Sanitation, waxing

Double Dipping and Other Gross Stuff

A recent waxing experience and conversation with another Esthetician friend, prompted me to write this post.  I am not looking to bash other professionals; but sanitation and safety of my clients is my first priority in my practice and I just want to share some information with you so that you are properly educated when choosing a waxing technician.

There are some common practices that I hear about in the industry that you should be aware of.  Some are so common that you may assume that they are normal, when in fact they are questionable, unsanitary, or just unsafe….

Not Wearing Gloves During Waxing

There is one very strict rule that I follow for each and every wax service, gloves must always be worn.  I’ve seen waxing training videos where gloves are not worn, even during very personal services, and heard of technicians choose to not wear gloves during certain waxing services.  But why? I won’t even go into listing reasons for this here because honestly, I don’t even know a reason to not wear gloves.

Universal Precautions (UP), as defined by OSHA, is an approach to infection control that is meant to protect the service/healthcare provider from bloodborn pathogens and pathogens that can be transferred through other bodily secretions.  The premise of following UP is simple… assume that all blood and human bodily fluid are infected with HIV, HBV, or other bloodborn pathogens.  By making that assumption, the service provider is protecting themselves from any potential exposure.

Blood Exposure. It is really quite simple, any waxing service can result in blood or lifted skin. It is completely normal to sometimes have a client experience pinprick bleeding, even during facial waxing. A technician puts themself at risk any time they wax without gloves. Any technician will typically touch your skin after removing the wax strip to calm your nerves, making the service less painful. That touch is immediate and does not allow for one to check for blood first or blood can appear after a few seconds. To summarize, when waxing any part of the body, the technician puts their own health at risk by not wearing proper protection. 

Brow wax
Many practitioners do not follow UP. It is very common to see facial waxing (including brows) being done without any glovesz

Other Secretions. I hope that I am preaching to the choir on this one. It almost seems silly to even mention it, but to be thorough, I feel I must. Waxing services on other areas of the body include mucous membranes and usually other bodily secretions. Failing to wear gloves while waxing any of this areas seems obvious but I have seen an older training video where a technician was not. Not only is this practice !ick! (there doesn’t seem to be a better way to describe this feeling), it is also dangerous. 

It is completely normal to sometimes have a client experience pinprick bleeding, even during facial waxing. A technician puts themself at risk any time they wax without gloves.

Bacteria. I think the thing that bothered me about my recent experience where gloves were not worn was the fact that I had no idea how clean the technician’s hands were. She may have touched any number of contaminated surfaces and then touched my exposed skin. A thorough technician will clean and sanitize every surface that was touched between each service. However, the client generally doesn’t get to see that and surfaces can be missed. For your clients health and peace of mind, wear the gloves! 

Double Dipping

The old practice of double dipping has mostly gone away.  Unfortunately, it has not be eliminated completely. There are folks out there waxing that for whatever reason, whether it is a lack or training or lack of care, continue to double dip. Any technician who values sanitation will tell you, it is infuriating!!! 

Imagine you are at the hair or nail salon and at the last minute you decide to get your eyebrows waxed. What you do not know is what the person before you had waxed. If that person was getting a Brazilian wax and the technician double dips…. @$#%*!!! I think you see my point.  Unless the technician keeps their wax at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (which would burn you), the heat of the wax is not warm enough to kill bacteria and viruses… so…. yeah.

There are folks out there waxing that for whatever reason, whether it is a lack or training or lack of care, continue to double dip.

Some companies make it a habit to break sticks or flip them around and use the other side.  To this I say Come on!!  Honestly, wax sticks are so stinking cheap, you don’t need to be cutting corners like that.  If someone is doing an underarm wax and they grab a stick, apply wax and then turn the stick around to dip the other end in, they are now exposing the entire can of wax to any bodily fluids that their hand may have come into contact with which has transferred onto the “clean” side of the stick. This practice is literally no different than double dipping and may save the salon about 1 cent.

