I am generally wary of any treatment that merges the word vagina with another. "Vajazzling, vasparkling, va-anything" are all filed under things I don't need to have in common with Jennifer Love Hewitt. But as someone with woefully sensitive skin, I was intrigued when a treatment called a Vajacial promised to cure post-waxing irritation and in-grown hairs along the bikini line. Though the name might be misleading, the spa treatment trademarked by Stript Wax Bar  is actually just a facial for your bikini line and upper pelvic bone intended after a wax.
The four-step facial process promises to cure in-grown hairs, soothe screaming flesh that has just had its hair ripped out by hot wax, and treat discoloration due from years of hair-removal abuse. First an anti-bacterial cleanser is applied to prevent pimples, then a gentle papaya enzyme is used to dissolve dead skin cells in preparation for extractions (yep, it feels about as pleasant as it sounds), and finally lotions and peels and lightening creams are applied to calm and soothe your poor, traumatized capillaries. In short, it promises "glowing" skin. I've never thought much about the necessity of glowing bikini lines, but I have often questioned why I submit myself to 45 minutes of torturous waxing if all I'm left with is skin that looks like a sun-burnt, freshly plucked chicken's. Is that really better than some errant hairs?
Well, yes. Yes it is, says this backwards society curiously obsessed with various ways we can make ourselves as hairless as a seal pup. But that is really a topic for another post. For the purpose of this article, I am fully accepting the notion that there should nary be a hair out of place, whether that be the errant one under my eye brow arch or any generally covered by bathing suits and underwear.
Apparently the Vajacial has been around for a few years but I have never heard of it. Perhaps you have not either. Perhaps you need a brave soul to lead you to land of glowing bikini lines. That's me. Is it bravery or stupidity that allows me to admit on the Internet that my nether regions are consistently plagued with in-grown hairs and irritation from my hair-removal attempts? Again for the purpose of this post, I'm going with bravery. I'm practically a pioneer.
Anyway back to the review: Not only am I still, three weeks later, enjoying a flawless, baby-smooth, glowing bikini line (something that I don't think I've quite accomplished since I was a baby), but I learned a ton too. Such as what to talk about with your aesthetician for the 90 minutes that your crotch is under a spotlight of Broadway proportions, how you can get this treatment for practically free, and how to make the experience slightly less excruciating (hint it involves taking pills and drinking cocktails).
One of these days, I plan to write an etiquette book, but instead of covering things like dinner parties, debutante balls, or interviews, I'm going to write one on how to handle truly difficult situations, ones that require social grace of Olympic proportions. Like when you're getting vagina waxed by a lovely Ukranian woman whom you could see yourself getting coffee with if it hadn't been for the fact that she's getting paid to painstakingly remove your hair from your body's most intimate regions. What do you do in a situation like that? Where do you look? Where do you put your hands? What topics of conversation will adequately pass the time? A situation like this requires acrobatic etiquette skills and is a minefield of subtle human interaction.
All this and more will be covered in my forthcoming guide: Awkward Amy's Essential Rules for Navigating Life's Most Cringe-Worthy Encounters. Foreward by Emily Post.
Luckily for me, my aesthetician, Tatiana, was amazing. She knew exactly when to ask questions at the precise moment that she'd rip the wax off.
"So where do you live?"
"Nob HILL," I replied, my voice going up an octave as she ripped out the first piece. It strangely made it less painful. Perhaps they teach you these things in beauty school or perhaps Tatiana saw the waxing scene in The 40-Year-Old Virigin and realized that it helps if patients are able to exhale a word upon rip. This saves you from having to fight back curse words, which as you'll find in my forthcoming etiquette book, you should try to avoid as you don't know this polite aesthetician that well and she should not have to endure your foul mouth while you are spread eagle on her table.
Around the time that Tats (I figured at this point, we were on a nickname basis) instructed me to hold my legs above my head, I learned there is something on this earth more awkward and vulnerable than that moment. It turns out that when aestheticians are studying the fine art of hair removal and vajazzling, they must practice on each other during class. That is if you go to the good schools with the hands-on, learn-by-doing philosophy. Can you imagine going to class and taking turns stripping down for various treatments to be performed by your equally inexperienced peers while a professor critiques the technique? Imagine this next time you're getting waxed and feel a little exposed. It will help.
Later, as Tatiana applied the chemical peel to my pelvis (It tingled and stung a bit but Tatiana assured me it was just sloughing off the dead skin cells and preparing my skin for extractions), I learned that just as there are hair-models, people can also volunteer to get the treatment done at schools for a discounted price. The catch is that the pupil must perform the treatment in front of the class and it often takes much longer than if you went to the salon. My crotch was approaching 80 minutes under fluorescent lights (a personal record) and I couldn’t imagine volunteering to extend that time period. But this treatment is a bit pricey and well it would be in the name of education…
I was saying as much, now a regular chatty Kathy with Tats, when she began the manual extractions, and we had to revert to our usual call and response dance so my pansy ass could deal with the pain. Finally the uncomfortable portion of the experience was over and I was left with the exhilarated relief and rush of endorphins I imagine women who just gave birth enjoy. As I enjoyed the cooling lotion Tatiana brushed along my inflamed bikini line and pelvis, she told me tricks to maximize my waxing experience in the future:
Always see the same aesthetician. That way she'll only pull out the hair one way, which will prevent future in-grown hairs.
After your first wax, wait at least six weeks for your next one so that all the hair will be at the same growth stage.
Always choose a salon that doesn't double-dip its utensils back into the wax.
Treat the skin around your bikini with the same care you would treat the skin on your face.
This last one makes a ton of sense but is something I've never thought about until I learned of Vajacials. Why aren't we discussing caring for that skin as much as we talk about the skin on our face? For every fifteen gajillion blog posts there are on anti-aging facials, and creams, and face washes, and toners, and day creams, and sunscreens, there should be at least one or two about the importance of caring for the pimples or irritation that are bound to pop up when you viciously poor hot wax on your most sensitive regions. So thank goodness for Vajacials (and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a pioneer of Vagina-based portmanteaus). Thank goodness for Tatiana, the patient, efficient, sweet, conversationalist who was a wealth of knowledge on everything Vajacial-related.
And finally, one tip of my own: Pop three Advil and drink a glass of wine 20 minutes before your appointment. It will lessen the pain, reduce swelling, and the wine will act as much-needed social lubrication.