Waxing 101: What’s the Difference Between Soft Wax and Hard Wax?

30 Sep, 20

Whether you’re just entering that wax life or wanting to expand your options, it’s essential to know the difference between hard wax vs soft wax. As you know, different wax formulas serve a variety of purposes, but in the end, we all most likely want to remove hair from the root and leave our clients happy and with smooth, radiant skin. That’s why it’s important to know the ins and outs of which wax formulas will work best for each skin, hair, and service type, as well as knowing what you’re more comfortable working with.  


In this article, we dive deep into what is hard wax or soft wax and what they will do best for you. We help you figure out if hard wax beads or the best soft wax will work with you and your specific clientele by talking about their characteristics and which service types they work best for. So, read on for a little waxing 101 and know more about the difference between hard and soft wax.



Hard wax vs Soft wax - Starpil USA

It seems like it may be easier to keep one wax type brewing for every service—and you’d be right. It is easier to use one wax type like hard wax beads or soft wax and call it a day, but it doesn’t give you a leg up on the client experience. Providing, or at least being an expert in both hard and soft wax hair removal offers the following benefits:


  • Positions you as the ultimate wax authority.
  • Provides a more tailor-made experience for each client.
  • Mastering both wax types helps you step out of your comfort zone. 


The best waxers know their wax formulas from the inside out—what is hard wax, what is soft wax used for? What does the soft wax hair removal process look like? What is the melting nature of hard wax beads? Knowing the type of wax to use, the right temperature to use it at, and how to apply it at the right moment to create the perfect waxing session can meet each client’s specific needs.



Stripless hard wax comes in its own subcategories of polymer film hard wax and non-polymer blends. Film hard wax is made with polymers that act as a buffer on the skin and comes in hard wax beads and tablets, while non-polymer is made without resins, has a quicker setting time, and comes in only tablet form. Both formulas are gentle on the skin and suitable for full body waxing. 


Hard wax - Starpil

As film hard wax formulas have advanced, they’ve surpassed soft wax in popularity because they are easier on the skin, and, unlike soft wax, they don’t need muslin or non-woven wax removal strips. Hard wax is named after its ability to harden over hair follicles without adhering to the skin as it cools for less painful waxing. 

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Professional Hard Wax Warmers

The best professional wax warmers to use with hard wax are made specifically for loose hard wax because their wax wells are bigger. They usually have fitted lids to better-insulate the warming wax and keep it at the desired temperature. Most Starpil Professional Wax Warmers, depending on the hard wax formula and environment, get the hard wax’s initial meltdown at 90°C (194°F). Its optimal thick, honey-like consistency is reached by reducing the temperature to between 70°C - 80°C (158°F - 176° F).

Professional Hard Warmers - Starpil


All Starpil hard wax formulas have low-temperature applications to inhibit burning, but as with any wax for hair removal, test your wax’s temperature before application. Apply film hard wax in the direction of hair growth. Let it cool for a few seconds, hold the skin taut, then firmly peel off the wax, pulling it back in the opposite direction of hair growth. 



Since there are so many hard wax varieties, you are bound to find the perfect formula to represent your clientele. All normal skin and hair types, from fine to coarse, can benefit from this wax. Hard wax is a go-to choice for sensitive to hypersensitive skin types. Even those with suspiciously short hairs could make the cut for a hard waxing service.


We recommend Starpil Coral Film Hard Wax or Starsoft Film Hard Wax for these clients, while the coarsest of hair types should go to Black and Blue Film Hard Wax. Stronger skin and hair types belong to Original Non-Polymer Hard Wax in Coffee or Seaweed. 



  • Hard wax users need to understand the timing of allowing the wax to cool on the skin before removal.  
  • Though this wax type has a great spread, it works best in smaller areas for the most control. 



