L.A.’s beauty secrets

And then sometimes your editor calls and asks if you’d like to go salon-hopping in pursuit of the best bikini wax. Here are my two entries in Los Angeles magazine’s compact guide to L.A.’s beauty secrets.

Bikini Wail

For women with sensitive skin, getting a bikini wax can be worse than having a tooth filled. At Simply Porceline, a homemade wax blended with tea tree oil eases the pain, resulting in a gentler experience and speeding recovery. Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant, so it diminishes redness, bumps, and soreness. The hair doesn’t grow back as fast, either. Following the $25 waxing, lavender-and-chamomile oil is applied to the bikini line to replenish the skin. You can also buy Simply Porceline’s Healing Balm ($20), which is made with tea tree oil.

Deceiving Weave

Weaves are the butt of jokes for a reason. Done on the cheap, they look stiff and dry. But no one kids about Vivica A. Fox’s or Angela Basset’s hair. Maybe that’s because they get their tracks (hair extensions) from Elgin Charles, a specialist who invented a process for turning real hair into  weaves. Charles uses a bleach-based solution to rid hair of dirt and static, then restores it with a conditioner of soy, avocado oil and keratin. The in-salon process is better, he says, than that used by most companies making prepackaged weaves, which strips the hair so that it doesn’t so that it doesn’t tangle during shipping but gives it a synthetic look. Elgin’s weaves, which last about three months (with hair that can be reused for up to two years), cost $50 for one track and $350 to $4,500 for a full weave.