Who knew that the formerly demure Pinay, once hesitant to shave her leg hair or depilate her balbon arms and slight mustache would take to the Brazilian (wax, not model) like a plucked duck to water? The result: a rapid growth in Brazilian waxing services folliculating all over the city as part of spa and salon menus and even as standalone shops. Strip off your inhibitions and repeat after me: "Hair-free is carefree" in salons from Las Piñas to Boracay.
Lay Bare Waxing SalonBranches: Abad Santos, Aguirre, Banawe, Buendia, Commonwealth, Congressional, Filmore, Katipunan, Las Piñas, Libis, SM Fairview, and Ybardaloza. Visit www.lay-bare.com/locations.php.
Contact info: (0917) LAY-BARE, www.lay-bare.com
Operation Hours: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily
How much to shell out: P500
The lowdown: "Worried about horror stories where first-time hot waxers ended up with burnt skin, I was sold on Lay Bare's cold wax jelly made of sugar, calamansi, and honey. I was horrified nevertheless: there were so many customers during my first visit that I noticed the waxing bed was unkempt, with curly hairs everywhere! I informed the owner about it, and she personally contacted me to apologize. They've improved their cleanliness since then. A lot of my friends are now loyal customers. Lay Bare is like the value meal of waxing salons, complete with frequent flyer and discount cards."
The verdict: Best price tag, cold wax technique, informative website, wide list of branches
Brazilian BareAddress: Heaven on the 5th, 5/F Rustan's Ayala Center, Makati
Contact info: (0922) 444-8498, (0920) 431-3087, (0923) 593-6737
Operation Hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
How much to shell out: P755
The lowdown: "Rose the waxer didn't waste any time. As soon as I dropped trou, her wham-bam-thank-you ma'am approach jolted me into painful attention. I was used to the medico-verbal foreplay of The Strip, but Rose skipped the small talk and dived straight into the main event and pulled her cloth strips, fast-and-furious style. Although I was a bit shell-shocked by her speed, she was done in 15 minutes flat, thereby quickening, instead of prolonging the pain. Although she gave me no post-Brazilian care, she gave me a tip: Touch your knees together when you pee to avoid the requisite post-Brazilian splattering."
The verdict: Swift, no-frills service corresponding to the affordable price, beachy-bare and very modest interiors, two booths closed by curtains, clean-enough but not spic 'n' span rooms, very basic lotions and potions.
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PiandréBranches: Greenhills, Timog, Greenbelt, Salcedo Village, Del Monte, Libis, San Juan, Ayala Avenue, and Alabang. Visit www.piandre.com/locators.htm for a complete list of addresses and contact numbers.
Contact info: www.piandre.com
Operation Hours: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily
How much to shell out: P865
The lowdown: "I go to the Libis branch and I always look for Eden–she's the best! They use a hot wax technique that doesn't involve cloth strips. They tug off the hair using the hot molded wax. It's true when they say that waxing eventually gets less painful when you get used to it. I've been getting my Brazilian done here for three years and I now feel no more pain." *
The verdict: *Professional waxers, swift service, convenient locations
Suriya SpaBranches: Makati, Frontera Verde, Hotel InterContinental Manila, Holiday Inn & Crowne Plaza Galleria, and Club Oasis. Visit www.suriyaspa.com/contact_us.html for a complete list of addresses and contact numbers.
Contact info: (0917) 853-7767, www.suriyaspa.com
Operation Hours: varies per branch
How much to shell out: about P1,100 for regular Brazilian, P1,400 for painless Brazilian
The lowdown: "For an additional P300, I opted for the "painless" Brazilian service where they use a "painless" cream. I knew it was too good to be true–pain is pain, cream or not. You're better off saving P300 and popping a pain reliever tablet an hour before the wax job. But I still prefer this spa for my Brazilian because I love their oriental ambience and facilities."
The verdict: High-class spa amenities, relaxing interiors, professional service
Spa Du Soleil Home Service Areas covered: Makati, Taguig (BGC), San Juan, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasay, Binondo, Manila, Parañaque, and Alabang.
Contact info: (02) 381-9242 / (0922) 430-4999 / (0921) 257-6999 / (0915) 212-7999; www.soleil.ph
Operation Hours: 1-10p.m. daily
How much to shell out: P800
The lowdown: "For the busy girl! Call for therapists to come to your doorstep with the whole caboodle: Mediterranean decor, portable music players, potpourri, and massage beds with fresh linen. Although their specialty is massage and scrubs, I was satisfied with the waxing service. It saved me from worrying about gas, traffic, road rage, and parking."
