Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Stript

Going Brazilian @ Stript

Last week, I had my first-ever waxing experience (of any body part), and I just took the bull by its horns and had a Brazilian done. I went to Stript Wax Bar. Stript is owned by the lovely, puts-you-right-at-comfort Katherine Goldman, a local Bay Area esthetician. Stript is all about waxing, whether it’s brows, legs, or down under for ladies AND gents. They have three locations: San Francisco, Oakland, and Palo Alto. I visited their Palo Alto location near Stanford University for an appointment with Katherine, and I was so impressed by the service, I immediately booked my maintenance appointment for four weeks out!

First up, a quick Q&A session with Katherine on some of those first-time waxer questions I had to get answers on before I went under the… wax.  Then, a more detailed rundown of the experience itself–but let me just say getting my upper lip threaded was 10x more painful than getting a Brazilian.

Temptalia: What are the basics that a first-time Brazilian/bikini waxer know?
Katherine: The basics that a first time waxer should know is that first and foremost make sure the hair is long enough. If you are a shaver, wait two weeks to allow enough growth for the waxing. Secondly, know that there is going to be some discomfort but with continued waxing it does get much better and you can take either a pain reliever or apply a topical numbing cream half an hour before your appointment.

T: Are there certain times that are better to have one done than others?
K: Yes, there are certain times when waxing is better. I would avoid right before or during your cycle because this can make you more sensitive.

T: How long will it last?
K: Waxing typically lasts 2-4 weeks. It really depends on the hair growth cycle of the individual. The more you wax, the better the results so most people come every month. This diminishes the amount of hair so it grows in thinner, sparser and finer.

T: How can women feel less embarrassed about their visit?
K: Women can feel more at ease during their appointment just knowing that we are all beauty professionals that undergo extensive training and are licensed through the state we practice in. We understand that this can be uncomfortable but we do our best to distract you and put you at ease. We also offer disposable panties or a towel for you to cover.

T: Are there are pre- or post-rituals that should be done?
K: Before the wax, again make sure hair is long enough and take a pain reliever before the appointment. Afterwards make sure to exfoliate to prevent ingrown hairs. We have a few product such as a scrub (manual exfoliant) or a medicated product such as PFB which is targeted at treating and preventing ingrowns.

Note: I’m not going to be overly graphic, and there are certainly no before-and-afters to be found here, but if you’re squeamish about the human body and hair removal, you may want to skip this post!

I’ve been a habitual shaver for about two years now, and I have always been curious about trying waxing, but all of those horror stories really made me wary.  Prior to my appointment, I did take two Advil, just in case.  I also made sure not to shave the area for about two and a half weeks (it is recommended that you wait at least one to two weeks and/or at least 1/4″ of growth before waxing).   It totally felt like a jungle and was driving me batty.  I could not wait to hear the schwizppppp! of the waxing strip for it to be all gone.

Surprisingly, I was not actually nervous.  I think I was just finally ready to experience waxing for all its glory, for the good or the bad, and in the name of reporting back to you on a first-timer’s experience with it.  I’m so happy to report I don’t have a horror story to add the campfire tales.  In fact, I have the complete opposite.

First, Katherine and I chatted about waxing, the store, and the like.  She told me how it was important that clients feel comfortable, and this is why Stript is clean, well-decorated, and focused on hair removal.  It’s not a secondary procedure here; it is the star of the show.  Stript’s service list is extensive and includes depilar, as well as such things as The Vajacial (which I always giggle at, sorry! I swear I’m not 12!).   In my area, Stript’s prices are above services done by nail salons but lower than services provided by full-service spas (facials, saunas, wraps, etc.).

Next, Katherine showed me to my room and had me use an antiseptic wipe to prep the area, and then a numbing spray/mist.  Though I didn’t feel numb from it, I imagine it did help ease the pain (yes, there is pain; it is not painless!), even by a smidgen.  I laid down and used the towel Katherine gave me to cover up my girly bits while I waited for Katherine to return.

Once she returned, she immediately put me at ease.  She talked to me about what to expect, the process, what makes Stript different from other salons, and really just kept the conversation moving the whole time that I didn’t even have time to think about being embarrassed.  She explained how they are concerned with making their clients comfortable and safe and having a good experience.  They never double-dip and use higher quality products so that the wax sticks to the hair and not the skin (which means less pulling on the skin and therefore less pain).

