It can be very frustrating when your hard wax keeps breaking, especially when you feel you are doing everything right and for some reason, your wax just isn’t havin’ it.
Whether you are still learning how to use hard wax, are still fine-tuning your technique, or you’re trying out Nova for the first time… we have the answers for you. We’re breakin’ down why this is happening and crackin’ the code for you so your technique will be perfect every time!
Nova Wax is a luxurious hard wax that was masterfully crafted by esthetician Liz Lugo, of Brows By Liz, to combat all the issues she has experienced with wax over the years. There was not a single formula out there that was perfect for her, so she decided she wanted to create it for herself and all her fellow hard wax lovers.
Nova Wax is her dream formula, built with the world’s most flexible polymers for excellent elasticity and a low melting point to maximize comfort and minimize irritation.
A High-quality hard wax means that you are going to have an optimal texture: creamy and soft, easy to apply and easy to pull off without it cracking. The results are simply levels above other hard waxes on the market, especially when used properly.
Like any hard wax, there is a proper way to use it to maximize the benefits. Improper temperature, consistency, application, and removal can lead to issues like your hard wax cracking and breaking.
Nova Wax is an advanced hybrid hard wax formula, so there is a bit of a learning curve even for the most seasoned professionals. However, we are passionate about providing you with the educational material and tools you need to truly have exceptional results to experience the Nova Difference. Our wax is more than just a product, it is an experience.
If you are just joining the Nova Family or are thinking about entering our galaxy, it is so important to experiment with the formula on yourself before trying it on others. Nova Wax is a professional stripless wax, so if hard wax is new to you it’s definitely necessary to make technique adjustments for application and removal.
If you’ve been using hard wax for awhile now but have never quite experienced a hybrid formula like ours before, trying it out on yourself to get used to the feel of the wax will help you feel a lot more comfortable using it.
“My best advice for new waxers and new users of Nova Wax is to always use a new product on yourself first. Use the product in an area you are able to see clearly from start to finish. Become familiar with the formula prior to making the commitment of going in blind, even if it's your eyebrows. Each formula of wax is different and deserves the time and attention to be learned.”
-Cara Edwards, Edwards Aesthetics
Why is My Hard Wax Breaking and Cracking?
If your hard wax is breaking, you need to analyze which type of breakage you are experiencing: stretchy or flaky.
If your wax is stretching, like in the example above, there are a couple reasons why this is happening:
The wax is too hot, so it taking a long time to set
The body temperature of the person you are waxing is high or the room you are waxing in is too hot, causing the wax to not set properly
Your strips are being applied too thick, causing it to set slow & unevenly
You are not letting the wax set long enough on the skin
The strip was applied unevenly, so different parts of the strip are drying down slower than others
If your wax is cracking and is flaking off, this is what is happening:
You do not have the right consistency - meaning the wax is either too hot or too cold for the conditions of the client and/or room
The wax is left on the skin for too long
The edges of the strip are thinner or not even so it breaks into pieces when removed, and possibly leaves pieces behind
The skin you are waxing is dehydrated or dry
The room is too cold causing the wax to dry too fast
The strip was applied unevenly, so different parts of the strip are thinner than others. This causes the thinner areas of the strip to crack & can separate from the rest
When speaking about hard wax temperature, we stress the importance of paying attention to the consistency of the wax more than what exact temperature you need to have. As you can see from the examples above, body and room temperature can play a huge role in how your hard wax behaves and will ALWAYS affect it regardless of what temperature you have your warmer set at.
It will take some experimentation to figure out a good room temperature that works with your wax consistency. It all depends on the size of your room, and how much wax you have in your pot - so play around with the wax on yourself to see how it sets, and find a good temperature balance that is not too hot or too cold so the hard wax can do its thing!
Extremely cold rooms will have the wax drying too quickly unless your warmer is set to a slightly higher temperature to offset this. Same way with warm rooms, if your room is too warm then your wax may need to be at a slightly cooler temperature so that it can set and dry properly once applied on the skin.
Humid climates will cause your wax to be a little more gummy, while cooler climates will cause the wax to dry much quicker - so adjust your room temperature to compensate for these environmental factors.
Body temperature is something a little more difficult to control, as our bodies do not have an internal AC unit (we wish this was possible)! Waxing can be daunting to some clients (especially newbies), and the anticipation mixed with fear can have their temperatures rising.
If there is perspiration, applying a light layer of cornstarch or baby powder to the area being waxed can help dry out the area so the wax does not have difficulty adhering to the skin and hair. Just ensure you are wiping away any excess powder before laying your strips. You can also have a small fan on hand to help circulate the air and regulate the temperature in your room to help with the drying process (or if you are in a situation where you cannot control the temperature of the room you are in). Liz even had a portable AC unit in one of her rooms many moons ago, when she had a much smaller space with no control over the thermostat or temperature of the room!
