On Saturday morning I went for my first ever professional bikini wax. As a busy girl with a rooted objective to paying good money to be effectively tortured, I’m never had the time nor inclination to seek out a professional bush ranger to do much more painfully and expensively what I can do at home with a razor, tube of Veet or, if worst comes to worst, a pair of tweezers.
However, after years of hearing friends literally waxing lyrical about the advantages of removing hair by savagely ripping it from its follicle over scything it off with a Venus, I decided that prior to my first two-week long holiday in years I would give it a go. Can’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it and all that. DIY methods are not without their own problems – stubbly, rapid regrowth, itchiness, in-growing hairs, razor burn and the ever-present danger of accidentally lopping your clitoris off to name but a few – and I was curious to see how waxing would compare. I’d heard that it was best to go to a beautician who uses ‘hard wax’ rather than strip wax because it is better for sensitive skin (and let’s face it, it doesn’t get more sensitive than this) so I made a list in my lunch hour and phoned half a dozen salons in both London (where I work) and Milton Keynes (where I live) to make enquiries. Eventually I found a lady called Tracey, a specialist in ‘full-body waxing’ (i.e. a professional sadist) who operates her
dungeon treatment room out of her own home. After explaining at length what an almighty poof I am and how low my pain threshold is, I booked an appointment and spent the following three days trying not to utterly shit myself at the thought of my delicate lady parts being skinned alive, like Robbie Williams in the video for Rock DJ.
Saturday rolled around and I pulled up to an house in Bletchley with a red front door (this turned out, with hindsight, to be extremely apt). The door was opened by Tracey the beautician, who took me to her treatment room at the back of the house. I fannied around going to the lavatory and filling out the health questionnaire very slowly until I really couldn’t put off taking my clothes off any longer. Now, normally I am not in the least bit shy about this sort of thing but for a very small moment I came over all bashful, probably because I’ve never got my twat out in front of a bird before, least of all one who was planning on doing unspeakable things to it (!) But then I got over that and, naked from the waist down, assumed the position on the
operating treatment table.
‘Right,’ said Tracey cheerfully. ‘What’re you having? A Brazilian?’
“Erm, no,’ I said, ‘I think I’d like the whole thing off today, please.”
(The difference between a Brazilian and a Hollywood is small but significant. The former leaves a small strip of hair – a ‘landing strip’ – and the latter leaves the whole thing as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Therein lies the potential dilemma though; generally, my girlfriends fall into two camps: Team Bald and Team Trim. The girls who fall into the second of these categories are repulsed by the extreme hairlessness of the first – in wine-sodden debates the sinister phrase ‘baby fanny’ is invariably bandied around – and those who prefer maximum smoothness are aghast at the shagginess of those who do little more than ensure the sprawl doesn’t escape the perimeter of their bikini bottoms. It’s all down to personal choice, of course, but interestingly I don’t know anyone who sports a full-on bush. Our second-wave feminist predecessors are probably turning in their graves.)
Slogan briefs from Henry Holland SS ’11
Perhaps because I was so concerned with the actual hair removal bit, the warmth of the wax when it was applied came as a bit of a surprise. It’s not unpleasant, but you can’t possibly enjoy it when you know that it’s the pre-requisite to blistering agony, no matter how short-lived. It takes a little while to set but fortunately Tracey managed to keep my mind (mostly) off it; she’s got a cracking sense of humour, I’ll give her that. Although I suppose you have to if you’re going to be a professional flange beautifier.
‘Aah, you’re a giggler!’ she said after whipping off the first piece of wax with absolutely no warning whatsoever. Christ alive, this woman did not fuck about! I can only admire her tact though; only a truly diplomat would describe my maniacal belly-laughing punctuated by barely comprehensible swearwords as ‘giggling’. If you’re going for a first wax and worried about the pain, I recommend not holding back on the screaming and shouting. I’ve heard other people talking about coughing when the wax gets ripped off too, but I found a combination of laughter and cussing (“HAHAHAHAHAHA fuckfuckfuck, hahaaaa, shit shit MOTHER OF GOD, get it off, GET IT OFF”, etc) worked pretty well. I was a lot like Daniel Craig in the bollock-flaying scene of Casino Royale, except my assailant wasn’t a bloody-eyed Bond villain but a cheerful bird in latex gloves armed with a pot of molten blue goo. Don’t let anyone tell you waxing doesn’t hurt. Yes, you will become acclimatised to the pain if you do it often enough, especially as the hair gets finer and sparser over multiple sessions, but it stills hurts like, well, it hurts like someone tearing your pubes out with hot wax, that’s what.
Predictably, the treatment was more painful in, uh, certain areas than others. The delicate underbelly of the bikini zone is by far the most sensitive area and the procedure basically feels like how I’d imagine it does to be eaten out by a great white shark. However, some parts weren’t anywhere near as bad I anticipated. When my entire foof felt like it had been more or less flambéed, it was time for me to roll over and assume a position that yoga enthusiasts would recognise as ‘Down Dog’. I’d generally consider myself pretty unembarrassable, but presenting my arsehole in broad daylight to a woman I’d only met forty minutes previously was pretty undignified. The sensation of the wax in the area was weird but not unpleasant, although it felt much warmer than the other bits. There are only two strips of wax to come off here – “one on each side,” Tracey explained. “Don’t worry, I’m not about to pour hot wax on your anus!” – and I barely felt a thing, but it did remind me a lot of when I’d once accidentally gone overboard on the Deep Heat after pulling a glute in a particularly strenuous Body Pump class. Overall: get over the indignity of it all and you’ll be fine.
When it was over and I’d put my bum away, I was given an exfoliating mitt (to minimise in-growing hairs) and a little sachet of ‘Bush Balm’. A friend of mine told me that every time she walks out of her salon she feels like a goddess. This is LIES; I felt more like a victim of some cruel and unusual form of punishment, albeit one with rather aesthetically pleasing side effects and at the hands of a very jolly torturer. I could walk normally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the glow from my near-luminous redness was visible through both my knickers and loose-fitting shorts; it looked – and felt – like I’d suffered a very localised but extreme case of sunburn to the minge futtock (you know…like a front buttock). Incidentally, what you wear is very important; do not even consider wearing anything tight or constrictive. No jeans, no teeny knickers, no tights. Try loose shorts or a voluminous skirt. It’s also not recommended you do anything that, aha, might cause any friction for a day or two, including running or working out. Getting too sweaty can mess up your freshly-opened pores and increase your chances of getting unsightly (and painful) in-growing hairs.
It was about 36 hours before everything returned to normal, and in my case this time was almost entirely spent anointing myself with every skin-soothing product I own (it turns out that the miracle goo Green Balm, good for burns, small cuts, sunburn and razor burn, is also great for waxing aftercare). The effect, however, is fantastic; ultra-smooth with no bumpiness or scratchy regrowth. At £35 a pop – this seems pretty standard for London and the surrounding area – it’s an expensive habit to maintain, but you save on time, razors and discomfort. Is it worth the pain? Well, we’ll see how long the effect lasts. In a mad fit of masochism I’ve booked myself in again for early July – I want to see if it hurts as much the second time round – so I’ll let you know. Watch this space.
If you’re in the Milton Keynes area, you can find information about Tracey’s Waxing Studio here.