The verdict: Trustworthy home service, flexible equipment, friendly attendants
Basement SalonBranches: 2/F Power Plant Mall Rockwell Makati; EDSA Shangri-La Mall Carpark, EDSA
Contact info: Rockwell Center: (02) 899-6666, (02) 898-2222; EDSA Shangri-La: (02) 638-2222, (02) 638-6666; www.basementsalon.com
Operation Hours: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily
How much to shell out: P950 for women, P1,500 for men
The lowdown: "Traumatized by hot waxing salons that left me with burned skin, I asked for their cold wax technique. It soothes skin upon contact, so it felt more pleasant. Although some of my friends still prefer traditional hot wax to cold wax, I can't see myself going anywhere else for my Brazilian. The EDSA Shangri-La branch has private, closed-door rooms for the waxing service, unlike other crowded salons where customers are separated by only curtains."
The verdict: Private closed-door rooms, cold wax technique, good service
California Nails & Day SpaBranches: Magallanes, Market! Market!, Libis, SM Pasig, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Midtown, Festival Supermall, Cityland 10, BF Homes Pergola Mall, and Mall of Asia (opening on April 16). Visit www.californianailsanddayspa.com for a complete list of addresses and contact numbers.
Contact info: (02) 820-1569, www.californianailsanddayspa.com
Operation Hours: varies per branch
How much to shell out: P700
The lowdown: "I prefer the Galleria branch where resident waxer Hannah is the pro. She has a very light touch and does an excellent job. Even the post-wax plucking doesn't hurt as much. As for the interiors, although others may like their corporate-looking uniformed technicians and Paris Hilton-esque purple and pink interiors meant to look like a Beverly Hills salon, I personally find it a bit tacky. I'm really happy with their service, so I guess I can look past the interiors."
The verdict: Excellent waxing service, professional attendants
StripAddress: 2/F The Plaza at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City Taguig; 4/F Greenbelt 5 Ayala Center, Makati
Contact info: (02) 856-9145, www.strip.com.sg
Operation Hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
How much to shell out: P1,800 for women and P2,500 for men
The lowdown: "Entering The Strip was like getting the key to the latest, hippest club. Clad in white uniforms and medical gloves, the attendees, a.k.a. "Striperellas"–some former nurses or nursing graduates–explain the process each step of the way, so the whole experience feels like a routine medical procedure rather than a shameful sin. Mine handed me a hygiene pack including wet wipes for that uh, clean, feminine feeling; instructed me to lie on a bed covered with my own disposable bedsheet; and talked me through the "procedure" so there were no surprises. The international chain guarantees absolutely no double dipping of spatulas, and the use of high-grade waxes and post-care creams–all in 15 minutes flat. Clients claim that their service is really pain-free, to thus the steep price. I did experience some degree of pain, but because my Striperella instantly soothed each just-waxed area with a cold minty compress, the pain was minimized."
The verdict: The Rolls Royce of waxing is worth the high price. Funky modern interiors, medically trained waxers, impeccable sanitation, almost painless waxing job, swift and professional service, witty and informative website.
Neo Day SpaBranches: Bonifacio Global City, Greenhills, and Boracay
Contact info: Bonifacio Global City: (02) 815-8233, (02) 815-6948; Greenhills: (02) 584-6789, (02) 584-6066; Boracay: (036) 506-3131; www.neo.ph
Operation hours: varies per branch
How much to shell out: P 950
The lowdown: "Waxing newbies will find a trip to Neo Day Spa a comforting initiation to the way of the Brazilian. If the zen-like interiors don't calm you, then the step-by-step explanation of the procedure will assail any fears and inhibitions. Nora, Neo's expert waxer, asked me to shower beforehand and gave me a relaxing ten-minute back massage inside a closed-door, clean private room. A numbing cream was applied to the private area, and while we waited for the cream to work its magic, Nora gave me a head massage (or you may choose a hand massage instead) that made the experience feel more comforting. Nora worked fast with the hot wax sans cloth strips. Her professional bedside manner further calms you, and even told me I can go swimming the next day. She applied post-waxing cream after and sent me a glass of cold tea as I changed into my clothes, ready to go outside, hair-free."
The verdict: Professional waxing and the pampering make a Brazilian waxing trip almost feel like a spa experience.
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Nail-to-Toe SpaAddress: 127 Tia Maria Bldg. CV Starr Avenue, Philam Las Piñas
Contact info: (02) 872-4987, http://nailtotoe.multiply.com
Operation Hours: Mondays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Fridays to Sundays, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
How much to shell out: P550 for Brazilian, P650 for Playboy, and P650 for Sphinx
The lowdown: "From their menu I chose "The Sphinx" aptly named after a hairless cat. The friendly attendant prepped my, ahem, area of responsibility with a pre-depilating lotion to numb the skin. After waxing, she applied another cream to ease the pain and redness. After the service, she handed me a leaflet with post-wax care instructions. Talk about value-added service. Friends swear they've turned into the cat's meow after giving the Sphinx a try."
The verdict: Convenient location for Southern dwellers, friendly staff, good service, wide array of waxing creams.
Photos by Emilio Esguerra.