May 102011

One of the beauty school fantasies estheticians have is that working in a spa is all facials, all the time. But seasoned estheticians will tell you they usually spend the majority of their time waxing- brazilians came out of the closet as a hugely popular service more than a decade ago, but it’s still a bit easier to wax lyrical about a fantastic facial than a session that gets any of your exposed areas smooth and hairless.

Compounding the share factor is that in order to get a great wax, you must to need a great wax, and lots of spa-goers don’t have the time or patience to sit around waiting for hair to grow and become visible before making an appointment. If you’ve got a stray hair (or a few), chances are you want it gone yesterday. Here are five of the best tools to achieve that end.

1.) Shaving: As someone who is half Sicilian and Napolitano, shaving isn’t just a necessity, it’s a religion. And while you can often find good, inexpensive options in the drugstore, razors are an area in which one cannot skimp. Gillette’s Venus Embrace offers a supremely close shave, making last year’s four-bladed razors seem obsolete. For a more luxurious shave, C.O. Bigelow carries fancy, apothecary-style Geo. F. Trumper Rose Shave Cream.

When shaving, the end of your shower is the most opportune time- hair is less prone to break beneath the skin and become a dreaded ingrown. Best for: legs, abdomen, underarm.

2.) Depilatories: One of the least popular forms of epilation, depilatories generally look good on paper (a cream that dissolves hair!) but carry some downsides that can be significant. Every few years I give them a try, and most smell like a perm and leave a chemical burn. Surprisingly, the most gentle depilatory seems to be Magic Shaving Powder, an old drugstore staple. It clears off hair efficiently with minimal irritation, though the mixing part can be messy. Best for: general bikini cleanup.

3.) Waxing: Waxing is a task generally best left for professionals, but it’s not too difficult to do a general once-over from home if you’re not aiming for a complicated area (like the bikini line) or attempting a major brow reshaping. If you lack the patience for in-between regrowth, there are several at-home waxing options. Bliss’ Poetic Waxing kit is nicely scented and thorough- a “hard wax” that doesn’t require using strips and has a lot of aftercare add-ons. Anastasia’s Pro Waxing Kit is adorable, tiny and comes complete with spatulas and strips.

To wax, start with clean, dry and moisturizer free skin. Smooth wax on in the direction of hair growth, and wait for it to set. Place fingers at the end of the wax or strip to prevent pulling, and quickly tear the wax or strip against the direction of hair growth. Use excess dried wax to remove any remaining pieces, and if you get into the hairline, an oil will dissolve the stray wax.

Use a soft cloth or tissue to smooth on an aloe or oil product to soothe skin and remove traces. Best for: eyebrows, upper lip, chin.

Do you do your own waxing, shaving, plucking or other hair removal? What’s your depilatory secret?

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