Tips for Removing Short Hair

woman waxing her own leg
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Waxing short hair can be challenging because it needs to be about ¼-inch long for the wax to grab onto. If it's shorter than that, it may or may not be successfully removed. Here are some tips for waxing stubble-length hair at home or with the pros.

When Seeing a Professional

Depending on what type of wax the professional uses and how skilled they are, you might be turned away if your hair isn't long enough.

So, when making your appointment, ask if they use hard wax and can remove somewhat short hair. If not, call other salons and spas that specialize in waxing or wait until the hair gets longer.

When Waxing at Home

Waxing yourself can be difficult, and trying to remove shorter hair can make it extra tricky. This is not the time to use cold wax or pre-made wax strips as these products tend to not pick up all of the hair, especially if it's thick. A hot professional wax needs to be used.

Wax is applied in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction. But you can remove more hair if you first apply wax (strip or stripless) against the direction of hair growth, and then with the direction of hair growth in the same stroke working quickly. (In the same stroke means there's no stopping or picking up the applicator for each section).

Why? Wax will fully surround the hair on all sides, so there's a better chance the shorter hairs will be removed.

Before waxing your desired area, practice this technique on your arm or another place where you don't care if the hair is fully removed.

Strip Wax and Stripless Wax

After waxing, some hair is often left behind, even when the hair is considered long enough. Use a good pair of tweezers to pick up any stragglers.

Slanted tweezers tend to make the job easier, and pointed tweezers can be amazing for picking up extremely short hair.

  • Strip wax: Not to be confused with wax already on a strip, this type of wax is warmed up and then a muslin or cloth strip is applied on top and quickly removed. It's good for waxing large areas, like the legs, back, and chest.
  • Stripless wax: Also known as hard wax, stripless wax also is heated up. When applied, it essentially shrinkwraps and hardens around the hair so it doesn't need to be removed with a strip. It's great for small areas with coarse hair, like in the underarms and bikini area. 


There are two types of sugaring--gel and paste--and both remove hair from the follicle like waxing. However, sugaring is known to be less painful than waxing, and it leaves less redness and irritation.

The gel is applied and removed in the same way as wax in that the product is applied in the direction of growth and removed the opposite way. Though gel is typically easier to use than paste, hair has to be about ¼-inch and you'll also need strips.

Paste has some advantages though the technique is a bit more difficult. The best part is you only need about 1/16" of growth.

  • Professional application: Do an internet search in your area for providers who provide sugaring services. Make sure they use paste, not gel.