Conservative Filipino women (and men!) used to be shy about getting hair removed from their nether regions, but with the number of LayBare salons nationwide, many have become aware that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
The Hilario sisters put up in 2006 the first LayBare branch in an off-the-road building on Filmore St., Makati City. Fiona and Monique thought of the idea after waiting in line for their turn in another salon.
“At that time, only one technician was assigned to wax; the others were busy with hair and nail care,” Monique says. “We wanted an establishment focused just on waxing.”
LayBare eventually became a family beauty business: Fiona is in charge of human resources, Monique does training and marketing, and their brother Paolo takes care of business development and information management.
There are now over 50 branches nationwide, mostly in malls, with one franchise in the US. Affordability is a big come-on: underarm waxing is P150, Brazilian is P450, full-body waxing is P1,500 (price is slightly higher for men).
Clients are mostly women from 18-35, but girls as young as nine go for waxing (arms, underarms). There are also some seniors. Summer is the busiest season since a lot are getting bikini-ready. Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s best to call for an appointment.
Cold vs hot wax
LayBare pioneered the use of cold wax instead of the traditional hot wax, which may burn the skin. The cold wax jelly is made of natural materials—sugar, honey and calamansi. It is applied on the skin in small patches and peeled off to remove the hair, without the use of cloth strips.
Cold wax, Monique explains, promotes skin whitening and exfoliation. It is also gentle to use on sensitive spots such as the underarms and bikini area. A house-formulated soothing cream is applied afterward to prevent ingrown hair, which can be terribly itchy.
For those who are still scared of waxing, Monique offers tips: “Keep skin clean and don’t apply lotion before waxing. Pop a pain reliever 30 minutes earlier if you have a really low threshold for pain. Keep the area dry for six hours after hair removal. Exfoliate to prevent ingrown hair.”
Paolo says opening the California franchise helped in developing the local branches. Waxers are required to wear gloves, and wax is placed in small covered cups to prevent double-dipping. All materials are also sterilized in between use.
Loyal LayBare clients are given a Premiere Loyalty Card with an accumulated P5,000 receipt. This entitles cardholders to a 10-percent discount on succeeding treatments. Paolo says there are around 5,000 cardholders to date.
As a way of giving back, the salon recently invited cardholders to a LayBare Glow party at the Palladium club in New World Hotel, Makati City. DJ Callum David played the music. Partygoers came in urban chic outfits with a touch of neon.