The soft wax vs hard wax myth debate ends here!
But first a short message to my 16-year-old self
First things first. Remember that your self-worth is not defined by the way you look. If your life takes you in a direction where leg hair and bikini waxes are problems that don’t even enter your mind, then that’s great for you.
If you have a boyfriend that won’t love you for the way you are, armpits and all, then he’s probably not going to be the one you want to waste too much time on.
But if you want to make some good decisions about taking care of your skin and making life a little easier on yourself through the warmer months, learning about waxing is probably a good idea. Also, start young, don’t shave like a madwoman every day!
This piece is all about choosing the right type of wax for the hair you’re dealing with, which basically means choosing hard wax or soft wax. Whatever you choose, in the long run, waxing is pretty much the best choice for hair removal. So, read on – educate yourself and then move on with your life.
OK, back to nowadays!
Why are we even talking about hard wax vs soft wax? Why wax?
That’s an easy one. It’s less effort, and it gives you a better result. With shaving, you’re probably getting stubble within a few hours.
Every shower, you need to go over your legs and arms again – not exactly fun! And don’t even talk to me about regrowth after shaving your bikini area.
Oh, the itching. Something has to be better than this!
And yes, something is. Waxing. As long as your hair is between ¼ and ¾ inches long, you’ll get a great result and in theory, over time it will become much easier to do and much less painful.
One thing we definitely know is that the result will last for a good few weeks. And without the itching. Oh, the itching.
Timing is key. Don’t wax the week before or during your period as your hormones will make the whole experience a lot more painful and unpleasant! And we don’t want to add any more unpleasantness to our periods, do we?
And if you’re pregnant, you’ll probably feel the same thing. Once you’re a bit further along you won’t be able to see your own legs anyway.
Home or salon? Let’s be honest, what can you afford?
Ideal world time. If you can spend a bit of your budget on visiting a professional beautician, it’s always a good idea, isn’t it? It’s like hiring a decorator. You’re guaranteed a neat and tidy edge and a smooth, neat finish.
That being said, let’s be realistic. If money’s tight then there are plenty of at-home waxing kits you can use that will give you perfectly good results. Just do your research, and take the time to practice! And learn about when to use hard wax and when to use soft wax. Which brings us on to our next topic…
What’s the difference between hard and soft wax?
If you have these questions in your head:
- hard wax vs soft wax for legs?
- hard wax or soft wax for face?
And you’ve answered for both the same wax, then we need a chat! No! These specific areas of your body will need different wax types, so don’t think you can buy one type and wax EVERYWHERE.
Well, you can, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when you’ll be looking in the mirror and thinking that your face resembles a red tomato. (trust me, learn from my-younger-self mistakes)
Soft wax is removed using cloth strips. Hard wax is removed by peeling off the wax itself. One is good for covering a large area (soft wax). One isn’t (hard wax).
Soft wax strips are disposed of immediately. Hard wax is melted in a special warming device and is applied using giant lolly-sticks – but never double-dipped! If you see double-dipping going on at your salon, run for the hills, quickly.
One moment you’re having your eyebrows waxed. Just before you, someone had their bikini line waxed. In, out, in, out went that lolly stick. Do you really want to share that wax?!
Walk me through hard wax vs soft wax again …
Soft wax is good for non-detail areas where you just want to slap it on and get it over with. For men that means back and chest; for women, in general, that means legs and underarms. Well, and back or chest if you feel the need.
With soft wax, you can’t reapply it to the same area twice, so that makes it difficult for detail work like the eyebrows or bikini areas. That’s because it tends to remove the dead skin too, which would be too sensitive on the face or around the genitals (trust me).
Talk to me about the Brazilian.
Ok, so here’s a tricky one, given everything I’ve just said about the soft wax vs hard wax! Some of my friends say they’re removing everything down there with a soft wax, as the cloth strips really stick to all the hairs and the ripping part is in one swift move.
But honestly, that seems just too painful for me to even listen to. Because you can go over that one area only once or else it will start ripping too much skin cells off, which can lead to a lot of redness.
Ok, maybe I’m the only one with super stubborn and strong hair follicles because to this day my beautician says (after so many years of nothing but waxing) that it’s still difficult to rip off the wax with the roots I have.
Nevertheless, in my experience, when discussing soft or hard wax for Brazilian… Hard wax is the way to go, as it grabs all the coarse hairs, and if done in small patches the wax doesn’t break.
Actually, the majority of my friends in the debate of “hard wax or soft wax for bikini?” seem to agree hard wax is better for a Brazilian wax. It’s where you really want to aim to take every hair from around your genitals – supposedly a lovely feeling when you’re in swimwear but quite clearly also an option that your partner may be more keen on that you are!
