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Waxing strips are used as a method of hair removal at home. It is argued that they can save time and money and replace going to the salon for waxing treatments of facial hair, legs, underarms, and bikini lines. Unlike salons, using strips is considered a “cold” instead of “warm” method of removing hair.
Typical waxing strips are treated with either wax or chemicals to remove hair. If one wants to avoid chemicals, look for those that advertise the use of natural wax. Normally, one purchases the strips in a package with several different sizes so one can use them to wax all the areas of the body from which one wishes to remove hair. A few products can be purchased for one area only, like the upper lip, bikini line or brows, but most come in sets.
The benefits of waxing strips are that they do not require a heat source in order to grip the hair. Some do recommend holding the strips in one’s hands for a minute or two to slightly warm them. They are then applied in the direction hair grows, and smoothed over the part of the body where the hair is to be removed, and ripped off quickly in the opposite direction. On an upper lip, this would mean removing the strip from the bottom of the lip toward the middle.
People report varying success using waxing strips, with some people reporting great success and others very little, but virtually all agree the process is not a comfortable one. These stories are mainly anecdotal, and fairly humorous for those who have experienced waxing. There are numerous online accounts of failed wax attempts using these products.
The degree of success with waxing strips varies because hair texture can differ among individuals. Thicker, coarser hair might be more resistant to this method, and a hairstylist or esthetician may be more effective using traditional hot waxing. If one hasn’t ever waxed before, it might be better to have a few salon sessions before venturing into the territory of waxing at home. Some call self-waxing a masochistic experience at best.
To confuse matters, the muslin or cotton strips used to remove hot wax are also called waxing strips. So, for the brave, look for those that advertise that they actually have wax. They often have a peel-off backing.
Price can vary greatly on waxing strips, depending on the size of the kit and the type of wax, among other things. It’s difficult to find actual consumer reports of whether more expensive ones are actually better than cheaper ones. In most cases, strips are still less expensive than waxing at a salon, and they’re certainly more private.
Some people should not use waxing strips. Those who use retinol or Retin-A can have skin reactions to waxing. People who have open cuts or skin irritations should also wait for these to clear prior to using them. Waxing also works best when the hair is about 0.25 to 0.5 inches (0.64 - 1.27 cm) long. Hair that is too short will not be removed as easily as slightly longer hair.