Just to add my two cents and based on my experience at Stript:  DON’T BE EMBARRASSED! Don’t let embarrassment stop you from trying it at least once.  I’m so thankful that my esthetician kept me talking and made me feel like she was just a professional doing what she did best and never to worry, she had everything handled perfectly.

The wax felt warm without being hot or uncomfortable.  Katherine waited several seconds, and then she would ask me to take a deep breath, and then exhale–when I exhaled, she would remove the strip.  It really is no worse (probably even less) than a band aid coming off after a few hours.  I’ve waxed my upper lip at home, as well as had it threaded, and both of those hurt quite a bit more than the entire Brazilian.

It was a remarkably quick process, too!  I thought it would take awhile, but I was in and out in twenty minutes flat!  There was no bruising, redness, or tenderness.  It was just soft, smooth, and awesomely hair-free.  I also liked that nobody pushed products on me, but I did end up buying PFB Vanish, which is a roller ball product that is designed to minimize ingrown hairs (which I, personally, am more prone to in that area).

I’m happy to report that a week later, and I’m still hair-free and ingrown-free!  According to Katherine, the wax should last between two and four weeks, with most clients re-booking every three to four weeks, but some going as long as six or seven weeks.  She said it really depends on your personal level of comfort–how much regrowth are you willing to tolerate–as much as it does on how quickly your hair grows back.

I was so pleased with the results and completely blown away by how little pain there was involved, I booked my another appointment for four weeks out with Katherine.  That’s how awesome it was.  I also wanted to tell everyone around me that waxing isn’t scary! It isn’t the worst pain ever! It’s not torture!   Not having to shave every few days and then deal with itchiness and/or ingrown hairs?  It’s so worth it.  So worth it!

If you’re in the Bay Area, I fully recommend Katherine @ Stript.  She travels between all three locations, but she works four out of her six days at the San Francisco location.  Brazilians are $55, maintenance Brazilians are $50.  Check the website for the service list and prices for other waxes!

Have you had a great waxing experience?  I’d love to hear yours!

Stript

Stript

Stript
Katherine Goldman, Owner of Stript Wax Bar

Stript

Stript

* Service was complimentary. Purchased PFB. Will be a normal, paying client going forward! :)

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388 thoughts on “My First Waxing Experience — AMAZING!

  1. Lisa

    Miss Temptalia, love your website…but please wax your giant eyebrows.

    • Love my eyebrows, but thank you for your suggestion!

    • daphne

      Daaaang. Diff’rent strokes my friend, because I think Christine has some of the hottest eyebrows I’ve ever seen and am *tremendously* jealous that they are that shapely and well-groomed without any professional help. But then, I cringe when I see the pencil-thin kind that I was stupid enough to pluck my brows into in high school.

      • Thanks, Daphne! I had super super thin brows for 2-3 years, and it took a lot of work to get them to grow back and get into shape. I dig thin brows, too, but I like the fuller look on myself – it also means I can leave the house sans filled in brows if I need to.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post, it’s so interesting to read your experience. I was always curious about this. :D

    But when it comes about me, I can only say – no epilators nor waxing for me, just shaving and hand plucking (eyebrows). Once I tried Veet and their wax strips and OMG, I thought I removed my skin too, beside my hair, lol :D I used just one half of a strip and threw away the other half because it was just too painful for me.

    I used to go to a beauty saloon for my eyebrows and that was so painful for me that I literally cried and almost fainted once. :D So, I can only imagine what would waxing be like for me, lol! :D

  3. Desiree

    I think now I’ll finally take the plunge and try this whole Brazilian thing! And luckily, I live in the Bay Area, too! But Christine, do you have to be a certain age to get this done at Stript? Because I’m seventeen, and now that I’m assured that it wont be like “AH, MY DELICATE LADYSKIN!!!! D,=” pain, I’d really like to try this! :)
    [It sure seems A LOT less painfull than using an epilator… *cringes*]

  4. Kata

    Luckily in my country waxing has been always a regular service offered by cosmeticians, so the prices are reasonable and the cost doesn’t have to be an issue in choosing hair removal options. I’ve waxed (or occasionally used an epilator) all my life. In fact, for me shaving is the virgin territory:), as I never shaved any of my body parts. My Mom always told me that shaving makes the hair stronger, where as waxing makes it thinner.

