Last weekend I had a date with a pot of hot wax. A long overdue date in fact. I was sent Parissa Hot Wax to try a few months back but just hadn’t gotten around to using it. It is Winter after all, and waxing is something I usually reserve for the week (OK, day) before a beach holiday, special occasions or emergencies. Let’s just say I’m not a regular at the beauty salon.
But Parissa sounded very interesting and fitting for the blog being completely natural, so I was happy to offer to try it. The problem was, I clearly didn’t read the instructions properly when I received it months back, as I decided the logical area for my trial would be my legs. (Note: this product is designed for the face, brow and bikini areas. Oops.) And so I let my leg hair grow, and grow, and grow, until it was becoming something of a nuisance and was slightly repulsing me. I don’t think it’s ever been that long in my life…but you didn’t need to know that. And then, last weekend, I bit the bullet and decided it was wax time.
When I did read the box properly and realised the wax was designed for short, coarse hair on the face or bikini line, so clearly not ideal for my grusemly long, but fine leg hair, I almost gave up again and reached for the razor, but after some deliberating I decided to give it a whirl anyway. And against all odds, it worked! It took FOREVER though, so I would advise sticking to the designated (smaller) areas recommended for this product. Parissa has a number of other products which would be better advised for waxing your legs.
Parissa Hot Wax is a salon style strip-free hot wax, which comes in a metal mini saucepan type pot, which you heat over the stove. If you’re not familiar with strip-free hot wax, it feels a bit like candle wax but not sticky and less brittle. It dries very quickly on your skin and then you peel it off, sort of like a plaster, and all the hair comes off with it. So it’s quite different from the normal warm wax which you’re probably more familiar with, which is applied with a spatular then a piece of cloth is pressed on top and ripped off while you tense every muscle in your body and bite down on a towel to stop yourself from screaming blue murder.
So, step one is heating the Parissa Hot Wax. Actually step one is doing a patch test (I didn’t. Shhhhh.) Then apply to skin which hasn’t just been washed (I’d just had a shower. Really doing well here aren’t I?!) So I headed down to the kitchen, pot in hand to cook my wax. This presented the first challenge as I have a gas stove and didn’t quite get whether I was supposed to stick it straight on the gas flame or what. I opted for putting it on a little frying pan with some water around it to stop the pan burning. That worked quite well although I had to sporadically add more water of course.
When the wax is half melted you’re supposed to transfer it to the Parissa Wax Warmer, which looks like an interesting and useful device for keeping the wax at the right temperature and consistency…but I don’t have one. So I took the wax off the heat and began waxing, but found that after just 2 or 3 strips the wax had cooled and become too sticky to use, so I had to return it to the stove. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I decided I’d have to leave it on a low heat on the stove in order to keep it at the right consistency (and maintain my sanity). That was fine, although sitting in the kitchen with one leg up on the counter and one hand in an oven glove to steady the wax pan (warning: the pan handle gets very hot) is not a particularly glamorous look. My sister and boyfriend found the whole thing rather amusing. In fact my boyfriend had only just noticed the length of my leg hair at this point (after a good month’s growth, mind) which came as quite a shock to him, but served to remind me just how unobservant men are about such things! Single people, take note.
The actual waxing process is fairly easy once you’ve got the hang of it although it does take a bit of practice. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this particular product to a waxing novice. If you’ve never had a strip-wax or have never done a home wax, I would say this probably isn’t for you. (I’d start with wax strips if I was a waxing virgin.) However, if you are more experienced and confident with at-home beauty treatments I would definitely give this a try as it gives a really professional finish. Plus it’s actually oddly quite fun, despite the pain that is inevitable with any waxing solution. Or maybe that’s just me…
Technique is key with this type of wax. You need to work fast, the wax needs to be at the right temperature when it goes on, and when it comes off, and the speed at which you pull is important. But that makes it sound more complicated than it actually is. It’s pretty easy really and once you’ve done a few you’ll get into the rhythm of it and find you’re on a roll. Here’s how to do it:
1. Take one of the wooden spatulars provided and stir the wax in the pot so it’s an even consistency
2. Get a bit of wax on the end of the spatula (about a teaspoon or so) and twirl the spatula around so it doesn’t drip off
3. Immediately apply to the skin. I won’t be too hot, I promise (didn’t burn myself once). Apply against the direction of hair growth in a smallish patch – about an inch or so square. It’s much easier to work with in small patches
4. Leave for 2 or 3 seconds (I told you to work fast), then pat the wax down with your fingers. I didn’t pay much attention to this step at first, but it helps for some reason. Pat it a few times; you’ll find it’s already pretty dry but not brittle
5. Then it’s time to pull off. DON’T try and rip it in one action like you do with the other type of wax. It doesn’t work. Instead, start at the bottom (so you’ll pull against direction of hair growth) and pinch the ends up so that it starts to come away from the skin. This will be easier the thicker the wax, so make sure you don’t spread it too thin, especially at the edges. Once you’ve got hold of the edge, start to peel back the wax firmly, but not too fast. If you rip it too fast it’ll just break in two. I found I developed a ‘pat, peel, pat, peel’ process which worked well. In case that isn’t self-explanatory, pat the wax then peel a bit back, pat again then peel a bit more. The patting takes the edge off the sting as well as helping pack the wax so it comes off more easily
6. After waxing, don’t try and wash off any remaining bits of wax with water as it’ll be futile. Use oil instead. The box comes with a vile of Parissa’s own after-wax oil called Azulene Oil, ‘the active ingredient of chamomile, to soothe & soften skin and prevent ingrown hair’. The oil which is blue in colour is very effective. I was sent a separate spray version of it which is great. A couple of squirts goes a long way and helps soothe and moisturise while removing traces of dried wax. The ingredients are few, which is also good: isopropyl mystrate (vegetable source), tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), azulene (chamomilla recutita extract), menthol crystals.
As I mentioned earlier, this took me ages and the pot didn’t even stretch to do both half legs. But it wasn’t designed for legs, so that’s no surprise! I’m sure it’d be plenty to cover the bikini area and would take a fraction of the time.
Despite the initial effort and faff of using this product, I have to say I am very impressed with the very professional and effective results it gave. The process was easy once I got the hang of it, the hairs came off first time, quickly and easily and without too much pain, except for around extra sensitive areas like the knees and ankles (ouch). But that’s to be expected. And the best thing is the ingredients are so natural. The wax contains just four ingredients: collophonium (gum rosin), cera alba (beeswax), brassica napus (canola oil) and azulene (chamomilla recutita extract). That’s it. There are wax refills available too so you don’t have to worry about environmental waste by chucking away the metal pan.
If you’re looking to invest in a home waxing solution, natural or otherwise, Parissa is definitely a brand you should consider and the hot wax gives a really professional finish. I’d advise investing in a Wax Warmer if you opt for the hot wax though as sitting by the kitchen stove isn’t ideal. If reading this hasn’t convinced you of the benefits of hot wax however and you want a simpler solution, I would give the wax strips a try. I haven’t used them myself but if they’re of the same quality as the hot wax, no doubt they’ll be fab.
Parissa doesn’t seem to have its own UK website but the products are sold at Boots Sainsbury’s and Whole Foods amongst other places: http://parissa.com/store%20locator/UK