Ahhh hair removal, everyone’s favourite past time! Hmmm. Maybe not. Whatever your choice of defuzzing regimen, it’s unlikely to be something you look forward to.
Gillette tried to make shaving exciting with a bit of help from Bananarama (I still can’t walk past the Venus cartridges in Sainsbury’s without breaking into “I’m your Venus! I’m your fire! Your desire”, much to my own annoyance) and more and more people are delving into the James Bond-esque world of laser hair removal, but waxing still has its place for many. And one place where waxing really does outshine its competitor hair removal methods is in the bikini region – a.k.a your lady area. (I can’t comment on male waxing, having never been in possession of boy bits).
I’d never bothered with waxing for a number of reasons. Mainly it was because I didn’t want the inconvenience of waiting for hair to be long enough, but the fact it isn’t cheap (i.e it’s more expensive than hacking away at myself with a Bic) and requires a woman who is professionally beautiful to see you naked (beauticians scare me) has always put me off.
I’d waxed my own legs once; it involved a hotel room in LA, a microwave, ruined sheets and a lot of bruising. One bit of wax got stubbornly stuck to my shin and didn’t shift for days. It was VERY attractive. I wouldn’t have ever dared wax my lady area myself though, that just seemed like something you’d have to be exceptionally mental to do. Not to mention flexible.
So having decided I did want to get a ‘proper wax job’, I endeavoured to find the best salon in town. Living in Chelsea these days (daaaahlink) I was spoilt for choice for upmarket salons. “Where do rich people go?”, I pondered. “WHERE DO CELEBRITY VAJAYJAYS GO?” I continued. My research led me to the chain ‘Strip’.
What drew me to Strip (apart from the glowing reviews from every leading beauty journalist as well as your every day Yelp users) was the fact that this was a salon chain who specialised in waxing. This wasn’t a hairdressers with a lady upstairs who does a bit of waxing when she isn’t doing nails and facials, these were waxing superheroes…dedicated to the art. And if that wasn’t enough of a selling point, Strip is Victoria Beckham’s salon of choice when she’s in town. A lot of slebs say the same actually, but if it meets David Beckham’s approval then I assumed (quite rightly, it turned out) that my better half would also be…errr…’satisfied’ with the results.
I wanted to review my first visit to Strip (Chelsea branch – 27.12.11) but when I went my hair wasn’t really long enough to be waxed, so any review I wrote would be kinda biased as the treatment took longer than it would usually and thus was obviously more painful. I had a feeling my hair was too short, but my aforementioned ‘better half’ seemed to think his knowledge of waxing was better than mine and that shaving in the run-up to a wax was a –ok. Boys are silly. I was very grateful to my therapist though who very kindly proceeded with the waxing anyway, having fully briefed me that the results may not be ideal and it would take longer than normal. It wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience (you really should put up with the hair being a bit longer before waxing) but the results were mind-blowingly amazing.
I don’t want to start a debate on pubic hair fashion, but I went for a Hollywood (complete nothing-ness) which is obviously the most extreme option – except for say, jewels and mirkins – and apparently going for a Hollywood first having never had wax ‘down there’ before is a bit unusual and not necessarily a good idea for the faint hearted. But I’m hard as nails. Clearly.
SO. What I’m actually going to review is Strip at One New Change (St Paul’s), where yesterday I had a Hollywood by Samantha. Everyone’s different when it comes to hair growth but it had taken just over six weeks to reach the point of being ‘ready’ to wax again. I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW LONG THE HAIR-FREE LOVELINESS HAD LASTED. I honestly thought that I’d have about three days of slutty smoothness and then be reaching for the Bic again, but the results were completely amazing. My therapist at Chelsea had told me to be courageous/brave/stoical etc and not be tempted to shave in between waxes and I did what she said. The new hair, when it did finally start growing back, was pathetic and soft and much more sparse, it wasn’t even that annoying being there…not compared to blunt, evil, sharp razor re-growth anyway. It was almost cute. (Almost being the key word, as clearly I was still determined to be rid of it).