Breaking sticks, in my opinion, is only slightly better. Unless the stick breaker was wearing gloves or had sanitized their hands, those half sticks, which saved the company a couple cents per service, are also contaminated. Have I made my case? 

No Consultation Form

Who was the last person you saw for a wax? Did you have to complete any paperwork? Did they ask you about any issues you’ve had with waxing in the past? Did they ask you about medications? 

Believe it or not, medications can impact your ability to get waxed. Certain medications can cause you to easily bruise or thin the skin making lifting a risk. If you are getting a wax and you are not required to complete any paperwork, that is the first and easiest sign that your technician is either uninformed or not thorough, either way, the person who suffers is you.

No matter what method of cutting corners a technician uses, if they infect a client, they give a bad name to all waxing, including reputable professionals.  As I mentioned in a previous post about finding a waxing technician, do your research. Talk to your friends and colleagues and ask them about their experiences with the three items above. Waxing is a great service that can give people a lot of confidence. Put your health and safety in your hands and make sure your technician is not making these mistakes.

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Sanitation, waxing

5 Things to Look for in a Waxing Technician

Waxing, when done correctly, is a safe and effective way to remove body hair and have lasting results.  Licensed professionals have been through special trainings which go through the different types of wax, which wax types are most effective in different areas, proper cleansing and sanitation (for your safety), universal precautions (for their safety), and waxing techniques.  Waxing is not a skill you can learn by watching a few YouTube videos; it is a skill which requires hands-on training combined with lots of practice.  Without the proper training and following best practices, it is possible to be injured.

My experience as an Esthetician has revealed a new (scary) world to me.  I was never one to pay attention to things such as body hair too much as a young adult.  I guess one reason was because I was lucky enough to have blond hair on most of my body; my eyebrows are so blonde you wouldn’t even know I had a set if I didn’t tint them every month.  As my business grows, more and more clients have made the switch from nail salon waxing to Esthetician waxing and have been amazed at the difference in service and results.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to make the switch too!  Regardless of where you go to get waxed, there are several things to keep an eye out for. Here are five things to look for in a waxing professional:

  1. A proper license.  Licensing requirements vary by state but in order to protect yourself, please verify that the person you are planning to see for waxing has the proper licensing requirements for your state. Ensuring their license is current and active is also very important.  In the state of Illinois, it is as easy as a website search.  Many nail salons offer waxing services for your convenience (and their bottom line), but in many cases the technicians performing them do not have the proper licensing.  If you’re not sure, when you are there, you can ask to see a copy of their license.  A professional will keep their license on display or at least within reach in case someone asks.
  2. Recommendations.  These days, with social media and local facebook groups, there isn’t anything easier to do that ask for a recommendation.  Then do your research.  View their website and social media, their pricing, and call or email them to ask some questions.
  3. A clean environment. You should be able to walk into a treatment room and see that the professional puts time and care into their work space.  Is there wax all over the wax pot?  Are their tools in an organized state?  Every technician will have their own system of organizing their tools in a manner that is ergonomic for them, but the same theme should be apparent… tools which are clean and covered, gloves within reach, surfaces are clean and sanitized, etc.
  4. Gloves.  Universal Precautions, as defined by OSHA, “is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.”  Waxing can draw blood, period, no matter where on the body you are waxing.  It is in the interest of the technician and the client that gloves are worn to protect both parties.  If your technician is not wearing gloves while waxing you, I suggest that you request that they do.
  5. No double dipping.  This one is more difficult to determine until you actually get into the place.  Generally, however, if you step into the room and there is a stick sitting in or on top of the wax, that may just be the wax stick they use.  Double dipping can be seen anywhere. Protect yourself.  You do not know what/who was waxed before you.  This also goes back to recommendations; hopefully, a friend would not recommend you to go to a person who they witnessed double dipping.

The same theme should be apparent… tools which are clean and covered, gloves within reach, surfaces are clean and sanitized, etc.

Waxing can be a confidence boosting service and save you time each day but there are also risks associated. Find a technician who is professional and makes your health and safety a priority.