Photo Credit: beamlaserspa.com
Stop shaving and get smooth skin and stubble-free 365/year. Enter Beam Laser Spa, the chic boutique laser hair removal spa in Columbus Circle. Founded by the lovely Brazilian sister duo Andréa and Liza Young, Beam Laser Spa is the ultimate laser hair removal destination for cutting edge technology, laser expertise, and superb friendly service.
Admittedly a few minutes late (Thank you NYC gridlock traffic), I walked into the serene Beam Laser Spa waiting room with ambient lighting and views of Central Park. I was cheerfully greeted and offered a cold beverage as I filled in my paperwork and mentally prepared myself for the bikini line-laser session I fretted about all day.
Feeling quite vulnerable in my knickers with a seemingly 1000-wattage light shining on my lady bits, my aesthetician Amanda prepped for my treatment by thoroughly cleaning the area with witch hazel. She carefully outlined — yes, literally outlined with a white pencil — exactly where she was going to laser by using the edge of an index card to make precise measurements and straight edges. Yeah, I’m pretty sure Kim K. would be jealous at how up close and personal Amanda got down there.
The prep for the procedure was actually much longer than the procedure itself. Within a few minutes, the entire area had been painlessly lasered and was minimally pink. There was no need for aloe or a cooling gel, which meant I could go shopping after my appointment without cold goop slathered all over my undies (#winning!).
You can expect to feel a hot sensation immediately followed by a very cool sensation. Most people tend to describe laser hair removal as feeling like a rubber band being snapped against the skin. However, Beam exclusively uses only the top of the line Syneron Candela’s Gentle Max Lasers, which are known as state-of-the-art devices that reduce pain, increase efficacy, and are safe for your skin. The Gentle Max Laser shoots a cold blast of cryogen gas that immediately cools the laser site — so it’s a less painful and virtually mess-free experience compared to other hair removal lasers that require gel to cool the skin first.
A few things to remember:
- Permanent results take time. After just one treatment, I’ve already noticed a difference in the rate that my hair grows back. However, permanent results require at least 4-6 treatments, spaced 4-8 weeks apart. You may need touch up sessions every year or so, too. I would trade the inconvenience of shaving, ingrown hairs, razor burn, and lifelong purchases of razors and shaving cream for permanent results any day!
- Stop using self tanner for at least 2-3 weeks in advance. My aesthetician needed to clean (and by clean, I mean scrub) the to-be-lasered area multiple times to remove all traces of self tanner. The laser targets melanin in the hair shaft and then damages the follicle — the laser could mistakenly target the pigment from self tanner and potentially cause damage to the surrounding skin.
- Most importantly, relax! No one is judging you for what you have or what you want down there, and no one is going to critique you after you leave (Come on, I’m not the only one who swears that my dentist made fun of my bad breath, or that my dermatologist made a crack about my monster zit). Your Beam aesthetician has zapped hair follicles in places you didn’t even know hair could grow! And, as Amanda put it, “It’s just hair!”
So ladies, book yourself into Beam Laser Spa for your Gentle Laser treatments, and look forward to smooth, stubble-free underarms, legs, bikini line, and anywhere else you don’t want hair.
But in real life, waxing does not have to be all that painful. Sure, we’ve had our share of razors and tweezing, and during the summer, but in the end, waxing takes the day off and over the course of time, keeps it off (unless you happen to use fancy gadgets).
Uni K Wax Centers, which were founded by current CEO Noemi Grupenmager, in South Beach Florida in 1993. Today, there are 33 Uni K Wax Centers located throughout New York, Florida, and California with plans to develop over 100 franchises and affiliates across the country by the end of 2015. We connected with Ms. Grupenmager in a Q&A to discover her plans and learn more about the brand.
How did the brand start and what sets you apart?
As a consumer, I was always dissatisfied with the expensive, slow, and limited hair removal services available at nail and hair salons. Before I opened Uni K Wax Centers, these salons were the only places offering hair removal. The duty was often tacked on to employees who were already too busy with hair, nails, and other services.
With this notion, I imagined something new: A center solely dedicated to waxing, with a welcoming atmosphere that offered clean, quick, and professional services at affordable prices. My vision was to have a specialized hair removal center that offered waxing for both men and women, which would raise industry and marketplace standards. Having sensitive skin myself, I also recognized the need for a wax that was all natural and pain-free, and would not aggravate the skin with harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients.
