Does Waxing Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker?

Waxing is a method of epilation that removes unwanted hair from the body. If you remove the hair by waxing, it may seem that the hair grows back coarser and thicker. But, while waxing thins the hair, it doesn't change it's growth rate or thickness.

woman having leg hair waxed (Image: AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images)

Anatomy of Hair

Long before hair emerges through the skin surface it has been actively growing. Hair growth begins in the dermal papilla. According to Michael Rendl, Lisa Polak and Elaine Fuchs in Genes Development, “Hair follicle formation is initiated when epithelial stem cells receive cues from specialized mesenchymal dermal papilla cells.” The root of a hair grows from the hair bulb that is located at the bottom of the follicle. Hair that is visible is the hair shaft.


Waxing involves applying heated wax to the area following the direction in which the hair grows. A thin strip of muslin fabric pressed on the wax creates a bond. The waxer pulls the muslin strip away in the opposite direction of the hair growth, removing the hair. An oil-based solvent similar to baby oil removes traces of wax residue.

Effects of Waxing

Waxing has immediate and long-term effects. The immediate effect of waxing is damage to the hair bulb, which provides nourishment for newly forming and established hair. Repeated waxing causes the hair bulb to become permanently damaged. Hair will not grow when a hair bulb is damaged, so the long-term effect of waxing is less hair growth.


Waxing has benefits. Unlike shaving, which removes hair at the surface level of the skin, waxing removes hair below the surface level, so hair that is waxed takes longer to grow back and, over time, you will have less hair. You also don't risk cutting yourself while shaving, which can lead to infection.

Growth Facts

Hair grows an average of one-half an inch a month. The color, thickness, length and location of hair on the body mainly depends on hormones and genetics. However, there are some medical conditions or medications that can affect hair growth.

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