One expert tells Salon her secrets to becoming your client’s trusted go-to source
Utter the words “bikini” and “wax” in any circle of friends and it won’t take long before someone starts sharing a horror story. Mention the word “Brazilian” and you’ve likely prompted an oversharing fest.
Bikini waxes are one of the most requested and feared services in the beauty biz. Think of it this way: when first-time clients entrust their most sensitive area to you, the experience will single-handedly determine whether they’ll return—and bring their friends, since most of us are unwilling to shop around for bikini waxes.
Debbie Swinson of Curtis, Ont., is familiar with this scenario. She has been a waxing educator for more than 15 years, and some of her clients drive hours from other cities just to get their appointments with her every few weeks. “Waxing is painful, but if it’s done properly it can be an almost pleasant experience,” she says.
She hears horror stories about women who’ve witnessed estheticians double-dip spatulas into a potential pool of waxy bacteria or ladies who report having raw skin for three weeks post-visit. Swinson travels often to teach proper waxing procedures for Beauty Systems Group and is a regular on the beauty show circuit. She shares her essential tips on healthy habits and creating a loyal following.
Place your hand over the area you’ve just stripped to minimize pain. After all, Swinson says there are 7,000 nerve endings down there. The contact will prevent pain receptors from jumping up. “When you’re using a strip wax you should use a pre-epilating powder so that the wax sticks to hair and not the skin,” says Swinson. For sensitive gals, numbing sprays are also available. Or advise clients to take ibuprofen a few hours before their visit.
What’s Your Wax Type?
Swinson recommends using hard wax to lift curly hair, while soft wax is sufficient for fine strands. When applying, if the wax is spread too thin or cools by the time you put your stick down you’ll break the hair off at the root. Your client won’t be happy with the resulting in-grown hairs. Choose a good quality wax from a reputable brand.
“The hottest thing is Brazilian waxing. Everyone wants to learn how and a lot of schools don’t teach it. Yet students who don’t know how can’t get jobs.” Swinson warns not to attempt Brazilians, unless you feel comfortable that you’ve had the proper education, since you can end up seriously hurting someone. Seek out training at esthetics shows.
“Tell your clients to drink a lot of water before and after their wax,” advises Swinson. If they’re dehydrated, pores are tightened and they’ll be more sensitive to pain and will be at risk for in-growns. Now’s the time to recommend a good exfoliater and moisturizer, which will allow finer regrowth to break through the skin.