How to wax facial hair for sensitive skin

Updated April 17, 2017

Facial hair is an extremely embarrassing development for many women. Some women have a lot of vellus hair, the downy bumfluff commonly found on cheeks, which can prevent a smooth make-up application and perfectly finished face. Other women develop hormonal hair as they age, including hair on the upper lip, chin, and in the nostrils. Tweezing and threading are commonly recommended for women with sensitive skin, but with the variety of products available today for waxing, there's no reason sensitive-skinned women cannot wax away their facial hair.

Perform a patch test. Make sure you are not sensitive to any of the products you will be using by performing a patch test 10 to 30 minutes before you wax. You can do a patch test on the skin behind your ears or on your inner elbows for the closest approximation of facial skin. If you develop a reaction to any of the pre- or post-care products or to the wax itself, do not proceed with the facial wax until you find products you aren't sensitive to.

Use a pre-wax cleansing solution. This will contain antibacterial ingredients, which will lessen the likelihood of bacteria invading the open follicles. It will also remove any oil from the skin that may prevent the wax from adhering fully to the hair. It is especially important with sensitive-skinned people to wax over an area as few times as possible, so ensuring proper adhesion is vital.

Powder the skin with an unscented, superfine talc powder. Dusting on a light coat of fine powder will add a protective layer to keep wax from sticking to sensitive skin. It also helps absorb any unwanted moisture that may prevent proper adhesion.

Use the right type of wax. The best wax for sensitive skin is hard wax. Unlike strip wax, hard wax does not require a paper or muslin strip to be removed. It is applied thickly and swirled on in all directions to ensure you have captured every hair, regardless of the growth pattern. As hard wax cools, it hardens and constricts, effectively shrink-wrapping the hair without sticking to the skin. Hard wax is appropriate for nostrils, cheeks, the chin, forehead, and above and between the eyebrows. Hard wax is not recommended for waxing beneath the brows, as it can be harder to control a precision application.

To wax the arch of an eyebrow on a sensitive-skinned person, use a cream or zinc wax. These waxes are usually formulated with calming ingredients and many come in unscented versions, which are better for sensitive skin. Strip wax must be applied as thinly as possible in the direction of the hair growth and must be removed with muslin or paper. Final shaping should be completed with tweezers. Always hold the skin taught when waxing or tweezing.

Use a soothing post-wax product. After-wax treatments are always formulated with calming ingredients, but many are also scented with essential oils, so make sure the one you use doesn't include any ingredients you may be sensitive to. Azulene and aloe vera are commonly found in soothing post-wax treatments due to their calming, anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties, and tea-tree oil is present in some as a natural antibacterial. After-wax products are usually oil-based, which helps remove any residual wax. Discomfort after waxing usually goes away after 30 minutes to 24 hours, depending on the person being waxed.


If all the hair doesn't come out in two applications of wax, tweeze the rest or wait a day and try again.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-wax treatment
  • Fine talc powder
  • Hard wax
  • Cream strip wax (optional)
  • Post-wax treatment
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About the Author

Based in Austin, Texas, Carrie Burns has been writing professionally since 2004, primarily ghostwriting corporate white papers and reviewing local theater productions. She has also spent time devising new works with cutting-edge theater ensembles. Burns holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.