How Long Does Waxing Really Last, And How Can You Make It Last Longer?
Waxing is hardly anybody’s favorite beauty experience.
But for many of us, that smooth post-wax skin and dodging the risk of razor burn is well worth the pain.
You might be wondering: how long does waxing last compared to other forms of hair removal? When should you make the next appointment? And, how do you make it last longer?
We’re here to demystify waxing for you.
Types of Wax
There are a few different waxing methods to choose from, with the wax used for standard hair removal falling into two categories: hard and soft.
Soft waxing is done by applying wax to the skin, then removing it with a cloth strip. It’s better for larger areas, like legs. Hard waxing is strip-free and is gentler on the skin and less painful, making it suited to sensitive areas like the chest and bikini line.
Sugaring, also called sugar waxing, is another method to consider. This is one of the world’s oldest forms of hair removal, used in the Middle East since 1900 BC. Sugaring removes hair with a thick, golden syrup-colored paste that’s made from ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen: sugar, lemon, and warm water. It also tends to be less painful than standard waxing because the sugar paste doesn’t adhere to the skin.
Is Waxing Vegan?
You may also be wondering if waxing is even an option for you if you live a plant-based lifestyle.
Many commercial hard waxes are made with animal products. Beeswax is one common ingredient, and is not vegan since it comes from bees. Lanolin, another common ingredient, is a waxy oil secreted from the sebaceous glands of sheep that is extracted after the animal is sheared. Because it’s a byproduct of the wool industry, it’s not vegan either.
Vegan hard and soft waxes do exist, however, things start to get a little more complicated if you’re looking for a vegan wax that’s also clean. The currently available options are made with microcrystalline wax and paraffin wax—and both of these ingredients are derived from petroleum. Petroleum products don’t hold up to Kinder Beauty’s clean beauty standards.
But, don’t give up hope! Sugaring is a clean, vegan option. Try typing “vegan sugaring near me” into your search engine of choice to find a salon near you where you can book a waxing appointment that’s free from animal-products. And, like other types of waxing, sugaring can also be done at home.
How Long Does Waxing Last?
Typically, hair will start to grow back as early as three weeks after your appointment. But just because your hair is making its prickly return doesn’t mean that it’s time for another wax. You should wait until the hair is about a quarter-inch long, which usually happens around the six-week mark.
But every body is different. How long you can go between hair removal depends on a number of factors, including the speed of your hair growth cycle, which area was waxed, your hair texture, your genetics, and whether it was a DIY job or done by a professional.
Does Waxing Last Longer Than Shaving?
Shaving is the shortest-lived form of hair removal because it only slices the follicle at the surface of the skin, leaving the root intact. But, it’s quick, cheap, and painless, which is why some prefer it to other methods.
The reason why sugar waxing, waxing, threading, and epilation last longer is because they pull hair out at the root, so hairs need to go through more of a growth cycle before reappearing at the surface. Here are the three steps of the growth cycle:
Anagen (growing) stage: Hair growth starts from the hair bulb, located in the lower dermis.
Catagen (regressing) stage: Hair is done growing. The hair bulb moves up into the mid-dermis.
Telogen (resting) stage: The hair remains in the follicle for two to three months before being pushed out by new hair growth.
This is how the different hair removal options measure up to one another:
Standard Waxing: Up to 6 weeks with new hair growth beginning during the 3rd or 4th weeks.
Sugaring: Like waxing, generally 6 weeks with new hair growth beginning after 3 or 4 weeks.
Threading: Between 2 to 6 weeks,
Epilation: Up to 4 weeks.
Shaving: A couple of days or up to a week.
How to Safely Remove Hair
If you’re a sugar waxing newbie, then splurging on an appointment with a licensed esthetician at a salon is your best bet. Professionals are trained in body waxing, which will reduce the risk of burns, inflammation, ingrown hairs, and irritation—all the things you want to avoid when you’re already undergoing a painful process.
But, there’s no denying that DIYing helps keep money in the bank. If you want to go the at-home route, then you should still consider booking an appointment with an esthetician first so you can watch how the method is done and ask questions.
There are plenty of instructions for homemade sugar paste, such as this one. Or, you can buy a kit. Whatever you do, always follow the instructions, or better yet, look up a video that shows you the proper technique.
Sugar waxing at home isn’t risk-free. Burns are common and it may be challenging to hold your skin taut, as an esthetician would, while you remove the product. You might also miss hairs, so there’ll be more to pluck once the wax has been pulled off.
How to Make Waxing Last Longer
Few people wax because they like how it feels. Luckily, you can take some steps to ensure that you need to do it as infrequently as possible.
A good aftercare routine will help waxing last longer—so whatever you do, don’t neglect it! Since waxing involves yanking hair out by the root, you will likely notice that the area where the hair was removed is red. During the first 24 hours after hair removal, be extra-kind to your skin: you should avoid tanning, swimming, intense workouts, deodorant if the underarms were waxed, makeup, and if the bikini area was waxed, sexual activity. Wear loose-fitting, non-abrasive clothing over the area.
After two to three days, use a gentle exfoliating cloth, brush, or treatment on the area about 3 times a week to help prevent ingrown hairs and bumps. Apply a light, fragrance-free moisturizer to the area after bathing or showering.
Though it might be tempting, don’t reach for your razor at the first sign of new hair. If you maintain a regular waxing schedule and don’t shave in between, you will notice the hairs growing in finer which will make waxing less painful.
And remember: the strands need to be at least a quarter-inch long to give the wax or sugar paste something to grab onto. So let ‘em grow!
Vegan sugar waxing products
If you’re looking to try hair removal at home, here are some cruelty-free and vegan products that get the job done, plus aftercare products that’ll help reduce irritation and keep your skin smooth and supple.
This Sedona, Arizona-based brand offers all-organic sugaring kits made from simple ingredients: arrowroot powder, cane sugar, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and lemon juice. Shop owner Amanda Leith offers sugar pastes, kits that include reusable cotton strips and aftercare products, and gentle exfoliating mittens that aid in hair removal. The sugar pastes are all handmade in small batches.
The paste from this popular New York City-based salon is made from just three ingredients: organic sugar, organic citric acid, and organic purified water. You can buy it alone or get it in a kit that includes everything you need for an at-home job: paste, applicators, and gloves.
This gentle scrub from cruelty-free personal care brand Fur buffs away dead skin and help prevent ingrown hairs and bumps. It uses a combination of physical and chemical exfoliation. On the physical side, there are jojoba beads, an alternative to plastic beads that are safe for all-over body use, including the sensitive skin on the face and the pubic area. And on the chemical side, the scrub features papaya and pineapple enzymes which aid in removing dead skin.
Crafted to soothe skin and prevent ingrown hairs, this tonic from Momotaru Apotheca can also be used as a skin-softening bath soak. It’s a completely organic blend of jojoba, tea tree, cedarwood, sweet orange, goldenseal, and Oregon grape oils. Jojoba oil is a natural humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to the skin, and it has anti-inflammatory properties, which is exactly what your body needs after hair removal.
Waxing is painful, but it can keep your skin smooth and silky for a pretty long time. And when you opt for sugaring, you’re doing the animals a favor, too! Sometimes beauty is worth a little pain—just don’t forget to give your skin some extra love and attention afterward!
Kat Smith is a New York City-based writer and editor who loves digging deep into sustainable fashion, beauty, food, and other lifestyle-related topics.
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