Lip waxing questions.
March 21, 2006 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Lip waxing: I'm a girl with a heavy 'stache who has been shaving it every two days for years. Whether the shaving did it or not, the hairs are very thick and very dark. I would like to switch to waxing at a salon but have some questions.

How long do the hairs have to be for the wax to work the first time? I've bought home waxing kits, and sugaring kits, and wax strips, and pretty much everything else, and none of them work. They just don't rip the hairs out. Do I have to grow it out for days before getting waxed? How many? (It's very visible by the third day.) And if I do this, how often will I have to go back? I'm hoping waxing will thin the hairs as well as let me go hair-free longer. How long might it take to thin them? Private replies can go to waxinghelp at gmail. Thanks so much for indulging an embarassing issue.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total)
Well, you're going to have to let it grow before it can be waxed off. Why not bleach it as it is growing out and then go for the wax?
posted by pieoverdone at 8:14 PM on March 21, 2006

If it works anything like legs, you'll need to grow it out for a bit so the wax can grip well. Probably a week, but I'd say call a local salon and ask what they recommend. After two or three waxings the hair should be much finer and softer.

Have you thought about laser or electric depilatory treatments? More expensive but more permanent.
posted by ny_scotsman at 8:15 PM on March 21, 2006

Bleach the hairs until they're long enough to wax?

Those home kits are hard to use without practice...much easier to have someone do it for you, and just a lip wax is usually pretty cheap.
posted by desuetude at 8:18 PM on March 21, 2006

I know you asked about waxing, but I highly, highly, highly recommend laser treatments. The older systems appear to work best on dark hair with light skin, but I think newer systems can work on dark skin as well. The treatments take several months (you go once every 4-6 weeks for 4-6 months), but it starts working the first time (the hair comes back in much sparser and thinner when it starts growing) and you can shave if the hair grows back (just can't wax). It might be a bit more money upfront, but will be worth it in the long run, since paying for waxing would be forever.
One small negative -- your skin may be slightly photosensitive and may darken for a bit after the treatments, but it will go back to its previous color over time.
posted by j at 8:51 PM on March 21, 2006

Plucking is more tedious and time-consuming, but the benefit to it is that you won't have to wait for the hair to grow out to "x" length before waxing. Another alternative to hair removal is threading.
posted by phoenixc at 9:09 PM on March 21, 2006

I second j's advice. If you can do the IPL (Intense Pulse Light) or laser treatments, do so. They are expensive. They are also entirely worth it.
posted by oflinkey at 9:15 PM on March 21, 2006

anonymous, why don't you try the real waxing, homemade Egyptian sugar wax?
posted by evariste at 9:51 PM on March 21, 2006

A friend of mine who is quite dark skinned (so not a good laser candidate) used one of those home hair killing things you see at Sallys Beauty Supply or in catalogs. I think it uses ultrasonic waves or something to kill hair- you grab the hair with it and hold for two minutes and then it falls out and never grows back, or not for a long time. She said it worked although it took forever and she recommends using it only on very small areas like your upper lip.
posted by fshgrl at 9:53 PM on March 21, 2006

With respect, why don't you just continue to shave? It could only take a minute or so of your time every other day, it's inexpensive and as far as it causing ticker darker hair, Snopes has you covered.

Then again, I'm a guy.
posted by Neiltupper at 10:58 PM on March 21, 2006

This is something that laser is perfect for. If you can at all afford it, do it. Even only one or two treatments will give visible results.
posted by MadamM at 11:07 PM on March 21, 2006

Laser. You want to never worry about stubble again. Borrow from relatives if you don't have the cash handy for the first trip, then start saving specifically for this.
posted by pracowity at 11:47 PM on March 21, 2006

Another vote for laser. I suffered with the dark mustache problem all my life. Electrolysis did not work for me. Finally started laser treatments, after about 4 times the hair was much thinner and that horrible upper lip shadow was nearly gone. After 8 treatments, I am 95% hair free there. One more treatment should do it for me.

Seriously, save up a bit of money and do it. Sure it's more expensive than waxing up front, but waxing is something you will have to keep going back for, whereas laser will take care of the problem for you once and for all. Ultimately the cost will be some of the best money you ever spent.
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:11 AM on March 22, 2006

Threading? It's what Indian women do, and they know thick dark hair.

