Wax on, wax off: Where to prep for swimsuit season in D.C.

I’m beginning to suspect the girls above had it easier—at least when it came to their bikini zones (I get to vote). But once summer is in full-swing, a lot of us modern girls will be opting for bikini waxes or Brazilians. To help you eschew razor burn, Vox can provide you with a few suggestions.

To me, a good waxing experience is thorough and takes place in a comfortable setting (so, not in dead silence), and is preferably inexpensive. D.C. isn’t a cheap place to live, so it’s no surprise that most salons don’t offer a flat rate for their waxing services. Instead, most allow their technicians to charge fees for the “aesthetics” of the job on top of their starting rate, a subjective process that tends to result in arbitrary costs.

Below are two places I’d recommend (and by all means, tell us where you go in the comments section), and two places I would avoid at all costs.

The Best

Joy’s Nail Salon and Spa – 2471 18th Street NW

Pros: With bikini waxes starting at $25 and Brazilians at $45, Joy’s is a steal in D.C. But Joy’s is the best of the best largely thanks to its chief technician, who goes by Joy. An eager and interesting conversationalist, she was especially good to the first-timers I came with back in the Fall (Noobs: taking Tylenol about a half hour before your technician goes to work might help).

Even for old hats, there’s nothing like getting life advice and waxed simultaneously. Joy’s technicians are thorough (a Brazilian won’t come out looking like just a more serious bikini wax) and in 2008, Washington City Paper readers voted it the best place to get a manicure and pedicure to boot.

Cons: It’s located in Adams Morgan.

Georgetown Aveda – 1325 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Pros: Not only are its technicians thorough, they know skin. And not in a self-promotional, “we have a product to help you maintain your results” way. Without prompting, they’ll suggest an over-the-counter product for any skin issue waxing may leave you with. If you can make it to Aveda before June 9 or go after July 23, ask for Abla. She loves skincare, and her smarts and background make for very stimulating conversation. On my last trip, she handed me a copy of the Post and had me read an article (while she waxed) so we could discuss it (while she waxed).

Cons: With Brazilians starting at $60 a pop and bikini waxes starting at $40 (they charge for aesthetics, but not as mercilessly as Tara, below), services here come tres cher. Their touch-up service, however, will only run you $15—convenient for impromptu summer trips to the beach.

Avoid!

Vivvy’s Nails – 1203 Potomac Street NW

Cons: Despite its enticingly low prices, Vivvy’s seems to guarantee a bad experience. Several patrons beside me report that its lone techinician has gotten off to false starts while ripping the waxing strips, which is exactly as painful as it sounds. In the only experience I ever had at Vivvy’s, the technician ‘held things in place’ between nearly every rip, which was frankly unsettling. Some have also complained that the place has an unsanitary vibe.

Pros: The prices are low—but not low enough, considering that the results will have even those lucky enough to have a normal waxing experience saying, “You missed a spot,” and in need of a touch up within ten days’ time. Bikini waxes are $25 and Brazilians $35, with discounts if you come early in the morning.

Tara Salon and Spa – 2715 M Street NW

Cons: It’s a hike to get to Tara. Once you do, don’t expect its staff to be friendly. Rather, expect its hairdressers to give you their cards and its waxing specialists to hawk the store’s products. Its aesthetics charges are arbitrary and unforgiving, and the service isn’t necessarily worth it. Bikini waxes tend to come out fine, but the salon’s Brazilians look about the same.

Pros: Brazilians start at $55 and bikinis at $30, but that doesn’t include the hefty extra charges. There’s not a lot about this salon to recommend it. I say pass.

Photo taken from Flickr user nadja.robot using a Creative Commons license.

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