If you really want to go for it, then you’ll probably find your salon are using a quality hard wax which works much better inside the lip area where hair is growing in different directions – and it takes a lot less time.
I wouldn’t really recommend doing a Brazilian at home because it’s so hard to reach, but if you do, make sure you do it lying down, use a hand mirror, and start at the front because you want to get the worst over with first!
Learn from others’ mistakes!
Here are some general tips I’ve learned along the way, talking to friends…
- Exfoliate the day before a wax – don’t forget!
- Use baby powder on your legs before waxing, and baby oil afterward to really help condition your legs
- Take a couple of everyday pain relief tablets 30 minutes before a wax
- Just do a little bit of your leg, arm or bikini at a time – don’t try and rip off the whole lot!
- Use deodorant without antiperspirant on the day you wax your armpits as it cleans away better
- Heat up your at-home wax strips with a hairdryer to get them to the perfect temperature
- Don’t be tempted to pick at ingrown hairs! You’ll end up with a big mess, and a scar. They will resolve themselves.
- Don’t shave in-between waxes. It will affect the way the hair grows and you won’t get a smooth result
Going for it? You’ll need a few products that will make the whole thing easier
Put on loads of this cream and keep it on your skin (cover in cling film if possible) for 90 minutes before your appointment and you should have a much easier waxing experience. There are hundreds of them available but I highly recommend this popular numbing cream (link to Amazon.com).
Make sure you prep your skin the day before, especially when doing your legs and arms. Use something that’s natural and remember to save the environment by choosing a product without plastic microbeads. A very great choice is this gorgeous-smelling, alcohol-free exfoliator (link to Amazon.com).
Again, you’ll want to use something that doesn’t contain perfume or alcohol. Aloe Vera and Tea Tree are great here. This botanical cleanser (link to Amazon.com) is perfect for cooling your skin and preventing ingrown hairs. Keep it in the fridge – you’ll thank me after your wax!
Many types are available and they are easy to use, but remember that hard wax will give a better result for the lip, eyebrows and hairline. Nad’s facial strips (link to Amazon.com) are a reliable choice and very easy to get hold of.
There’s probably the widest choice in terms of products for leg and arm waxing, but you want something that’s got a strong cloth and a soft, reliable wax. I like this Sally Hansen waxing kit (link to Amazon.com).
Get yourself a wax warmer kit for applying your hard wax. This popular kit (link to Amazon.com) comes with the wax beads and applicator sticks you need to get up and running in your at-home waxing salon.
To keep to that ¾ inch limit for hair growth, get yourself a good trimmer. This has been one of my favorites for years Finishing Touch trimmer (link to Amazon.com)
Now you know all that… it’s time for…
Pros and Cons of Hard and Soft Wax!
- leaves no sticky residue;
- is less painful on the face;
- grabs shorter hair better;
- is used warm so helps the hair follicles open up.
- it can only be used in small areas because it breaks;
- it’s much costlier to purchase.
- exfoliates the skin at the same time, removing dead skin;
- grabs fine hairs so is good on large areas of the body;
- requires no special preparation;
- much cheaper than hard wax;
- less painful for most people.
- it cannot be applied to the same area twice because it removes dead skin;
- isn’t great for removing hair growing in different directions.
Basically, that means that you’ll probably find that most salons and at-home kits are using soft wax. So you may need to look carefully to make sure that you’re getting the best treatment for your sensitive facial areas.
Personally, I find using a good hard wax warmer kit at home is a great choice for the upper lip, bikini, and hairline where you don’t need to have so much precision skill (I still don’t trust myself doing my own eyebrows though!).
So, What’s the Conclusion?
Choose wisely, use your friends’ recommendations, and just don’t do at-home Brazilian! Or at least go to a salon the first time to get to see how it’s done by the Pros!
Have I said it often enough? If you need to tidy up, ready for the beach or pool, then an at-home hard wax kit for the bikini line will work just fine. Use a hair trimmer too. Then let a fully trained professional get at the fiddly bits!
Certain salons are popular for a reason – and if that’s where a good friend always goes, then that’s probably a great choice! Book early and be organised – get your appointment booked in good time, prep your body and your skin, and have a bottle of cold after-wax treatment in your fridge at home.
If you’re happy enough to do at-home waxing, then prep exactly the same, and make sure you choose the right wax for the area you’re covering – soft for larger areas, hard for more detailed work and especially the face.
Don’t go over the same place more than once with soft wax strips for the face as it will remove dead skin and that’s how people end up with bright red upper lips and eyelids. That’s why hard wax is so much better here.
And remember to encourage your friends or your daughters to start young! It’s so much easier in the long run.
Right, my work here is done. I’m off to practice my yoga ready for my next waxing session…!