Tips for Waxing Short Hair

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Waxing short hair can be challenging because it needs to be about ¼” 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.

Seeing the Pros

Depending on what type of wax they use and how skilled they are, you might be turned away if your hair isn't long enough. So first ask when making your appointment if they use hard wax and can remove somewhat short hair, call other salons and spas that specialize in waxing, or wait until the hair gets more length.

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 tend to not pick up all of the hair- especially if it's thick. A professional wax that's heated up needs to be used.

Wax is applied in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction. But you can get 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 ones will be removed. First practice this technique on your arm or another place that you don't care if the hair is removed or not, before waxing the target area.


Waxing Short Hair with Strip and Stripless Wax

After waxing, some hair is often left behind even when the hair is considered long enough. Have a good pair of tweezers to pick up any stragglers. Those slanted tend to make the job easier to do and pointed tweezers can be amazing for picking up tiny length 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 to be removed. It's good for waxing large areas like the legs, back and chest. (See: How to Waxing Guide)
  • Stripless wax. Also known as hard wax, it's also is heated up, and when applied shrink wraps hair and hardens so it doesn't need a strip because it becomes a strip in itself.

    It's great for small areas with coarse hair like in the underarms and bikini area. Satin Smooth is a professional company that makes amazing waxes. Their hard waxes should be applied as thick as a nickel and the skin doesn't need to have pre epilation oil applied first like with most other companies (although I recommend using the oil with any hard wax). Their Calendula Hard Wax (compare prices) is good for thick, coarse curly hair. Try Wild Cherry Hard Wax (compare prices) for fine to medium hair.

Try Sugaring Paste

There are two types of sugaring- paste and gel and both remove hair from the follicle like waxing. The gel is applied and removed in the same way as wax- product is put on in the direction of growth and removed the opposite way.  The paste has some advantages.

The technique is more difficult but it's applied in the opposite direction of how hair grows and removed in the direction of hair growth. Here's the best part: you only need about 1/16" of growth. It's also known to be less painful than waxing and leaves less redness and irritation.

  • At home: Although it's a bit tricky to do on yourself, you can make your own sugaring paste (get directions) and save.
  • Professionals: Do an internet search in your area for sugaring. (Make sure it's paste, not gel.) Alexandria Professional and Tamara's Professional Body Sugaring are two companies that use sugaring paste and can direct you to trained professionals in your area.