August 17, 2011
Php650 for underarm waxing
Strip (Greenbelt 5 and Serendra)
I admit, the only reason I've avoided waxing salons for this long was because of the horror stories I've heard so much about. In my stubbornness, I convinced myself I was better off with a little razor burn shaving my underarms at home than having my skin scalded or torn off from a wax job that might go awry. Walking into Strip Manila along Bonifacio High Street, I figured I should take baby steps, beginning with underarm waxing.
Inside, the walls are strewn with posters exclaiming the Singaporean import's Hygiene, Speed and Quality (HSQ) philosophy—something that they follow to the letter, as I found out for myself later on. They had all their bases covered when they handed me a sealed hygiene pack just for my individual session that included wet wipes, cotton buds, wooden spatulas and a new pair of latex gloves for my Striperella. I was led to a private room—a room, mind you, not some closed off cubicle separated by bead curtains or some-assembly-required dividers—that was cozy, well-lit and immaculately clean, but it did have space enough for a lamppost which I thought was a clever touch that tied into their Serendra branch's roadside theme.
But swanky digs and hip ambiance aside, it's their band of Striperellas that really made my first waxing experience a memorable one. Knowing I was waxing newbie, my Striperella cheerfully talked me through every step of the process—and like a Jedi mind trick, really helped settled my nerves and take my mind off what little pain there was. The session didn't take any longer than ten minutes, a testament to precisely how adept these women are at the task. Underarms don't give much ground to cover to begin with, but it did give me enough time to see first-hand how a Striperella wields every paddle with expert precision: In keeping with Strip Manila's promise, no spatula ever touched the hot wax pot twice. Its managing director Tab Abad was kind enough to clue me in to the fact that the temperature for hot wax to be able to kill bacteria has to be at a searing 90°C, putting to rest all those myths about supposedly safe double dipping.
That's not to say there isn't a mild sting involved, but barely at par with a heavy slap on the wrist. Even if you have a low threshold for pain like I do, it's probably just the surprise from tugging off the wax that's going to catch you off guard more than anything else. The one or two wayward strands that were missed were thoroughly plucked off with tweezers.
But I would be remiss if I didn't also attribute the fast wax job to Strip Manila's Chocolate wax, which is formulated especially by their Singapore-based R&D team for sensitive complexions—a big comfort for those first-timers. Had I not known better, its sweet candy scent and thick consistency might have even passed for the real thing. No waxing strips in sight: Nicely warm on contact, the creamy wax cools within seconds and pulls off clean. None of those dried wax flakes clinging to your skin that needs to be picked off.
Post wax, she wiped down the skin with a blend of oils before applying a small dollop of their cleverly-named Ice Cream to counter any inflammation. The latter's moisturizing effects are surprisingly long-lasting and soothing on the hair roots, which I credit to the fact that there was zero redness or burning whatsoever later on. My back-up plan to head straight home just in case I'd feel uncomfortable afterward fizzled, seeing that there wasn't a twinge of itchiness hours after I left the concept wax salon and went about the rest of my morning. Better yet, the salve didn't leave that greasy film you might expect from most other lotions after a long day. I did make a point to be gentle while washing the newly-waxed surface, but even after I took a bath my underarms still felt supple and soft.
It's been over two weeks, and I'm still smooth and hair-free. True, I may have been spoiled by my short yet pampering wax initiation at Strip Manila, which ran against all my preconceived doubts and has since made a convert out of me. It may fall on the pricier side of the spectrum, but as a specialty hair removal salon, you definitely get what you pay for and is well worth turning into a grooming habit.
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