First Drafts has a category called ‘What we are reading’. This posting probably comes under the rubric ‘what we are depilating’.
For the last 25 years, I have gone to the same beauty salon on the Holloway Road for leg waxes. Established by a beautician who wanted to work for herself, the Holloway branch was the first in what became a very successful London chain. The staff were competent, the prices reasonable, and appointments easy to arrange. It was also one of the few places left in this country that still offered the hot wax, not warm.
I know: you’re thinking, what’s all this frivolity in the weighty world of Prospect? On the contrary, the tale is an example of my extreme seriousness. Waxing, especially the hot variety, is more effective than other forms of depilation and lasts much longer – in my case necessitating only five visits a year. It allows me to devote less time and money to my appearance, and more on the important things in life, such as writing personal essays for this blog.
Anyway, the original salon owner decided to retire. She sold her chain to Renew Medica, an example of the new breed. Cheap and effective is out. Expensive treatments that sound medical are in. Treatments include dermal fillers, teeth whitening, micro pigmentation (ie semi-permanent makeup), hyperhidrosis control (for sweating) and sclerotherapy (for spider veins).
One can hardly blame the company for cashing in on a social trend: a greater emphasis on physical perfection, acceptance of cosmetic surgery and large audiences for television programmes such as ‘Ten Years Younger’. Distancing itself from the old-fashioned local beauty salon on its website, Renew Medica offers instead ‘medical aesthetics’ – a cheaper version of Harley Street.
I don’t really begrudge the new enterprise – except that it has ended up leaving me with less choice, not more. The leg waxing is being phased out, and I am not in the least interested in the other treatments it has to offer. Although press releases accompanying the buy-out gushed about benefiting from the old beauty salon’s ‘highest calibre professionals’, many of the old staff have now left. It looks like the new company is dismissing its customers as well.