Oh look at me, posting two days in a row! Don’t worry, I won’t make it a habit. But this is in response to a conversation I have been having with one of my readers (okay, she’s one of my friends, but doesn’t ‘reader’ sound so professional and cool?). I wrote this little story/product review 2 years ago – before I started blogging. My hair-removal conversation with my reader-friend reminded me of it, so I thought I’d share it here.
I decided to try a new leg waxing product this week. (Okay, good-bye, men. Thank you for joining us, brief as it was.) The product itself may or may not be new, but I’d never tried it before, so it was therefore new to me. And since I clearly have nothing better to do, I’ve decided to share my delightful experience with you.
I’ve used a wide variety of leg-waxing products over the years. My first ever waxing experience was when I was in my mid-teens on a summer mission trip. A bunch of the girls on the team decided that we would grow our leg hair all summer and wax our legs together at the end of the trip. We were very stupid. Why did we think it was a good idea to develop ape-legs during the season of shorts and bathing suits? We were supposed to be promoting Jesus, not evolution! I sigh and shake my head. And I apologize to our poor team leader, a quiet, unassuming 19-year-old hottie on whom we all (dare I speak for all of us? I dare!) had a serious crush, who tried all summer to avert his eyes – not unlike one peeks cringingly through one’s fingers during the grisly murder scenes in a teen horror movie. Could this be the reason he didn’t marry any of us? Yes, let’s go with that.
I was ready to quit long before the appointed hour when all of the girls were to join together in the cult-like bonding ritual of doing violence to our bodies and then consoling each other. I decided to stand alone in my fight against King Kong appendages. I purchased a waxing kit. I stayed up very late one night, much to the chagrin of my roommate. I waxed my legs by myself. Well, one leg anyway. Maybe just a few random patches of one leg. It’s kind of foggy now. I do remember having to shave both legs the next morning, which is against the waxing rules, but I naively thought I would never attempt such self-inflicted carnage again so I might as well shave and be done with it all.
My product of choice, that first time, was a tub of wax and some cloth strips. The wax didn’t need to be heated (which is why I chose that particular brand, since we were staying in a stranger’s house and I didn’t want to explain the late-night beeping of their microwave) and the strips were re-useable. Moot point. This is probably the most economical type of product, but not a good idea for the waxing virgin. It’s messy, it’s sticky, it needs to be applied evenly, and it should probably be used in a bathroom with a tile floor – not a carpeted, dimly-lit bedroom. It took me a very long time to accomplish very little. I sat for torturous, drawn-out intervals before yanking off each strip, just trying to get up the nerve to pull hard and fast. Still today, it’s the anticipation of the pain that is worse than the pain itself. I should just hire someone ruthless to do it for me. I have never been ruthless (right, Mom?).
As with most things that don’t live up to the hype on the first try, I did eventually decide to give it another go. And it went well enough that I’ve become rather competent (if not quick) at accomplishing the goal of hair removal. I’ve even gotten used to the pain – but not the anticipation thereof. Pain, after all, is relative. I’ve given birth without so much as a Tylenol. And that experience didn’t even leave me with sexy, smooth legs – this apparently is true of most childbirth experiences, and yet no one ever tells expectant mothers that after all that pain, their legs will still be hairy! But that tirade is better saved for my Women’s Right to Full Disclosure march on Parliament Hill.
Let’s return to the topic at hand. Different kinds of leg wax. As previously noted, I’ve tried wax that can be used at room temperature. It was not a very successful endeavour. I’ve used waxes that need to be applied warm. This, in my opinion, gives the skin a false sense of security. I’ve used waxes that need to be applied hot. At least with a hot wax, the message to your skin is loud and clear: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” I’ve used all-natural, honey-like products that you can also eat. (So if I’m ever stranded on a deserted island with nothing but a leg-waxing kit, at least I’ll be able to survive. Or maybe I’ll opt for smooth legs since I’m going to be spending so much time on the beach.) I’ve used the pre-waxed strips. These are by far the easiest, but also the costliest method.
And on Wednesday of this week, I tried a wax that dries so you can pull it off by itself. No cloth or paper strips! I was intrigued by the idea. I was lured by the 50% off sticker. I was deeply perplexed and disturbed by the instructions, which I didn’t read until after I had already paid for the final-sale product. The wax needed to be heated very specifically. There was a chart to help me determine the appropriate amount of time the wax should be in the microwave, depending on whether the microwave is 650 watts or 750 watts. My microwave is 1050 watts. I was also instructed to use a watch to time the heating in case the timer on the microwave isn’t exact. Seriously. So I figured that 70% power was close enough to 750 watts and I assumed my microwave timer is also close enough to exact. It wasn’t. So then I just went with 100% power for another 15 seconds. Whatever.
The wax was to be applied with the enclosed wooden stick and left until “dry to the touch”. I figured I could be very efficient and apply a second strip of wax while the first was drying. The instructions did not tell me to do this. Maybe it can be done if one is quick about it, but I am not quick. I should know this by now. The first strip wasn’t thick enough, so it didn’t hold together when I tried to pull it off. I had to scrape most of it off with my fingernails. By then, the second strip had hardened so much that it was no longer pliable and it just cracked and shattered. But still, I persisted in my theory that I could be done so much faster if I always had two strips on the go. I just had to get the right thickness. I stubbornly kept trying to get it right until the first leg was done. And by “done”, I mean that every inch of my leg was blotchy red and felt like it was on fire and yet it still had a disturbing amount of hair. I contemplated quitting.
But to be fair to the product (and because I really couldn’t stomach the idea of being beaten by a tub of sickly purple goo – yes, it’s purple. Sorry to change your mental picture mid-story), I soldiered on. For leg number two, I decided to stick more closely to the instructions. I did it one strip at a time. And I did actually get into a good rhythm of slapping it on and yanking it off as soon as it was dry but before it was cold. It worked! I did it! And I actually finished with some degree of confidence that I might use the product again. But I wasn’t about to throw out all this wax that could clearly be melted down and re-used. So I swept up all the hair-embedded strips and squished them back into the tub. This step of the procedure is not recommended for professional salons.
The instructions stated that there would be some residual bits of wax left on the skin. These could be removed by picking at them with fingernails, or with some cotton and baby oil. I chose to just shave them off, since there were enough random hairs still present that I would need to shave anyway. This was not a good idea. Now all four blades of my razor are completely gunked up with chunks of purple wax. And, in attempting to be aggressive with a particularly large “residual bit”, I also managed to remove a sizeable portion of my flesh. It’s true what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. For before Wednesday, I had never noticed any particular fondness for that specific chunk of my leg, but now that it’s absent, I really do miss it!
And so ends this review of a product whose brand I can’t even recall. How’s that for helpful? Tune in next time for a descriptive warning about what happens to your face when you wash it with a scrub that’s meant for your body.
Note from March 2012: I have not used that tub of purple goo again. I should throw it out.
Another note: Probably none of you have noticed this, so I’ll point it out because I’m greatly amused by it and I just want to share the joy – I’m categorizing this under “Personal Growth”. Tee hee!