What Is a European Wax?

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  • Originally Written By: J. Gonzalez
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 24 May 2020
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A European wax is a cosmetic hair removal treatment that involves the use of heated wax resins to quickly and efficiently remove unwanted body hair from the root up. There is often some variation from place to place when it comes to what, exactly, makes a “European” wax different from a more standard wax, but in general these sorts of procedures are done with only all-natural products, and in most cases they are only moderately heated. In addition, they rarely if ever use strips for wax adhesion. Instead, cosmetologists or home users put the melted compound directly on the affected skin and remove it either with a single scraping motion or by peeling. There is usually some discomfort involved, but most skin care experts agree that European methods tend to be less invasive and painful, and also have lower risks of irritation and allergic response. Procedures with the “European” name can sometimes be more expensive, though, and without a universal standard of what, exactly, they entail, consumers are usually wise to ask questions and do some basic research before committing on name alone.

Waxing Process Generally

Waxing is a popular method for removing unwanted hair from various areas of the body. Over the years, many forms of body wax have become available to the public, each with benefits and techniques for intended use. The process can vary somewhat, but the basic protocol is usually about the same. A thin layer of warm wax is generally spread over the area where hair removal is desired, typically using a blunt wooden stick. Then, working quickly, the wax is removed, taking the hair below with it. The procedure is usually done in a salon by a technician, but it can also be done at home.

Defining the European Style

There can be a lot of variety when it comes to cosmetic products and the names they carry, and waxing is no different. Some researchers think that body waxing became popular in the royal courts of Europe in centuries past, and the modern method usually tries to mimic those early processes. Traditionally, a wax defined as “European” uses only all-natural ingredients, which means no alcohols or chemical agents. It also uses relatively low heat; the wax should be just melted but not bubbling.

Most salons have a more precise definition for what exactly their own European option entails. It’s often one of several waxing choices, and the difference can vary a lot from place to place. Home wax kits sometimes also use the “European” designation somewhat gratuitously, and it doesn’t always have a precise meaning in these contexts.

Ingredient Basics

In most cases, European wax is made of one hundred percent natural beeswax. Sometimes it’s augmented with other natural essences or smells, but not always. Using natural ingredients reduces the chance of adverse reactions or irritation as a result of the process, such as red bumps or ingrown hair.

Heat Settings

This option also usually means lower heat. Many home and salon waxing kits require users to heat wax over very high temperatures. Since hot wax begins to harden quickly, there isn’t always much time to allow for proper cooling before it’s time for skin application. This practice can result in burns — sometimes serious ones — and can even result in scarring of the skin. European preparations are often praised for being able to remove hair effectively while using a very low heat for the melting process. The temperature is comparable to that of warm bath water; this results in no burns, and a lower chance of irritation or rash.


Another one of the defining features of the European method is that it doesn’t typically involve the use of strips. Strips are basically cloth or synthetic backings that are pressed on top of the wax as it’s layered onto the skin. They are more common with home application kits, but are sometimes used in salons, too. Strips not only leave more mess, but they also tend to be less accurate. In most cases the smoother European formula combined with the raw application method leaves skin feeling silky smooth to the touch.

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Discuss this Article

Post 4

I do use wax to remove unwanted hairs from face but that has not been good for me. It causes acne after I wash my facial hair.

Post 3

@Fa5t3r - The thing that I think works the best is to get a professional to do it. I was convinced I just had very sensitive skin and there was no way I would ever be able to wax, but my skin acts completely differently if I go to a salon instead of trying to do it myself.

You can ask for a European wax and most of the time they will know what you mean. You might need to ask around though, because in my experience they usually have their own brand of wax and only use that.

Post 2

@Ana1234 - You might have heard it all before, but there are several things you can do to prevent ingrown hairs. Using a natural wax, like a European wax, is a start and you can also have a hot shower before hand and exfoliate to soften the hair and get rid of any loose skin cells.

There are some products you can get that are designed to help prevent ingrown hairs as well. They can be fairly harsh though.

With all that said, I think some people just can't wax without hurting their skin, so they shouldn't do it. It can be a nice convenience, but I don't like the social stigma that sometimes gets used against people who don't wax. It should always be a choice, not a default.

Post 1

I really can't use wax at all. No matter how natural it is, my hair always ends up growing back as ingrown hairs and it's painful and embarrassing. It's a shame, because shaving is a pain and I do prefer to stay neat and tidy as much as possible. But I've never been able to get the wax to work for me.

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