Waxing might seem like a pretty simple hair removal procedure, but there’s a lot more to it than applying a strip of paper and pulling it off. Producing flawless results without damaging the skin using a method that’s intrinsic to a degree of irritation requires expertise, skill and constant education. We all make mistakes, but if you can avoid accidently removing half of someone’s eyebrow, that’s a pretty good start. Here are five common salon waxing mistakes and how you can avoid them:

1. Not communicating with your client.
Regardless whether it’s a five minute underarm wax or a two hour full body treatment, you need to consult your client. It’s the only way you’ll learn if they’re a first-timer or a veteran, what skin type they have, or if there are any medical conditions that might affect the procedure. Also ask if there have been an recent changes with their skin or body or if there’s anything else you should know. Following-up after the treatment is also an excellent idea, but ultimately, a quick chat beforehand is the best way to avoid potentially harmful and uncomfortable situations.

2. Not cleaning the skin before waxing.
Just because skin looks clean doesn’t mean it is. Sweat, creams, deodorants and dirt can almost always be found on the body and make it difficult for wax to adhere to the skin and grab hair. You can advise your clients not to swim in chlorinated water or take a gym session before their treatment, but even if they take your advice it’s good practice to prepare for the worst. Swipe a clean cotton cloth sprayed with alcohol or the area that’s about to be waxed before patting dry with a disposable towel. Brush the skin with a dry body brush to eliminate any ingrown hairs before sprinkling a bit of baby powder on the area. It’ll absorb any excess moisture so the wax and strip can adhere properly.

3. Not thinking about you.
Waxing might not seem all that physically demanding, but when you’re bending over, twisting around and moving between two work stations, it really is tough work. Make sure you watch your posture by avoiding bending your back while working, so check the height of your treatment table and adjust it if necessary. Invest in a waxing trolley that you can move around the room and park next to whatever body part you’re working on so you don’t have to keep going back to the cupboard. And wherever you can, remove long wax strip towards you. This makes for a lot less strain on your body rather than ripping it away.

4. Not being meticulous when it comes to hygiene.
Wearing gloves, washing your hands regularly, covering wounds, re-using single use equipment and not steralising are all big no-nos. Gloves are a must when safeguarding your personal safety and that your clients, so wearing single-use gloves when waxing is the best policy to have in your salon. If you think wearing gloves means you don’t need to wash your hands, you’re way off.

Hands can become warm and moist in gloves which promote the growth of micro-organisms – and often it’s not so easy to keep hands hygienically clean as you remove a pair of gloves. Best to be safe and either wash hands or use an anti-bacterial hand rub to get things really clean post (every) client.

Any reusable equipment, such as tweezers, needs to be sterilised with mild alkaline detergents in the pH range 8.0 to 10.8. You should also get cracking to sterilise, as the longer equipment is left unsterilised, the more micro-organisms will love it and multiply – once they have powers in numbers, they can be pretty hard to say goodbye to. When preparing for a new client, only put sterilised equipment out just before they arrive and always re-sterilise after every appointment.

5. Not upselling.
Not capitalising on this is an excellent way to loose lose money. Offering your clients homecare products so they can get the best results from their wax is a great way how to add an extra purchase or two. It’s also professional duty, as waiting for your customers to contact you saying they got spots or ingrown hairs the last time they visited is something we all want to avoid. Soothing gels and creams such as Lycon’s Lavender and Chamomile Hand and Body Lotion or their Tea-Tree Total Wash are great, as are exfoliating mitts and ingrown hair prevention pastes.