This article was first published on 3 March 2022.
Waxing is one of the most popular temporary hair removal methods today, and for good reason. The hair grows back slower during waxing compared to shaving since hairs are removed from the follicles. Waxing is also an option that can be done professionally in salons or at home using easy-to-use wax kits.
Still, it can be intimidating for people who are afraid of moderate pain during hair removal. If you’re trying to find out how to get waxing right, read up on the seven types of wax used in hair removal to know which one suits your routine best. We’ve highlighted the pros and cons here!
1. Ready-to-use wax strips
This is the most common wax used in hair removal and also the one that most of us are familiar with. It uses cold wax already laid out on a strip, ready-to-use without heating. Since it’s pre-made, it also doesn’t leave room for over-application and has no risk of burning your skin. It’s convenient, quick, and easy to bring when travelling.
Possible downsides: Depending on the quality or brand, it may take more than a couple of tugs to effectively remove your hairs through this method. This may cause irritation or redness if you keep on re-waxing a certain area, which can be painful and harmful to your skin in the long run.
Best suited for: Those who prefer quick, hassle-free waxing that requires little to no prep time.
2. Warm hard wax
As the name implies, this kind of wax is hard, and so would require heating before use. It becomes malleable enough to spread thinly onto the skin and hardens once it’s cool so it doesn’t require paper strips to use. Warm wax wraps around the hair and grips it firmly as it cools, resulting in a cleaner and smoother removal without too much wax reapplication in the same area.
Possible downsides: Warm hard wax adheres more to the hair strands than the skin, so for larger areas with longer hair strands, it is possible that the strand would break off in the middle without removing the roots. Plus, since it’s heated before application, it can also lead to skin burns if not used properly.
Best suited for: Those who typically use hair removal in the upper lip, underarms, bikini areas since lesser reapplication means lesser risk of irritation and development of bumps in these thin-skinned sensitive areas.
3. Warm soft wax
Warm soft wax requires strips when used as compared to warm hard wax. Given its soft texture, it’s a lot easier to spread onto larger areas like arms or legs. It also adheres to fine hair well, too, making it effective for most cases and skin types. However, it is advisable to go for cream-based warm soft wax than resin-based ones since the former is gentler on the skin.
Possible downsides: Just like warm hard wax, this type should still be used with caution since applying it without testing if the heat is already tolerable for your skin may lead to skin burns or irritation.
Best suited for: Those who need to get rid of hair in larger areas of the body as efficiently as possible.
4. Cold wax
Cold wax is a great alternative to warm wax, especially if you don’t feel confident enough with handling warm wax against your skin. However, cold wax tends to be less malleable than warm wax, making it hard to create a smoother layer over the hairs.
Possible downsides: Since cold wax tends to stick more to both the hair and the skin, there are instances when it’s a lot more painful to remove. It also doesn’t remove hairs as effectively as warm wax so expect a couple of reapplications during your waxing session.
Best suited for: Those with softer and finer hairs even in larger areas and are more sensitive to heat.
5. Sugar wax
Sugaring traces its roots from Ancient Egypt. It’s not wax, per se, but a combination of hot water, lemon juice, and of course, sugar, that’s mixed until it caramelises and mimics a wax-like texture. It clings onto the hairs without sticking too much to the skin, allowing re-waxing in a certain area less painful and irritating. Sugar wax is also water-soluble, making the residue easier to remove.
Possible downsides: One of the biggest downsides to sugaring is it can be a bit more costly having it done professionally as compared to normal waxing.
Best suited for: Those with sensitive skin who are prone to bumps and irritation. If you’re a fan of natural beauty grooming methods, this one is for you too.
6. Fruit wax
Fruit wax works like warm and cold wax but has the added benefits of having fruit extracts with natural antioxidants and nutrients in its ingredients list. Because of this, it tends to be a lot gentler to the skin compared to its resin or cream-based counterparts.
Possible downsides: Just like other fruit-related products, make sure you do a patch test first before using this type of wax. This is because some fruit-derived ingredients can cause allergic reactions depending on your skin type and sensitivity.
Best suited for: Those with sensitive skin who are also conscious about premature skin ageing. Since fruits are rich in antioxidants that help prevent early signs of ageing, using fruit wax can help with skin firming and elasticity besides effective hair removal.
7. Chocolate wax
If you’re still unconvinced to use wax, chocolate wax may be the one to change your mind. Cocoa, its main ingredient, is rich in antioxidants and also has a moisturising effect on the skin. Natural oils like almond and sunflower, as well as vitamin E, are also often used in creating the chocolate wax formula; they all have skin-healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Chocolate wax also has a lower melting point compared to regular wax, which lowers the risk of skin burns. It’s also the least painful hair removal method using wax on this list.
Possible downsides: Chocolate wax is a dream when it comes to hair removal but it usually comes with a hefty price tag and is not something you can easily mimic at the comfort of your own home.
Best suited for: Those with extremely sensitive skin and have low pain tolerance who are open to splurging a bit for their hair removal routine.
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