Going for a bikini wax is really not a topic that women discuss all that openly. Some refer to it as grooming, some pretend they were born without any hair and a few were the original adopters of laser removal and laid themselves down at the mercy of the pain-inflicting light sabre. With age, I have accepted the process as a necessary part of being a female who likes to live and holiday in places where bathing suits are considered outfits. Growing up in Miami, my mother first introduced my sisters and I to the waxer as teenagers. Along with the intro came her lecture on the evils of a razor and the urban myth that if you start waxing at a young age, eventually your hair will stop growing. Well, 25 years in and I am still making appointments and while the world of the bikini wax has changed (SHAPED! COLORED! BEJEWELED!) what has not changed the anxiety I experience as I walk into a salon. Having lived in New York for 16 years, I heard about (and probably went to) every single woman that was identified as the elusive “Pain-Free Waxer” (AKA the Big Foot of Beauty).
I tried Blueberry Wax (I felt like Smurfette), the 3-Strip Wax (I limped home) and the infamous J-Sisters (the lack of privacy made my friends and I feel like they were comparing us as they furiously ripped and chatted in Portuguese). Like the rest of the world knows, there is no Big Foot, and I reluctantly accepted that life was either going to be sweat pants forever, or a bite-my-lip acceptance of the monthly trip to the House of Pain.
Arriving in Hong Kong, I was not excited about the process of finding a new torturer. You know the saying – the devil that you know… etc. At least in New York I knew what I was in for — I could wear my iPod without being rude and coordinate my appointment with a friend which we would sandwich between glasses of wine. Being new in town, I was not really comfortable enough with new friends to bring up the somewhat taboo subject (or the fact that I am a certified wimp about it!). At a crossroads and with a junk trip looming, I thought I’d better go straight to the experts at The Mandarin Spa who have just welcomed a new waxing specialist, Kristel, to their team.
I took the first appointment, 9:00am, figuring the sooner after I awoke the less time I would have to chicken out. I arrived at the Mandarin Spa which was beautiful and relaxed. What happened next was nearly unbelievable. ZERO pain. REALLY ZERO. Even Kristel said, “Thank you, but I know it hurts a bit”. My reply was, “You’ve clearly never been to Classy Cuts and Tans in Lebanon, New Hampshire!” (the only place for waxing within 50 miles of my graduate school and where my screams still echo). I would say my time with Kristel was downright relaxing. Even better was her attitude, professionalism and general interest in me. After this first pain-free treatment, I asked if I needed to wax my eyebrows. Kristel said, “No, they are quite natural.”. What? This was a salon – flattery usually comes when you are finished ,not when you are begging for help. I had opened the door for another treatment, another series of sticky hair-gripping strips and Kristel said no? After briefly considering my herbal tea had been drugged, I was thrilled at Kristel’s honesty (typically I do not wax my eyebrows, but as this was so easy, I figured I would give it whirl). All of this made me realize that Kristel loves her job and because she does, she is fabulous at it. She explained where she learned her craft and more comforting (even if only for my benefit), that she too is a wimp when it comes to wax!
I do not think I have ever booked another appointment while leaving one (choosing to block the whole thing out until I can no longer go out in public). This time, with Kristel and the Mandarin, I signed right up! Who knows, on my next visit, I might even brave a leg wax (but that is just a maybe!).
The Mandarin Spa is offering a special deal for Sassy readers booking a Brazilian or Bikini wax with Kristel – get an underarm wax for free! Just mention you are a Sassy reader when you make your reservation.
The Mandarin Spa Bikini Wax is HKD230 for strip wax and HKD280 for hot wax. The Brazilian Wax is HKD440 for strip wax and HKD550 for hot wax.
The Mandarin Spa, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, 2825 4888
Images via Fashion Gone Rogue.