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Best Way to Get Ripped

“Your skin is really dry,” Elisha says as she prepares to roll a tube of hot honey wax across my furry calf.

“I know,” I admit. “I usually put Aveeno on my legs but . . .“

Elisha shrieks. “Aveeno! That’s toxic!”

“But I thought it was . . .“

“TOXIC!” she repeats.

“. . . hypoallergenic.”

“Do you even know what that means? Do you even read your ingredients?”

She slaps a piece of muslin over the sticky patch of wax. “GO HOME AND READ YOUR INGREDIENTS!”

Rip!

I had become accustomed to full-leg-and-bikini waxes by a calm blond woman named Maritsa, whom I would visit on Sundays and Mondays at a salon called Desire in Hollywood. Maritsa spoke only quiet words of reassurance, and she applied and ripped so smoothly I would often fall asleep by the time she reached midthigh. A miracle, yes, and I never would have left her had I not moved clear across town and developed an antipathy bordering on phobic for the single-passenger automobile. Add to that a predilection for Vicodin in advance of any waxing treatment (I have trouble sitting still), and I had to say goodbye to Desire.

Hence Elisha Reverby and her tiny blue storefront operation, Get Waxed! It’s just a 30-second walk from my house in Venice. Elisha waxes legs, backs, arms, eyebrows and whatever else you’ve got with gusto and confidence. It doesn’thurt, exactly, but what is pain, anyway? I guarantee you won’t fall asleep.

But you will laugh a lot, and come away convinced that the world doesn’t have to come to an end after all. Elisha is the only aesthetician I’ve met who worries more than I do about the toxicity of beauty products, from the toluene and formaldehyde in nail polish to the oxy-this and isopropyl-that in moisturizers and sunscreens. And she makes her own scrubs, cleansers and moisturizers from food-grade ingredients.

“If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, you shouldn’t put in on your body,” she instructs. “Your skin eats.”

She also extends her concern for your skin to the Earth: Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7 a.m., Get Waxed! hosts a Venice Beach cleanup, and a few dollars of every sale goes to environmental nonprofits such as American Forests. In the month of August, Get Waxed! customers planted close to 200 trees.

When I got home, I did as I was told: I read the Aveeno bottle. I was mortified. Right next to the oatmeal and glycerin, there it was: petrolatum, otherwise known as petroleum jelly — a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons distilled from the oil that builds up on oil rigs. The bottle went in the landfill.

304 Westminster Ave., Venice, (310) 396-2929 or ?www.getwaxedvenice.com.


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