing to pay more.
Should you choose colored or plain wax?
This depends on your preferences, needs, and budget:
- If you have sensitive skin, plain yellow wax may be the gentlest option.
- If you want skin care benefits like soothing or moisturizing, colored wax with extra ingredients may help.
- If you don’t want to pay a premium, standard yellow wax is the most economical choice.
- If you want a fun, spa-like experience, colored waxes provide more aesthetic enjoyment.
There’s no right or wrong option – it just comes down to your personal waxing needs and desires. Try different types to see which you prefer!
Does the temperature affect wax quality?
Yes, the temperature that the wax is heated to can make a difference in how well it performs. Here’s how:
- If wax isn’t hot enough, it may be too thick and difficult to apply smoothly.
- Overheated wax can burn the skin and lose its viscosity.
- The right temperature allows the wax to adhere properly for the most effective hair removal.
Most waxes provide a recommended temperature range or melting point which should be followed closely. Heating wax 10-15°F above the low end of the range is typically ideal. Using a thermometer helps maintain the optimal temperature.
What’s the best wax temperature for sensitive skin?
For sensitive areas like the face or bikini line, a slightly cooler wax is gentler. Try keeping the wax on the lower end of the temperature range provided. Allowing it to cool an extra 5-10°F below the low point, down to about 115-120°F, can help prevent irritation and burning.
Do wax melters affect wax effectiveness?
Yes, using a high quality wax melter makes a difference compared to melting wax in a makeshift double boiler. Here’s why:
- Consistent indirect heating prevents burning the wax.
- Temperature controls allow dialing in the optimal wax consistency.
- Separate thermostats for dual chambers keep hard and soft waxes ready at different temps.
- Anti-static design reduces debris and contamination in the wax.
- Built-in thermometers take the guesswork out of perfect temps.
Investing in a professional wax melter improves performance and the overall waxing experience compared to DIY methods.
What’s the deal with hard vs soft wax?
Waxes are formulated to have different levels of hardness based on their ingredient ratios. Here’s an overview:
- Soft wax – This pliable, sticky wax adheres to the hair and is removed by pulling it off quickly in the direction of hair growth. It’s good for large areas.
- Hard wax – This wax hardens around the hair and shrinks as it cools, allowing easy removal by flicking the hardened wax off. It’s ideal for delicate areas.
Soft wax works best on longer, coarser hair. Hard wax adheres better to fine, short hair. The type used can make a big difference in pain level and results.
What are waxing strips?
Waxing strips are pieces of fabric applied on top of soft wax to help remove it from the skin. Common materials include:
- Muslin – This finely woven cotton is soft and absorbent.
- Cambric – Similar to muslin but made from linen, it’s very lightweight.
- Cotton flannel – The napped fabric helps grip wax well.
- Polyester – A budget option but may not absorb wax as effectively.
Waxing strips allow easier, less messy application and removal versus using just the wax alone. They help exfoliate the skin in the process.
Should wax strips be reused?
Reusing waxing strips is not recommended for sanitary reasons. Used strips may contain dead skin cells, bacteria, and hair fragments. It’s best to use fresh strips each time to prevent contamination and potential infection.
However, many strips can be washed and reused multiple times for economic and environmental benefits before being discarded. Be sure to sanitize them thoroughly between uses.
How to make homemade waxing strips
It’s easy to DIY waxing strips at home. Here’s what you need:
- Cotton fabric – Muslin or flannel work well, about 15 inches long.
- Sewing needle and thread
Then follow these steps:
- Cut fabric into strips about 2 inches wide.
- Fold the strip lengthwise and sew down the open side to create a pocket.
- Trim any loose threads.
Homemade strips work just as well as store-bought ones. You can customize the size and fabric to suit your preferences.
Things to avoid when waxing at home
Waxing at home can save money, but there are some mistakes to avoid:
- Using wax that’s too hot to avoid burns
- Not holding skin taut for cleaner wax removal
- Rushing and risking broken hairs or leftover wax
- Applying wax against hair growth direction
- Using dull razors that irritate skin for cleanup
- Skipping proper sanitation of tools
- Neglecting to moisturize after to soothe skin
Take your time and follow directions to get the best home waxing results. Always patch test waxes first.
Is waxing safe for pregnant women?