If you still experience some issues with long drying time, your strips might be a little too thick or the wax may be too hot for the temperature of your room or the client’s body temperature. Remember, Nova typically sets immediately on the skin and will not “harden” when it is ready to pull. Your strips will feel tacky when you go to pull! If you feel that you are spending too much time waiting for strips to set, feel free to apply multiple strips at a time so you can stay efficient.
If your strip is drying too fast and leading to cracking, analyze the skin to determine if it is dry. Dry skin will soak up all the moisture of the wax almost immediately, leaving you minimal time to finish laying the strip properly before you have to remove it.
If it is indeed dry skin, applying a very small amount of our Dual-Action Oil to the area (in lieu of cornstarch for the case of perspiration) prior to applying the wax will help give the skin some extra hydration so the strip will lay much easier.
You are welcome to use any light oil that isn’t thick, and be light-handed with the application so that the wax can still adhere to the skin properly. Too much moisture will cause the strip to roll upon application, which is why we recommend our Dual-Action Oil as it’s very light and leaves a non-greasy feel. If the skin is normal, you do not need to apply oil or baby powder! These elements are meant to help the skin, only when it is needed! For skin that doesn’t need the extra help, these products will just create a barrier for the wax adhering to the skin and hair and will absolutely negatively affect the application and removal.
Always practice properpre and post-care to ensure that the skin is working WITH the wax, instead of contributing to the problem.
Wax consistency is the only thing you can control, regardless of the temperature of the body or the room. A honey-like consistency with a very slow drip off your stick is what to aim for and wax that is too runny will not perform effectively.
The wax in the example above is too runny, so the wax, the warmer and/or room temperature is too hot and that is affecting the consistency. As you can see, it is difficult to stay in control of the wax on the spatula. Especially if waxing a larger area (like the legs), you will not be able to scoop enough wax on your spatula to apply a strip that is large enough to cover your desired surface area.
If you are experiencing this, you may need to lower your warmer to a slightly cooler temperature or lower the temperature of the room.
The above is what you want your consistency to look like when you are waxing a larger area on the body. There is control of the wax on the stick, while also enough fluidity to ensure that the wax is able to spread smoothly on the skin without tugging. This consistency here is ideal for facial services and smaller areas. The temperature is slightly warmer so that the small amount of wax doesn’t cool too quickly before applying it to the skin, but the drip off the stick is still slow and controlled allowing a seamless application and removal.
The consistency of the wax for facial services can be a bit more fluid, but as long as you still have control over its movement on the stick - that is when you know it’s perfect! Wax that is too hot will be runny, have a fast drip off the spatula and spread way too thin, thus leading to cracking and breaking.
If the temperature is perfect, the consistency is perfect and you still cannot seem to get your hard wax to stop breaking or cracking, then your application technique could be off!
In the example above, the spatula is not held correctly which is affecting how the wax applies. Your skin isn’t a piece of toast - so don’t butter it! Holding the spatula flat like this will lead to an uneven application, leaving behind a thin strip that will break on the edges once removed. This “buttering” method also prevents you from applying the right amount of pressure to the skin so the wax can fully adhere to the hair. For a flawless application - always hold your spatula at an angle! Holding it in this way will make it easy to apply pressure as you lay the strip. Think of it like you are pushing the wax onto the skin so the hairs can really lock in. Don’t force it, but glide it on with purpose!
With the correct angle and pressure (and, of course, the appropriate amount of wax), you will be able to form an even strip that is thicker on the edges to give it support. No strip is perfect, especially when you are dealing with hard wax that begins to dry upon application, so try your best to apply a strip as evenly as possible along the middle with smooth, slightly thicker, edges like the below.
You always want to create a thicker “lip” at the edge of any strip you lay so that you have a solid grip point to remove the strip with ease.
If you have the proper temperature, consistency, and application, your wax will not only apply flawlessly, but it will set properly for a seamless removal as demonstrated below:
How to Properly Remove Your Hard Wax Strips
Even after following all the steps above to a tee, your strip can still crack or break if you do not remove it properly. You need to have a strong hold on your lip in order for the strip to remove in one piece.
If you feel like your lip isn’t quite strong enough, or you just want some extra security, after lifting the lip you can fold that tip over just a little for a thicker area to grasp. With a strong grip on the edge, pull through with consistent force until the very end. Follow through and pull parallel to the skin to avoid stretching.
Oftentimes, especially with longer strips, there is a strong initial pull to get that wax strip going but then the removal gets lazy halfway through. This will definitely cause the wax to stretch or break, even more so if you are pulling upwards instead of along the skin.
Try to get the perfect pull as Liz demonstrates in the example above.
It may seem like there are so many steps that are impossible to keep track of, but once you get into a consistent rhythm you will not even realize that you’re following a routine. Everything from your application to removal will feel like second nature and you won’t even really need to think about it!
If you’ve got your stellar wax then it is only a matter of time before you are a superstar waxer! The best way to avoid hard wax breaking is by educating yourself on everything you need to know about waxing and the formula you are using.
Investing in a high quality wax formula and professional warmer, practicing good pre and post care, monitoring the consistency, and refining your technique are all ways to avoid wax breaking.