'Vajacials' Do for the Bikini Area What Facials Do for the Face

PHOTO: Vajacials are growing in popularity.

It seems that all those Brazilian bikini waxes have taken a toll, and now it's time for the Vajacial.

Thank "Sex and the City" for the obsession with a hairless nether region, and California's Stript Wax Bar for bringing us the Vajacial -- an answer to the ingrown hairs and red bumps that some women experience after a bikini wax.

The Vajacial is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a facial for the vagina. Stript Wax Bar owner Katherine Goldman said that demand for the service has increased 30 percent each year since she started offering it three years ago.

The Vajacial was a "lifesaver" for Christina from San Francisco when she was headed on a honeymoon trip with her husband. She said she'd heard about the Vajacial, and considered it "absurd" at first. But then she got her usual Brazilian wax and broke out in red bumps. "It looked like I had an STD," she said. "There was no way I could sit by the pool, nothing. It was awful."

She opted for a Vajacial, a term that Stript Wax Bar trademarked but that other salons around the country offer under different names (one New York City salon calls it a Peach Smoothie). In many ways, it resembles a facial. The 50-minute procedure begins with a cleanse and anti-bacterial wash of the bikini area, Goldman said, and is followed by a papaya enzyme mask that gets rid of skin cells that trap hairs. Next, comes extraction. In the same way that a facial extracts goo from the pores on your face, a Vajacial extracts ingrown hairs with a pair of tweezers. Finally, another mask is applied. At Stript Wax, there are four choices, one of which is specifically geared toward correcting discoloration.

Goldman attributes the growth in the Vajacial business to more women trying to achieve a hairless look. "It's a look that a majority of people want right now. They remove the hair, but it never goes away, so they tend to shave or wax more. Shaving especially irritates the skin."

Alexis Wolfer, editor of TheBeautyBean.com, said the Vajacial and its spinoffs result from "the trend of women hyper-focusing on every last flaw in themselves. We see celebrities at the beach looking great, and we're using that same lens on ourselves."

Wolfer sees the Vajacial as less of a trend and more of a novelty, "like vajazzaling," she said, referring to the practice of having semi-precious stones or rhinestones glued to the vaginal area for special occasions. She doesn't expect the Vajacial to become a mainstream trend.

But make no mistake about it, even if Vajacial becomes a household word, it's not something, unlike a regular facial, that anyone would do for fun. "It's definitely a procedure," said Christina, the San Francisco woman who had one. "I would never get it for therapeutic reasons," she said.

Wolfer agreed. "This isn't going to be next Swedish massage."

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