What Is a European Wax?

J. Gonzalez
J. Gonzalez
Wax.
Wax.

A European wax is a cosmetic hair removal treatment that involves the use of heated wax resins to quickly and efficiently remove unwanted body hair from the root up. There is often some variation from place to place when it comes to what, exactly, makes a “European” wax different from a more standard wax, but in general these sorts of procedures are done with only all-natural products, and in most cases they are only moderately heated. In addition, they rarely if ever use strips for wax adhesion. Instead, cosmetologists or home users put the melted compound directly on the affected skin and remove it either with a single scraping motion or by peeling. There is usually some discomfort involved, but most skin care experts agree that European methods tend to be less invasive and painful, and also have lower risks of irritation and allergic response. Procedures with the “European” name can sometimes be more expensive, though, and without a universal standard of what, exactly, they entail, consumers are usually wise to ask questions and do some basic research before committing on name alone.

Waxing Process Generally

Many women remove excess body hair before donning a bikini.
Many women remove excess body hair before donning a bikini.

Waxing is a popular method for removing unwanted hair from various areas of the body. Over the years, many forms of body wax have become available to the public, each with benefits and techniques for intended use. The process can vary somewhat, but the basic protocol is usually about the same. A thin layer of warm wax is generally spread over the area where hair removal is desired, typically using a blunt wooden stick. Then, working quickly, the wax is removed, taking the hair below with it. The procedure is usually done in a salon by a technician, but it can also be done at home.

Defining the European Style

European waxing is more soothing than other types of waxing.
European waxing is more soothing than other types of waxing.

There can be a lot of variety when it comes to cosmetic products and the names they carry, and waxing is no different. Some researchers think that body waxing became popular in the royal courts of Europe in centuries past, and the modern method usually tries to mimic those early processes. Traditionally, a wax defined as “European” uses only all-natural ingredients, which means no alcohols or chemical agents. It also uses relatively low heat; the wax should be just melted but not bubbling.

Waxing is a form of hair removal commonly used on the legs, bikini line and armpits.
Waxing is a form of hair removal commonly used on the legs, bikini line and armpits.

Most salons have a more precise definition for what exactly their own European option entails. It’s often one of several waxing choices, and the difference can vary a lot from place to place. Home wax kits sometimes also use the “European” designation somewhat gratuitously, and it doesn’t always have a precise meaning in these contexts.

Ingredient Basics

Waxing the bikini area during menstruation may caused increased pain to the area.
Waxing the bikini area during menstruation may caused increased pain to the area.

In most cases, European wax is made of one hundred percent natural beeswax. Sometimes it’s augmented with other natural essences or smells, but not always. Using natural ingredients reduces the chance of adverse reactions or irritation as a result of the process, such as red bumps or ingrown hair.

Heat Settings

This option also usually means lower heat. Many home and salon waxing kits require users to heat wax over very high temperatures. Since hot wax begins to harden quickly, there isn’t always much time to allow for proper cooling before it’s time for skin application. This practice can result in burns — sometimes serious ones — and can even result in scarring of the skin. European preparations are often praised for being able to remove hair effectively while using a very low heat for the melting process. The temperature is comparable to that of warm bath water; this results in no burns, and a lower chance of irritation or rash.

Strips

Waxing the genital area during pregnancy may be more painful for some women.
Waxing the genital area during pregnancy may be more painful for some women.

Another one of the defining features of the European method is that it doesn’t typically involve the use of strips. Strips are basically cloth or synthetic backings that are pressed on top of the wax as it’s layered onto the skin. They are more common with home application kits, but are sometimes used in salons, too. Strips not only leave more mess, but they also tend to be less accurate. In most cases the smoother European formula combined with the raw application method leaves skin feeling silky smooth to the touch.

What Kind of Wax Does European Wax Center Use?

Applying numbing cream to the area may help reduce the pain caused by waxing.
Applying numbing cream to the area may help reduce the pain caused by waxing.

The center uses an exclusive brand called Comfort Wax. This product is not available at any other center or spa and is notorious for being less painful than others. It is a stripless, hard wax that doesn't stick to the skin and has all-natural and alcohol-free ingredients like beeswax. It's specially formulated to soothe your skin. Because the removal doesn't involve using a strip, this compound is different from a soft wax and is less harsh on your body.

