This, for the uninitiated, is a paraffin foot dip.
At Beauty U, we keep blocks of paraffin wax constantly melting in a warmer, which looks like a large, rectangular crockpot, circa 1978. When someone wants a paraffin dip, we use a disposable plastic cup to scoop out some molten wax and pour it into gallon-size plastic baggies (for feet) or pair of latex gloves (for hands). Then we kneel before the client, carefully lower their appendage into the hot wax and give it a little massage to spread the wax around.
Those are my feet up there so I can tell you that while it looks ridiculous, a paraffin dip feels AWESOME. These days, there aren’t too many beauty treatments that I’m getting excited about — maybe because last week centered around having my face bathed in acid— but I would get this done every day if they let me. It’s heaven on earth if you go through winter with permanently cold hands and feet (like I do), or spent your weekend sanding and stripping wallpaper (like I did) so now your hands feel like sandpaper, because paraffin is warm and toasty and turns your skin to butter. (Oh, and unlike the wax used on your bikini line, hot paraffin wax doesn’t stick to your skin. It just cools down to a Playdoh-like texture that peels right off.)
But paraffin dips are definitely from the department of it’s better to receive than to give. It doesn’t help that tonight is one of those nights when we’re all feeling the pain of stuck-here-till-10-PM. The teachers are squabbling with each other over tests gone missing and scheduling changes. Stephanie’s cats have a tape worm. One of the senior girls is on a tear about the rest of us not remembering to take out the trash. The cosmetology students put their towels in our dryer yet again, so all our sheets and spa wraps come out covered in gummy clumps of hair.
And I go to perform my first-ever paraffin hand dip on Miss Jenny, hold the wax-filled glove at the wrong angle, and do this instead:
To my favorite pair of jeans (which, by the way, I’m only wearing because getting a 95 or higher on a written exam entitles you to a one-night jean pass).
I also coat a good portion of the floor, which means spending the next half hour scraping it up with a Popsicle stick.
And so ends my paraffin love affair.
Related: Whenever Milady’s refers to paraffin wax, mineral oil, petrolatum, and the like, it makes sure to note that these petroleum-derived ingredients are “oils from the earth.” There are also a lot of comforting phrases like “biologically inert,” “hypoallergenic,” and “time-tested.”
I guess that’s all technically true, but don’t words like that make just about anything sound nicer? Like you might dig up some lovely “oil from the earth” while mucking about in the garden or frolicking with some cute woodland creatures.
You know, instead of getting it this way:
And seriously: Anyone know how to get wax out of denim?
[Paraffin wax photos via my iPhone, oil drilling photos via HowStuffWorks.]