    The first couple of years I went to a salon, but then I decided it’s too much of a hassle to book an appointment etc, and it’s also cheaper if I do it myself. So I’ve bought a home waxing kit and have been doing it myself ever since (arms, armpits, upper lip and legs). For bikini I still go to a salon, that’s too difficult to do at home…

    The only thing I dislike about waxing is the inbetween time, when some hair has grown out, but not all and it’s also not long enough. Those are the days when I wear long pants and sleeves.

  5. didinium

    Glad you had such a good experience!
    Waxing gives reeeeally nice results, I totally agree. I wax (or epilate, I like both) on my own, two years ago I found a recipe how to make your own wax / halawa, out of boiled sugar and some lemon juice as far as I recall. Making and useing it worked extremely well, I still had many strips from a Veet Waxing Kit that I bought a long, long while ago and like how affordable it is.

    I dont wax or epilate everything though, and never my legs, as I have skin that is _extremely_ prone to ingrown hairs; I exfoliate & moisturize often, use different creams with BHAs or Urea, but I have that kind of skin that even gets ingrown hairs here and there when you didn’t even remove them.
    I do my best, but can’t prevent all of them.
    So I’m rather scared to wax the areas that you can’t see that easily, I guess I just won’t risk ingrown hair and possible infections there when I can’t see it right away. As my hair gets much lighter there I find that shaving or trimming gives me aesthetically pleasing results as well.

  6. nicci

    Now I am curious too!! I like the clean shaven look and feel as well. I saw a clip on America’s Next Top Model & they were all taken to get a Brazilians and most made it seem so painful, but a lot seemed to be so over-dramatic about it….but from your review, it doesn’t seem that bad especially if go to a great place! The place looks so clean & fresh.

    What did the boyfriend think? if that is okay to ask…

    • It wasn’t bad at all, Nicci! She made it as quick and as painless as possible.

      I’ve been shaving for about 2-3 years now, so I’m always bare for at least a day or two, LOL! I don’t think he cares, though he prefers at least some taming of the jungle, haha.

  7. I’m brazilian, so to me it’s so funny to hear a bikini wax being called a “brazilian”. Lol.

    That said, brazilian grils do tend to prefer waxing over shaving. I personally have NEVER shaved any body parts other than my legs (and even so, only in “emergency” situations). I’ve been waxing since I can remember.

    I guess waxing is just an affordable service here, maybe due to the whole tropical thing and all.

    I’m a fan of the “brazilian wax” style, but I don´t know if it’s THAT popular here, for it to be named after the country, hehe.

    As for the pain, I don’t even feel it anymore. Same goes for the embarrassment. After so many years of waxing, you just don´t care anymore, haha.

    If you keep up with the waxing, you´ll notice your hairs will grow less and less each time, and in the long run they´ll get thinner too.

    Nice post!

    • I can only imagine how funny it is to all the Brazilians that read this blog!

      It would be SO nice if waxing was as commonplace (and thus as affordable!) here! Jealous!

  8. Proximity

    *applause*
    Thank you so much for a.) being brave enough to try this out and b.) being brave enough to report back! I’ve done lots of at-home waxing (including the Brazilian) but I haven’t sucked it up and gone to a pro yet, because of the embarrassment factor. Your post is helping to encourage me to get over it and give it a try, as I really am convinced that’s the most effective, long lasting, least-painful method!

    In the interest of being brave, I’ll take a deep breath and be courageous enough to mention that in one of your photos I spy some products from ‘Sweet Spot Labs'( http://www.sweetspotlabs.com/?rm=products ). I use a couple things from them – their gentle wash and on-the-go wipes. They’re a great company, with products that are actually designed to work with that area (pH balanced for it, etc.) instead of to somehow ‘disinfect’ or otherwise thwart the zone’s natural balance. I’ll follow your lead and not go into much more detail than that ;)

    But you or other ladies here might be interested in checking them out – I was impressed.
    (Sex-positive, 27 year old feminist who used to be a sexual health forum leader, so it’s a ‘zone’ in which I’ve got a lot of experience!)

    • I’ll have to check out Sweet Spot Labs’ website! I have heard of the brand before, but it’s not a product line I’ve ever really used!

      I give you PROPS! for doing it at home. Seriously!

      • Proximity

        LOL! Doing it yourself *is* painful, and you’ve got to kind of mentally dissociate the pain you’re causing with the action of pulling the wax off, or you pull too gingerly and cause it to hurt even more! I had to do really small areas at a time, and it took forever. I’d always have to re-heat the wax before the end. It was messy too (I ruined a few towels that way). I took Advil 1/2 hour before, and used a numbing cream which helped, but it was still pretty painful.
        I learned to leave a bit of a ‘landing strip’ as some call it because that general area was actually the most painful.

