LOS ANGELES — For Elisha Reverby, opening her waxing studio in the heart of Los Angeles' coastal Venice area was pure common sense.
"I wondered why people lived on the beach and were commuting to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills to get waxed," she said. "I saw a need, with this demographic, to have something here."
After more than two years of planning, the result is Get Waxed, an intimate 255-square-foot waxing studio off the trendy Abbot Kinney strip in Venice. In addition to its prime locale, the place incorporates as many eco-friendly principles as possible: the paint on the walls is low-VOC (volatile organic compounds), paper products are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, all the cleansers are biodegradable and the wax is an all-honey variety.
With Get Waxed now a few months old, Reverby, a New York native who relocated to Los Angeles five years ago, is focusing on her skin and body care line, Elique Organic Skin Food to Go.
Not surprisingly, the line zeroes in on the same principles.
"I wanted an uncompromised, clean, food-based, simple product that lasts long enough to use it. Because it's perishable, it's not meant to sit under the bathroom sink," she said.
She initially started selling the products through her salon, or would arrange to deliver them to clients in the neighborhood. But as word of them spread, they became available online. She's also looking into working with niche apothecary-style retailers and is planning to expand the line.
"The goal for the line is not to be in mass production, because then it will have to be compromised," she said. "I don't want any synthetics in it at all."
The range is designed for both men and women, and incorporates ingredients so homegrown that, in some cases, Reverby plucked geraniums from a client's garden in nearby Rustic Canyon.
"We use a lot of organic honey and antioxidant-rich oils like rose hip seed and calendula. I also really like hydrosols, which are the waters distilled from flowers which you can apply directly onto the skin. Our scrubs are made with brown sugar and our fresh food masks are delivered to clients to be used within two days," she said.In its apothecary-style packaging — cobalt blue glass bottles with black lids and orange print on the labels — the products feature one-word names that convey what they do. Quench is a winter mask to hydrate skin and is made with egg yolk, avocado, whole milk yogurt, buttermilk powder and jojoba and olive oils. Cake is a cleanser made from almond meal, apple cider vinegar and honey bought from the local farmer's market, while the hydrosols are a base for a series of mists called Pampered Ph, which have fresh cucumber juice and green tea alongside the rose, chamomile, lavender, basil and oregano hydrosols. Bestsellers include Whipped, a body cream made with safflower oil, beeswax and hydrosol, and Calm the Sea, a jar of sea salts farmed from the Bastille region of France and then mixed with buttermilk powder, honey, rose hydrosol and rose otto essential oil.
Reverby said she was looking to create an eye cream, as well as a lighter version of Whipped, which could be used as a moisturizer. Also, by the end of the summer, she will start stocking jars of traditional homemade wax made with sugar and lemon, which she will also include in kits for at-home use, alongside muslin strips and a small bottle of post-waxing aloe vera and tea tree oil combination.
The products, which retail at around the $20 to $25 mark, have found a cult following among clients who don't want any chemicals or synthetics on their skin.
"When I was living in New York and first thinking about having my own line, I would trek to New Jersey to meet with the big formulators and chemists to learn the process. Then, I would go to the library and research what they had told me, and would be horrified at the ingredients in the products — the carcinogens, plastics and solvents. I knew then that anything I would do in the future had to be completely natural," Reverby said.
She is also planning to open two more waxing studios — one in Miami and the other in Los Angeles' Hermosa Beach or Manhattan Beach areas. Rates for waxing treatments at her salon range from $12 for upper lip to $105 for a Brazilian and leg wax.
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