In life, there are beauty duties and there is pampering. Now, in my book, hair removal, especially bikini hair removal, comes under beauty duty. I tend to manicure my bikini line at home, mainly because previous experiences in that area have been none too pretty. My one and only Brazilian waxing experience was particularly harrowing. It lasted what felt like a lifetime (in reality only 45 minutes) because the woman wielding the wax strips kept getting stuck, if you know what I mean. Horrendous.
So it is with trepidation that I enter Strip, the dedicated waxing salon, in Chelsea where I'm reviewing the newly launched i-bar, for all things brow-related, and, gulp, the Brazilian wax. What’s that phrase I'm groping for... taking one for the team?
As soon as I enter the lavishly styled boutique-cum-waiting room at Strip's three-storey boutique, I'm immediately more optimistic about the experience. Stella McCartney, Elle Macpherson Intimates and Calvin Klein lingerie greet me. Then my therapist, the lovely Carleigh Rayner, leads me to the Chocolate room – an opulent boudoir complete with chandelier, comfy bed, velvet drapes and embossed wallpaper. She tells me the treatment rooms are themed according to the ‘flavoured’ Lycon waxes used – chocolate, berry, lavender and gold (this will leave you shimmering).
We discuss my Brazilian requirements (since you ask, I opt to leave a triangle rather than the ‘traditional’ landing strip. Carleigh says a lot of people don’t realize you can do this.) and Carleigh sets to work putting me at ease by asking me to select what I’d like to watch on the plasma TV (nice touch). I channel surf while she cleanses the area, applying the pre oil so that the wax takes hold more effectively. Then we begin with the wax. I’m told the hard Lycon wax is just the thing for dealing with pesky bikini lines because it really moulds itself around even short hairs and ensures they’re pulled out at the root. Apparently, the thing about using linen or paper strips is that they act as an extra barrier -- a middle man if you will -- between the wax and the hair making the hair more likely to break.
Carleigh speedily whizzes around, going from side to side so if I want to chicken out early I can. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt... but it didn’t hurt much. Because it happens so quickly and the wax comes off directly it doesn’t sting half as much, plus Carleigh’s technique (universal across all Strip the practitioners) of adding pressure immediately after removing wax helps. After she applies cooling Tea Tree lotion and I’m smooth as a baby’s bum. There’s no stickiness, no post-stinging and irritation. And this is still true at bedtime after I’ve been out all evening in skinny jeans.
Now onto hair removal of a gentler variety: I also trialled the new i-bar for brow and lash care, located in the white, airy basement, complete with yet another plasma TV. Tamanna Sahatu is my brow guru – she has 20 years’ threading experience, and she’s soon sized me up and whipped my brows into a flattering, more streamlined arch. And it doesn’t hurt a bit. It’s true what they say - having your eyebrows shaped really does give you an instant facelift.
And, I don’t know if I want to admit this (but I will)... While checking out my brows in the mirror, Tamanna tactfully had a word with me, saying, ‘I think you need your top lip doing’. Now, I’ve been wondering if it’s time I tended to this but was worried about upkeep. I appreciate her honesty. Who else is going to tell me I’ve got a shadow? She soon gets rid of it; this does sting a bit, but it’s worth it. My experience is topped off with an amazing Indian head massage. I leave feeling preened, pampered and like a new woman... not at all like I've just been doing obligatory beauty duty.
- Brazilian wax (£45), basic bikini wax (£22)
- The ‘Brow Rehab’ package (includes 3 threading sessions, one eyebrow tint and specialist guidance to get poorly shaped or thinning brows back to perfection, £49)
- Eyebrow reshape with consultation and pressure point massage (£25)
Available at Strip, Notting Hill boutique: +44 (0)20 7727 2754 | Chelsea boutique: +44 (0)20 7590 0050
Written by Alison Taylor for www.beautywoome.com.