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Super-Sensitive Brow Skin & the Case of the Shut-Down Salon

By Amalah

So my wedding is in almost exactly one month, and I went to make an appointment to have my pre-wedding waxing… and my salon has closed down. Overnight. Totally cleared out. Huge, posh spa & salon, all gone. Phone disconnected, website taken down. Like it never existed, except that it’s disappearance actually made the NEWS! Even the employees were unaware till they went in for work!
A practical person would suggest I just go down the block to the next posh spa and have THEM do my waxing. And I can see how practical that would be. Only, my facial skin is SUPER sensitive. The first time I had my brows done, there were little welts like mosquito bites across my brows for a week. Two of them left permanent red spots (I suspect the swelling damaged a couple of capillaries). My mother told me later (thanks for the heads up, Mom) that she has this same problem, and she found a salon in Oklahoma that had some magic potion that prevented it. She lives in Texas. And goes to Oklahoma to get her brows done. Getting the picture with the level of irritation we’re talking about? Unfortunately, I live in Rochester, NY. Oklahoma is a bit far to travel for waxing.
So my personal tech at the defunct spa had this amazing “medicated” gel that was instantly cooling and soothing, and totally eliminated any redness and swelling from the waxing. I asked her what it was once, but it wasn’t anything I was familiar with, and I can’t remember it now. Why did I need to remember? She had it written in my file! My file, which has probably been shredded or burnt by now. I’ve asked around, and no one else seems to have anything but hydrocortisone for this purpose. I’m terrified to get my brows done now, because I do not want anymore damage to my face, especially right before the wedding.
My hope is that you might be able to recommend a similar product that I could take with me and apply after the waxing…?
-Slightly Scraggly & Terribly Traumatized

Hmm. OK, well. As far as first-hand recommendations of stuff I have personally used? Not really. My spa uses nothing post-brow-waxing, and then just straight-up baby powder for the more (ahem) sensitive areas. I don’t know. My waxers lived through wars and communism and have little patience for my rashes.
I once used a home waxing strip kit that came with a tiny vial of azulene oil which seemed to work pretty great — it’s a natural remedy, derived from chamomile and pumped up with vitamin E and menthol. Very oily and thick and smells surprisingly nice, and the menthol is instantly cooling and the chamomile soothes the redness. Not “medicated,” per se, and not a gel, but something you could — oh God, if you dare — test out at home, in an inconspicuous spot, using a similar kit by Parissa (Whole Foods sells them, and they’re readily available online). There’s a lot of contradictory post-waxing advice and tips out there, and a lot of it advises against lotions and oils of any kind for the first 24 hours or so because of ingrown hairs. I don’t have a lot of problems with ingrowns — redness and swelling is more my bag, but didn’t notice the azulene caused any. But oh, it’s all so hit or miss when it comes to skin.
As for trying to nail down the exact remedy your waxer used…hmm, what does your mom’s waxer use? Where did all the techs and employees from your spa end up? They’ve got to be working SOMEWHERE, right? (I’m guessing this was the spa you went to? The blog author appears to be in contact with the owner, so perhaps you might get a lead about where your waxer ended up or how to contact her if she’s not officially with another spa yet.) And chances are, it might not be anything too mysterious or magical — it’s just a matter of explaining, pre-wax, pre-appointment even, the extent of your skin sensitivities to a new technician. An experienced one will have seen skin like yours, I’m sure of it.
300-1.jpgAnd now, some totally random shots in the dark, courtesy of my cache of beauty forums and Google skills…could your tech have been using Bikini Zone Medicated gel with lidocaine? After Wax Cooling Gel or any of the dozens of other post-waxing products by GiGi? Fragrance-free aloe vera gel mixed with some topical pain relief?
I’m sorry you don’t have a ton of time to sort this out before your wedding. Personally I would start by getting your mom to pester her spa and find out exactly what they use for her. Send an email to the blog I linked above and beg for some help (use the “my wedding’s in a mooooonnnnnth!” panic to your advantage here). And then, if those leads get you nowhere, make an appointment at the next posh spa over but oh my GOD, be loud and vocal and as shrill as you need to be to fully express the depths of your sensitivity and the need for them to whip out whatever magical ointment they’ve got of their own.
But…hit up the local beauty supply shop before you go and pick up a couple remedies of your own — the Bikini Zone stuff, azulene oil, diaper rash cream, all of the above. If your wax still ends in disaster, at least you’ll have options to help treat the problem at home. And for God’s sake, schedule the appointment as far in advance of your wedding day as your brow regrowth rate will allow. Good luck (and let us know if you ever figure out what the miracle gel was).

Published June 8, 2008. Last updated June 8, 2008.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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