Most types of waxing are considered safe during pregnancy if done carefully. Here are some tips for expectant mothers:
- Avoid waxing your abdomen to prevent irritation or ingrown hairs as your belly expands.
- Use low temperature wax to minimize risks.
- Apply soothing lotion after waxing to calm skin.
- Choose hard wax if concerned about pulling soft wax off.
- See your OBGYN with any questions before waxing sensitive areas.
Focus waxing on your legs, arms, back, and face. And always check with your doctor about what’s appropriate for your unique pregnancy.
How to wax safely if you use retinoids
Prescription retinoids and retinol skincare make skin more sun-sensitive and prone to damage. If you use them, take these precautions when waxing:
- Avoid waxing for 1 week after starting retinoids until skin adjusts.
- Wait at least 48 hours after waxing to resume retinoid treatment.
- Apply a soothing, fragrance-free moisturizer post-waxing.
- Wax in the evening and use sun protection diligently after.
- Consider switching to a hard wax or sugaring as gentler options.
With some care, you can usually continue waxing while using most retinoids. But consult your dermatologist if you have any concerns.
Does waxing cause ingrown hairs?
Waxing can lead to ingrown hairs, especially for those with naturally curly or coarse hair. Reasons why include:
- Hair tips recurring under the skin when regrowing
- Underlying dead skin trapping new hairs beneath the surface
- Clogged pores blocking emerging hairs
- Bacteria overgrowth closing follicles
Regular exfoliation, proper post-wax skin care, and not picking at skin can help prevent ingrowns. Seeing an esthetician routinely for waxing is advisable for susceptible individuals.
What to do about ingrown hairs after waxing
If you develop ingrown hairs from waxing, here are some remedies to try:
- Gently exfoliate with a loofah or soft washcloth when showering.
- Use an exfoliating acid like glycolic or salicylic acid on the area.
- Apply a warm compress to help draw out ingrowns.
- Try an ingrown hair serum with glycolic and salicylic acid.
- Resist picking – let hairs grow out naturally instead.
- See a dermatologist for stubborn ingrown hairs.
Stay diligent with aftercare and be patient for results. Stop waxing areas prone to ingrowns until they clear.
Does waxing cause darker pigmentation?
For some people, waxing can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This is characterized by darkened patches of skin left after an injury like waxing. It’s caused by:
- Melanin overproduction at the site of skin damage
- Inflammatory mediators inducing pigment-producing enzymes
Those with darker skin tones are more susceptible, but anyone can develop PIH from waxing. Using sun protection, gentle exfoliation, and topical lightening products can help treat it.
Can you wax over varicose veins?
Waxing directly over varicose veins is not recommended. The risks include:
- Pain and further damage to bulging veins
- Bleeding if veins are nicked by waxing
- Infection entering through weeping sores
- Scarring and discoloration
It’s best to avoid waxing on varicose veins. See a doctor to discuss treatment options like sclerotherapy or surgery to remove them instead.
Does waxing permanently remove hair?
No, waxing is not a permanent hair removal method. The results last longer than shaving but hair will regrow. Here’s why:
- Waxing only removes hair above the skin, not the root.
- Hair follicles remain intact below the surface to produce new hairs.
- Each strand grows on its own cycle so waxing can miss some.
- Over time, follicles can become desensitized to waxing.
On average, waxing provides around 3-6 weeks of smooth skin before hair regrows. Maintenance waxing is required to stay hair-free.
How long does waxing last compared to shaving?
Waxing provides longer lasting hair removal than shaving. Here is the approximate time between hair regrowth for each method:
Waxing stays smoother for a month or longer since it removes the entire hair from the root when done properly. The results are exponentially longer than daily shaving.
Should you exfoliate before or after waxing?
It’s generally best to exfoliate before waxing when the pores are open. Here’s why:
- Removes dead skin cells and debris to expose hair roots.
- Allows wax to adhere optimally to bare hair follicles.
- Prevents ingrown hairs by clearing dirt and oil buildup.
Gently scrubbing with a loofah, dry brush, or chemical exfoliant 1-2 days pre-waxing clears the way for better results. Avoid harsh scrubs right before waxing to prevent irritation.
Is there a best time of month to wax?
For women, waxing in the days right after your period ends is ideal. Here’s why: