So, male waxing is a big thing now…
Becky: Of course. It is increasingly common to see men wanting a wax treatment. The modern man is much more groomed and male beauty is not as taboo as it once was. It is now an essential part of our training programme, which suggests the trend is not going away.
Jack: I first started waxing men 14 years ago but, over the last decade, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of clients that are booking in for treatments and in the range of treatments they book.
Why do you think men now feel so much more comfortable getting a wax?
Becky: Social media has had a huge influence. Guys see other men they want to emulate on Instagram. If that person has less hair than them, they come to us to achieve that look. It is also much more common now to see waxing advertising for men. We often have male walk-ins who have seen a male waxing advert and decided to try it for themselves.
Jack: There is a huge increase in the amount of marketing and advertising, and in the celebrities that endorse hair removal for men, making it seem much more acceptable to book in for a treatment.
What are the most frequently asked questions?
Becky: Five years ago, it would have been, ‘Do you treat men?’ Now, it is, ‘Is it going to hurt?’
Jack: Yup, ‘does it hurt?’ is the number-one question. Most new clients have no experience of waxing or hair removal. They’ve only seen films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin that depict waxing as mega painful. They are usually pleasantly surprised when it is much more comfortable than they expected!
Is there a particular age group you see more of?
Becky: We see all ages from all walks of life, but I would say the most common age bracket is 35 to 55.
How many men do you see in total?
Becky: I personally see on average three men a day for waxing, but there will be days I see more than that. That figure has certainly increased over the past few years and we will always be treating at least one male in the salon.
Jack: Our business focuses on men’s waxing, so they are about 95% of our client base. Individual therapists tend to see between 12 and 18 clients per day, depending on the length of the treatments. A back wax, for example, is 30 minutes, while a full body wax is three to four hours.
What reasons do men give when they book a wax?
Becky: Aesthetics is one. They want to look better and some guys think having less hair is a way to do that. Some male customers come in because their partner is already a client of mine. I see lots of men who wax because they feel it is more hygienic to have less hair, especially if they play lots of sports. Cyclists and swimmers are quite common.
Jack: Back waxing is one of the most common ‘maintenance’ waxes. This is usually because guys don’t want to be seen with a hairy back in the shower at the gym or on a beach holiday. Intimate waxing treatments are normally at the request of their partners, or when they’re single and dating. Men today also want to feel more groomed and hygienic. Hair maintenance helps with that.
What areas of the body are men getting waxed today?
Jack: For a long time, the back and shoulder wax was the most booked treatment for men, but we have seen a big increase in clients booking in for chest and abs waxes. It used to be a seasonal or pre-holiday wax, but the chest is now a regular waxing treatment. Men’s intimate waxing is also increasingly popular. If you are new to waxing, I would suggest starting with the back and shoulders, and in time you can add on other areas once you are used to the treatment, your skin’s reaction and you feel comfortable with your therapist.
Are there any areas of the body you can’t get waxed?
Becky: At Ministry of Wax, we offer head-to-toe services. Everything but the hair on your head can be removed.
Is there any waxing lingo men should know about before booking?
Jack: Before we had our online booking system, we gave all of our intimate waxing treatments individual names, so that if people called up to book from a public area, no one would know what they were booking. We were located in Islington, so we gave all of our treatments local names like the Upper Street, the Angel. Our men’s butt wax was called the Arsenal. Now, on our website there is a clear description under each treatment of what is included, what type of wax we use and the cost, so the client is 100% clear what they’re booking in for.
How would you recommend a man to prepare for a wax?
Becky: Clean and exfoliate your skin before coming in for a wax. Try not to put any moisturiser on the body part which you are having treated as it will affect how the wax sticks. Don’t be tempted to cut the hair you are having removed. There is no need to do this and often you will cut the hair too short for the wax to be effective. If we need to trim any hair before the wax, we will do it in the salon. Avoid waxing if you have recently had sunburn or have abrasions on the skin. Waxing is also not advised if you have had a serious flare-up of eczema because the treatment will distress the skin even more.
Jack: A pre-waxing consultation needs to be carried out to ensure the client has skin that is suitable to be waxed. We do our pre-waxing consultation online rather than risk having them turn up and having to turn them away.
What can a guy expect from his first wax appointment?