Soft Wax vs. Comfort Wax

Soft wax is a thinner substance that is easy to spread over large areas of the skin. It is removed via a cloth strip that sticks to the mixture and pulls it and your hair from your skin. Comfort Wax, which is a type of hard wax, is less painful because it doesn't adhere to the skin of the area being treated for hair removal. It is also much thicker and is removed with a gentler, peeling motion rather than a rip. Generally, hard wax is preferable when it comes to minimizing pain and working with smaller areas on the body, such as the underarms and bikini area.

Additionally, there are many advantages to using Comfort Wax because of its all-natural ingredients. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Allergic reactions are far less common
  • Sensitive skin types are much less likely to experience irritation from the ingredients
  • Risk of ingrown hairs or red bumps decreases
  • The ingredients can be trusted, and there is no need to worry about any harsh chemicals being exposed to your body

Does European Wax Center Do Male Brazilian Waxes?

Yes, the Brazilian wax service just recently started being offered to men through the center. Much like the Brazilian for women, all hair is removed in the pubic area with the option of leaving a "landing strip" on the front. Hair removal for men includes the buttocks, perineum, scrotum and front pubic area. You always have the option to remove as much or as little hair off the front as desired.

The Process for Men

A Brazilian works almost the same for both men and women. However, one key difference that men should note is that their hair tends to be much thicker and denser, which often means that the appointment takes a bit longer, especially the first time. It is also important that men follow the aftercare instructions to the best of their ability.

Men who are new to getting a Brazilian cut should ask about how to prepare for the procedure when booking the first appointment. Typically, the biggest rules to follow are to clean the area well beforehand and avoid the urge to trim any hairs. Trimming can run the risk of the hairs not being long enough to stick to the wax properly during the removal process.

Does European Wax Center Hurt?

Every person is different when it comes to pain tolerance with waxing. For the most part, the anticipation of the pain is much worse than what you actually experience when the hair is removed. Comfort Wax is specifically designed to create a much more comfortable and less painful process than other types on the market, so going to a center that offers it is recommended for people who have concerns about pain. In addition, European Wax Center's certified specialists are trained in making the procedure an easy one.

Here is some advice for beginners to reduce pain from hair removal:

  • Take an over the counter pain reliever right before the appointment
  • Put an ice pack on the affected area afterward if you're new to hair removal
  • Use numbing cream on the site being waxed 30 to 40 minutes beforehand
  • Maintain a waxing routine by avoiding shaving between appointments; shaving will not allow for the body to get used to the process properly

For first-timers, communicating with your wax specialists is key. Make sure to inform them of any concerns or questions that you have so that they can provide any necessary support. If pain sensitivity is a worry, let them know so that they monitor your pain levels throughout the process. Don't be afraid to speak up in the middle of an appointment as well. If the pain is ever too difficult to handle, it is critical to tell the technicians so they can give you breaks as needed. Ultimately, there will be some level of pain with any wax service, but Comfort Wax is a good starting place for beginners.

Discussion Comments

maureenj

I do use wax to remove unwanted hairs from face but that has not been good for me. It causes acne after I wash my facial hair.

bythewell

@Fa5t3r - The thing that I think works the best is to get a professional to do it. I was convinced I just had very sensitive skin and there was no way I would ever be able to wax, but my skin acts completely differently if I go to a salon instead of trying to do it myself.

You can ask for a European wax and most of the time they will know what you mean. You might need to ask around though, because in my experience they usually have their own brand of wax and only use that.

Fa5t3r

@Ana1234 - You might have heard it all before, but there are several things you can do to prevent ingrown hairs. Using a natural wax, like a European wax, is a start and you can also have a hot shower before hand and exfoliate to soften the hair and get rid of any loose skin cells.

There are some products you can get that are designed to help prevent ingrown hairs as well. They can be fairly harsh though.

With all that said, I think some people just can't wax without hurting their skin, so they shouldn't do it. It can be a nice convenience, but I don't like the social stigma that sometimes gets used against people who don't wax. It should always be a choice, not a default.

Ana1234

I really can't use wax at all. No matter how natural it is, my hair always ends up growing back as ingrown hairs and it's painful and embarrassing. It's a shame, because shaving is a pain and I do prefer to stay neat and tidy as much as possible. But I've never been able to get the wax to work for me.

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