As we discussed in our article <link: Is waxing sanitary>, double dipping is an extremely unhygienic and improper way to perform a waxing treatment. In order to explain best why the practice is so inappropriate, it is important to explain what double dipping is, and the negative consequences that can arise from it.

What is double dipping?

Double dipping refers to when a beauty therapist dips a spatula into a pot of hot wax, applies the product to your skin, and then re-dips the same spatula back into the wax pot. The spatulas used can either be disposable wooden ones, or plastic/synthetic ones that are intended for disinfecting between uses.

Does this apply to all types of waxing?

No – double dipping is only a concern when employing waxing methods that require the use of a spatula. Hot waxing is typically the only method that uses a spatula, as cold waxing is performed using pre-applied strips. Hot waxing methods include soft waxing, hard waxing, and sugaring.

Why might a salon double dip?

Cost saving: Like any business, beauty salons are also interested in improving profitability and reducing costs. A salon that double dips spatulas may be doing so because using a single-use spatula for each wax application drives up their operating costs, or so that they do not need to place refill orders as often.

Education: In salons where employees are poorly trained, it is possible that beauty therapists are not knowledgeable about the dangers of double dipping, nor the unhygienic consequences that may result. If this is the case, it is likely that there are other concerns that may come into play, such as their recommendations on aftercare, or their technique for removing applied wax.

What are the consequences of double dipping?

When applying the waxing product to the skin, the spatula comes into contact with any bacteria on the surface of your skin, as well as dead skin cells. By double dipping the spatula, the therapist is introducing all of that bacteria into the wax pot, thereby contaminating the entire supply, and putting all other clients at risk.

Because waxing causes pores and hair follicles to be opened (both by the warmth and the physical removal of hair), the area being waxed is vulnerable to outside bacteria. This is one of the reasons that it is not advised to apply creams and lotions to the area immediately after treatment; because the skin is open and the risk of infection and blocked pores is increased. If your therapist applies contaminated wax to this skin, bacteria from both your own treatment and all those who were waxed before you is applied to your skin, and your body is tasked with defending itself against any contaminants and germs that may be present. One condition that is a common consequence of double dipping is folliculitis; an infection of the hair follicle that results in pustules forming on the skin’s surface, similar to a pimple.

What should I do if I realize that my salon is double dipping?

For your own hygiene, you might consider leaving the appointment immediately. The risk of infection is no joke, and sanitation is not something to be played with lightly over the cost of a disposable spatula. Alert the reception or front desk to the reason behind your departure, and they should refund your money, or allow you to work with an alternative therapist. However, it is unlikely that only one therapist at a salon is double-dipping; it’s far more probable that the practice has become the company’s norm, and as a result, it’s in your interest to look for another salon to address your waxing needs. You are fully within your right to expect no double dipping, and if the salon presents any hesitation to this request, we strongly recommend you leave immediately. If you are especially concerned, consider reporting the salon to your local council in order to protect the health of other clients who may be unaware of the behavior.

It is highly inappropriate and unsanitary for a salon to double dip waxing spatulas, and this unsafe behavior puts you at risk. If you are concerned about the sanitation methods and hygiene standards of your salon, discuss them with the manager or therapist prior to your appointment, and don’t hesitate to walk out of an appointment if the conditions appear to be unsanitary. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, take a look at our article <link: Is waxing sanitary?> for more information on what to look for in a good beauty salon, or our articles on <link: What will happen before the waxing begins?>, <link: what will happen during my appointment?> and <Link: what will happen after the waxing is done?> for more information on what to expect in the lead up to and aftermath of your appointment, as well as what to expect during the appointment itself.

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