With all of this in mind, I founded the first Uni K Wax Center in 1993 in Miami Beach, Florida, and became the first person ever to open a center devoted exclusively to waxing. I developed my own proprietary elastic Uni K Wax, made of natural beeswax, essential oils, and a special pine tree resin, which took three years of in-depth laboratory research to create. Applied at body temperature, Uni K Wax has an amazing ability to gently remove unwanted hair from the root due to its elasticity, unlike any other hair removal process offered by others, and this kind of difference creates a very relaxing experience. Once the wax applied at body temperature and sits on the skin, it gently opens the pores while moisturizing the skin and removes the hair painlessly and at the same time, lightly exfoliates.
What are the brand’s plans for the future?
My vision for Uni K Wax in the future is for it to remain an innovative leader in the body waxing industry. Uni K Wax is growing rapidly across the U.S., and we have many exciting new concepts we are working on, but above all, we will continue to strive to exceed our customers’ expectations in all that we do.
Which is the most popular treatment?
I’ve come to find that Brazilian and full bikini waxes are most popular among women as opposed to your average bikini line wax. Uni K Wax Center is known for creating the Brazilian Bikini Wax, so most customers request this specific service most often.
Although not completely new, another trend that has been gaining attention is men’s waxing, or manscaping. Over the years, men’s grooming has become increasingly common and many men prefer a clean, polished look over going au naturel. A number of men also get their chest and eyebrows waxed, and bikini waxes among men is the most popular service after a back and shoulder wax.
What are your tips on braving the first-time bikini wax?
Look for a professional waxing center that not only specializes in waxing, but also has the most “ouch-free” waxing experience. To do this, choose a wax that is all-natural as this is better for the skin. An elastic wax will gently remove hair. Finally, choose a professional that offers specialist care.
Here are some helpful tips to remember before getting a waxing service:
- Let your hair grow out about one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch before going in for waxing.
- If you are sensitive during your menstrual cycle, you might want to avoid a bikini wax during those days.
- Alcohol tightens pores, so it is not a good idea to consume before getting waxed.
- Using sun protection is always recommended when exposing your skin to the sun and it is especially important during the first 24 hours after waxing in order to avoid redness.
- Let your waxer know of any medications you’re taking, as this may affect your skin and your ability to be waxed.
The Erno Laszlo Institute‘s Pure Pulsation and Pure Oxygen are two oxygen-rich treatments developed by Pure Flow founder and owner Andrew Barile, and each one accomplishes different things. Pure Pulsation offers synchronized compression of your blood vessels through an intense 40-minute treatment to increase circulation and pump oxygen into your body for detoxification, creation of new blood cells, and to strengthen the cardiovascular system. Pure Oxygen involves a hyperbaric oxygen tank.
“Pure Flow is a compression therapy,” says Barile. “What we’re doing is to monitor your heart rate, similar to a Polaris heart monitor. So we know when your heart is resting. It is mechanical and super precise, and massaging doesn’t give you that same increased pressure as this does,” he adds. Bottom line: you want the blood flow to go back to your heart. The idea here is to reduce your heart rate to promote efficiency. For example, many athletes, after years of conditioning their body, have a heart rate of 40 or 50 beats per minute. However, most people’s efficiencies are far lower, which is why this treatment would be most beneficial to them.
I received the Pure Pulsation treatment and it involved my slipping into a quilted garment and having cuffs around my arms and legs. My aesthetician hooked up a machine to the garment to enable it to pump oxygen into my legs. I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t a bed of roses: you feel the pressure. But after the 40-minute treatment, I felt noticeably more rested, as though I had taken some Concorde trip to St. Barths and back.
Now, what does this all have to do with beauty? Plenty. If we start at the source, good skin starts with a good heartbeat, since healthy heart function helps with practically everything — from cell turnover to stem-cell creation. These treatments also help with improving sleep, lessen jet lag, draining the lymphatic system, which helps remove waste and toxins from the body.
For a limited time, Pure Oxygen and Pure Pulsation are available as a single session for $100, or a pack of six for $480.