While getting ready to write this piece, I was reminded of an early Vanity Fair piece by Christopher Hitchens (R.I.P) in which he details his experience of getting waxed at the ultra hip, “inventor of the Brazilian” salon, J Sisters. He describes, “I was overwhelmed by a sudden access of lava-like agony, accompanied by the vertiginous sensation that there was no there there. ” “The combined effect was like being tortured for information that you do not possess, with intervals for a (incidentally very costly) sandpaper handjob.” After reading it, I smugly thought, “Sissy” and convinced that men for all their perceived machismo, lack the pain tolerance of women. Try getting that “sandpaper handjob” every single month, Mr. Hitchens and then we will talk.
But to Mr. Hitchen’s credit, the pain of getting waxed differs from salon to technician. You’ve read before about our healthy love of Shobha, for their clean and super efficient experts. Another favorite to add to the list is European Wax Center, who are bringing the advent of the stripless wax to NYC, with their purple, patented wax. A painless Brazilian sounds like an oxymoron, sort of like a painless diet, popular Kardashian, or a faithful Newt Gingrich. But in truth, I had one of the least painful hair-removal procedures of my life at EWC. You start off the procedure by meeting with one of the efficient and friendly technicians, who take the time to walk you through the 4 step hair removal process. The first two steps, cleanse and protect, are to prep you for the removal process using a light pre-wax cleanser to remove any makeup, oil or lotion and a pre-wax oil to create a protective barrier between the skin and the wax. EWC’s exclusive Comfort Wax has a lower melting point than other traditional waxes so you don’t experience the “lava-like” temperatures Hitchens referenced.
As for the pain, it’s a revelation: by my own (non-scientific estimates), it feels about 40% less painful then other Brazilians I’ve had. That’s not to say you won’t feel any pain (as is natural in hair removal), but it’s extremely minimized by EWC’s Comfort Wax which sticks to only hair and not your skin. The stripless wax also negates the need for the ‘1-2-3-gasp!’ action you have to endure with other traditional waxes. The procedure takes the same length of time with other waxes, and is finished off with EWC’s special lotion to prevent ingrown hairs and bumps. Apart from the minimal pain, the best part of EWC is the price. EWC is significantly cheaper than most other salons, with a single visit at $42. They also offer frequently promotions such as ‘Buy 6, get 1 free.’
European Wax Center has multiple national locations but two NYC outposts on the Upper West Side (314 Columbus Avenue – (212) 799-5999) and Upper East Side (1577 First Avenue – (212) 288-8088.)