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Waxing

Love it or hate it, many of us spend half our time trying to grow lustrous locks and the other half trying to get rid of hair from everywhere else!

There's nothing new about hair removal - we've been doing it for centuries. We get many of our modern day beauty rituals from the Ancient Egyptians, so it's no surprise that's where the quest for smooth, hair-free skin seems to have originated.

In fact, those Egyptians were quite obsessed about it. Women removed all their hair - even the hair on their heads - using a variety of methods, including beeswax and sugar-based concoctions.

Waxing and Sugaring

Egyptian hair removal may have been done for hygiene or religious purposes, or even status, as a shaved head with a wig collection was a sign of nobility. In fact the majority of Ancient Egyptians covered up with wigs, made from human hair, sheep wool or plant fibre.

Waxing and sugaring are still the most commonly used methods of removing hair today.

The belief that hair removal was a status symbol continued into the days of the Roman Empire. Yet waxing wasn't as popular. Generally men and women used razors made from flint, tweezers and stones to rid themselves of unwanted fuzz.

Waxing vs. Shaving

Waxing remained out of fashion for a few hundred years, as better razors were developed, along with depilatory cream. However, there was no way shaving could produce the same super-smooth, long-lasting results as waxing.

By the 1960s, waxing was back - and wax strips were invented. Interestingly the first laser hair removal techniques also appeared in the 60s but didn't catch on at that time.

Over the last few decades revolutionary methods of hair removal have sprung up, yet waxing still remains popular. In fact, it's one of the most popular beauty services offered - for both men and women.

What To Expect

For those new to waxing treatments, here's what to expect. A thin layer of warm wax is applied to the skin, either with a spatula or roller, in the direction of hair growth. A strip of fabric is then pressed down onto the wax and quickly ripped off in the opposite direction.

There is also a cold wax method, using pre-waxed strips. Whilst this is something you can do at home, it certainly isn't as effective in removing hair. You may need to go over the same spot again and again to remove the hair, which can irritate the skin or even snap the hair, making it harder to remove.

Waxing offers many advantages. Unlike shaving, there is no prickly regrowth. In fact over time, your hair will grow back softer and sparser. Waxing also gives you semi-permanent hair removal, and the results can last up to six weeks.

Handling Any Discomfort

The downside of waxing can be the pain. Most people who wax regularly stop noticing the pain after a while, but it can be hard to handle in the beginning, especially in more sensitive areas. Salons generally use a different type of wax for facial waxing, bikini line, underarms, and for Brazilians. Instead of removing it with strips, the wax sets and can be removed by hand.

It is quite common to experience some redness or puffiness after waxing, though the better the beautician, the less irritation. It's all to do with how the area of skin is prepared and aftercare. A soothing cream, usually medicated, is applied to lessen soreness.

The most common complaint about home waxing is being left with bruised skin - something you can avoid by going to a professional. There are strict rules about safety and hygiene concerning waxing, but feel free to ask your consultant questions if you want to know more about their process.