|Business is booming in the bikini and Brazilian waxing business. All across the world salons have sprung up that focus solely on providing this service to both men and women alike.
Bikini waxing is the least extreme form of pubic hair removal and in general all pubic hair covered by the bikini is left in place. Only straggling hairs on either side are removed, so that none are visible when a bikini with high-cut sides is being worn.
Brazilian waxing goes further and removes all the hair, from the tummy button right the way round to the bottom, leaving just a neat little strip of hair above the vagina. Complete hair removal while sometimes still referred to as a Brazilian is called a full bikini, full Brazilian or Hollywood wax.
Before waxing, the skin is prepared with a dusting powder to soothe and dry the area. Lengthy hairs are snipped to around 5mm to allow the wax to wrap around the hair for a better grip.
Two types of waxing techniques are common. The hard wax technique involves heating special wax, and applying a thick coat with a spatula to mesh with the hair. The wax is allowed to cool till it is more pliable and then, holding the skin taut a small tab of the wax is gripped and pulled back lifting the wax and hair with it. The process is typically done in small sections at a time and repeated until all the hair is removed.
The strip wax technique follows a similar process except that a strip of cotton cloth is pressed down on top of the applied wax and the cloth strip (rather than the hard wax) is pulled back.
As opposed to the more hygienic and water-soluble sugaring products favoured in Europe and the Middle East, in New Zealand the traditional thick, beeswax or honey wax is still predominantly used for waxing. Most of these waxes are made from rosins (resins) and require post-waxing clean-up using a solvent such as turpentine to remove residual wax and to clean the skin. Solvents are also required by the therapist to clean work surfaces, containers and applicators. Often these solvents are called wax cleaners, wax removers, post-wax cleansers or after-wax oils. A look at the ingredient list will also show that parabens are commonly used in such waxes to keep them from spoiling.
But things are changing, and a newly released sugaring gel, Pharo, made right here in New Zealand is already making major inroads into the waxing industry in New Zealand and overseas. Manufactured by Brand Value Ltd, an Auckland company, the Pharo brand (www.pharobeauty.com) includes two variants of gel (a warm gel for all-body application and a firm gel for bikini waxing and Brazilians) and a comprehensive array of accessories.
According to Pauline Sharman, long time sugaring expert and international training manager of Brand Value, this warm gel has significant advantages over traditional hot waxes. The most notable of these are that it is a natural sugar formulation free from parabens, coverage is typically at least twice that of waxes and no chemicals are needed in clean-up as the gel washes off in warm water.
Pauline sees sugaring offering tremendous benefit to salons and clients alike. Especially relevant to Brazilians is the fact that unlike rosin-based waxes which adhere to the skin and hair, sugaring products adhere almost exclusively to the hair which results in significantly less discomfort. Users report up to 75% less discomfort compared with waxing.