        If I just wanted a enough of a wax to wear a bikini, I’d definitely do it myself, but after keeping at it for a while, I ended up deciding that it was too much work and too complicated and time consuming. That, even more than the pain factor, is what made me quit.

        • Yes, that kind of sounds like my first time trying it, except you know, I didn’t get anything completed and wanted to die, lol.

  9. Luisafer

    I remember my first waxing cuz I did it myself!!! was very good actually, at the time didn’t have the money to have it done; year later then had it done by professional for years until I got the laser depilation, the best thing you can have!!!

  10. Donna

    I was just thinking about trying getting waxed….i always get my eyebrows and lip waxed…i wish i knew of a place in my area that was like this one!

  11. Jamie

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! This is exactly what I have been looking for!! As a Cali Girl, waxing is almost a right of passage and I have been avoiding it out of fear!! Thank you again so very much!! Time to sieze the day!!

  12. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of traci Traci

    thank you so much for this post! I’ve been wanting to get a brazilian for the longest time, but never made it a priority due to fear! This post really helped me, and I am in the bay area so I will definitely look into going to Stript. Thank you thank you Christine!!

  13. Lucy

    Isn’t it amazing?? I had my first brazilian about 2 years ago and I have never shaved since! Even when I can’t get to a salon, I have a waxing kit on standby at home (it’s not hard after a couple of sessions of watching the pro’s do it ;)

    I always found it kind of scary shaving down there anyway, I was afraid of nicking myself – ouch. So I just decided to go for it and get a brazilian – it’s worth it for me as the regrowth is FAR slower than with shaving, and it feels less prickly too when it comes back! I always HATED that! I have definitely noticed the regrowth being sparser and finer. In fact, I have been to several salons, and they commented on how they could tell I have been doing this regularly, as the hair came out so easily as they waxed me. So there you go, it isn’t bad at all even to begin with, and it gets even better!

    I am so glad you liked your experience! I felt like telling anyone who would listen about how great it was after my first time – although restrained myself as it was maybe TMI for some people :)

    • Definitely could see that DIY would be possible after you’ve watched the pros do it a few times ;)

      I’ve–surprisingly–never nicked myself, but the regrowth was brutal.

  14. Kat

    Hi Christine! Thank you for this fabulous post! As you can tell by now, we all find this information quite insightful! I’ve also enjoyed reading a number of the comments. :)
    I’ve actually been interested in getting a Brazilian for some time, but not sure about what places to trust in my area. I saw that you mentioned checking out Yelp, so thanks for that tip as well! Hopefully, I’ll find something that works for me! :)

    • I try to check out Yelp! whenever I am looking for some place new. I like to go for places with reviews by 1) established Yelp! users; 2) lots of reviews; 3) recent reviews.

  15. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of saima Rozae

    I’ve never been able to understand a Brazilian wax and the big deal about it. Women from Muslims countries have been waxing their feminine parts for centuries, its a very common practice from the dawn of Egyptian empire until today to remove all hair. Its part of going up as women, we’re taught to wax and be groomed. Its quite a very common practice and over time, there is less hair and it is less painful.

    • Hi Rozae,

      That’s not how women are brought up in the U.S. — which is why it’s a “big deal” to us. Different countries and cultures go through different experiences. :)

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of saima Rozae

        Hi Christine,

        I’m glad you experience it and wrote about it and realized its not as bad as people think or a “big deal”! I’m sure now you’ll be a regular, just make sure to exfoliate, it deceases the chance of ingrown hair.

  16. Taunya

    I love being bald in my precious parts, so much that I am not a big fan of brazilian, only because I cannot stand the regrowth phase. Plus as curly haired girl, sometimes the waxing causes too many ingrowns. I just shave every day and I guess I’m kinda lucky, but shaving has never been a hastle to me. Just part of my daily routine. I don’t even use shave cream, just my soap. I was laughing through the comments, this is a funny topic. It shows you though how somethings are definitely regional. I don’t know anyone who has pubic hair. Male or female. I thought everyone either shaved it off or waxed. I didn’t think anyone still was au naturale. Nothing wrong with some pubes, just a reflection :)

  17. Desirae

    i live in palo alto and saw this place for the first time the other day. thats so funny that u did a review on this place becasue i have been thinking about it. thats such a coincidence. i will def make an appointment with katherine.

