Going for a bikini wax is rarely a pleasant prospect. It’s an activity pursued overwhelmingly out of a grim sense of obligation, rather than opted for as a leisure pursuit – so, when STRIP Wax Bar claimed to be able to turn “the mundane and boring” (hair removal) “into a luxurious treat”, our interest was piqued. By Ellie Day
Launched in 2005 by sisters Maria Louise and Danielle Featherstone, the original STRIP bar in Notting Hill was born to address the fact that there were no other salons dedicated to high-end waxing alone. It’s this that takes the sting away from the whole experience at STRIP – they’re specialised in what they do: the beauticians are entirely dedicated to hair removal, whether through waxing or laser hair removal, giving you total confidence that you and your most delicate areas are in good hands. My beautician, Natasha, told me that she alone usually carries out around 12 Brazilian and Hollywood waxes a day, which is a lot of bikini lines tended to, by anyone’s standards.
The sense of STRIP as a place of luxury is impressed upon you by the beautiful surroundings – the front-of-house reception doubles up as a lingerie boutique, allowing you to peruse underwear and athleisure while waiting for your treatment. When you’re welcomed into your treatment room, you’ll see that it has its very own ‘theme’ – such as the Chocolate room, or the Mediterranean Olive room – and there’s a TV on the wall, allowing you to catch up on your favourite shows while you’re being epilated. Full disclosure: Love Island ran throughout my treatment, and the most shameful part of my waxing experience was that I didn’t change the channel.
The process of waxing itself was…surprisingly, as near to painless as you could expect. The salon uses Lycon Wax, a unique ingredient that cleverly shrinks around the hair to avoid the painful skin-ripping sensation we’re often subjected to, causing as little pain as is possible. The therapists are also trained to tell you exactly when to breathe in and out to minimise discomfort, which felt like a Damascus-like revelation. The wax comes in three scents – chocolate, berry or lavender – to make the whole process feel like a sensory experience, rather than the torturous trial we’re largely used to, and the treatment is followed by an application of Ingrown-X-IT Solution spray to prevent skin-irritating ingrown hairs.
With discerning names such as Victoria Beckham and the former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman counting among the salons’ clientele, it’s clear that the salon has earned its stripes as a place of prestige, and here at StyleAble we’ll be waxing lyrical about our experience for some time to come.