Last week I went to Cleveland for the Cosmoprof Fashion Focus hair, skin, and nails show. I charge myself to attend twice-yearly continuing education in order to provide the latest, greatest, and best to my clients in the hair and skin/waxing room at Blush.
I perform so many Brazilians each week on clients - as many as any other body wax I offer- so I wanted to make sure to attend a workshop-based class where live demonstrations were performed by a National Educator. I feel incredibly comfortable with my service and skill in that area, but given the nature of a Brazilian wax and the vulnerability clients experience while receiving one, I feel it of utmost importance to continuously update my knowledge of techniques and products used when performing one.
Allow me to paint the picture:
It was mid-morning, and folks began to file in the room for the waxing class. I'm one of those who sits in the front of the class for everything - I don't want to miss a thing! But much to my surprise it was everyone else in the class who got a front row seat to me on the table that day. Yes, in what I've since considered to be a possible lapse of consciousness, humanity, and sense, I volunteered to be the model for the Brazilian wax portion of the class.
I did not wake up that morning thinking I'd do such a crazy thing. These classes are run like a well-orchestrated seminar and they come prepared with their models and any necessary participants. But I suppose it's not easy to secure models for Brazilians, and I'd also imagine that many who may initially agree would change their mind last minute. If I had been given more than a minute to run my crazy decision through my fear-based processors, I can assure you I too would have backed out.
The class was packed and the educator informed us that she did not have a model for the Brazilian portion of the class. She asked if anyone would be willing to volunteer and the entire room sat in silence. Crickets. I mean, picture a classroom-style setting with massively bright fluorescent lights above, and not even as much as a screen or curtain to stand behind to remove clothing. Oh- and then there's the part where all 50 people come up and stand around the table as your most private part is freed of its hair. It's a bonus I guess, that as the model, you're also freed of any sense of privacy, discretion or humility. No one is crazy enough to volunteer for something like that.
Except me, I guess. In the moments of silence when absolutely no one was willing to volunteer I kept thinking of 2 things:
1) There is NO BETTER way to learn than with a live demo. Brazilian waxing is a service of high-demand, and our clients pay a premium to receive this service in the most professional and clean environment. There is no better teacher than seeing step-by-step how the procedure should be handled in order to maintain the highest level of professionalism and cleanliness.
2) Our client's bodies give us feedback. We can see when something is more painful and make adjustments. We can see when skin looks dehydrated and may be more sensitive. We know when certain techniques and different waxes are better for a particular area, body shape, or skin type. This knowledge is so rarely taught, though. It's most always gained through experience. And it's this nuanced, subtle, tribal knowledge that differentiates a waxing specialist's service level.
So what can you really learn in a class where techniques are discussed and not shown? When everything is hypothetical? Not much more than you could learn by staying at home and reading your school textbook.
Our industry is filled with incredibly gifted skin care and waxing specialists who are desperate for advanced education regarding Brazilians. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have learned from many exceptional sources. So many of the folks in that classroom needed to see a live model to take their waxing skills from 'just alright' to 'superior'. And they deserve the opportunity to get to that level. This is what initially sparked the thought to volunteer. A bit of a "take one for the team" or "for the sake of education" mentality.
From a selfish perspective, I sold myself on the idea that there's also no better way to learn than to receive a Brazilian wax. What does it feel like when this technique is used versus this technique? Is the pain decreased? Is my comfort level increased? Did it take less time? Was it thorough in its removal of hair? Oh, the benefits of having a 25-year veteran perform a Brazilian on me, I thought. That would be wonderful! I could take away a real understanding of what my clients experience when I carry through the very techniques she would utilize on me.
And then I channeled my clients. I thought of them and their continued dedication to me month in and month out. They trust me to perform this service and there is nothing more I want than to continue to make them feel as comfortable as possible. This would be for them, I thought. I'd do it for them.
And just like that, my hand went up and my pants came down.
