Leave bad wax experiences behind by vetting your aesthetician with tips straight from the pros

By Cassie Shortsleeve
February 10, 2016

We've all likely been there: walking out of a salon with eyebrows that look like something out of a horror movie. It's no fun. (DIY'ing? Try these 10 Tricks to Pluck Perfect Eyebrows.)

But bad waxes are avoidable-if you know what to look for in both a professional and a studio, that is. Kiss over-plucked, thinned out brows goodbye for good. With these suggestions, you'll be on your way to your best hair removal experience yet.

Judge Messy Spaces

"My number one telltale sign about how experienced your waxer is-and if you actually want to stay on his or her table or not-is how clean their studio and work station is," says Tonya Crooks, celeb waxer and founder of The BrowGal.

Think about it: Being whisked away to a scary room in the back of a nail salon only to be left in terror with popsicle sticks poking out of wax pots and no sign of hand sanitizer anywhere is no way to spend your money, she says. (Plus, not only is this gross-it's unhealthy.)

What to look for: "All of the equipment should appear to be clean and organized," says Melanie Gilliland, European Wax Center's chief wax expert and educator. "There should be a clean paper sheet on the table and all sticks, strips, and rollers should be unused."

Yelp It

While this may not be groundbreaking, online resources like Yelp are fantastic for finding great people in the cosmetic service industry, says Crooks. "It's how a lot of my clients find me," she adds. "You can read real reviews from people and decide for yourself if this aesthetician is right for you."

What not to do? "Don't call the spa or salon and ask the receptionist who their 'best waxer' is," says Crooks. (Guilty!) "I've worked in many a high end salon and often the receptionist will just recommend their newest person since he or she hasn't built their own clientele yet. Do your own research."

Make Sure They Specialize

You wouldn't want a heart surgeon who focused on other areas of medicine, too-would you? There's a lot to be said for perfecting your practice. That's why Gilliland says the number one feature to look for is a wax specialist who only waxes. "Some people who wax also do nails and hair. You want a technician who has perfected their craft to ensure they know exactly what they're doing."

Quiz Your Waxer

Asking questions is a good way to get to know your aesthetician but also gauge their level of knowledge. Ask them how long they've been waxing, if they use a pre- and post-wax treatment, or how to properly maintain your skin between waxes. "If you aren't satisfied with the answer or you don't feel it was an educated answer, don't continue with the service," says Gilliland. (Getting a bikini wax? Check out why one woman's gyno made her give up waxing.)

Look Out for Laziness

Cheap supplies-sticks that break in half, for example-can be signs that your technician is cutting corners, says Gilliland. And this usually means she is cutting corners that concern sanitation as well. (Ew.) Another red flag: "Your wax technician should never, ever double dip in the wax pot. Double dipping is a sign she doesn't know what she's doing or she doesn't care enough about what she does to do it properly."