One New Change is my favourite shopping centre in London, because it’s not really a shopping centre. If Westfield is Goliath then One New Change is David’s smaller, younger brother. And that’s why it’s amazing. It’s MANAGEABLE. It’s CLASSY. It’s CLEAN. I’ve also never once seen a teenager hanging out there. Or a queue for the changing rooms at Topshop. Situated next to St Paul’s Cathedral with stunning views over the City, I like to think it’s what Christopher Wren would have wanted for Cheapside. Strip is located on the ground floor by the St Paul’s entrance, so if you’re terrified you can say a little prayer if needs be on your way in.
There’s REALLY no need to be terrified though.
I feel like such a dick to say a Hollywood wax can actually feel like pampering, but at Strip it really can. Well, it did with Samantha anyway. I can’t rate Samantha highly enough, she is the queen of waxing.
For those who haven’t had a wax before, this is what actually happens…
You fill in a quick survey if it’s your first visit to Strip, this is to check you’re not going to have a bad reaction to the wax etc etc. Then you’ll meet your therapist and be taken to your treatment room. (I was in the Lavender Room at Chelsea and the Chocolate Room at One New Change – def go for the Chocolate Room if you can!). The therapist will leave you to take your knickers off etc (I believe you can keep them on but obvs for a Hollywood that’s not so easy – and I really wouldn’t worry about your modesty – these therapists look at ‘lady areas’ all day long and it’s unlikely you’ll be showing them anything they haven’t seen 1000 times before). There are baby wipes so you can freshen up and a towel you can cover yourself with before the therapist comes back. The therapist will then talk you through the wax and why the wax at Strip is so fab – I can’t actually remember all the details but it’s an impressive little story. Then you’ll be oiled up, which helps stop the wax sticking to your skin and makes the whole process a billion times more bearable, and then it begins!
The wax is spread on and left to cool/harden and then ripped off quickly, paper/fabric strips aren’t used. Samantha was amazing at telling me to breathe in/out as she pulled the wax and it actually made a huge amount of difference to how comfortable it felt. She also applied pressure immediately after the wax is pulled away to confuse the pain signals in my brain. Basically, and this is not a lie, IT DIDN’T HURT. If you’ve always avoided a bikini wax because you fear it will hurt, don’t. Invest in getting the treatment at a good salon – i.e a specialist place like Strip – and relax. It really isn’t as bad as you imagine it will be if you find the right therapist who uses the right wax.
The whole process was quicker than I expected and Samantha continuously told me how much was left to go, whether it was a big strip or a little strip she was about to do etc etc. Oh and did I mention there are televisions in the treatment rooms? I watched Crazy Stupid Love whilst I was being waxed. Ryan Gosling and hot wax that smells of chocolate and hazelnuts, what’s not to love?
There are no embarrassing positions at Strip, even for a wax as intimate as the Hollywood. I’d researched waxing on forums and read horrible tales of women on all fours (embarrassing, much?) and it’s NOTHING like that at Strip. You’re just on your back with your knees dropped, with towels to support your thighs if you have pathetic shaky legs like I do.
Once you’re all done you’re left to get dressed and out you go. I purchased a range of aftercare products which all the Strip staff can talk you through. I was clearly an easy sell (I somehow spent £50 on products) but I do agree with the notion that if you’re going to go to the effort of waxing in the first place, you may as well invest in some aftercare too. And ingrown hairs can be a problem with regular waxing as the hairs become weaker. There’s also fabby lingerie on sale, if you want to show off your new ‘look’.
BLOODY HELL THIS IS SUCH AN UNNESSCARILY LONG REVIEW!
I just feel like there’s a lot to explain when it comes to bikini waxing (I know I had a TONNE of questions before I went) and hopefully this has sold the idea to you a bit. I really, genuinely couldn’t be happier with the results and I would recommend Samantha at Strip – One New Change to anyone. Actually I’d recommend any branch of Strip really having had fab service at Chelsea too.
Strip have their own FAQ which you’ll prob want to peruse if you’re interested and they have branches in Chelsea, One New Change (St Paul’s), Notting Hill, Soho and Bristol. A standard bikini wax is £23 and a Hollywood wax is £52. Courses are available which offer pretty significant discounts – a Hollywood becomes £43.33.
Full details on services, prices, contact details and locations can be found on Strip’s website here.
A full five stars from me. And the boy.