Waxing in Tokyo – where to wax?
Japanese are not big on waxing or feminine hygiene. Google フェミニンウォッシュ and you’d come up with the same stuff I use back home (pHcare). Or go to an onsen and you’d know what I mean – notice that the trend here is au naturel down there.
Well, I’m quite particular about that. Back home, where things are unplanned and people are spontaneous, you’d have to be bikini-ready ALL THE TIME. I found it incredibly interesting when one lady I worked with at an international school in Osaka commented that I always looked like I was going to the beach. And true – I was always going to the beach. Or somewhere I can lounge in my bikini. Go check out my About.Me page
Also, considering that you’re also always wearing spaghetti tank tops and prone to sweat all year round, being smooth and clean seems a smart option. This tropical lifestyle has a huge impact on my, uhh, waxing habits, never mind my husband’s initial complaints. Back home, I had myself waxed every 3 weeks. Brazilian wax (sugaring) costs JPY800 at Laybare. I had my eyebrows, upper lip, and underarm done regularly as well – cost me around JPY2000 for everything.
Here though, it’s another business. If you search Brazilian in Japanese, you’d come up with some confusing results. The terms are adhoc. Some salons refer to “bikini” waxing as Brazilian waxing. Some have certain terms like “playboy style”, “natural waxing” and “simple style”. There is also an option for a design for an additional cost – heart shaped, alphabet letters, the triangle and strip. The most common term I encountered was VIO – and it may be useful for you to know what exactly it is.
Brazilian Wax = VIO 脱毛
Depending on the shop, you can opt to do only one (V only, I only or O only) or have some sort of V-styling and then wax the I and the O. I took this for granted because back home, they do it all, unless you request for a bikini waxing. It is ATARIMAE. But why anybody would want to leave the O behind beats me!
One shop calls Brazilian as the “Hollywood/Playboy” type. It is always best to confirm with the salon FIRST before you request anything.
I’d be curious to see a heart-shaped or alphabet letters.. Or what about some Kanji? If you ask me though, I have never seen anything but the “wild” type.. And I’ve been here in Japan for sometime, going to onsens frequently in the winter.. so yes, I’ve seen my fair share of you-know-what to know what I am talking about!
If you search in English, you’d come up with all these salons offering Brazilian at an outrageous price. I gathered all the data, the top 11 Google results and made a table about it. Hima much?
Waxing in Tokyo : Where should you go? Rates and Services Overview (please download the image for best viewing)
The average price for a Brazilian is JPY 7170. Holy cow. And that’s only the beginning. What if you do underarm + eyebrows + upper lip on top of the Brazilian (like I do)? Be prepared to shell out between JPY 11,000-23,000. Say you make JPY 250,000 / month. That’s almost 10% of your earnings!!
What if you’re male (ergo with lots of hair)? Most salons charge more than the rates for females, understandably. You may end up paying up to JPY 30,000 to be smooth and clean as your lady love wants you to. I interviewed my wax therapist and she says she does have some male clients (all foreigners) coming to her place regularly. Oh, the price of being hairless!
But why is it so expensive then?
Most of the salons mentioned here use HOT WAX, not sugaring. And hot wax,being more efficient, costs a lot of money to import.
See, my therapist explained that there is no wax maker in Japan – she has to import them from abroad (Australia, to be specific). Which proves my point: if waxing were as big in Japan as surfing is, someone would have started making hot wax already as they do with surf wax. But no, because of Japanese aesthetics and preference for the natural (an irony for the country who invented the bonsai), waxing doesn’t seem to be as popular as back home (where even local guys have themselves waxed. I know, trust me..). Besides, Japanese guys don’t seem to like it. It is not uncommon to hear boyfriends and husbands complain that it’s like a baby’s if it’s all clean and hairless down there. Like I give a shit about what they like! But many women probably do?
I have to state that, although I did my best to present the information concisely, I don’t guarantee the accuracy of the information here. The rates may have changed by the time you read this! (8% VAT hike in April 2014) Please call the salon. Who knows, they may have special campaigns for first-timers/ repeat customers or some special package deals. I only pay a maximum of JPY10500 for a package of 4 (Brazilian + Underarm + Upper lip + Eyebrows). Because this rate is lower than the published rate, it’s probably not a good idea to mention where I go (I wouldn’t want to mislead new clients). It also helps if you have a good relation with your salon. Don’t CANCEL on the last minute. It’s bad for business. I have never cancelled and I am never late.
Speaking of which, it’s worth noting that cancellation policy may differ from place to place. Some may charge 50% of the whole rate the next time you show up. Some may charge your credit card the whole thing if you cancelled 12 hours before your appointment. My own salon didn’t have a cancellation policy until recently when a client just abused her generosity and she had to ban him. Just think about this : they could have made money off your cancelled slot. Show some respect and show up on time or at the very least, tell them way ahead in advance. Business is business, and if you keep your end of the deal long enough, you might just get a friendship rate
Images from the salons’ websites. Featured image from Shou Salon. Used without permission.