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How Long Does Hair Have to Be to Wax? | Longer Than You Think

How long does hair have to be to wax? Experts recommend growing your hair to a considerable length before going for a waxing session. Read on to find out the ideal hair length and why it should be that long.

What Is Hair Waxing?

Waxing is a hair removal procedure that involves applying a sticky substance, usually wax, to body hair and removing by pulling it out from the roots. The premise is to remove unwanted hair from any body part, including the underarms, the abdomen, legs, feet, and face leaving a smooth surface.

Most people are eager to achieve the soft, smooth surface without familiarizing themselves with the nitty-gritty of a waxing procedure. Read on to find out how long your hair should be.

How Long Does Hair Have to Be to Wax?

Image titled Hair Should Be At Least 14 Inch Before Waxing for a piece on how long does hair have to be to wax

Hair length is critical whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned waxer. If it’s too short, the wax might not grasp onto the hair, and if it’s too long, the hair removal process might be a little more painful. So what is the ideal length for a waxing session?

The Ideal Length

If you’re wondering how long your hair should be for a good waxing — it’s nearly the size of a sprinkle. The rule of thumb is that the hair should be at least 1/4 inch long, regardless of the part of the body getting waxed. Such hair length might feel a little uncomfortable for some people, but it’s the best as it ensures that hair is removed from the roots.

It’s also OK if your hair is slightly longer – say 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch. Once you get into 1 inch and longer, however, you could have an issue unless your hair is fine and thin. What’s the worst that could happen? Waxing could leave behind patches of hair that must be removed by other means since you can’t wax the same area more than once in a session. 

What If You Shave Regularly?

If you’re the kind that shaves regularly and you are planning to get waxed, it’s time you let that hair grow out (for at least two weeks). You might need to wait a little longer if your hair grows slower. Some hairs might appear longer than others, but it’s safe to wax as long as it’s 1/4-inch long.

Understand the Hair Growth Cycle

The difference in length is due to the irregular hair growth cycle in various body parts. The cycle is in three stages — growth, rest, and shedding — and various body parts are in a different stage for a specific period.

Head hair, for example, grows slower than body hair and only grows about 1/2 inch in a month. Hair on other parts of the body may appear to grow faster. Sometimes, it’s because the hair is actually growing faster. Other times, it may just seem that way because you’re starting from nothing or very short hair. That’s why you need to shave that beard or pubic hair more times than going for a haircut. The good news is that waxing helps even out hair growth.

Why Is Hair Length Important When Waxing?

For a piece on how long does hair have to be to wax, a woman with wax on her back in a black and white bikini


The main reason for waxing is to leave a smooth, flawless underarm, chest, legs, or other body parts. The wax needs to adhere to all the hair to pull it out from the roots.

If the wax doesn’t adhere properly, e.g., because the hair is too short, the skin might get irritated, or the hair might break. The correct hair length also ensures future waxing is easier and that hair grows back simultaneously.

Other Considerations

Apart from the hair length, there are other considerations you should make before going for a waxing session. They include:

  • The type of waxing you want: If you’re going for a bikini wax, you have three options — the regular bikini wax, the Brazilian, and full bikini wax. A regular bikini waxing involves removing pubic hair from the sides of the bikini line, while a Brazilian bikini wax removes all the hair from the front to the back. If going for the latter, you should be ready to move into awkward positions. On the other hand, a full bikini wax involves hair removal from the vulva and the back.
  • Type of clothing: Your skin is bound to be irritable after the waxing session hence the need to wear comfortable clothing. It should be loose to avoid creating friction around the waxed area.
  • Be ready to strip: Before certain types of waxing sessions, you will need to remove your inner garments. Some spas provide disposable underwear for simple bikini waxes, but if more hair needs to be removed than just from the sides, you may need to strip completely below the waist.
  • Whether you have a post-wax pain management plan: The best way to soothe your skin after waxing is to apply hydrocortisone cream. It eliminates itchiness, reduces inflammation, and redness
  • Brace yourself for some tweezing: In the case of leftover hair, the professional uses a pair of tweezers to remove them. The waxer might not alert you about it, so it’s best to ask beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions

To illustrate how long hair has to be to wax, a woman rubbing wax on a leg with a wooden stick

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Can Hair be too Long to Wax?

If hair is longer than 1 inch, it is too long to wax, so you may need to trim it before the appointment. If you don’t trust yourself to cut it to the appropriate length, leave it to the professional.

Should Hair Length be the same in All the Areas Getting Waxed?

Hair grows faster and thicker in some areas than others. For example, pubic hair grows faster and thicker than that growing on legs. If the hair is thick, it needs to be longer than the standard 1/4-inch to ensure wax adheres to all the heavier hair and pulls it out.

How Long Should Armpit Hair Be to Wax Effectively?

Armpit hair grows slower than leg or pubic hair. However, the same rule of a 1/4-inch applies when waxing this area. Avoid allowing the hair to get too long as it makes waxing incredibly painful; instead, trim it if it feels uncomfortable.

What is the Best Time to Schedule a Waxing Session to Ensure the Correct Hair Length?

It entirely depends on how fast your hair grows. If you’ve been shaving, your hair may take about four weeks to regrow to 1/4-inch after a waxing session. However, with more consistent waxing sessions, hair grows back thinner and slower, so you may need to wait longer, usually up to 5-6 weeks.

Another factor you need to consider when scheduling a waxing session is your period date (if you’re getting a bikini wax). The rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment a week before your period. This is because the skin is extremely sensitive during this time of the month.

Does Hair Length Affect the Type of Wax Used?

No, it doesn’t. The rule of thumb stands, i.e., grow your hair to ¼ inch and longer if it’s thicker for waxing. The type of wax used depends on the type of hair being removed.

Soft waxes, for example, are the best for removing hair on large areas of the body like the legs and the arms. This is because it gets into the tiny, fine hair strands, not visible to the naked eye leaving a smooth skin surface.

However, hard body wax is the best if waxing more sensitive areas like the bikini area, the underarm, or the upper lip. It binds to the hair strands without getting attached to the skin, making the process less painful.

Also, hard wax can be applied multiple times without damaging the skin. Fruit body wax is recommended for people with extremely sensitive skin because it has loads of fruit extracts that contain vitamins that nourish the skin. It’s also gentler than soft body wax.

How Do I Prepare the Skin for a Waxing Session?

The best way to prep the skin for a waxing session is to shower and exfoliate. A warm shower right before the session softens the pores and makes the process a little less painful. On the other hand, exfoliating makes the skin soft and smooth, giving the wax a good grip on the hair.

Be sure to do it a day or two before waxing using a body scrub or polish. It’s also important to moisturize the skin regularly to keep the hair follicles healthy. Healthy hair follicles make it easy to remove hair from the roots when waxing.

So, How Long Does Hair Have to Be to Wax?

Image answering how long does hair have to be to wax featuring a woman laying a wax strip above a lady's eyebrows

Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

The standard hair length for waxing is 1/4 inch, but areas with thicker hair need longer hair for a less painful waxing experience. Keep in mind; the hair growth cycle is different in various parts of the body. Therefore, some parts may attain the ideal hair length faster than others.

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