Smooth Operators

In ancient times, smooth hairless skin was a symbol of innocence and purity—the gold standard of beauty. The pursuit of hairlessness has not changed much over the centuries, and neither have most methods to achieve it. Because removing unwanted hair with advanced laser technology can be pricey and time consuming, and shaving, depilatory creams and tweezing can cause irritation, many beauty insiders agree: Waxing is your best bet to go bare. The service is, in most cases, affordable and the results are long lasting.

According to legend, Cleopatra used a method similar to waxing called “sugaring.” Waxing and sugaring are different (sugar solutions are not hot), but they are often placed in the same category because the unwanted hair is (to put it gently) ripped out from the root. Angela Deisi, head esthetician for face and body treatments at Rodolfo Valentin in Cedarhurst, says despite the sophisticated lasers on the scene, waxing is still the most popular service during the summer months. The bikini wax (removing hair from the bikini line) and the Brazilian bikini wax (removing hair from the entire area) are the most requested services.

She wouldn’t divulge her secret and sought-after technique of making the treatment as fast and pleasant as possible, but Deisi says clients come back to her again and again and rave about their experience and results. She advises having a week of hair growth before booking the service, which leaves skin smooth for about 3½ to 4 weeks.

Despite a (very) bad bikini wax experience in my past, I decided to give it another go in the name of beauty research. Much like a doctor, waxing technicians must have a pleasant bedside manner. Getting waxed is quite different than other beauty treatments. The bikini line (or beyond) is an extremely intimate area, so if there is something amiss in the esthetician’s manner or technique, the process can be painfully cringe-worthy.

But a few days before a recent tropical vacation—where I knew I’d be spending a great deal of time in a bathing suit—I forced myself to visit April & Co. Salon and Spa in Miller Place.

After ushering me into the treatment room, Karen Hinchy did something my previous wax technician failed to do. She made me feel relaxed and welcome and gave me detailed instructions on what to do once she left the room. When the waxing festivities began, we enjoyed some friendly chitchat as she went about her business. She prepared me for each “rip,” and frequently checked to see if I needed a moment to regroup. I have to say, it wasn’t nearly as painful as my first experience, which is why, when it comes to a service like this, I suggest you ask around and do your homework to find a friendly, skilled and certified esthetician who uses a quality hair removal product.

According to Hinchy, clients who have never tried the service often ask the same questions. Does it hurt or burn? How long would the waxing last? Will it cause redness or irritation? Does it outlast a standard shave? According to Hinchy, waxing lasts longer because the hair is pulled out directly from the follicle (dermis layer of the skin). She says you’ll see less hair growth over time and a decreased chance of those irritating ingrown hairs. April & Co. uses Nufree wax, a safe, soy-based antimicrobial liquid hair removal system that left my skin silky and smooth to the touch. Much to my surprise, it was not painful at all. This brand, I was told, completely uproots the entire bulb and hair shaft. It won’t dry or stick to your skin, so there is no pain, stretching or tearing of the skin that true wax can cause. It wasn’t until mid-tropical vacation that I came to fully appreciate my waxing service. I had no shaving hassles, nicks or razor burn to reckon with. In fact, every day spent in my bathing suit was smooth sailing.