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Depilation IS Skin Care

Lynn Maestro December 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
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As many spa professionals know, depilation is no longer considered a trend, but a mainstay of a successful skin care facility’s menu. As long as there is hair where people don’t want it, depilation is here to stay. Hair removal is a service that crosses all boundaries, races and religions as it has quickly become an important part of today’s beauty regimen for women and men of all ages.

The real trend in depilation today is positioning this service as a true beauty treatment—an additional opportunity to care for the skin, which goes hand-in-hand with caring about your clients’ health and safety. And one of the most key and timely factors in this trend is the importance of sanitation.

Earlier this year, the industry experienced an uproar as state officials in New Jersey made moves to ban Brazilian and other waxing services done by estheticians. These days, clients are privy to a massive amount of information at their fingertips via the Internet, and, within hours, the story spread like wildfire. Though ultimately New Jersey backed off the ban in favor of “reviewing and establishing safeguards for those who provide the service,” there are still lawsuits being persued against the New Jersey state cosmotology board.

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The Right Technique by Hilary Gowins

The Right Technique By Hilary Gowins

Offering your clients quality hair removal services also includes knowing which technique will work best with a client’s skin type. So, before you start revealing more of it with a depilation treatment, take a minute to get to know your client’s skin.

The key to uncovering how to treat different individuals is analyzing a skin type before you get started. Whether you’re waxing, sugaring, threading, tweezing, using laser hair removal or doing electrolysis, this identification is most effectively done using the Fitzpatrick classification scale, rating skin tones from one, the fairest, to six, the darkest. To check out the Fitzpatrick scale yourself, log on to

For example, waxing is one hair removal technique where skin type is a consideration. According to licensed esthetician and eyebrow design and Brazilian waxing educator Crickett, darker skin tones usually produce coarser, thicker hair, which necessitates it be removed in small sections. “Doing it in smaller sections will help it come out more cleanly,” she explains.

Another issue Crickett warns about is that darker skin tones can make for drier skin, which means that proper hydration is essential before any procedure. “If the skin isn’t hydrated before waxing, you run the risk of lifting some of it,” she notes. If dryness is the case, moisturize the client’s skin thoroughly before the treatment, and even postpone the service if necessary.

Additionally, skin type is also a factor with laser hair removal and electrolysis. “You wouldn’t want to treat a five or six skin type with the same laser as you’d use on someone with a one to four skin type,” says Trudy Brown, president of the International Guild of Professional Electrologists. According to Brown, the coarseness of a client’s hair is actually secondary to the levels of melanin in the skin and the pigment of the hair itself in determining how and when to use laser removal.

Also, it can sometimes be more difficult to treat lighter hair with lasers, and an alternative then would be electrolysis, a procedure in which a tiny filament is inserted next to each individual hair follicle and then jolted with an electric current. The key to electrolysis being effective for lighter hair removal is that each hair-removing filament is inserted manually and the follicle does not have to be dark to be identified.

Obviously, hair removal can be a delicate service to offer, so take the time to do it right. Survey your client’s skin, and weigh your options on the best hair removal technique. With just the addition of an extra step or two, you could be ensuring your client’s hair removal satisfaction with each and every treatment.

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