Are you a double dipper?

Are you a double dipper? And if you are, is it such a bad thing?

Double dipping, gloves, sifting wax… Lilliane Caron, owner and director of Caronlab Australia, discusses these tricky issues head on.

 

Are you a double dipper? And if you are, is it such a bad thing?
Are you a double dipper? And if you are, is it such a bad thing?

To dip or not to dip

“Double dipping in the waxing industry is when a therapist uses a spatula to apply wax to a client’s skin and then reuses that same spatula after dipping it in the wax pot multiple times,” says Lilliane Caron from professional waxing brand Caronlab. “To some this seems perfectly fine; it is thought that the wax is kept at a high enough temperature which kills the bacteria and germs making the process hygienic. However, many therapists believe this is a myth and that double dipping is one of the biggest health risks associated with waxing. Personally I can see where both sides are coming from. I know this article is going to be very controversial but I’m going to play devil’s advocate.”

While everyone seems to have their own twist on what is okay and what’s not, one side of the double dipping debate is that it’s fine, says Caron. “People think “as long as there is no blood drawn” or “on the legs is ok, but not on intimate areas such as Brazilian”,” says Caron. “The ‘dip and dispose’ method is shunned by many also because a treatment uses significantly more wooden spatulas, which increases treatment costs, and also results in increased wastage and landfill. Many therapists also prefer to use a metal spatula with strip wax in particular, as they retain heat and reduce pulling on the skin.”

Council guidelines differ

With guidelines and regulations differing from council to council and so many personal opinions flying around, it’s little wonder that there is such confusion about what is right and wrong. “I have no doubt that many therapists are completely baffled over this dispute,” says Caron. “I have been in the industry for over 35 years (for many of those, I did double dip) and even my opinion has changed a few times on the matter over my waxing career.”

“Yes it is concerning to think that double dipping could possibly cause the transition of any diseases or bacteria between clients and of course no one agrees with putting the safety of their clients in jeopardy,” says Caron. “But in the old days, wax was recycled which meant melting down your wax (that contains hair, skin particles, sweat and who knows what else) every night, sifting out the hairs and then reusing it the next day. Some therapists to this day still sift their wax. So why the uproar now?”

 

One school of thought is that if there is no blood and it's not an intimate area, double dipping is ok.
One school of thought is that if there is no blood and you’re not waxing an intimate area, then double dipping is ok.

 

Consumers know their stuff

These days consumers are more savvy and aware of what can affect them adversely. “We hear things on the news, we find things on the internet and we actively hunt for information regarding products and procedures,” says Caron. “With double dipping being the talk of the town at the moment, let me tell you, many clients are looking out for it! I’ve noticed that some salons are even using the fact that they don’t double dip as a selling point.”

A client’s opinion is formed within about thirty seconds so every little detail counts. “Clients judge us from the minute they walk in; our customer service, our personal hygiene, appearance, presentation of the salon and our work station,” says Caron. “Of course our technique is just another part of the experience that our clients choose to return for (or not!) With all the negative connotations associated with double dipping these days is it really worth the risk of losing multiple clients based on your hygiene practices alone?”

Caronlan Disposable wax applicators.
Caronlan Disposable wax applicators.

Thoughts vary widely

What’s ok in one part of the world, might be totally uncool in another – and this may vary even between suburbs. “It’s clear that the hygiene standards throughout the world are vast and what some people deem as acceptable is totally unacceptable to others,” says Caron. “For example, my local area guidelines state that double dipping is not encouraged (but is not illegal) and if you are to do it “all waxes should be kept undisturbed at a minimum temperature level of 70–80ºC for a minimum of 15 minutes between clients.” I know many people will be mortified at the thought of this.”

Let’s talk cartridges

They are quick and help keep a busy salon running smoothly, but are they more hygienic? “When you think about it, using cartridges on more than one client is essentially the same as double dipping,” says Caron. “Some people believe that when the roller head is applied to the skin and then rolls back through the wax, bacteria and skin particles are being rolled back into the wax cartridge. Refillable cartridges are an extremely economical choice for therapists and are very common. I recommend that the refillable roller head be removed, disinfected after each client, refilled and returned to the warmer for 15 minutes to eliminate any bacteria.”

 

Disposable gloves have become the norm, but some therapists still prefer hygienic hands.
Disposable gloves have become the norm, but some therapists still prefer hygienic hands.

 

Gloves, no gloves…

Another controversial subject is gloves – to wear, or not to wear. “When I first started I never used gloves; I would always disinfect my hands and the only time I would wear gloves, was if I had a cut,” says Caron.”I have come across many therapists who still chose not to wear gloves. The one-glove technique is extremely popular in some areas of the world. Many find gloves restricting, especially when they don’t fit properly. They can cause sweating, can rip, get sticky and slow down your treatment, as well as increase your supply costs. Again, the thought of any therapist not using gloves may seem unacceptable to many but if they are following good hygiene, using hospital grade disinfectant on both them and the client, scrubbing under their nails and doing everything else right, is there really an issue?”

General hygiene

So you choose to not double dip, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a hygienic salon. “What concerns me more than anything I’ve mentioned above is that people are so worked up about double dipping but not that there are unlicensed, incompetent therapists out there bruising, drawing blood, damaging skin and traumatizing clients with bad waxes which are turning people away from waxing forever,” says Caron. “I’ve been in salons that have wax all over the floor, pot and trolley; trimmed pubic hairs left on the bed and used strips hanging out of the bin! Just because they don’t double dip does not mean they’re even close to maintaining a sanitary salon.”

The jury is still out

So what does the governing bodies say? In relation to wax becoming contaminated with skin or blood borne viruses from one client to the next, the Health Guidelines for Victoria (Australia) states that “There is insufficient evidence to clearly demonstrate the extent of this risk, but it would appear that the risk is low.” “Low is good, but low is not one hundred per cent, so why would you risk it?” asks Caron. “Double dipping is against the law in a number of places around the world and completely acceptable in others. Become familiar with your local guidelines. Your personal opinion on the matter and what you do in your salon don’t have to be one and the same. Whether or not you agree that double dipping is unsafe, if it is against your local health regulations it is not worth receiving a hefty fine or losing your clientelle over! We should always assume the worst and perform our services responsibly to minimise the risk to our clients and to ourselves.”

 

Lilliane Caron is owner and director of Caronlab Australia. If you’d like to join a training program or ask Lilliane Caron advice on your own salon, email info@caronlab.com.au or go to caronlab.com.au

 

 

Have your say: What do you think about double dipping? And do you wear two gloves, one or none…?

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Are you a double dipper?

  1. Fantastic article Lilliane.

    I too entered the beauty industry around 35 years ago and have done all the things you mentioned. I must admit that the straining of hot wax full of pubic and other hair was not high on my list of fun things to do at the end of the day.

    How times have changed.

    Your comments about public perception are spot on. Regardless of whether or not it’s mandatory to single dip only, the public is more aware than ever of salon hygiene standards and have higher than ever expectations.

    Perception counts for a lot in a beauty business.

    Thanks for a great read.

    Pam Stellema
    http://www.SalonSavy.com.au

  2. I’ve just started training to become a beauty therapist and we have to wear gloves to pass the assessment (via City and Guilds) however, we are being trained to as you call it ‘double dip’. my personal option from someone who gets waxed to the one doing the waxing, I do not like the idea of double dipping, I think to maintain the confidence of the client that you are trying to achieve 100% hygiene is a good thing. looking back on the beauty therapists I have been to as a client, knowing what I know now, I will not be going back.

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