  1. Legs
  2. Arms
  3. Intimate Waxing
  4. Facial Waxing 
  5. Chest and back


WATCH: Polymer Hard Wax vs. Original Blend | Starpil Wax 



This wax formula has traditionally been the go-to in the spa industry as it seriously envelops even the tiniest hairs. Soft wax comes in can form and requires a muslin or non-woven wax removal strip, but that adds to its harnessing and removal power. Most soft waxes are a little thicker than hard waxes giving them great spreadability. 


Soft strip wax is often the choice for speed waxers because it can cover large areas at once with a slow drying time and without cracking. Waxing time gets even more cut in half when using the Starpil Roll-On System, which consists of a cordless roll-on warmer and a 3.8oz Starpil Roll-On Wax Cartridge filled with soft wax. You just plug in the warmer, wait 20 – 30 minutes, and roll the wax over the surface. No wax pots or spatulas needed. 


Starpil stripless soft wax leaves no sticky residue, and all of our formulas are excellent for most skin types and full body waxing.


Professional Soft Wax Warmers

Starpil Soft Wax comes in roll-ons, as mentioned, but also in tin cans (the standard form of soft wax) that can be melted down in any medium to large wax soft wax warmer as long as it’s temperature is put to around 65°C - 75°C (149°F - 167°F ) with an initial 90°C (194°F) meltdown. Soft wax warmers have wax wells specifically made to insulate and heat cans of soft wax.


This wax type is applied in thin layers over skin with a wax spatula in hair growth direction. Place a hair removal wax strip on the skin’s surface, hold taut, and pull against hair growth direction. 

READ: Skin Lifting from Waxing | The Complete Guide


The best soft wax hair removal clients are those with slightly sensitive and normal to thick skin types. Soft wax is best for all hair types, no matter how thick or fine, because it envelops strands and the dead layer of skin with a kung-fu grip, giving more pull on coarse hair. If you lay soft wax properly, it’s going to pull whatever hair it touched out from the root. 


Soft wax has a longer setting time so you can apply it over larger areas of hair like the chest and back, then apply a removal strip to one part and use that same strip up to three more times to quickly “harvest a field.” A full half-leg can be done in well under ten minutes making soft wax a speed waxer’s dream.

We recommend Starsoft Soft Wax for your most delicate clients’ skin and Blue Azulene Soft Wax for most everyone else!



  • Since even the best soft wax is exfoliating, you need to pay special attention to those with hypersensitive skin types and how hot your soft wax temperature is. 
  • Even though soft wax is fantastic for facial waxing services because it gets microscopic hairs, be careful how it spreads under a non-woven removal strip so that it only takes the hairs you want to take on a pair of brows. 




  1. Chest and back 
  2. Legs
  3. Arms
  4. Facial Waxing 
  5. Intimate Waxing

READ: Speed Waxing 101 



The most significant difference between hard wax and soft wax is that one method requires no wax strips, and the other does. Of course, that’s not all; here we’ll give you an at-a-glance breakdown of hard wax vs soft wax. But you can find your wax in a variety of formulas that best fit your style and technique on our page. Remember, there is a wax for that!


Stripless Hard Wax

  • Often less painful than other waxing methods
  • Less Mess
  • Doesn’t stick to your skin
  • Is excellent at grabbing shorter hair
  • Ideal for working in smaller sections and areas like underarms, and facial, Brazilian, and bikini waxing
  • Can be applied twice on the same spot when necessary
  • Can be applied thicker than soft wax

Soft Strip Wax

  • Adheres well to micro-tiny and fine hair
  • Ideal for larger body parts
  • Gives maximum spreadability
  • Excellent for speed waxing
  • Has a longer setting time
  • Exfoliating
  • Works well on short to long hairs
  • Applied in thin layers



READ: How to Use Hard Wax to Increase Sales 



Both hard wax beads and tablets and soft wax hair removal have their merits, making having different versions of formulas available at your salon a viable solution for any issue your clients can throw at you. If you know their strengths and weaknesses, you can harness their exact uses and benefits for your specific waxing style. Master them both and be at the top of your waxing game. 



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