“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!”
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.
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“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.