Strip Wax – Cartridges vs. Tins (and which is better?)

Every day, New Zealanders throw away an estimated 159 grams of plastic waste per person. That’s 1.1kg of plastic per person, each week! Making us some of the highest waste generators in the world. There is no denying plastic waste is a very modern problem. With no improvements to managing waste beyond what’s already in place today, 99 million tons of uncontrolled plastic waste could end up in the environment by 2030.

Perhaps it’s time to give those disposable plastic strip-wax cartridges a rethink, eh?

Plenty of salons use strip wax cartridges for convenience and speed. Chances are you’ve used them in your career! A roll-on is a cartridge that contains soft wax, the same that you get in wax cans.

Roller cartridges are made from hard plastic and one of its main pieces is the head, which is a plastic cap that helps close the cartridge and spread the wax evenly. The plastic on the roll-on does not get too hot, so the cartridge can be handled simply with gloves. The head of the roll-on comes sealed for security and hygiene. Roll-on cartridges have a standard content of 100-150ml.

It is easy to see the appeal. Roll-ons eliminate any problem related to cross-contamination and don’t require care transferring wax back and forth between pots.

On the other hand, standard strip wax in tins or cans contain 400g – 1kg of wax. Aside from the larger quantity on hand (less time wasted heating wax), strip wax in tin-form often works out cheaper. Like cartridges, the wax is applied in a thin layer. However this method uses disposable wooden spatula for application instead. Hair is then immediately removed by rubbing a disposable strip against it and quickly peeling it off. 

As you are applying with a spatula, there is less resistance than roller cartridges, making this method much more comfortable. In particular, male clients will feel less “pull” than with rollers. Composition of the tins varies between brands – Berodin tins are made of metal and can biodegrade very quickly. (However some brands still use plastic tins).

So! Both methods do to same job… let’s do a direct comparison:

Roller Cartridges 🆚 Strip Wax Tins 🥊

800g of Strip Wax = 
8x Strip Wax Cartridges
800g of Strip Wax = 
One Tin
Half a KG of PLASTIC that will take on average
450 – 1000 years to Biodegrade
One metal tin will take on average 50 – 75 years to Biodegrade
(Yes, with tinned strip wax we are using spatulas as well, however, wooden spatulas biodegrade in 13 – 20 years)
Unhygienic – either throw away a perfectly good half full cartridge or attempt to “sanitise” it for the next client

More Equipment – Require seperate hand-held heaters that are prone to breaking down

Slight Discomfort – Roller heads pull on the skin and can create unnecessary friction making the client experience less comfortable.
Hygienic – no roller heads to clean or worry about, use the exact amount of wax needed every time!

Fits most basic wax warmers – no multiple heaters or time wasted

Smoother Application – Using spatulas to apply, less friction and pulling on the skin. Also allows application in more “difficult” areas.
Your wax cartridges will still be degrading up to 1000 years after you’ve waxed that leg and your client is long gone!In 75 years all traces of your wax service are erased.
Compare these two methods of strip wax application

Companies like Sustainable Salons have done a fantastic job at recycling waste from the hair industry. Meanwhile, much of the single-use waste created by the beauty industry has yet to be tackled. Perhaps it’s time to start.