Memorial Day weekend is here! You're gonna honor our fallen servicemen and -women. You're gonna switch to white shoes. You're gonna obliterate any trace of hair from your nether regions, because all the cool kids are doing it. But into whose hands should you place your follicular fate?
New Yorkers jumped on the Brazilian wax bandwagon early, and have remained steadfast in their devotion throughout, even when those lame New Jersey politicos on the other side of the Hudson were rumbling about banning the whole thing. So the Big Apple naturally has tons of salons to choose from . . . and tons of salons to avoid. If you're not into double-dipping (so J'Aime on Madison Avenue is out, even if their girl Natasha is a "machine") or more excessive than usual-excessive pain, make a wise choice with our mini-guide.
55 West 8th Street, Manhattan
Eve, which recently moved from its coveted spot in Greenwich Village across from Magnolia Bakery, is almost universally adored. The motivation for much of this devotion? Maya, a hair-ripper-outter who is often booked solid. She's lauded by clients for her efficiency, delicacy, and readiness to answer questions. Another aesthetician, Zina, is also popular for her deft touch.
At $35 - $47 for a Brazilian or $19 - $37 for bikini waxes, prices are reasonable. Bonus: You can also get your "yummy trail," (which we suspect may be a typo for "tummy trail," although we sort of hope it's intentional) deforested for only $7!
J. Sisters Beauty Salon 35 W 57th Street
[Photos from J. Sisters]
J. Sisters is in a depilatory league of its own. Run by seven friends from Brazil, the salon was among the first - if not the first- in the US to offer the Brazilian back in 1987. Real Brazilians! Doing Brazilian waxes! Kate Winslet, Naomi Campbell, and Sarah Jessica Parker are among the spa's celeb visitors, and the salon founders have appeared on Oprah.
A waxing will set you back $75, but the popular and über-experienced wax queens on staff aren't your ordinary aestheticians. One of them, Janea Padilha, has actually written Brazilian Sexy, a book full of her own brand of philosophy. In an interview with the NYT earlier this spring, it almost seems as if she can see into our very souls. "They are insecure. All the women, from all over the world, they are a little scared about tomorrow,” she told the Times. That's some eerie-ass mind-reading, is what that is.
Serenity Beauty Spa
211 North 4th Street, Williamsburg
A Brazilian costs $40 at Serenity, a Williamsburg spa that draws Brooklyn hipsters from across the borough. The star attraction is Irina, a sweet waxer who doesn't get too chatty, but still makes the ladies who visit her feel at ease. Everyone we know with a fixie and unnaturally thick bangs goes here. Further evidence: Yelp users squeal, "Irina is an artist!" and "Irina is the Michael Jordan of waxing."
Avalon Salon & Day Spa 112 Christopher St
[Photos courtesy of Avalon]
The $40 price for a Brazilian is standard, but apparently the women on staff are anything but.Ask for Olga, Svetlana, or Agata at this spa, which has been recently wooing converts from Eve. Here again, Yelp brings us superlative quotes: "Agata flies to Brazil and back in 7 minutes with very little turbulence along the way. Absolute perfection! Nothing makes a girl feel better," crows one. (Sidenote: 7 MINUTES?) Swoons another: "[S]vetlana is the annie sullivan of bikini waxes - she is a miracle worker!"
3 Columbus Circle, Suite 730
[Photo via HauteMimi] This salon with several sites in the city is often listed as one of the top brow-shaping spots in New York. However, it got its swimsuit season fanbase by combining waxing with threading, doing a damn fine job at sugaring, and using latex-free gloves, and sprinkling everything in sight with rosewater. Ask for Jasmine, Promila, or Sima, but don't expect a shoulder to cry on - the staffers are apparently friendly and super-thorough, but won't turn all girly and huggy when you grit your teeth. WIth visits sold in discounted "six-packs," you can also save a buck as you prep for your bikini.
Good luck, girls! And remember: Brazilian waxes are good practice for other kinds of pain, like giving birth, or getting shot with a handgun.