When it comes to professional hair removal services, there are almost as many options as there are client types. Though there are established advantages and disadvantages to each method, it’s overwhelmingly a personal choice on your and your client’s behalf regarding which hair removal services are the best fit at your salon. At Lux Spa in Toronto, owner Cathy Mancini offers both waxing and threading on her otherwise nail-focused menu. “Some clients become irritated with waxing while others experience irritation with threading,” Mancini says. “We suggest they make one appointment for waxing and another for threading, then decide for themselves. We have many clients who thread their brows, wax their lips, and thread their arms. To each their own, but either way, we have them covered.”
The most common options for hair removal at salons are as follows. The first four offer temporary removal, lasting for a few weeks. Laser and electrolysis offer permanent or semi-permanent hair removal.
Waxing: The type of hair removal you and your clients are likely the most familiar with, hot wax is applied in the direction of hair growth and removed opposite of hair growth.
Sugaring: Generally an all-natural option, sugaring removes the hair from the follicle in the natural direction of hair growth using a sugar-based paste. Unlike with wax, the sugar stays at room temperature.
Threading: A traditional method of hair removal in the Middle East and South Asia, threading is so named because it uses thread to remove hair from the root. Its advocates say you get better shaping and arch control than with other methods. Plus many states don’t require any professional license to offer threading.
Tweezing: Many salons offer tweezing to complete hair removal done with other methods, but tweezing is also a solo option to remove hair from smaller areas such as the eyebrows or upper lip and can result in less irritation than other methods for some clients.
Laser hair removal: Most effective on dark hair (due to the method the laser uses to target hair while leaving surrounding tissue intact), it requires several sessions on the same body part to offer long-term results.
Electrolysis: Effective on all skin and hair types, during electrolysis an electric current is applied with a fine needle inserted in the hair follicle and destroys the hair’s growth center.
Many hair removal services have low product costs, but the catch is finding the right talent to perform the services. “For some of the hair removal services we offer, the equipment is not necessarily expensive, but the challenge is finding the right person to provide that service for you. I find those who spend most of their day working with clients specifically on hair removal develop a greater skill set for this specific area,” says Dalia Wagley, owner of Spa W in Irving, Texas. Depending on how busy you anticipate hair removal services to keep your salon, that person may be either an employee (a great idea if you anticipate a lot of interest and/or walk-ins and want someone available during all of the salon’s open hours and to be fully integrated into the team) or an independent contractor (if you are not sure of the interest and may be better with someone who has her own established clientele).
Regardless of who you choose to perform the services, hair removal can be a great asset to your salon. “In today’s fast-paced world, our clients want a one-stop-shop. If they can have their brows shaped while their nails dry, it puts money in our pockets as service providers and keeps clients coming back,” says Chynna Stephens, a full specialist at Todd Patrick & Co. Salon in Ormond Beach, Fla. “The more time they spend with us, clients tend to trust us more. Adding that extra 15 minutes makes them feel important, and makes them want to come back again and again to feel that way.”
On the next page are some nail-focused salons that have found success in offering hair removal and their advice for making this easy add-on work for you.
Todd Patrick & Co. Salon, Ormond Beach, Fla.
Hair removal services offered: waxing
Licensed to do nails and skin care, Chynna Stephens recommends a brow wax to most of her clients during their nail service visits. “Even if they don’t take advantage of the offer the first time, they learn it is a service I am willing and able to provide — and they will at some point make that appointment.” Offering waxing has also helped Stephens educate her clients on her other esthetics offerings, which has helped this newbie build a solid clientele. Waxing services offered include Brazilians, legs, underarms, facial waxing, and even toe and knuckle waxing. The salon’s waxing space does triple duty as it also functions as the massage and skin services room. The room is separated with a door from the nail area and boasts its own bathroom. “We want our clients to really feel like we have a space devoted to their skin and massage services, so they know we are committed to offering the best to them,” Stephens says.
Get Nailed, Wabash, Ind.
Hair removal services offered: waxing
As a nail tech for the past 20 years and a salon owner, Aimee Emrick says waxing is one of her most marketable service add-ons. Though summer is in general a busier time in the salon altogether (with waxing services following that rhythm), she offers hair removal year-round and during slower times, she promotes waxing as she does any other slow services, with advertising, specials, and referral programs.
The salon has three cosmetologists, working as full-time nail techs who wax eyebrows, upper lips, chins, arms, hands, and feet, plus three nail techs who wax hands and feet only. In addition, Get Nailed has a certified derm technician (permanent cosmetics) who waxes eyebrows only, and an esthetician is joining the team this summer who will do full body waxing. “I’m still working with the newer manicurists to train them to wax. It’s allowed with their license, but rarely taught in school. I encourage every one of our newly licensed manicurists to add it to her service menu,” Emrick says.
