I was relatively late to the waxing game, having been emotionally scared by a ridiculous ‘home waxing’ session in a Californian hotel room many moons ago. It was only my leg and my accomplice was my sister, so it could have been a LOT worse, but to cut a long story short I put the hot wax on my leg and then it…..stayed there. I genuinely thought I’d have that piece of crusty wax on my shin forever. To say it put me off was an understatement.
But that’s the thing about waxing, you should leave it to the professionals.
Actually, there are some caveats and I will be talking about the one place I think you can easily wax at home in tomorrow’s blog post, but when it comes to anything like underarms or legs or – heaven forbid – ‘downstairs’, you really really REALLY need to let someone trained do it. Regardless of the whole ‘they actually know what they’re doing’ part, it’s too damn fiddly to be messing about with hot wax on large areas or sensitive areas at home. You can’t always do the ripping at the right angles and it will inevitably take longer because it’s YOU inflicting pain on YOU. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sadly, going to a ‘professional’ isn’t a guarantee of good service either these days (woe) but if you find the right waxer you will love her dearly and want to take her on every holiday you go on.
I like specialists, so I wanted to find a waxer who just waxes. I’m sure there are plenty of beauticians who are amazing waxers but also do spray tans and nails and eyelashes and so on, but for my first experience I wanted to be waxed by someone who literally waxes all day every day.
A bit of Googling and fancy mag reading led me to Strip – a chain of specialist waxing salons where it’s literally ALL about the waxing. And in a rather swanky environment. I knew that if I was going to lose my waxing virginity, it needed to be somewhere that was rated by the beauty editors and celebrity types rather than just the dodgy back room of my local hairdresser, so I booked an appointment. That was at the end of 2011 and they are still who I see for my waxes, so they must be doing something right.
Strip have salons in Chelsea, Soho, Notting Hill, St Pauls, Loughton and Bristol, with one coming later this year in Islington. I’ve probably seen about ten or so different waxers over the time I’ve been going and they have *all* been top notch – quick, professional, as pain free as possible and good fun to chat to. (Should you be up for chatting, I’m sure they’d sense to leave you alone if you preferred). All the waxers I’ve had at Strip have been the ultimate perfectionists, wanting to make sure you’re happy (although looking at your bits with a mirror is always a bit cringe) and genuinely passionate about doing their job well.
I used to go to the St Paul’s branch at One New Change, but since ditching my office I go to the Chelsea branch as my regular haunt. I would recommend *everyone* who I’ve had at both branches, but Catherine is who I have at the moment in Chelsea (she is amaaaaazing) and I highly recommend Olga there too.
As I’m typing this, I’ve realised I have actually reviewed a Hollywood wax at Strip One New Change before. Do read that post if you’d like more goss on what *actually happens* during a wax from the point of view of a nervous first timer, but assuming you know the ins and outs of a waxing appointment let me just reiterate again how high lux the experience is at Strip.
Each room is themed (think chocolate, berries, olive, lavender and the like) and there are tellies in every room to help keep you distracted. I’ve been waxed to everything from Rihanna to SATC to Spongebob Squarepants to Jeremy Kyle, you can of course ask them to change the channel but I like to keep a mix of music/sex/cartoons/shouty talk show. It will sound ridiculous but one of the main reasons I like going there is just to lie down for half an hour with the telly on. It really *does* feel like a pampering experience.
I’ve converted many a girlfriend to Strip and all have had similarly positive experiences, with one friend even ditching the salon she had a course with as the difference in quality was “worth it to her” to just write off her pre-paid treatments at the other place.
Courses are where it’s at as waxing at Strip isn’t exactly ‘Groupon cheap’, though I would argue the price is worth every penny. I buy underarm and bikini sessions as courses which is more £££ up front but it’s cheaper overall – you get six treatments for the price of five. One thing I love about Strip though is that they really don’t bully you into buying courses or products. Yes, they mention the products at the end, but it’s literally just a “do you want any products?” question rather than the pushy salesy shoutiness that I’ve witnessed on numerous occasions at Ministry of Waxing. It’s also not a massively confusing ‘credit’ system at Strip like it is at MOW, you buy 6 treatments for the price of 5 and then every time you go you get a receipt saying how many you have left. If you don’t want to buy a course they don’t make a scene about it either, I’ve never felt ‘pushed’ into upgrading or purchasing at all. I purchased single treatments for my underarms for ages before shelling out for a course, I was never tutted at for being a PAYG customer.
All their prices are here but as a rough guide, a Hollywood wax is £52 as a one off or £43 as part of a course. Underarms are £17 one off or £14 on a course. For half leg you can choose between hot wax and strip wax (it’s always hot wax for sensitive areas like bikini and underarms) and strip wax is £25 whereas hot wax is £40.
You’ll get the best results (and it will be a much more comfortable process) if you go regularly and I wouldn’t recommend having your first ever wax for a special occasion later that day or whatever…your skin may be a bit angry the first time you go but it doesn’t (shouldn’t) happen again. I have no skin irritation after waxes and the hair that grows back is finer and wispier, but I am religious about not touching it with a razor between appointments. It’s pretty important that you don’t shave in between appointments if you want the best results.
The results always last longer than I’d expect so I probably go every 5-6 weeks, though I have managed to have ‘enough hair’ at 3 weeks when I’ve really wanted an appointment before a holiday or whatever. Underarms grow back quicker, but that’s easier to put up with in winter and the hair is nothing like the blunt hairs you get after shaving (on me anyway). You can book appointments online too which is always mega helpful.
So as you can probably tell, if you are in London, Loughton or Brizzle I highly recommend you try Strip. Heck, it’s probably worth even venturing into London for it!
Tomorrow I’ll blog about the only type of waxing I do at home. How exciting.