100311-Cape Town. Amien Phillips (31) from Grassy Park is being waxed for the first time ever by the International Academy of Health and skin careh inside the Good Hope centre. Phillips will be riding the Cape Argus Cycle tour for the second time this year. 2009 was his first year and he really hopes the wind is not as strong as last year. The Cape Argus Cycle tour Expo is underway and hundreds of people are flocking to the centre for final preperations ahead of the race on sunday. . Picture Henk Kruger/ Cape Argus

Cape Town - Waxing as much body hair as possible is gaining popularity, but it’s a trend not restricted to women or adults.

For years, it has generally been women who spend loads of money trying to get their skin smooth. They’ve shaved, tweezed, waxed and lasered. Now, the opposite sex and children are coming on board, too.

Nabielah Chenia, manager of the Riverstone Beauty and Skincare Boutique, says more people are taking grooming very seriously and having good skin, with as little body hair as is possible, has become more popular.

Chenia says the men who have become the boutique’s regulars come for eyebrow waxes and facials, while the Hollywood wax is the most popular among women aged 20 to 40.

Women in the 60 to 70 age group get their eyebrows and lips waxed.

Andrea Marthinussen, a therapist at the Wellness Warehouse Spa, says many young girls are now choosing waxing over shaving.

As young as 10, they are accompanied by their mothers and have their upper lips waxed.

Around 13, they want their eyebrows perfectly shaped and from 15 onwards, they come to the salons in their school uniforms for bikini, underarm and leg waxes, says Marthinussen.

Many prefer waxing because it lasts much longer and the appearance is smoother than after shaving, she says.

Lee Sieberhagen, manager of Day Life Spa, says skincare is the most popular treatment.

The spa has a large male clientele, but it’s not only metrosexuals who take grooming seriously.

Several sportsmen, including cyclists and swimmers, have their legs, arms and backs waxed.

Sieberhagen says the spa doesn’t allow any children under 16.

But when they do reach that age, they are usually accompanied by their mothers.

As to why people are so taken with removing body hair, Liane Ponton, image and lifestyle consultant, says it takes seven seconds to form a first impression of a stranger.

The downside of hairy armpits, says Ponton, is that they are often accompanied by body odour.

And children who are having their upper lips waxed? Ponton says it’s acceptable, if it is necessary.

If the child has very dark, visible hair on the lip and is being teased and bullied about it, then parents should consider allowing the child to have it removed. “Have that conversation with the child, and see how they feel about it. Keep the negotiation open,” says Ponton.

However, if there is no need for it, Ponton advises against it.

Ponton warns that when it comes to some beauty routines, people can get it wrong and be left with permanent consequences.

If hair on the upper lip is blonde and barely noticeable, she advises you to leave it there.

If the hair is waxed or shaved, it will almost always grow back darker and stronger.

With eyebrows, if they’re plucked or waxed long enough, the hair eventually will not grow back at all.

If the shape is wrong, it will be the shape you’ll be stuck with for the long haul, says Ponton.

Then there’s the “fad” of a clean- shaven or waxed pubic area.

While legs, lips and armpits are visible parts of the image, the more intimate parts had nothing to do with it, says Ponton

“It’s a trend and it’s getting out of hand. What next? Where does it stop?

“Why would men want grown women to resemble pre-pubescent girls?” she asked.

DIY can be dangerous

Andrea Marthinussen, a therapist at the Wellness Warehouse Spa, advises against trying to wax your own body unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

The unskilled person could do more damage in the process, she warns. Several people who have tried have ended up bruising themselves or burning their skin with wax that is too hot.

In general, if the skin is sensitive, waxing could tear it.

Waxing also should not be done over varicose veins.

If people decide to go the DIY route, they should play it safe and use hair removal creams instead of waxing, says Marthinussen.

Waxing: the lingo

* Hollywood, also referred to as the full bikini: all hair in and around the genital area, including between the buttocks, is waxed.

* Brazilian: all hair in and around the genital area is removed, except for what is commonly referred to as a “landing strip”.

* Bikini: only the sides are taken off.

* G-String: a bit more is taken off on the sides than during a Bikini, and waxing ventures further south, but stops shy of the buttocks.

* Strip wax: the wax that is used does not set, and it and the hair is removed using a strip.

* Hot wax: the wax is applied and hardens within seconds, and is removed by pulling the wax off by hand.

* Cartridge wax: the wax is in a pre-packed cartridge and once applied it is removed using a strip. - Cape Argus