When it comes to letting someone apply hot wax to sensitive parts of your body, you really do get what you pay for. As a 26-year-old who works for herself, I’m the first to say that $45 plus tip sounds like a lot to part with for a simple bikini wax. But at Maxine Salon (712 N Rush St, 312-751-1511), waxing is an art (and I’m not even talking about getting your hair sculpted into shapes, which, yes, you can do there). The salon’s lone waxer, Jaime Lewis, has been at it for more than 14 years. She removes hairs in about four swift pulls, hunts any strays with a lighted magnifying glass and tweezers, applies a special no-bump solution, and uses a high-frequency wand to zap bacteria and help heal and soothe redness. While I was shocked by how little the process hurt (I’ve pulled off Band-Aids that caused more pain), Lewis has squeeze toys—and the gift of gab—to keep nervous waxees calm.
Meanwhile, Yelpers sing the praises of the $25 bikini waxes at the Threading Salon (1109 W Taylor St, 312-666-5153), but my visit didn’t go so smoothly. I ended up paying extra in pain, rogue hairs, private parts that stuck to my jeans due to stray wax left on my person, and red bumps that made me think I might as well have used a four-for-$7 disposable Bic razor and been done with it. Bottom line: Take the cash you’ll soon be saving on fancy thongs (see page 16) and put it toward a visit to Maxine.