  18. OMG!!! Christine I didn’t know u were a waxing virgin like myself! Thanks sooooooo much for the post, i really do feel empowered to do so now jajaja! One question though… is it really you who answers these comments? Just wondering :) Hugs from Guatemala As always!

    • LOL! Yes, it is really me. There is only one writer/person who handles emails, comments, etc. My boyfriend handles tech stuff like the layout and coding, but everything else is me.

  19. Dra_Bia

    Hey, Christine

    nice to hear you had a great Brazilian experience. I did not read all comments, so I’m not sure anyone has mentioned it, but in Brazil (I am brazilian) the “standard brazilian” waxing is NOT the removal of all pubic hair, but rather leaving a “strip” of hair, more like French Waxing. Complete waxing is done when you want, let’s say, a twist. :)

    When I was living in Japan and did not have a waxing salon available, my mother would mail me blocks of wax and I did it myself many, many times.

    I am an avid client of waxing since teenager and cannot think of anything better.

    Cheers

  20. MrsFields

    I’ve lived in Oakland my whole life and never been there. Guess I’ll be taking a trip there soon. Thanks

  21. Valerie

    Christine, have you seen the site that sells dye for your “hair down there”? I think it’s called Betty. Anyhow, a review on that would be hysterical! They make TONS of colors, even wild ones.

  22. Maria

    You’re one amazing woman…I’ve been getting regular Brazilians for about three years now and it’s STILL the most painful thing ever. It’s not bad for some people…my friend barely feels a thing, but I can never go through the procedure without screaming! I must have a super low pain threshold…

    • Oh no! :( It can definitely be something that varies from person to person – so sad that it hasn’t gotten better for you after 3 years! But the results must be worth it if you’re still going after three years, right?

  23. Chloe

    hey i live very close to palo alto near sacred heart prep and menlo school. where do you go to get MAC? stanford shopping center or do you go to the downtown store? or online or where? thanks!

  24. Ellery Allison

    I’ve plucked before, and it hurt, took forever, but was completely worth it to not have hair for a good few weeks.
    I’ve been really nervous to try waxing simply because I’m embarrassed to show someone something so… private.

  25. Sasha

    I just had this done three days ago for a cruise. I will never look back. My esthetician was amazing and made me feel so comfortable. Strangely, just knowing that I had this done, I feel more confident. I recommend getting waxed at least just once just to see what it is like. Speaking of threading, I get my eyebrows threaded every month and will never tweeze again. As for my upper lip, laser hair removal was the best investment ever.

  26. michelle

    i started shaving in the brazilian style since high school and then a few years later i got an epilator (the gently gold caress) to do that, and then i found a few salons in my city (worcester MA) to do it. i couldnt live without a brazilian wax job! i take 4 advil and half a percocet and i can barely feel anything ;)

  27. Julia

    If you are interested, I think it would be great seeing another post that’s an update! When hair started to grow back, if it was itchy, if you’ve gone again yet, things like that.. this was such a fun and popular post!

  28. Jen

    Hi Christine!

    I live down the street from the Oakland Stript, and this post made me consider my first brazilian. Before I take the plunge, I’d love to know how gracefully it aged. Did you get a lot of ingrowns? How did you deal with regrowth? How was the itch factor? I’m a shaver/sometimes depilitator, never a waxer!

    • Hey Jen,

      I got about 1.5 weeks worth of awesomeness, and then it started grow back. I can go 4 weeks between appointments, but my hair growth cycle would probably deem 3 weeks as optimum. It wasn’t itchy at all (and I know itchy, it’s pretty itchy when I shave!). The regrowth really isn’t bad, since you can essentially go in once it reaches 1/4″ in length. I definitely got wayyy less ingrowns waxing than shaving – I am prone to ingrowns, so it was nice to have a bit of a reprieve.

      I will say this: it is hard to go back to shaving. I had a scheduling conflict and had to cancel an appointment, and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gone back… so I just shaved it, and OMG I missed the post-wax results.

  29. Vivian

    This was really helpful. I’ve actually been thinking of getting a Brazilian but didn’t know what to expect/what to do before and after to prepare so this was definitely everything I needed to know! Thanks :]

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jenni Jenni

    Hey Christine, I was just wondering if the Brazilian waxing is something that you still do on a regular basis. I have my first appt in a couple weeks — ahhh!!

  31. Here’s my article on my first waxing experience. It was awesome :)
    http://franarexic.com/2011/04/24/adventures-with-brazilian-waxing/