Hailed as Britain’s top male waxing specialist, Andy Rouillard knows a thing or two about hair removal. The award-winning waxing expert and self-proclaimed ‘wax daddy’ heads up the training at leading authority Axiom Wax Academy, whilst also sharing his waxing wisdom with brands, professionals and consumers alike.
One of Andy’s most recent projects is his collaboration with Salon System Just Wax. After two years of trialling and testing, they’ve launched their brand new Expert range, a capsule collection of advanced waxes and skincare that utilises the latest hair removal technology, allowing professionals to provide exceptional hair removal results every time.
We caught up with Andy to find out more about the Just Wax Expert range and his whirlwind waxing career.
How did you get into the beauty industry?
It was very much a happy accident! I was working part-time as a massage therapist and my male clients kept asking me if I knew anywhere that would wax them. This was nearly 18 years ago, and back then, there were very few salons outside of the big cities that had opened their doors to men. At the time, I had no real interest in joining the beauty industry – I wanted to become an osteopath – but I decided that if no-one else was going to do it then I might as well do it myself.
The waxing quickly took over the massage, so within a few years I’d left my day job and set up a men’s grooming salon in the basement of a local barbershop. I’ve since decided that pulling hair out of people is far more exciting than osteopathy!
Male beauty professionals are a minority, with females making up over 90% of the industry. Have you found this a challenge?
The biggest hurdle I faced when starting out was finding a training provider that would accept a male student onto their beauty courses. Fortunately, things have changed in recent years and it’s great to see more guys being welcomed into the industry, especially as increasing numbers of male clients are now seeking out hair removal and other beauty services. My initial difficulty in getting qualified was a driving force behind me setting up my own training academy, so I guess in a funny way it ended up being a good thing!
“I’ve since decided that pulling hair out of people is far more exciting than osteopathy!”
Admittedly, when I first opened the salon, some of my friends and family were worried that customers wouldn’t want to visit a male beauty therapist. I never saw my set-up as a barrier, however, I played to my strengths and concentrated on promoting what I felt made me the go-to waxer in the area.
Tell us about the Just Wax Expert range – how is it different from other products on the market?
I was absolutely thrilled when Salon System asked me to collaborate on this new project, as I am a fan of their waxes. It’s taken two years to get 100% perfect and I’m so chuffed with the final results: a capsule collection of advanced waxes and skincare that utilises the latest hair removal technology for amazing results. I especially love that it’s all so easy to use: someone completely new to waxing could pick these products up and run with them very quickly, while experienced therapists will appreciate the improvements we’ve made in terms of lower working temperatures, faster setting times for the hot wax, vegan-friendly formulations and multi-tasking pre/post products. Plus it all smells amazing!
A special mention needs to be made of the marshmallow extract we’ve added to the skincare products – sadly we’re not talking about the yummy pink and white sweets we toast over bonfires, but a plant used in traditional herbal medicine! The roots of the marshmallow plant produce a gummy substance called mucilage, which has remarkable anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and hydrating effects on the skin… all of which make it a wonderful ingredient where any kind of hair removal is involved, and the results are fab.
“I especially love that the Just Wax Expert range is so easy to use: someone completely new to waxing could pick these products up and run with them very quickly, while experienced therapists will appreciate the improvements we’ve made.”
What are your waxing product staples?
Electric clippers – for shortening yeti-like hair prior to waxing. This makes it easier to see the direction of hair growth and avoids longer tufts getting matted in the wax (grade 3 is spot-on for most areas). Clippers are also invaluable for blending and manscaping, which you can charge for, so they soon earn their keep.
Oil – the multi-tasking wonder! Use instead of powder on excessively dry, fragile or sun damaged skin to create a protective lipid barrier; a few drops on your gloves will help avoid getting sticky while working; banish rogue wax dribbles on the body by applying a splash of oil and twisting the hair between your fingers; massage into skin at the end of a waxing service to shift any sticky residue; and it can even be used to clear drips and dribbles from wax pots between clients. Bargain!
Spatulas – lots and lots of spatulas! There’s simply no excuse for double-dipping in this day and age. Clients notice and if you buy in bulk it works out less than tuppence per stick.
What’s your favourite thing about your job and what challenges do you face?
My favourite thing is the variety my week brings and the people I get to meet along the way. I still work in the salon and this informs everything I do with the product development and training side of things. I especially enjoy playing with new ingredients and products and seeing what else is out there – things move so fast in our industry, it’s important to keep up to date.
The biggest challenge for me personally is staying on top of social media. It can feel a bit overwhelming and all-consuming at times, so I made the conscious decision last year to focus on just a couple of platforms that I enjoy using: Facebook and Twitter. It’s certainly made things much less stressful and I suddenly have my evenings back!
“My favourite thing about my job is the variety my week brings and the people I get to meet along the way.”
What advice can you offer to those hoping to make it in the competitive beauty industry?
In no particular order: plan ahead, invest in your ongoing education, treat your customers like royalty, find and focus on what makes you unique, don’t be afraid to ask for help and help others in return (especially if you work on your own, it can feel very lonely sometimes), retail retail retail, spend time on marketing, don’t leave your tax return until the last minute (I speak from experience!), and switch your phone off at night. Oh, and have fun along the way!
Have you tried the innovative new Just Wax Expert range? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. For more tip tips on waxing and other hair and beauty services, head over to our social media channels:
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You can also follow Andy on Twitter here: @Wax_Daddy