How Long Does Hair Need to Be Before Waxing?
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Like many of us, I’m a fan of hairless, silky smooth skin. And for when I’m really craving that baby-soft feel, it’s a waxing session I’ll turn to over shaving every time.
And that’s not just because waxing treatments can offer some of the best results, since they remove hair follicles from the root, rather than just cutting them off (avoiding that dreaded prickly leg feel). It’s also because with waxing hair grows back much more slowly, and with a finer texture over time.
However, as I’ve learned over the years, optimal waxing isn’t *totally* foolproof. Case in point: You definitely need to leave enough time in between trips to the waxing salon to allow your hair to grow. If there’s not enough hair on the area for the wax to grip onto, you just won’t get the same results.
And for first-time waxers and waxing aficionados alike, there’s one question standing between them and the perfect waxing experience. What is the right length for hair to be before you can book your next wax?
For anyone struggling with achieving optimal waxing, I have some good news. We’ve interviewed a true waxing expert, Stacey Laricchia, who told us everything you need to know to achieve better results in the waxing salon – including the ideal hair length for the most effective and satisfying wax.
How long should hair be before waxing?
Although it’s tempting to keep on chasing that just-waxed feel, this actually isn’t the best way to approach your waxing routine, according to Stacey. You need to allow some regrowth in between waxing appointments to ensure each wax session can adequately and safely remove excess hair.
The key is working within your natural hair growth cycle to ensure hairs are neither too long, nor too short, but like the Goldilocks of unwanted hair, just right. There is an ideal hair length for optimal waxing results. Stacey Laricchia, renowned aesthetician and the founder and Chief Creative Director of The Birthday Suit, recommends: “at least ¼ inch long.”
Is that the same for your face *and* for your body?
This quarter-inch goal applies to both face and body hair. While the skin of the face and body are quite different, the waxing hair removal process is largely the same. This means that wherever you’re wanting to use wax to remove excess hair, you still need to give it time in between sessions to grow back – at least enough to give the wax something to grip onto!
The major difference between wax hair removal on the face and on the body is how long it takes for the hair to reach this quarter-inch milestone.
Facial hair tends to grow a little faster than body hair, which is a classic example of life being unfair. Many of us are more self-conscious about our facial hair than our body hair, too, which means we’re probably a little more diligent in booking regular wax appointments.
How long will it generally take to grow hair ¼ inch?
While this differs between both facial and body hair, and between each person’s individual hair growth cycle, Stacey Larricchia does set down some generally applicable ground rules.
“With facial waxing the length of the hair is normally achieved with a two-week growth period,” she explains. And when it comes to the rest of the body? “With the exception of facial waxing, most other body areas that a guest is looking to rid unwanted hair from should be within that two to three-week growth period.”
However, it’s worth paying attention to how quickly (or slowly) your own hair grows. Any rules about the length of time you take within waxing appointments are really all about ensuring your hair has time to grow back enough to be waxed off once more. Stacey agrees: “That time frame really just gives the right amount to allow the hair to be about 1/4 inch.”
Why is it so important to wait before waxing?
The primary reason that it’s important to take some time in between waxing sessions is to allow your hair to reach that critical quarter-inch length. If you try to wax hair that is too short, the wax can adhere to the skin, rather than the hairs. This can result in both poor hair removal, and bigger problems, like tearing the skin or causing irritation such as ingrown hairs.
There’s another key reason to wait in between waxes, too. By removing all of your unwanted hair at the same time, you can ensure all hair is on the same growth cycle. This will help you out for future waxes, as you’ll know that when one area is grown enough to be ready to be waxed, so are all the others. Regularly spaced-out waxing sessions can help you to build a hair removal routine that works for you.
Similarly, although tempting, it’s essential not to reach for a razor in between your wax appointments. While it can be frustrating to wait for your hair to grow, shaving it off in-between waxing appointments will disrupt your regrowth cycle. You don’t want to find yourself in the salon without enough hair for a safe and effective wax, after all.
Stacey confirms that this waiting period of at least two weeks for facial hair is super important. “This includes in between waxes or for our guests that may have shaved areas of their face (some women will frequently shave their chin or neck). Although uncomfortable to get through those two weeks, it will offer maximum results on what could be normally irritated skin from shaving.” Put simply, having a little patience between waxing appointments will always lead to better results than caving and reaching for the razor. Delayed satisfaction trumps the quick fix, every time.
Waxing can be the perfect hair removal method for those wanting something long-lasting and effective. But the key to achieving an effective and silky smooth wax lies in ensuring the hair you’re trying to remove is long enough. Failure to do so can prevent the wax from removing your hair, or lead to even bigger problems, like skin irritation or damage.
Waiting in between waxing appointments will ensure you’re giving your hair a long enough time to grow back. You want your hair to be around a quarter of an inch long for optimal results. Typically, this takes at least two weeks for facial hair and around three weeks for the body.
Once your hair has grown to the required length, you can begin building a waxing routine around your hair growth cycle. If you want to use wax as your primary tool for unwanted hair removal, you should never interrupt your growth cycle by shaving in-between wax appointments. While this can be a temptation that’s hard to resist (particularly when it comes to facial hair) it’s the best way to ensure a safe and effective wax hair removal, without causing irritation to the skin.
Meet the expert
Stacey Laricchia is a renowned aesthetician with more than 25 years of experience. She is the founder and Chief Creative Director of The Birthday Suit, the award-winning US-based waxing franchise.