The new black

Strange though it may seem for someone so seemingly obsessed with all things beauty, but I have never had my legs waxed. I wish I could say it was a political stance, but actually it's more to do with my low pain threshold and the fact that, afro aside, I'm just not a very hairy person. Many black women I know are the same. During summer or a relationship (summer usually lasts longer), I tend to shave my legs once a week, but I can easily get away with doing it fortnightly. The fact is, though, miniskirts and stubbly legs don't go, and having decided that miniskirts are officially a Good Thing, especially if you're on the petite side, I realised that this summer I'd either have to resign myself to getting on better terms with my razor, or try waxing.

Having resolved to take the plunge, I headed for the chic Michaeljohn salon in London's Knightsbridge. Friends warned of the pain; some suggested taking ibuprofen before my appointment, others (wisely) advised exfoliating and not applying moisturiser. The stronger and coarser your leg hair, the more waxing will hurt because these hairs will be stubborn. If you're new to waxing, it is important to let your hairs grow to at least a quarter of an inch before your first appointment. Depending on the time of year, this could be the most painful part of the whole experience.

Surprisingly nervous, I lay down and let beauty therapist Rhonda Beattie get to work. Using a tea tree wax (which is cream-based, so less sticky than other waxes), she attacked my legs, pressing down and pulling with speed, while telling me the secrets of wax aftercare (no heat treatments for 24 hours, no strongly perfumed moisturisers and if you're doing it pre-holiday, don't hit the beach the same day).

A downside if your hair is very soft and the skin is dry - a common combination in black women - is that you can be susceptible to ingrowing hairs. "Regular exfoliation and keeping the skin nicely moisturised is the best answer," Beattie says. And as for the pain? Well, I'm not sure what this means, but I kinda liked it.

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