Waxing is a temporary way to remove hair from the body with the use of wax, which adheres to body hair. The wax is forcibly removed, tearing hair out at the root.
What It's Good For
Waxing can be used to remove hair from most areas of the body.
Who it works for: Ideally, hair should be a quarter of an inch long so the wax can adhere to it.
Recommended age range: There is no age requirement for waxing: waxing is becoming more and more popular among younger clients. The International Spa Association cites that 16% of teens who visit spas seek hair removal by waxing.
Though there is no age ceiling for waxing, older clients should be aware that skin does become thinner with age, boosting the risk of irritation.
When will I see results?: Waxing removes the hairs right then and there. Don't expect any hairs that remain lodged in your skin to fall out at a later time, as in laser hair removal. Your skin may be flushed afterwards.
How long it lasts: Waxing lasts between three to six weeks, depending on the speed at which a person's hair grows.
Key benefits of waxing: Waxing helps reduce ingrown hairs--hairs that grow at an improper angle--from getting stuck beneath the skin. Hot wax tends to grip hair more tightly, though cold wax is less messy, easier to use, and is often less painful to rip off.
Did you know?: In March 2009, the state of New Jersey came close to banning Brazilian bikini waxing after two women were hospitalized from infections which resulted from the hair removal procedure.
Who's Done It?
Female celebrities practically spearheaded the Brazilian wax movement. Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Campbell are among the known clients at the famed New York City spa J Sisters-a spa that regularly appears on Oprah and in top-shelf magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Allure. One of the sisters and waxing technicians of the acclaimed spa has said of Brazilian waxing, "In Brazil, with bikinis so small, waxing is part of our culture," although it appears the trend transcends Brazil alone.
Women aren't the only ones seeking to remove excess or unwanted hair by waxing. "Manscaping" and the "bro-zilian," i.e. the male bikini wax, have become more common in recent years with the prevalence of the male metrosexual-men in urban areas who care about their appearance down there. Manscapers include P. Diddy and David Beckham, the latter who has said, "Of course it is slightly painful, but in my experience not nearly as sore as having your chest waxed. It's much better than shaving it, too. You don't get those awkward nicks and it doesn't grow back anything like as quickly."
Yet some men still have an attachment to their hair; in May 2010, Ashton Kutcher videotaped himself getting a chest wax in order to look more like his bare-chested stunt double for an upcoming movie. "Why under any circumstances would you take that body hair off your body-it's there for a reason," he said.