The Brazilian to end all other bikini waxes...

Jesus, this woman is brusk. If you're timid and want to keep your panties on, fuggedaboutit. Not gonna happen. I am not only sans panties on the table in a windowless, white room, but also legs akimbo, the toes on my right foot gripping the tiled wall while my left is hanging out in mid-air and my hands pulling my skin taut.

Emma's Russian-accented voice is telling me with complete confidence that she is the best waxer there is, having done it for 31 years along with practising as a nurse. She slathers on warm, chocolate-scented wax in one, wide strip... smoothing the cloth down she says in a very stern tone, ' it does not hurt when I do it.' Then she rips it off - all of the hair, at once, on the right side.


And it hurts less than any other wax I've ever had. Ever. She does the same with the other side. Then I lift my bum into the air, legs still straight up and she 'cleans all of me up', as she puts it. I plunk my bum back down on the white paper and in one go she cleans the top bit too, leaving a neat little strip of hair. Then she plucks the (very few) stragglers, tells me I need to see her every three weeks and if I can't do that then I need to instruct whoever will be doing it how to do it properly (she gives me very concise instructions the entire time). She says to slather on Neosporin later. Do not exercise today. Tomorrow, fine. Leave Neosporin on all day. The next day start using powder.

I mean, it still hurt a bit, but nowhere near the searing, blinding pain that usually is a Brazilian bikini wax when they rip coarse, stubborn hair from parts of your body you didn't even know had hair. It was less painful than a regular bikini wax (read: just cleaning up the chops) at most other salons. And the authoritarian, matter-of-fact manner and complete comfort with female anatomy made for the sort of experience this should be. No 18 year-old with three weeks of experience and a squeamish temperament here. Oh yeah, and it took 10 minutes, max. Possibly 7. Even Allure have cottoned onto this unassuming store front on Central Philly's Sansom Street.

If you ever pass through Philadelphia (or New York, for that matter. It's only a two hour train ride from Philly, and, I swear on my puppy's grave, worth it) you need to make sure you stop at the International Salon, 1714 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215-563-1141). Emma will make quick work of your nether regions.

Just walk in. Even if there's a line of 4 ahead of you, you'll be in that windowless room in mere minutes.


International Salon
Philadelphia, PA 19103