What is the difference between hard wax and soft wax?

Just to clear things up to begin with…

Soft wax  – aka – cream wax, warm wax, hot wax, strip wax 

Hard wax – aka –  cold wax, peel off wax, stripless wax. 

(The wax is applied warm but sets so it becomes ‘cold’ or ‘cooled.’)

Ok so now onto what the difference is? This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions by clients as there is so much confusion. 

All waxes (hard and soft) come in a range of colours and consistencies and they vary depending on the manufacturer. Some are more expensive than others, some have added fragrances and perfumes, some are more natural. Reputable waxing studios should offer both soft and hard wax as each have different benefits and suit certain skin and hair types.

Soft Wax

Application – 

  • Applied with a disposable stick (/tongue depressor) in the same direction of hair growth
  • Material strip smoothed onto the area
  • Skin held taut and removed in the opposite directions of the hair growth

The hair sticks to the wax, the wax sticks to the strip and the swift removal brings the hairs out. 

Hard Wax

Application – 

  • Applied with a disposable stick (/tongue depressor) in the same direction of hair growth. Can be reapplied to the same area in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  • Wax is given the required amount of time to set (average 5-20 seconds). Wax looks like a thin layer of flexible plastic on the skin. 
  • A thick edge of the wax is lifted to give a ‘handle’ to hold onto the wax, the skin is held taut and removed.

The wax sets and dries on the skin essentially ‘shrink wrapping’ around the hair. Instead of relying on stickiness to remove the hair, the set wax ‘holds’ onto the hairs.’

Now you have an idea of the process involved let’s look at the pros and cons of each…

Soft Wax Hard Wax
Can be done quicklyCannot be used for nose waxingCan be used for nose waxingCan take longer as each strip needs to set/dry
Provides a light exfoliation of the skinCannot be reapplied on the same area more than onceCan be reapplied to the same area more than onceProvide no or minimal exfoliation to the skin
Sometimes cheaper than hardwax from a supplier and from a service charge stand pointRequires the use of cotton/muslin stripsNo strips required The wax is more expensive so some wax studios pass this charge to their customers and charge a lot more for hardwax
Removes even the thinnest, finest hairsSometimes the stickiness is not strong enough to remove very course & deeply rooted hairsHolds onto the thickest, strongest hairsSome very fine hairs may not be removed as they are too fine for the wax to shrink wrap around

There really isn’t a ‘winner’ as to which is the best type to use. They all depend first on ensuring the highest quality of wax and the wax technician having experience using both. The best wax studio will check with your skin, hair thickness, length and area to decide the best option for you. Ideally you want all the hairs gone and leave with the best results. An experienced waxing tech will advise you on what is best and may even use both during your service.

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Easily accessible from Coquitlam, Burquitlam, Port Moody and Burnaby. Providing specialised waxing services and Brazilian Waxing

More questions? See our Waxing FAQ>> See also our full range of Services>>


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