Sandwiched between a specialty cake shop and a run-down convenience store on Sunset you will find Stark Waxing Studio, an upscale-ish “waxing only” salon that boasts the “Best Brazilian Wax in Los Angeles” (as deemed by Los Angeles Magazine’s “Best of LA” issue). Lucky Magazine also listed Stark as one of the top waxing salons in Los Angeles.
I don’t know the particular qualifications a salon must surpass to win the title of “Best Brazilian,” but after hearing this claim I knew I had to find out. Keep in mind, this is not this dancer’s first glide across a freshly buffed dance floor. I have endured many professional waxing services before my visit to Stark, but nothing I could ever describe as “the best.”
So in pursuit of the “Best Brazilian” and other hair removal endeavors, I began my preparations a little over two weeks ago, growing out all of the hair below my waist, a rather easy feat to accomplish when you are sans boyfriend like me, by-the-way. For best results, you are supposed to allow about four weeks of growth before waxing. Otherwise, the hair grows back faster, it might not as easily grip the wax, and your esthetician is going to have go back and do a lot more tweezing after. However, living in jeans, leggings and opaque tights is not a great way to kick off the summer. Almost every day this week I have attempted to put on a dress or skirt only to look down in horror at my Sasquatch legs. I could wait no longer.
After more than two grueling weeks in the Leg and Bikini Hair Hall of Shame, and just in time for the long 4th of July weekend, the day of my appointment finally arrived. A few days before, I called Stark and booked the “Lower Leg” and the “Partial Brazilian.” I chose these two services because: 1. I don’t actually grow visible hair above my knees, and 2. I fear the kind of deep intimacy required for a “Full Brazilian.”
The salon itself appropriately matches its name. The lobby is filled with candles and products you can purchase, but other than that is sleek, simple and modern. The receptionist was friendly and I did not have to wait more than five minutes for my esthetician, Jill to emerge from the back and call my name. Jill escorted me into a very clinical room, similar to the kind you would see in nicer spas around town. It was very clean and not too cold. She left the room so that I could undress below the waist and lay on the table with nothing but a small, white towel covering my girl parts.
Jill began the service with the Brazilian wax, explaining to me that Stark only uses what they call “hard wax” for the bikini area. Hard wax is pleasingly warm, dark green and doesn’t require strips of muslin to be removed. Once the strip dried and hardened, she asked me to inhale then exhale while she gripped it and ripped it. She explained that the benefit of hard wax is that it doesn’t stick to your skin as much as traditional wax, therefore it is much less painful. For the legs she used a more traditional cream based wax and muslin strips. The entire visit took no longer than an hour.
There are two reasons why I think Stark certainly deserves the title of “Best Brazilian.” The first is their use of “hard wax” for sensitive areas. This definitely made a huge difference. The amount of pain I experienced compared to other salons was significantly diminished. Don’t get me wrong, it still stings like a nest of angry hornets, but the pain is much more tolerable than with traditional wax. The second reason is their staff of experienced estheticians. Jill is a seasoned pro and it shows. She told me that Stark only hires estheticians with years of experience – and I don’t have to tell you fine readers that, when it comes to paying a stranger to do stuff below your waist, you want someone down there who knows what the hell they are doing.
Stark’s prices are typical for the level of service that you receive – not cheap, but for something you only need to do once a month and performed by experts – not nail technicians – it is a price I am willing to pay. The total for my two services combined (with tip): $100.
For those of you kickin’ it with a Y chromosome, they do “manscaping” too – offering back waxing, sideburns and even a full Brazilian especially for men. I don’t know for sure what areas they wax for a full male Brazilian, but I bet it taint pretty.
When I told my friend Claire about the full Brazilian wax for men, she said it best, “Ughhh, my balls hurt just thinking about it.”
3335 W. Sunset Blvd (between Micheltorena and Descanso) http://www.starkwaxingstudio.com/ There is also a location in West Hollywood