Suffering for Beauty

Waxing Woes: Product Review

I have never censored myself when writing this column. I’ve removed a few items that might be hurtful to others, or that Bill thought delved too deeply into our marital relationship, but I think you’d have to agree that I have exposed myself, warts and all, for your reading pleasure.

Today, I’m taking that a step further in the name of consumer education. And solely for your benefit, I have made the photos EXTRA large so you can see exactly what problems I encountered today. I think you’ll agree that I did not use larger photos so you would think I was beautiful.

We’re all familiar with the way some products are perfectly fine, like Coke, and then someone messes with the formula and we are stuck with something like New Coke that’s not nearly as good (some of you youngsters may not remember all the hoopla over this, but it made a big impression on many of us.) That’s happened to me, with Nair 15 Second Microwave Wax (it’s the fourth product down when you click on the link). Don’t use it? Stick around, you may learn something.**

Like many women, I have a mini-mustache that must be dealt with every month or so. I am not the swarthy type– I really only have about seven dark
hairs on each side of my upper lip, but they are unacceptable to me.
Sure, I could bleach them, but then I’d have platinum fur by my lip,
which is almost as unappealing as my whiskers. Also, there is
something extremely satisfying about applying hot wax to your face and
ripping out the hairs by the roots, daring them to reappear. It’s beauty in its most primal form, and it can be extremely fulfilling when performed well.

For those of you who may not be familiar with waxing procedure, it is simple. Ignoring the many cautions on the box, you heat wax in the microwave to dangerously high temperatures, then spread a thin layer on the hairy area. You cover that with a thin strip of cloth, which adheres to the wax. Then you brace yourself and yank the strip as quickly as you can. If you’ve done it right, the cloth, wax and hairs hanging by their roots come out with a satisfying “thhsshh.” Here’s a page that shows a lady heating up some wax, then waxing a tiny part of her leg.

Last week I prepared to wax in anticipation of the round of upcoming holiday parties. I was out of wax, so I went to purchase a new tub. All that CVS had was a new formula (click and see the second product down). According to the package, this wax was specially formulated for the face, so I bought it without a second thought.

Do not purchase this product. It has many drawbacks.

Apparently in an effort to be safe, the wax does not get hot, and thus liquid, when it is heated. The box shouts with glee: “No more guessing when the wax is cool enough to apply.” Here is a picture of my “heated” wax.

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Does that look hot to you? You are correct. It is not hot at all. It is barely warm and it is the consistency of taffy mixed with Superglue. The reason you do not have to guess when it is cool enough to use is that it never gets much above room temperature, no matter how long you leave it in the microwave. It is so safe as to be ridiculous! As my mother used to say, “You must suffer for beauty.” In my opinion, that includes risking second degree burns in order to obtain a smooth visage.

Also note that it takes a lot of strength to stir a tub of barely warm, thick wax. You might want to skip your arm workout for the day if you plan on waxing later with this particular type of wax.

The next problem is that the new wax does not come with cloth strips. This wax claims to “form into strips on its own.”

That is a wee bit of an exaggeration. The substance forms something, but I would not really call it strips. “Spiderwebs” might be a better word, but I bet the marketing department nixed that idea.

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Me: “Ha ha ha!! I had a neighbor come take these pictures because this product is performing so abysmally! Look at all this sticky stuff hanging off my chin and adhering to my fingers!”

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You’re probably concentrating on my expression in this photo. Don’t. I can handle the pain. I want you to look closely at the string of stuff hanging from my face to my fingers. Does that look like a self-contained strip that can be easily pulled?

Wait– don’t decide yet. I’ll give you a couple more photos before you have to commit to an answer.

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That is not the expression of a woman who is enjoying her beauty regime.

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I mean really. This is starting to make a hell of a mess, and I have to pick up carpool in twenty minutes, whether I have a mustache or not.

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This was the final indignity. The wax did not remove my tiny hairs, but it did mar a good part of my manicure. I think Nair owes me some money for that.

I hope this photo montage of my day of beauty that disintegrated into a disappointing hour of wrestling with sticky goo adequately demonstrates why I am unable to recommend that you use Nair’s wax formulated especially for the face. If you can’t find the old wax, stick with bleach or tweezers.

My friend and I laughed so hard taking these pictures that I’m up for performing and documenting further product reviews, as long as they do not require me to look any worse than I do in these photos. Let me know if there’s something you’d like me to test!

And if you’re wondering, I did pick up carpool dressed like that, but I managed to get most of the wax off my face and hands first. I do have standards.

** Get it? I think it’s a good sign that I’m making stupid jokes.