But first, a bit of backstory. I suffer from a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). You can find more info on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycystic_ovarian_syndrome.
One of the big issues with PCOS is an increased level of body hair. Some women might get a little bit of extra tummy fuzz, some get full blown body hair nightmares especially if they have darker hair. Since I'm pale and ginger, I consider myself somewhere in the middle as a lot of my hair is basically see through. If I had dark hair however, I think I might look like this guy:
Okay maybe not that bad, but pretty awful. Also I think he might be a bit thinner than me (so jealous).
I manage everything below the neck myself, through a combination of shaving and depilatory cream. Above the neck however is a completely different story. Above the neck, I am basically the thing internet men fear and revile the most: A woman with facial hair.
Over the years I've tried almost every hair removal treatment going. Plucking, shaving, at home waxing, depilatory creams, those weird things where you buff the hair off. Everything short of electrolysis. I've never tried that because a) I'm poor as heck, and b) that stuff looks scary and kinda painful. I've even said to hell with it and let the hair grow, hoping to become sassy and empowered. Sadly I just became miserable and shy, as without hair removal treatments I have a pretty gnarly mustache and beard.
Most of the aforementioned treatments removed the hair, but also left me with some pretty awful side effects. Stubble, ingrown hairs, chemical burns, and painful bits from pretty much sanding my skin with those buffers. Salon grade waxing was the only thing that worked. But oh man, the expense.
Obviously salon prices vary worldwide, but in my local walk in fairly cheap salon it cost me £12.50 for an eyebrow, lip and chin wax. But that was on a good day. Some days I'd go in and be charged £20. Or £10. Or 3 goats and a button. Then there was the clothes ruined by dripping wax. Or getting a half done wax because the salon is so busy. Even just walking in and asking for that specific treatment is an obstacle, because who wants to advertise "HEY YOU GUYS I HAVE A HAIRY FACE!"?
These waxes only lasted 3 weeks at best, and if my fuzzy head maths is correct it works out at about £220 a year just for waxing. That's over 2 weeks income for me so it really wasn't sustainable.
I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Rio CWAX2 Total Body Waxing kit, which you can find on the Rio website here: http://www.riobeauty.co.uk/rio-hair-removers/waxing/total-body-waxing.html.
I ordered mine from Very.co.uk: http://www.very.co.uk/rio-cwax2-total-body-waxing/926754475.prd?cmtag=o&_requestid=192618&prdToken=/p/prod14260743-sku24222052-AI&browseToken=/q/pk142&totalResults=1
It retails from both sites at around £40. Personally, I ordered mine from Very.co.uk as it lets you pay for items over a 3 month period which is awesome. Usually with catalogues there's a big mark up on the retail price, but Very seem to be really reasonably priced, especially in this case! However I should point out, if I had the money available I would have no issues buying direct from Rio as their customer service has always been really good and I really like their products.
Okay, onto the kit itself.
The kit contains:
1 x Waxing Pan3 x Hard Wax Tablets
400ml Soft Creme Wax
Strips50ml Wax Cleaning Fluid
20 Wooden Spatulas
If I'm completely honest, I've not watched the DVD. Personally, I'd much prefer a little booklet or sheet but maybe that's just me. I'm sure the DVD is really handy, especially for first time waxers. Luckily, the product page for the kit on the Rio website has full instructions for using both kinds of wax contained in the kit.
So far, I've only used the hard wax as it's designed for more sensitive areas like your face and that's the only place I'm waxing. But given my experiences with the hard wax and the overall kit I've got no doubts that the soft wax is also really good.
With the hard wax tablets, a little seems to go a long long way. Since you can just leave the wax to harden in the pan for next time (or maybe only I do that and it's super gross?), there's no waste, and I would say I'm averaging about a quarter of a tablet per waxing. Which is really, really, cost effective as a refill of 3 tablets is £3.95. You can find the refills here: http://www.riobeauty.co.uk/wax-tablets-x-3.html
An added bonus of the hard wax is the gorgeous smell it gives off when melted. It's like a yummy vanilla candle scent and it just fills the room. Beautiful!
The heater itself is really impressive. When I first took it out the box I thought it looked a bit tacky and flimsy but I realise now it's only going to get covered in bits of wax so who cares as long as it does the job? Another small gripe is the kinda short cable. Unless your plug sockets are high up, don't plan on putting this higher than a dressing table. Although for safety reasons, you probably shouldn't do that anyway! The length is fine for me but I can see that others might have an issue.
From other peoples experiences, it seems to take around 60 minutes to heat the soft wax, and only about 20 for the hard wax. I would say 15-20 minutes for the hard wax, enough time to maybe have a brew, cleanse your face and cut up some strips. The thing I love about the heater is the outside of it gets warm, but you're not going to burn yourself on it. I was imagining an Arrested Development Cornballer type scenario but nope! I am CONSTANTLY burning myself on things, and I feel pretty safe around this!
Let's get on to the actual waxing. Super easy. I'm not going to tell you how to wax, you know that already, or like I said before there are instructions on the Rio site. However.. One piece of advice I can give you is this. For the love of god cut up some of the paper strips to use with the hard wax. The Rio website seems to suggest you just put the wax on, let it cool a bit then pull it off. I tried this once and only once. Unless you have a masochistic streak, do not try that method. If you use the paper strips with the hard wax there's literally almost zero pain. I genuinely have to keep checking that the hair is coming off because it just doesn't hurt.
The paper strips included are surprisingly good quality. I'll admit that when I got the kit, I thought I would give them a go but I was expecting to make a trip to my local Sally store for cotton strips. I've used paper strips with a previous home waxing kit and they just sort of fell off my face in an expensive but useless way. The paper strips included in this kit stick to the wax and pull it off easily but you do have to get the strip on the wax QUICKLY. Although I feel I should mention, make sure you apply the slightly fuzzy side to the wax. If you use the slightly rougher side, you're going to be picking dried wax off your face for a while.
The spatulas included are... well.. wooden spatulas. There's not much you can really say about that! My only complaint is they're far too big for eyebrows. Luckily I've found a way round this by grabbing a few extra coffee stirrers every time I go to Costa! The stirrers are the perfect size for eyebrows!
The final piece of kit is the wax cleaner. This is a little bottle of oil similar to baby oil. Just put a few drops on a strip and wipe off any remaining waxy bits. Really handy stuff, and if you give all your waxed bits a quick swipe of this it'll stop them drying out before you can get moisturiser on!
Okay so my overall opinion:
Man, this thing is awesome. Legitimately awesome. I received mine in early March, I've used it 3 times and since 3 x £12.50 = £37.50, it's basically paid for itself. It does take a bit of practice to get good at this, but really it's not rocket science. You just have to accept that for the first few times you're going to get waxy, and you might miss a couple of hairs but with practice you'll sort that out. The refills for all the consumables are available on the Rio website for really reasonable prices (much cheaper than I expected!) but even then if you need them quickly, there's always stores like Sallys.
As a woman with PCOS this thing is a godsend. I can deal with hair when I want to, cheaply, in the privacy of my own home. I honestly can't recommend it highly enough!
Pros: Quick, easy, cheap, pain free, safe (no burns!), smells lush
Cons: Short cable, no paper instructions, no small spatulas