By Cindy Augustine

Short of a visit to a gynecologist, nothing can prepare a woman for the level of intimacy involved in a bikini wax. The good news is, each experience makes the pain a little less and the trust level a little greater. Finding a good esthetician is key, as the process is both torturous and insanely intimate. Enter Lura Jones, Head Esthetician at Stark Wax Studio . Both Lura and Stark are new to NYC (you can currently find them in Silver Lake and Hollywood, California), yet there’s no doubt they’ll both be quite a popular pair of transplants. Lura, the expert (and speedy!) waxer that she is, not to mention all-around cool chick, was kind enough to answer some of our wackiest waxing questions. Read on for her honest replies:

Is there anything we should do to prepare for a bikini wax? Does using an exfoliating cloth or scrub really help?
Make sure your hair is at least a 1/4 of an inch long. If you normally shave, stop three weeks before coming in for a bikini wax. Also, you should use a scrub, loofah or exfoliating mitt for the weeks preceding your appointment to work out any existing ingrown hairs and to make sure you get the best results. It’s a good idea to take some ibuprofen about 45 minutes before your appointment, too.

What’s the difference between hard wax and soft wax? (Read: which hurts less?)
Well, hard wax is amazing on coarse hair and in sensitive areas because as it cools and hardens it grabs the hair and lifts up off of the skin, so when it is removed it only grabs the hair and doesn’t pull on the skin. Most people find it to be far less painful. It can only be applied in small sections or it will break, so it is not efficient to use on larger areas of the body (like legs). Soft wax is applied and removed with some form of cloth. It is great at grabbing finer hairs and works much better on large areas of the body. It cannot be reapplied to the same spot more than once because it removes more layers of dead skin than hard wax. Also, hard wax leaves no sticky residue, so it is easier to clean up than soft wax.

What’s the longest amount of time you recommend people go between waxes?
I recommend coming in every three to six weeks for regular waxing appointments. A person can wait longer than six weeks, but they run the risk that the waxing experience will be more uncomfortable for them.

Are we crazy to think that waxing is something that can be done at home?
It’s not a great idea. As simple as waxing seems when you see an experienced professional doing it, it actually takes quite a bit of skill. If you don’t know what you are doing you can bruise yourself, burn yourself and lift skin. I’ve had many clients try waxing at home when they were attempting to save money and they always come back to me with disastrous stories.

If you do want to DIY wax, read this first!

What’s a way to avoid a painful wax experience? How do we know if our esthetician is doing a good job?
Research! If you haven’t been waxed before make sure you are going to the best possible waxer you can find. Ask your friends, research on the internet, call and ask the salon what type of wax they use and how much experience the esthetician has. Steer clear of nail salon waxing. Find someone who specializes in only waxing.

How do you feel about Nair?
I used it in middle school on my legs. I tried using it again in my 20’s and burned my underarms. It smells bad, it’s messy and it’s dangerous if you have sensitive skin. I don’t recommend putting chemicals on your skin if you don’t have to.

Will even a good (translation: expensive!) wax still result in ingrown hairs?
If you are prone to ingrown hairs, even a good wax can’t change that. You need to be dry exfoliating at home and using a topical cream or lotion that prevents and heals ingrown hairs. Don’t do home surgery! You don’t want sores or scars in your bikini area.

How to prevent and treat ingrown hairs!

If someone wants a shape, like a heart, should they have most of their hair grown out before coming in?
I don’t do fancy shapes. I stick with the classics… landing strip, triangle, patch.

What’s the worst thing to do before getting wax? For example does being hung-over make us more sensitive to pain?
Drinking caffeine, getting no sleep, being hung-over, PMS and shaving will all make waxing more uncomfortable.

What’s your nightmare in terms of a client? A loud screamer?
I got kicked in the face once— that was pretty bad. Screaming is stressful for me and the people in the waiting area. Mostly I just can’t stand clients that are late for their appointments.

Are you worried that lasers will take over? Seems less and less people are waxing these days.
I have no immediate concern about that. They have not perfected the art of hair removal with lasers yet and it is rare that someone gets a perfect result. Getting laser hair removal is time-consuming, painful and expensive. Someday the technology will probably affect my business, but I haven’t had that problem yet. I do recommend a couple laser treatments to clients with a lot of hair and serious ingrown hair problems. It makes their regular waxing services much easier for them.

This is a little random, but we’re curious: can you wax yourself?
I wax myself. I am a horrible client. I prefer to not make other estheticians suffer with my low pain tolerance and my critical eye. It took years for me to be able to do a full Brazilian wax on myself. I would just take a little bit more hair off each month. It also involved flexibility and mirrors.

Everything you need to know about laser hair removal!

You can find Lura at Stark Waxing Studio at Sally Hershberger Face Place
425 West 14th Street
3rd floor