Becky: Once you have been welcomed by the receptionist, you will be taken to the treatment room and asked if you’ve had a wax before. If it is your first wax, the process will be explained. You’ll be left to get undressed and be warned before your therapist enters the room. Depending on the area, we don’t ask the client to stretch their skin in preparation of the wax; the therapist will do that. With intimate waxes, we do not provide underwear, so you will be exposed during the treatment but it is done professionally and you will be made to feel very comfortable. We have lots of repeat customers, so it can’t be that bad!
Jack: The level of undress depends on the area being waxed. If someone’s having an upper body wax, they don’t need to remove their trousers. We use modesty towels when we are carrying out intimate waxing treatments, so no one feels too exposed.
Does waxing hurt?
Becky: Your first wax will always be your worst wax. With intimate waxing, we use a hot wax which is made in-house and contains paraffin, so it is very soft. We use essential oils on the skin first, so that our hot wax sticks to the hair and not to the skin – making it as painless as possible. If you get into regular waxing, it becomes more comfortable the more you have, because the hair grows back finer.
Jack: Every client is different. Some men have a much higher pain threshold than others; some men can be particularly dramatic. Using a good product combined with good technique will ensure it is a very comfortable wax, but we are removing hair from the root so there will be a little discomfort.
Are there different types of wax?
Becky: The type of wax changes, depending on the area we are treating. A full arm, leg, back and shoulder appointment uses soft wax with strips because you can remove quite large areas of hair comfortably and quickly. With the intimate areas, we use hot wax, which is much more comfortable. This is the same for other sensitive areas like the face and underarms.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about their first waxing appointment?
Jack: If someone’s very nervous, we recommend they take painkillers prior to the treatment. Men that are very hairy, or perhaps overweight, can often feel self-conscious and embarrassed to be undressed in front of a stranger for the first time. All our staff are professional, friendly and approachable individuals. We train our team to ensure they understand the anxiety some clients have and how to deal with body image issues. There is nothing to be worried about and you can guarantee we have seen it all before.
How much will waxing cost?
Becky: For one of our most popular men’s treatments, like full back and shoulders, you will pay £48. A ‘boyzilian’ is closer to £60. A full face wax is £49 and that includes everything except the eyebrows, so cheekbones, sideburns, nose, bridge of the nose, nostrils, chin, forehead.
Jack: Our prices range from £12 to £250. A full body wax, which includes removal from all areas, is £150. For the popular back and shoulders, prices start at £30.
What after-care is involved in waxing?
Becky: Avoid any form of heat treatment. You don’t want the body to sweat after a wax because sweat carries a lot of bacteria. Anything like swimming, exercising, sauna rooms or steam rooms are best avoided for 24 hours following your appointment. Try not to have very hot showers or hot baths as you want to wait for the hair follicles to close after waxing, and a long soak won’t help that. Products wise, in-house we would recommend the Ice Cream which is applied on the skin to reduce inflammation post-wax. We would also recommend a Malin + Goetz preventative ingrown hair cream. Once you feel your skin has settled after waxing, we encourage clients to exfoliate every three or four days because this is a great way to continue to prevent ingrown hairs.
Jack: The most important thing you need to do is exfoliate. This needs to be done with a suitable product for the area. You should start to exfoliate about three days after your waxing treatment. We provide all of our new clients with our own exfoliating wash cloth, which you should use two or three times per week. This should be done gently to begin with – remember your skin may be slightly sensitive after waxing, so you don’t want to be scrubbing it too harshly. Regular exfoliation will keep your skin soft. This will enable the new hairs to come through normally and will reduce the risk of ingrown hairs. We recommend you use your wash cloth with some antibacterial skin wash. We also retail a great selection of exfoliating products from our wax brand as well as the natural-sugar Ruff Stuff body scrub. But please do not over-exfoliate – you need to treat your skin correctly!
How long does a wax last for?
Becky: You will be hair free for at least two weeks after your appointment. We recommend waxing every four to six weeks due to the cycle of hair growth. The more regularly you wax, the longer you can leave between appointments. For your first wax, especially if you have been shaving beforehand, you might find you grow back quite quickly, but with regular waxing this will decrease.
Jack: We recommend rebooking after five or six weeks as the regrowth will be long enough to remove properly. Any less time and the hairs are not long enough, so they can break and not give a clean removal.
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