Is there really such a thing as a ‘pain free’ wax? Bess Browning went along to the Strip Wax Bar to test out the theory.
Remembering the first time you had a bikini wax can bring you out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.
The excruciating sensation of having coarse hairs ripped out of our most sensitive area can make an appointment at the salon seem a daunting prospect.
But there’s a reason we endure the pain.
There are so many benefits to waxing – you save yourself from those horrible prickly hairs you’re blighted with from shaving, there’s none of the mess or potent smell from hair removal cream and with a bit of perseverance, your hairs will become thinner and upkeep can stretch to once every six weeks – unlike the daily battle with shaving to keep stubble at bay.
But if you really can’t tolerate the 30 minutes of pain, we may just have the solution for you.
Strip Wax Bar, which has a number of salons across London, claims to offer a (virtually) pain-free wax.
From a basic bikini to a full whole-hog Hollywood, the salon aims to make it a pampering experience, rather than a painful one.
A pain free wax? The verdict
Welcomed in with a smile, the therapists instantly put me ease by immediately offering me a TV remote, so I could chose what to watch – the ultimate distraction as they wax away.
They then applied oil, which is an essential part of the pain-free process. This allows the wax to stick to the hair and not to the skin, making it a much more comfortable procedure.
The therapists talked me through my breathing – something I hadn’t experienced elsewhere.
But knowing when to breathe in and out as the strips are ripped off is a small yet effective hack to manage the pain.
The salon uses premium Lycon wax, which shrinks around the hairs to avoid the skin-ripping sensation, and is offered in various scents – chocolate, berry or lavendar.
We must admit it’s not completely pain free but it’s a world away from the agony of cold wax strips in the salon or DIY strips at home.
The treatment is followed with an Ingrown-X-IT solution spray, which helps to prevent those troublesome ingrown hairs.
Prices range from £23 for a bikini to £52 for a Hollywood.
How to reduce the pain of waxing
We spoke to Dr Firas Al-Niami, the Group Medical Director for skincare clinic group sk:n, about what we can do to ensure the best wax. He said: ‘Exfoliate the day before and make sure your hair has grown to the right length so the wax can attach to the hair.
‘Hair should be a quarter to a half inch long before waxing. Gentle exfoliation between waxes gets rid of the layer of dead skin which prevents the hairs from growing out.
‘Afterwards, don’t wash or go to the gym straight away and don’t wax again – the area will be delicate and the pores will be open so it could be susceptible to infection.
‘Aloe vera gel is very soothing after a wax. Avoid tight clothing, and wear cotton if possible. Fragranced products can irritate the skin so try and avoid these.’
Strip Wax Bar in London isn’t the only salon to offer a quality, ‘almost’ painless wax.
Try the global brand Ministry of Wax, who call themselves the ‘global authority’ on hair removal. They have been developing a blend of waxes for the last 15 years and say they can reduce the ouch factor by up to 70 per cent.
If you’re based in the South East, try out the Beauty Spot in Faversham, Kent, where they offer the Lycon Precision Wax, which is a world leader in waxing technologies. Alternatively, try their luxury waxing which offers a full or half leg exfoliation to release ingrowing hairs and remove dead skin cells before the waxing. The wax is even followed up by a massage using a tee tree after-care lotion to soothe nerve endings.
Our other favourites include Bubble 5 in Liverpool or Madame Wax in Cardiff.
So, the hunt goes on for a completely pain-free wax, but for now we’ll settle for the much more pleasant procedures offered above.