A gentle approach | Pocketmags.com

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A gentle approach

Do you offer a waxing service for clients who have been victims of female genital mutilation? Marta Zaczkowska explains how to take a sensitive approach

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision, involves altering or causing injury to the female genital organs without medical justification. Internationally, FGM is condemned as a human rights infringement. While it is most common in 30 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, FGM is also a practice amongst immigrant populations in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that over 200 million girls and women globally have been subjected to this practice. It can lead to physical and psychological consequences including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and feelings of shame and betrayal.

As a beauty professional offering intimate waxing, it’s crucial to make sure every woman, including those affected by FGM, feels comfortable and respected in your care. Understanding the delicate nature of FGM and its impacts is the first step. Here are some recommendations to ensure a comfortable and welcoming approach:

1. Educate yourself and your staff

Understanding the nature of FGM and its implications on a woman’s health and psyche is crucial. Training and educating yourself and your staff about the types of FGM, potential complications, and sensitivity around the subject can foster a more empathetic and informed service.

2. Create a safe and welcoming environment

Ensure your salon offers a safe, private and nonjudgmental space. Privacy during the waxing process is crucial, and so is a comforting ambience that helps clients feel secure. Communication should be respectful and professional, with a focus on making the client feel heard.

3. Personalised consultation

Before proceeding with any service, conduct a thorough and private consultation. This is crucial for understanding any specific needs, concerns or health issues related to FGM that might affect the treatment. It also offers an opportunity to reassure the client about what to expect, and how their comfort and privacy are prioritised.

4. Gentle techniques and high-quality products

Use gentle waxing techniques and sensitive-skin-friendly products to minimise discomfort, being patient throughout.

5. Aftercare and support

Provide detailed aftercare instructions and support. Acknowledge any discomfort they may experience and offer solutions to soothe the skin post waxing. Being available for any questions after the service reinforces your commitment to their wellbeing.

6. Build trust and communicate

Encourage clients to express their needs and concerns at any point. Understanding and patience are crucial in creating a positive experience for women who have undergone FGM.

7. Avoid personal questions

It’s important to keep things professional and not get too personal. You don’t need to ask your client how they got their scars or any details about their past experiences. Focus on what they need right now, like how to make their waxing experience as comfortable as possible. If a client wants to share something personal with you, it’s OK to listen, but try not to dig deeper with more questions.

Drawing on my personal experience as a waxing specialist treating women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), I’ve learned the importance of a gentle approach, reassurance and utmost privacy. By prioritising comfort, safety and dignity, you can ensure a respectful and empowering experience.

Marta Zaczkowska is a waxing expert, beauty business mentor and owner of The Waxing Specialist salon and training academy.

This article appears in April 2024

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April 2024
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