There are basically two types of wax used in salons- hot wax and strip wax (also called soft wax). Each has different characteristics and is used for different parts of the body. Both are heated, albeit at different temperatures, and both remove hair by the root, providing you with weeks of soft, smooth skin. Unlike other forms of hair removal, either waxing method will leave you with no razor burn, no itching when the hairs begin to grow back, and less ingrown hairs than shaving. Waxing also requires less frequent maintenance, since it takes from two to six weeks for the hairs to return. When they do, they are softer and finer than before. That is because it is a completely new hair re-growing. With shaving or depilatories, the hair growing out is a mature hair, because the root was never removed.


Hot wax is heated at a lower temperature than strip wax. It also requires no strips to remove it from the skin. With Hot Wax, the wax adheres to the hair like shrink wrap, tightening as it cools. It is able to grab and remove many of the shorter hairs that strip waxing may miss. The wax is applied in a fairly thick layer, allowed to “set up”, and then removed by flicking the end and pulling. Sounds painful, doesn’t it? Let’s face it- either method is going to have some level of pain involved, depending on your tolerance. You are pulling the hair out by its root, after all.

Hot wax is most appropriate for your more sensitive places, especially the genital area. Since it does not stick to the skin like strip wax and only adheres to the hair, it will leave you with less skin irritation. With hot wax, your esthetician will use a pre-epilating oil before spreading the wax on your skin. She (or he) will then apply a fairly thick layer of the wax and once it sets, flick the end up and yank quickly, to remove. If this is done in a nice smooth motion, there is very little pain beyond that first initial pull.

Hot wax is heated at a lower temperature than strip wax and can be a better choice if you are heat sensitive. That being said, if your body temperature tends to run higher than average, hot wax could take much longer to set up on you.

Generally, hot wax is more suited to areas of the body with coarser hair. This especially includes the genital area or bikini line. Other areas with coarser hair that would do better with hot wax are the underarms and backside. If you are using facial products that contain any kind of acid exfoliate, your only real choice is hot wax, simply because it does not adhere to the skin.

Hot wax is generally applied more thickly and on smaller areas than strip waxing. Because of the thicker application and method of removal, hot wax is not recommended for larger areas, such as the legs, chest, arms or back.


Strip wax, sometimes called soft wax, is probably the most common form of waxing in use today. This is generally the form you see on television. Strip wax is applied to the desired area in a thin layer and a strip of paper or non-woven material is then laid over the wax. The strip is quickly pulled off in the direction opposite the hair growth giving you a clean, smooth finish. For the simple reasons that strip wax is applied thinly and has no set up time, it is the relatively quicker choice for waxing. This translates to a more time saving procedure for the consumer.

Strip waxing works best on the finer hairs of the body. Because of the application method, it is well suited to the larger areas such as arms, legs, chest and back. It is not recommended for the face or genital area because the skin here is so much more sensitive.

Unlike hard wax, the wax used for strip waxing does adhere to the skin as well as the hair. Your esthetician will likely apply some powder to the area prior to the wax application to help minimize the stickiness. After the procedure, he or she will then use a soothing oil to help remove any residue left behind on your skin. Many of these post-epilation oils contain herbs to help reduce the sensitivity and inflammation waxing can cause.

Strip wax needs to be warmed at a hotter temperature than hard wax. That is not to say hot. Neither waxing method should produce a wax hot enough to burn you. In most cases, any skin irritation produced because of the waxing will quickly fade after the procedure is complete.

Generally, strip waxing is not done on the more sensitive areas of the body, such as the face or the genitals. This is mostly because of it sticking to the skin. There are, however, some estheticians and consumers who prefer the strip method over the entire body, including these more sensitive places.

Whichever method you choose, keep a few things in mind. No waxing service should be done on skin that is already inflamed or in any area with acne breakouts. Waxing should not be done over moles, either. Finally, yes there is probably going to be some pain. In most cases, it will not be anywhere near as bad as you fear, and it is gone almost as fast as it appears.