How to Choose the Right Depilatory Wax for Your Skin

Depilatory wax can be hot, warm or cold. To choose the right one, the skin type and the area to be waxed must be taken into account.
How to Choose the Right Depilatory Wax for Your Skin
Mariel Mendoza

Written and verified by the doctor Mariel Mendoza.

Last update: 16 September, 2022

The choice of the right depilatory wax depends on skin type, associated conditions, the area to be waxed, whether it’s done at home or in a beauty salon, and the desired results.

Depilatory wax comes in various forms. That’s why it’s recommended to try different options to compare before choosing the ideal one according to the type of skin.

There’s a distinction between hot wax, warm wax, and cold wax. It’s always important to be careful in case of sensitive skin and a history of allergies to any component of the substance.

Depilatory wax is usually formulated with a base of rosin (pine residue) and beeswax (which confers elasticity). It also contains antioxidants and pigments.

The other components may depend on the manufacturer. A homemade wax can be prepared with sugar, lemon juice, and water.

Hot depilatory wax

Hot depilatory wax is the most commonly used, especially in beauty salons. They use solid wax bars or tablets that must be heated to melt. A special device is used, although some are also suitable for microwaves or bain marie.

It’s the favorite option in beauty salons because it’s the cheapest, its effect is longer lasting (up to 4 weeks), it can be molded to the size of the area and it’s reusable with a suitable filter.

Its effect is longer lasting because the high temperatures open the pores, which allows you to pull out the hair by the root. However, using hot depilatory wax requires preparation and time.

Experience and technique make a difference. If used at very high temperatures, it can cause burns or irritation.

Waxing legs.
Hot depilatory wax is the most widely used. Care should be taken to avoid accidents due to burns.

Roll-on cartridges

This is called warm depilatory wax because it’s neither hot nor cold. The wax cartridges are applied with a roller or spatula.

Before use, they must be heated on a special base. However, they don’t cause burns, because they cool when applied to the skin.

Compared to hot depilatory wax, it has the disadvantage that it isn’t as moldable (roll-on cartridges come in straight strips the size of the roller). Therefore, it’s used on large areas, such as arms and legs.

It doesn’t produce the same pore dilation effect, so it doesn’t pull the hair out by the root.

It has the following advantages:

  • It can be done at home
  • It’s faster.
  • It’s more hygienic, since it’s personal and not reusable.

Cold depilatory wax

This is the form known as strip wax, as this is its best-known type. The wax is between two strips that, in order to separate, require the heat produced by the friction of the hands. After it’s separated, it’s placed on the skin and removed with a strong pull against the direction of hair growth.

Like the previous one, it isn’t as easy to mold, it doesn’t produce dilation of the pores and, if it isn’t done properly, it can cause problems. It’s the method most prone to irritation.

However, it’s a very quick and easy alternative for the home. It’s also hygienic, as it’s personal and disposable.

What’s the most notable difference between depilatory waxes?

Hot depilatory waxing is recommended in the following situations:

  • When a longer-lasting result is needed.
  • When the hair is long.
  • When there’s good pain tolerance.
  • When it’s necessary to depilate small or delimited areas.

It’s also the ideal technique for sensitive areas and areas with coarse, stubborn hair, such as the underarms, pubic area, and bikini area. It’s also preferred in smaller areas with thinner hair, such as eyebrows or mustaches.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s the cheapest option.

Roll-on cartridges, on the other hand, are used in larger areas, when you need it to be fast, and on more sensitive skin. As is the case with cold depilatory wax. Both are simple and can be applied at home.

Recommendations before waxing

When using hot depilatory wax, a portion should be placed on the wrist to ensure that it’s at a suitable temperature and won’t cause burns. A lower temperature should be used for the underarms, pubic area, and bikini line.

In the case of roll-on cartridges, the wax is applied with the included roller. The hot wax uses a wooden spatula and the cold wax comes in strips that are placed on the surface to be waxed; then you wait for it to harden.

The hot wax hardens after it cools down.

The wax should be placed in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction. Then cleanse and moisturize.

Before waxing, make sure the area is clean and dry. It’s recommended to exfoliate 1 or 2 days before. Don’t use deodorant, cream, or any cosmetics before waxing.

Post-waxing recommendations

It’s recommended to shower with warm or cold water just after waxing and remove any wax residue. Generally, a specific dissolving product called wax cleanser is used.

After cleansing, apply a moisturizing lotion with a light massage. Aloe vera gel is a good option.

Don’t expose yourself to the sun for at least 48 hours afterwards or immerse yourself in salt or chlorinated water.
Aloe vera gel.
An aloe vera gel is ideal to complement waxing and moisturize the skin.

Important considerations

In cases of very sensitive skin, warm or cold wax is recommended. As well as in cases of circulatory problems in the legs or varicose veins, when hot wax is contraindicated.

No type of depilatory wax can be used on skin with wounds (with sunburn, for example) or with diseases such as psoriasis or eczema. Nor after laser skin treatments or when taking tazarotene.

Another hair removal method for you to consider: Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal: Everything You Need to Know

Compared to blades, depilatory waxing is a simple and long-lasting method. It can be done at home when you have the right tools and know the procedure.

The main effect of depilatory waxing is to pull the hair out deeply, so it takes longer for the new follicle to regenerate. The more you wax, the more the follicles weaken; this means that the frequency can be decreased.

Depilatory wax thins the hair, slows the growth of new hair, exfoliates, produces less irritation and gives a more pleasant sensation to the touch.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.