Sunday, September 1, 2013

Toskana Therme

This will be a two part post, as I have two aspects I would like to comment on, and this one comes first so I can end on a high note!


So, having quite sensitive skin, I tend to avoid shaving whenever possible as it usually brings me out in an unattractive, itchy rash, utterly defeating the point in having shaved. Thus I usually go for waxing, it's not so painful once you get used to it, and although my skin doesn't love that either it's not so bad as shaving, and at least you only have to do it once a month! However, it's not very DIY friendly. It's a possible, but awkward, and underarms ARE impossible, so it requires a salon somewhere. Now I've been to various salons in a variety of places, New Zealand, London, Milan, France, other places in France, Milan (seriously, I've only been there twice, no more than 24hrs at a time!), and now Germany. It's not always easy, the first time in France they didn't speak English, so I had to mime what I wanted at the reception desk to even find out if they did waxing- they did. Following my epic miming of details, which produced much hilarity they did a decent job. The second place in a totally different part of France actually spoke English, so it was easy. The first place in Milan was the same as the first in France- lots of miming and we got there, it worked well enough, they did a good job. The second, were, I must say, ruthless. Effective, certainly, there wasn't a hair left, but boy she was efficient. I was in and out in 40 minutes (it's usually about an hour), she wasn't the slightest bit concerned with my comfort, like the ones who apologise over and over throughout the process.

However Bad Orb is not Milan, nor London. It is a small town, like those places in France. So off I go to the nearest likely looking place, which happens to be the local spa- Toskana Therme. They had appointments so I booked. They did advise me that unfortunately they couldn't do under-arm waxing ('why on earth not?!' I did wonder), but I had heard they were good for other things, and they use a brand I happen to favour for their lack of chemicals (Dr Hauschka, go German green-ness!), so I decided to roll with it and worry about the under-arms later.

I'm particularly glad I did decide to worry about the underarms later, I often find them to be the most sensitive, and they're technically the most difficult for the beautician too, because the hairs tend to grow in any old direction, making them tricky to get out.

It started just fine, here's the bed, lie back, we discuss what she will do and she gets to work. I was not thrilled to note that they only have two varieties of strip wax- I assume sensitive and normal, as I usually ask for a hot wax for sensitive bits like bikini-line. However I had already resigned myself to the likelihood that it would be a strip wax, which aren't always too painful, if the beautician has a good technique. Now I'm no beautician, but I've had enough waxing experience (and enough emergency DIY waxing!) to know how it goes, and it's something like this:

  1. Put the wax on the skin, smoothing it on in the direction of the hair growth
  2. Put the strip over the top, smoothing in the direction of hair growth and avoiding bubbles etc.
  3. Peel strip directly backwards as quickly as possible against direction of hair growth.
  4. Move on to new patch of hairy skin.
  5. Re-use the strip until it becomes too sticky and doesn't come away cleanly, throw it away and get a new one. I find five or six uses at most, usually less.
  6. Never re-wax skin more than once. If it doesn't come out second time, it's tweezers or you'll damage the skin.
  7. Gently rub the skin with a nice oil to help remove the sticky wax and soothe it with nice oils like chamomile.
That's more or less how my DIY wax goes, and roughly outlines the rules beauticians seem to follow. The beautician at Toskana Therme:

  • The wax. It was those roll-on dispensers, which I'm not fond of at the best of times, but they're usually okay on your legs. If they're warm enough for the wax to come out easily. These ones weren't, so they dragged and pulled on the skin as she tried to spread it, which is more than a little uncomfortable, especially when the are is already hyper sensitive because it's been waxed three times already.
  • So, once the wax was applied she...
  • Rubbed against the hair growth
  • Pulled the strip upwards and outwards away from the skin, not backwards over it.
  • Used three strips. Three. A total of three strips for bikini-line and two half-legs.
  • I lost count of the number of times she re-waxed various places, having little success getting the hair out (I wonder why?).
  • The failure to hold skin taut in the right places is a big one in waxing, and is without a doubt the hardest bit of DIY waxing, because you run out of hands. Beauticians often ask you to hold/pull a certain spot to help them. I'm happy to comply because it is basic self-preservation- if you don't and she can't get the skin tight you're likely to end up with bruising where the wax didn't come away from the skin cleanly. It hurts. A lot. I've had it before from DIY waxing, as I said, you run out of hands. But a beautician shouldn't, she has four at her disposal. Suffice to say I have bikini-line bruising, due to not only the skin not being tight as the wax was removed, but also the outwards pull of the waxing strips (seriously, not only does it not work, it also hurts a lot more, outwards is BAD.
So the overall results?
Well I'm too lazy to actually take a picture, but if I did it wouldn't be a pretty one. One week on my legs are hairy in various lengths and patches (shins should not be hairy, they're the easy part!!!). Some patches are long where clearly she just didn't get the hairs to move at all. Other patches are now at the prickly stage, suggesting the hairs broke off at skin level. And in some places they are actually still smooth, suggesting that, surprisingly, she did occasionally achieve her objective of pulling the hairs out by the roots. 

I'm really glad they didn't offer under-arm waxing. I may just have to make monthly trips to Frankfurt to deal with that aspect, and do the rest myself as best I can (which is, at least, better than the local spa).

And if you're curious about exactly which place I mean... follow this link.


  1. Did you have to pay for that?!

    Were you too traumatised to avoid paying?

  2. Sadly I was indeed too traumatised to think of not paying. I was somewhat stunned and functioning on little coherent thought.