European Skincare Institute, Fort Worth, Texas
Hair removal services offered: laser hair removal, waxing
“Referring clients to laser treatments from doing manicures and pedicures actually hasn’t been hard. I have had some laser services myself, and when clients hear it from me they feel a trust to add the services on, or at least to get a consultation,” says Andie Garcia, a nail tech who works in a salon that includes four women who are licensed medical laser trained and estheticians who offer waxing. “We want our clients to come back because they see that we care and listen,” Garcia says. “Overall I have faith in our staff, and we trust each other. We recommend other staff members all the time for other services. I have acquired shared clients that I wouldn’t have had before because of the trust we have for each other at European Skincare Institute.” The salon also has a nurse practitioner working two days a week by appointment only to do the salon’s medi-spa treatments such as injectables.
Eyebrows for America, Arlington Heights, Ill.
Hair removal services offered: threading
Threading is a great add-on service, according to expert Purvi Shah. It doesn’t require a lot of room. All you need is a good reclining chair, which could be an existing styling or facial chair. It also doesn’t require a lot of product, just the special thread and (optionally) pre- and post-creams. (Shah cleanses the skin with makeup remover and/or applies threading powder to absorb any oils from the client’s skin prior to threading. Afterward, she applies cooling gel or astringent lotion depending on skin type.) “You do need a lot of practice and proper technique to offer threading,” Shah says. Shah can help you with some of that training. She offers threading classes across the U.S. (E-mail eyebrowmakeover[at]yahoo.com or call (847) 208-6407.)
Spa W, Irving, Texas
Hair removal services offered: waxing, sugaring, threading, tweezing
Social media has been a great place to market Spa W’s hair removal options, including Facebook, Twitter, and personal text messages to clients. Owner Dalia Wagley finds that the salon’s hair removal clients do a better job making and keeping their appointments versus the salon’s nail-only clients. “Nail service clients seem to walk in more often. I think it’s because hair removal is a more private treatment, so clients feel more likely to make an appointment and keep it,” Wagley says. Clients who opt for Brazilians, or hair removal from their legs, back, chest, and brows especially tend to book in advance, though the salon does accept walk-ins, schedule permitting.
Simply You Wellness Spa, Massena, New York
Hair removal services offered: waxing, laser hair removal, electrolysis
Simply You Wellness Spa proves you can successfully offer a variety of hair removal services in a small town. “We have a full-service day spa that offers all the amenities of a spa in a large urban area,” says owner Shelly Chilton. Those offerings include nails (gel-polish and a variety of pedicures), a full hair menu, skin tightening, facials, diamond tip microdermabrasion, massage, herbal body wraps, body scrubs, a detoxification system, eyelash perms, eyelash extensions, hair cut/color/highlighting, teeth whitening, tanning, and spray tanning. Chilton finds that laser hair removal is effective on all skin types including tanned skin, and that it’s most effective with treating darker hair. Electrolysis is effective for all skin and hair types, though the hair must be long enough to grab with tweezers. And waxing is available for those clients who want a less expensive option.
Lux Spa, Toronto
Hair removal services offered: waxing, laser hair removal, electrolysis
Waxing accounts for more of the salon’s hair removal business than does threading, but Lux Spa offers both to give clients more options to pick the service best for them (and for each body part). “Adding hair removal to our menu of services just seemed logical. Clients come in for manicures, pedicures, a set of nails, or a fill, and then they think about their legs, their underarms, their bikini lines, their brows, their upper lips and realize that they’re not finished with the entire grooming process,” says owner Cathy Mancini. All Lux Spa staff members are estheticians and they all perform waxing. There are three who also offer Brazilian waxing, one who offers male Brazilian waxing, and all of them also offer threading. “All Lux Spa team members are dedicated and loyal employees,” Mancini says, not independent contractors.
Next page: Fast Facts about Hair Removal
[PAGEBREAK]Fast Facts about Hair Removal
> Instead of making hair removal sound like another chore on your client’s to-do list by phrasing it as “cleaning up” the brows, use phrases like “shaping” and “framing your eyes to make them pop” to sell it as a beauty service, says Chynna Stephens, a full specialist at Todd Patrick & Co. Salon in Ormond Beach, Fla.
> Required licenses for hair removal services are established at the state level and vary greatly throughout the U.S. Visit your state board’s website to find out what licensee is allowed to perform what kinds of hair removal in your state.
> In the U.S., the most common type of hair removal offered at nail salons is waxing. Forty-one percent of nail salons offer it (according to NAILS’ 2012-2013 Big Book).
> Whether waxing, threading, tweezing, or using another hair removal method, eyebrows are hands-down the most popular body part where nail salon clients want hair removed (according to our informal polling when researching this story).
> It can be embarrassing for a client to phone in during her morning subway commute to schedule her “Brazilian.” Ease the pain by giving your hair removal services discreet names, like those at Salon Escape Day Spa in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada. There a Brazilian is known as a “Beach Vacation.”
If you are considering adding skin care to your menu, read our story Should You Add Skin Care?
If you want to add stones (hot or cold) to your massage, read our story Rock Your Clients' Services.