Your hair removal business can become a healthy source of income and profits.

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While spa menus continue to explore new and interesting treatments, there are plenty of revenues to be had in the tried and true. One of the most overlooked areas of your treatment menu, when it comes to strategy, is the waxing or hair removal section. These services may be treated like the poor cousins of the glamorous facials and anti-aging treatments that your technicians love to perform, but hair removal services have a lot of advantages for the spa.

In 2014, an IBIS World report values temporary hair removal services at a volume of $265.5m in the U.S. That amount is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 2%, reaching $298m by 2019, and that’s without a lot of marketing. Most spas don’t trumpet their hair removal services, clients just ask for them. And given that this is a service with a high degree of personal intimacy, clients tend to stick with a particular provider when they find one that they like, creating a steady and reliable income source for the spa.

Bare Necessities

Although alternate hair removal methods such as threading and sugaring have their devotees, by far the most popular method of hair removal in spas is still waxing. Waxing is quick and efficient, and doesn’t require a lot of tools or products. There are many types of wax on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which to use in your spa. Hard and soft waxes are the most basic options, and both require warming in a purpose-built wax heater. Hard wax comes in blocks, beads or a can, and does not require fabric to remove from the client’s skin; soft wax needs to be used with muslin or non-woven fabric strips for removal.

Your best bet to begin growing your hair removal business is to involve your estheticians or waxing technicians in product selections for your spa, as they are more familiar with the ins and outs of using each product. If you stock your esthetic cabins with double-basin heaters, it makes sense to offer two different kinds of hair removal product, giving both staff and clients appropriate options.

In addition to the wax itself, your technicians will need a small assortment of tools, including epilating strips, different sizes of spatulas and sticks for applying and spreading the wax, and pre- and post-waxing skin cleansers and soothing lotions. Ensuring that your staff has their chosen tools will make them more eager to perform waxing treatments; and the more treatments they perform with positive results, the more likely this part of your business will continue to grow.

Pricing Right

While you may not want to feature hair removal services on the first page of your spa menu, do be sure to list them, typically somewhere near the facials. The most popular areas for waxing are eyebrow, lip, brow and lip together, and legs and bikini areas. Unless you’re a waxing-only emporium, you don’t need to list every single body part, but do let clients know that you’re prepared to wax additional areas such as arms, stomach and toes, and have a price list ready.

Waxing is more of a commodity item when it comes to pricing; take a look at what your competition is charging and set your prices accordingly. However, with the exceptions of lip and eyebrow, waxing prices should be listed on your menu as “from”, as in, “Bikini Wax, from $40”. Obviously, the amount of time and product taken to perform each service is going to vary based on the particular needs of each client. This is impossible to ascertain at the first booking, but thereafter your technicians should advise the client to ask for extra time if needed.

Location is Everything

Many clients will have lip, brow and other areas waxed while they are in for their facials, but this isn’t always the case. Because wax heaters inexpensive, it makes sense to create areas in addition to your esthetics treatment rooms, where waxing can be performed. Placing a hair removal area at your makeup bar allows for quick brow and lip waxes, especially for walk-ins, and allows you to keep your esthetics rooms open for higher-priced, facial treatments. Spas with robust nail businesses might place a wax pot near the pedicure area for toe and even lower leg waxes.

If waxing comprises a large amount of your esthetic revenue dollars, consider dedicating a room to the service. Rather than having waxing clients dressed in street clothes mixing with bathrobe-clad guests in your quiet room, find a space near the entrance that can lend itself to waxing services. The room does not have to be as large as a typical treatment room; all you need is a waxing table or portable massage table, which can be pushed up against a wall, and a trolley to hold tools and products.

Along with services, offering a small assortment of hair removal retail products can boost your departmental revenue. These can include items that prepare skin for the treatment, soothe skin afterwards and help to prevent ingrown hairs. Clients will appreciate being informed and equipped with any products that make the process easier or more comfortable.

Lisa Starr (lstarr@wynnebusiness.com) is a business consultant for Wynne Business and a spa management trainer/educator.

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