The Hair Growth Cycle and Waxing

To achieve optimal waxing results, one needs to consider various factors. These include using high quality wax, applying pre and post waxing products, and applying and removing the wax correctly. Among the most important of these considerations is correctly understanding the hair growth cycle. This is essential to knowing which stage of the process is the best time to wax.   

Every hair on the human body goes through a continuous process of growth, shedding, and renewal. This continues until such time that a hair ceases to be formed due to internal or external influence. We shed hairs repeatedly, at the same time as other strands are regenerating and growing. Nature has wired us perfectly so that individual hairs go through these stages at different times; otherwise, we would be bald intermittently!   

The Stages of the Hair Growth Cycle   

The Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen phases are the three stages of the hair growth cycle. The first of these, the Anagen stage, is the active stage of hair growth when new hair grows from the root. During this phase, your hair is in developing mode, and the blood supply feeds nutrients to the hair to aid in this process. In the Anagen stage, the new hair bulb is thick and fleshy.  

The Anagen phase then moves into the Catagen phase. In the Catagen phase, the hair is in a transitional state where most active growth ceases, hairs separate from the follicle, and the hair enters a resting phase. During this time, strands separate from the blood vessels and dermal papilla, causing the blood flow to stop. The hair follicles become deprived of the oxygen and nutrients they require to grow, and naturally detach from the root and are pushed upwards through the skin. This stage of the hair growth cycle acts as a preparation period for the next and final stage of the cycle before it reboots again, the Telogen phase.   

The Telogen stage is the time when the hair has detached from the follicle but is still resting in the skin. It is a “stagnant” stage of the hair growth cycle when the existing hairs are essentially dead and the new hairs are waiting to replace them. Hair in the Telogen stage either falls out on its own the regrowth of new hair pushes it out. This is the final stage before the new hair growth cycle begins again with the Anagen phase; therefore, hairs in the Telogen phase are the oldest on one’s body.  

How Does the Hair Growth Cycle Affect Waxing? 

It is important to note that hair follicles lie below the skin; therefore, trimming or shaving will not alter the hair growth cycle. However, regular waxing applications can affect the hair growth cycle, creating synchronicity between the growth stages and facilitating seamless hair removal. When applied correctly and regularly, waxing treatments can minimise further hair growth and ensure smooth, hairless skin. However, because our hair is naturally programmed to grow in different stages, people who are new to waxing or have shaved regularly in between prior waxing treatments may need multiple waxing applications to target all stages of hair growth and produce the best results.   

When and how often should you wax?   

Choose the Right Time of the Hair Growth Cycle

To get optimal waxing results, it is also important to understand the hair growth cycle to know when the hair is in the correct stage for waxing. It is entirely normal to have a few short hairs left after your first few waxes. However, if you wax consistently over time, your hair will automatically start to fall into the same growing cycle, making it easier to achieve longer-lasting results from waxing.   

The best time to wax is during the Anagen phase, when the hair is still growing and is relatively short. When the follicles are new, it is much easier to remove the hair directly from the root to achieve the best and longest-lasting results. With most waxes, the best waxing results are obtained when hairs are approximately 1.5 mm long. At this point, they are long enough to be fully encased by the wax for effective removal. However, Harley Wax is a high-quality wax that can remove hairs as short as 1mm directly from the root. You can see the hair bulbs in the form of tiny black or white balls on the back of the wax.   

Maintain a Consistent Waxing Schedule

You may be tempted to stop waxing in winter when hair growth is slower, and most skin is covered. However, it is crucial to keep waxing through these months so that individual hairs stay in “sync” with one another. When this happens, all hairs will eventually begin growing simultaneously and in the same growth cycle. This means they enter the Anagen phase together and can all be waxed at this stage. Your skin will stay smooth and hair-free for longer, as there will be no straggly hair growth between cycles. Additionally, waxing regularly at the Anagen stage with high quality wax will cause the hair follicles to weaken. This will eventually act as an inhibitor to further growth. However, waxing too early in the Anagen phase is not optimal as the strands may be too short for the wax to grip them.   

It is equally important to note that waxing during the Telogen stage is counterproductive. This is because the old hairs present above the skin will adhere to the wax. However, they have already detached from the hair follicle and only have a short shelf life before they fall out or are replaced by new hairs. In this phase, the new hairs have actively started to regenerate as new follicles attach themselves to the scalp. However, most of them have not penetrated through the skin yet and generally only grow through a few days later. Even if the hairs have risen above the skin, they are generally far too short to adhere to the wax. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will be efficiently removed.     

How can you make Harley Waxing products work best for you? 

Waxing regularly and consistently with a high quality wax such as Harley Wax has the benefits of synchronising the hair growth cycle and inhibiting hair growth over time. This practice goes a long way towards achieving the most desirable waxing results. However, using the correct type of Harley Wax and applying Harley Pre & Post Wax Products is equally essential.   

Coarse hairs tend to be more challenging to remove initially, meaning that they can take longer to fall into a synchronised hair growth cycle. We have specifically designed two of our waxes to target thicker, stubborn hairs. They will remove hair effectively during waxing in just application, with no need for tweezing in between treatments. Harley has formulated its Gold Strip Wax for clients with extra coarse hair. It is particularly suitable for men and those with darker hair, which naturally tends to be thicker. It is a stickier formulation that has a stronger grip, making it ideal for removing thick, stubborn hair growth. Likewise, our Film Wax has an extra strong grip and is fast drying, making it ideal for tackling coarser hair. Using Harley Pre & Post Waxing products is also essential to achieving the softest, smoothest, and most comfortable skin post-waxing.   

The Harley Pre & Post Waxing Range

The Harley Pre & Post Waxing range includes four different products. The Pre-Waxing Oil and the Cleanser & Toner are designed to purify and prepare the skin for waxing. The Cleanser & Toner is a 2 in 1 product that removes any dirt or oil embedded in the skin while rebalancing the PH level to achieve the best waxing results.   

The Pre-Waxing Oil coats the skin with a fine layer of oil, enabling the wax to cling to the hair rather than stick to the skin. It contains aloe vera, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties. This ensures the skin is free of germs before waxing and helps to soothe the skin after the waxing treatment. Aloe vera can also penetrate deep into the skin, producing maximum benefits. You should only use the Pre-Waxing Oil with Harley Hot Wax or Harley Film Wax

The After Care range consists of the Harley After Wax Oil, enriched with tea tree and lavender, and the Aloe Soothing Gel. Applying After Care Oil is essential to achieving optimal results from a Harley Hot Wax or Harley Strip Wax Treatment.   

You can use the Harley After Wax Soothing Aloe Gel after a Harley Hot Wax or Harley Strip Wax treatment. Aloe vera’s soothing properties help to ease skin discomfort, while the oil-free formulation leaves a smooth, non-greasy finish. Both these Harley Post Waxing products calm and condition the skin after waxing, reduce irritation and redness. They also minimise the possibility of ingrown hairs.   

For more information on the hair growth cycle and the benefits of waxing, download the Harley Waxing training manual here. 


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