How to Spot an Unsafe Salon or Spa for Waxing

Hot wax treatment
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It's sad but true. If the salon or spa isn't practicing safe waxing, you could walk away with something much more serious than misshapen brows or an uneven bikini line. You could get an infection or even a disease. It's your health and you have a right to protect yourself.

While not everything can be measured in just what you see, here are some general things to look for when choosing a salon or spa.

Good Signs for Safe Waxing

  • You fill out a client questionnaire. This helps them find out if you have any allergies, health conditions, or are taking any medicine which would not make you a candidate to receive the hair removal procedure. If they are taking your health into account with a questionnaire (see waxing precautions), they are more likely to be following sanitary measures too.
  • Paper is placed down for body hair removal. Paper (like at the doctor's office) is most often used for waxing because any drips can be thrown away. It also shows the client that where they're laying is clean. If they have sheets down instead, look for any signs of hair or leftover product that might indicate the sheets were not changed after the previous client.
  • The technician wears gloves. Any type of hair removal can draw some spotting of blood, even if it's a tiny amount. And skin is much more vulnerable to infection right after waxing or sugaring. Gloves help protect both the client and the technician. If you're getting a Brazilian wax and they ask for your help in holding your skin, then they should give you gloves too.
  • They don't double-dip. Once a stick (applicator) has been placed into a product and touched your skin, it should be thrown away. The stick should never put back into a pot of wax or sugaring paste because it could contaminate the product, and then infect clients. Don't think or let them tell you the wax is hot enough to kill any bacteria- it isn't! The only time double-dipping is not a safety issue is when they put wax in a pot that will only be used on you, throwing it out when your service is finished.
  • Wax rollers are clean. For speed, some techs use a roller to apply the wax instead of a wooden stick. Either the roller head needs to be replaced with a fresh disposable one or cleaned and sanitized between clients. It can be hard to tell for sure if they've done either one, and you should ask. But if there is any hair stuck in the head before they start on you, then you can guarantee that it's not sanitary.
  • Panties are given to you for a regular bikini wax. They're disposable and much more hygienic than wearing your regular cloth (or, excuse me) silk panties because of some bacteria that may be on them. Of course, this isn't a deal breaker. If the salon doesn't offer these, then you can always bring your own or change into fresh panties right before your service.

Bad Signs that Might Indicate an Unsafe Wax:

  • Things are a mess when touring the facility. Need I say more?
  • Shelves and containers are dusty. If they aren't doing the basic cleaning, are they really going to be following sanitation measures?
  • Implements are put back into a drawer or cabinet after use. There are items that don't have to be thrown away but need to be sanitized after use, like metal tweezers, that are washed and soaked in a strong solution. If they use a tweezer and put it away where they got it, then they aren't sanitizing it between clients.
  • Wax pots (heating units) have wax all over them. Waxing can be messy, but a special product cleans wax off pots, so there is no excuse.
  • They have a hard time explaining their sanitation measures when asked. If they can't describe it, get nervous or stumble over their words, then they probably aren't doing what they know they should be sanitizing.