That's until you save up for some laser.
posted by anjamu at 1:09 AM on March 22, 2006

I'll second the threading - it's less painful, and the hair doesn't have to be as long as for waxing. If you're in a metro area, you can probably find a salon in an Indian area which will provide threading services
posted by darsh at 5:26 AM on March 22, 2006

Anything that pulls out hair (waxing, tweezing, threading) has a good chance of changing the hair dramatically. It's a myth (for most people) that the hair will get lighter as you do one of those treatments. Let's just say I have a little Italian heritage, and that I really, really know what I'm talking about. DO NOT do one of these things. Either keep shaving or try bleaching, electrolysis, or laser treatments.
posted by theredpen at 5:34 AM on March 22, 2006

Shaving does make the hair appear thicker when it comes back. Hairs are tapered at the tips, so if you pluck it what pops back is the very thin tapered tip of the hair, if you shave it then what pops up is the thicker cross section of the hair (with the tapered tip shaved off)
posted by zeoslap at 6:36 AM on March 22, 2006

My problem with waxing is that I had to wait a few weeks for the hair to grow in, then get waxed, then have perfectly smooth skin for a week, and then have 3 more weeks that I had to let it grow out. Sure, it saves time on shaving, but for me the entire point is that I wanted to be smooth all the time. I've never gotten my lip waxed, however, so I am not sure how long it takes to grow long enough.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:27 AM on March 22, 2006

I'll third or fourth threading. I'm Indian, too (thick, dark hair), it's very effective and affordable. I found my aesthetician through an ad she placed on the bulletin board of an indian grocery store, but I also know of quite a few local salons (including the Aveda Institute) that have someone who does threading.
posted by echo0720 at 9:53 AM on March 22, 2006

What does one look for in a laser treatment establishment both cost-wise and quality-wise?

Can anyone recommend a place in NYC?
posted by anonymous78 at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2006

I DON'T recommend threading - had it done a couple times a few years ago and OUCH. (I am a woman, and it was done to hairs on the underside of my chin.)

I don't have incredibly thick hair, but it is fairly dark and grows fairly long in a couple spots, which is weird. Both of my sisters though, very dark, thick hair -- they'd be bearded ladies if they let it grow!

I use the Gigi wax warmer, which I bought and began using after a professional esthetician (and friend/coworker) had waxed me using it, and it worked wonders. None of those crappy Sally Hansen "wax strips" ever worked for me either. The Gigi wax, though.. it works. You can buy different grades of wax: for sensitive skin or fine hair, for medium thick hair or for dark coarse/stubborn hair. Sounds like you might prefer the latter, although the first kind is ideal for facial waxing.

I use it with egyptian cotton strips (purchaseable at Sally Beauty Supply) and tongue-depressor-like applicators. Also, to increase your success in removing the hairs, follow three preliminary steps:
1. Wash your skin (where undesired hair is) well with a drying soap.
2. Use Gigi "Pre-Hon" (contains alcohol to further dry your skin and hairs of any oils, making them easier to grab)
3. Use the dusting powder (Gigi brand I think; similar to baby powder) over the areas of undesired hair. Think of it as priming before painting - increases adhesion to your hair.

Couple more tips: make sure the wax is well-melted and set on medium to med-high temperature. It should take about 30minutes to melt completely. If it is too hot, it will burn your skin and be too liquidy for the best adhesion. If too cool, adhesion will also be inferior. Don't use much wax on the tongue depressor; you just want to create a thin layer over the hairs. Smooth the wax over your hairs in the direction that they grow. When you remove the strip, remove it so that you are pulling the hairs away from the direction they grow in, and pull it fast!

It lasts much longer than shaving, and although some claim it might be false, it does seem to thin/lighten the hair over time when it does grow back. It's possible that it just seems that way because hair grows in cycles. Either way, it's a lot cheaper than electrolysis, which apparently isn't guaranteed to work! (My sister went through it, albeit not as committed as she should have been to the regimen, but it did not help at all.)
posted by mojabunni at 6:33 PM on March 22, 2006

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