Hard Wax for Hair Removal: What You Need to Know

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Hard wax (also known as stripless wax) is a specific type of wax used to remove hair. It's applied and removed a bit differently than the more common soft wax (also known as strip wax) but ultimately has the same goal: remove hair from the follicle. We'll talk about how it works, the differences between its soft counterpart, where to use it, and tips for purchasing.

How It Differs from Soft Wax

  • No strips. It doesn't require a muslin or pellon strip to be removed, so it saves money and waste.
  • Lay it on. It's applied thicker than soft. While it varies depending on the manufacturer, the rule of thumb is about the thickness of a nickel.
  • Heat is vital. It needs to be heated up either in a warmer or the microwave, per the manufacturer's instructions. This is different from some soft versions which can be found already on pre-made strips or scooped out with an applicator and applied at room temperature.
  • Must set first. It needs to harden fully before being removed otherwise it will crack or won't remove hair.
  • Its cool reduction power. It shrinkwraps the hair as it hardens. With its soft cousin, hair simply sticks to the product.
  • The right amount of heat. It's usually warmed up at a lower temperature than soft.
  • Tiny hairs beware. Because of its shrink wrapping abilities, it's known to be able to remove shorter hairs than soft can.
  • Oil, not powder. After the skin is cleansed a pre-epilating oil is applied to the skin before spreading on wax. With soft, powder goes on.

    Where It's Normally Used

    • Bikini and Brazilian waxes. It works well on coarse hair and smaller sections.
    • Facial waxing. Since it shrinkwraps the hair, it's often gentler to delicate facial skin and can remove the short noticeable hair.
    • Nose. Soft wax can be used on the outer portion. But hard wax is put on an applicator in a ball formation, allowed to cool a bit then placed in the nose up to the ball portion. After about five minutes or so it's pulled out.

      When Not to Use Hard Wax

      • Lots of skin. While it can be done, it's quicker to use strips on large areas like the legs or chest as it works best in smaller sections.
      • New to waxing. Soft is easier to use. So it's good to get down the technique of using strips first before moving on to stripless.
      • DIY full pubic hair removal. It's great for cleaning up your own bikini line (hair outside a normal panty line). For anything more, like a Brazilian, let the pros do the work.

      Tips for Buying Products and Kits

      Microwavable kits. Just like they sound, they're heated up in the microwave. However, it's best for any wax to be kept at a consistent temperature because it spreads easily and removes the hair better. Otherwise, you'll have to keep re-heating as you go along and keeping it at the right temperature becomes frustrating.

      But if you have a small budget and will only be doing small areas, a microwavable kit may be the way to go. Rather than picking up a drugstore brand, I'd recommend a professional one like Gigi Brazilian Bikini Wax Microwave Formula (compare prices on Amazon) as professional products tend to be of a higher quality.

      Wax warmers. If you plan on doing large areas often, it's probably best to invest in a kit that includes a warmer.

      You'll be able to keep wax continually heated as you work on removing hair. The ones with an adjustable heat setting, as opposed to just an on and off switch, keep it an even temperature.

      Satin Smooth Cherry Hard Wax (compare prices on Amazon). This is from a great professional company which is made to work without applying a pre-epilation oil, and it does. (Although I recommend using a pre-epilation oil, especially in the bikini area). It smells delicious and I use this one on myself.

      Starpil. A European wax from Spain. Their stripless hard wax in Natural (read review) comes in small blocks and you'll have to buy an empty tin to place in your warmer.