The class attendees were so respectful, so warm, and so kind. A true indication of the incredible people who commit themselves to this industry and line of work. There was actually a gentleman in the class who remained in his seat rather than coming up around the table. I happened to notice him at one point and I said, "You don't want to come over here?" And he said, "I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable." No one asked him to stay over there - that was just the courtesy he extended. And I said, "Thank you so much for being so thoughtful. But really - there are 49 people over here looking at my vagina - come on over." Such incredible people. Who thankfully indulge humor in times of need.
So what did I learn from my experience? Here are a few things I can't wait to share with my clients:
1) We are absolutely doing it right by applying pressure to the skin after wax pulls. I wasn't so lucky as a model, and my nerve endings were screaming for a diversion. The reason I apply pressure is backed by science: after I remove a wax strip the brain sends pain signals to the area. When I quickly apply pressure I intercept as many of those signals as possible and tell the brain to feel my hand rather than the pain. It's a good practice that I will continue to follow.
2) I will continue to remove all hair from the buttocks with my Brazilians. Not just the 1 strip around the anus. If you want your hair removed from your region down below, you want the hair removed from your buttock cheeks, too. I don't charge extra and won't. We're there, we're waxing, and we might as well get it all. Not to mention my clients unanimously agree that it doesn't hurt at all.
3) I will always create the most comfortable, soothing environment in which to perform your wax. I will be clinical in my approach and uphold the most stringent sanitation practices, of course. But I won't make you lay on a bare table with bright fluorescent lights over you, without a drape sheet for discretion. In the winter months I have a nice, warm pad you can have under your back or around your neck. I also have lovely feet warmers that clients can wear while I wax. I'm all about comfort, comfort, comfort.
4) One thing I will do differently, however, is ask for your help more. I always ask my clients to help pull their skin tight on the upper pubic mound waxing, but I rarely ask to help with thighs and labia separation. In some cases, I believe having you help more will actually decrease your discomfort. And for that reason entirely, I'll engage you for more help. That's one thing the educator did have me do and it made a big difference in my experience.
5) I learned about 2 incredible products - one that treats ingrown hairs anywhere on the body, and one that retards the growth of the hair by starving the cells of nutrients it needs to grow healthy new hair. It actually shrinks the root bulb and diameter of the hair which means when the hair regrows and we remove it, it will release easier and you'll experience less discomfort. I am so pleased to now carry these products at Blush!
6) Most of all, I was able to identify with what I imagine a first-time client feels. I remember my first time but I had forgotten the feelings of anxiousness, embarrassment, worry and fear. This experience made me feel all of the above, and I've written this to keep as a continuous reminder.
My Brazilian waxes typically take about 30 minutes. Sometimes 45 minutes for a first-time client. We have as much fun as possible and the feedback that I hear time and time again is that it feels so wonderful to be hair-free it's worth every moment of discomfort.
And speaking of discomfort, let me share what my clients experience and to what they attest:
- The pain is very quick and fleeting. And I use the most incredible soothing antimicrobial cream that immediately feels like the most glorious thing. Any lingering discomfort vanishes.
- The pain is more significant in the upper pubic mound region, and in the labia. The mid-region, anus, and buttocks are a piece of cake.
Of course everyone is different and discomfort varies. But overall, it's a pleasant experience and the feeling of cleanliness and freedom from what many clients feel is odor-trapping hair, is worth it entirely.
I've extended my hours the week of October 11-15, 2016 to create more openings for Brazilian wax treatments. And I'm offering a special rate of $45 for a Brazilian this week only, for new clients or returning clients. (Normally $65 and $55 for return within 4-6 weeks!) Keep in mind also, that I don't charge extra for buttock cheek hair removal. It's included in my price.
Here's to doing things that make us vulnerable. And feel scary. Here's to continuing education. And taking one for the team. And to feeling incredibly smooth, clean and free! And here's to you. Thank you to all who visit me at Blush and all who I hope to meet soon.
Call or text 614-915-1658 to schedule your special rate appointment October 11-15, or schedule online!
Welcome to the Blush blog! I'm Jenn, the owner and provider of all services at Blush Studio. I'm a ferocious learner and crazy passionate about my work - so this is where I'll share every bit of knowledge I can about skin, hair, waxing, and other feel-good stuff. Thanks for joining me!