For Montclair Local

We all love the luxurious hair on our heads, but not so much in the nooks and crannies hidden by layers of winter clothes. Meandering around town on the look out for column ideas, I discovered Waxing The City in the retail complex under the Valley Bloom apartments. Such salons are sprouting up everywhere, and I had to check this one out. The thought of Brazilian and full body waxing gives me the heebie jeebies, and I know that a bikini wax will never make wearing one possible for me.

Always up for new experiences, I spent an hour with owner Irfan Raja and learned about all things waxing, for both women and men. Walking in, I found a beautifully decorated large store, which smelled wonderfully of citrus. In fact, bright orange is the color scheme, with a cute bistro table and chairs set up for us to chat. We got down to the nitty gritty right away.

Raja said he opened Waxing The City 18 months ago because “Montclair truly is your Manhattan, without the hustle and bustle.”

Waxing The City’s “cerologists” (cera is Latin for wax) all have cosmetology or aesthetician licenses for skin care. Waxing is better than shaving, as it lasts for 3-5 weeks, with sparser and softer regrowth, he said. Using both hard and soft waxes on clients, they add calming oils and anti redness cream to them. Men come in to have their backs, chest, ear and nose hair waxed.

Full disclosure: I was offered a complimentary bikini or half leg wax, and politely demurred. Raja thought that I’d like to experience these services, but I insist on retaining journalist integrity by keeping my jeans on at all times during interviews. Instead, I decided to evaluate the eyebrows services. I usually get my very light and sparse eyebrows threaded every few months, and decided to compare.

There are many modern private rooms set up for clients, with clinical looking tables and good lighting. Deborah Dathe checked out my eyebrows with a huge magnifying mirror and told me that the wax should never be very hot. If you’ve ever had molten wax near your eyes, you know what I mean. She was very thoughtful and very gentle. I didn’t feel as if someone tore the top of my head off, and she recommended some eyebrow products that matched my hair and skin tone.

Threading is different than eyebrow waxing, as the use of string rotated in a rhythmic fashion to remove hair is relatively quick. Waxing takes more time, but it does delineate the line and shape of your eyebrows sharply.

Even after my pleasant experience with eyebrow waxing, I still prefer having my sparse eyebrows threaded. There’s something lulling and rhythmic about the movement of the thread on your hair, with just gentle pulls rather than tearing off wax strips. For those who have fuller, thicker eyebrows that can be shaped into arches, then waxing might be preferable for you. I can go for months without threading or waxing my eyebrows, so having hair there is not a problem for me.

My seasonal tip to you: Deb said that it’s not in vogue to go totally hairless in the nether regions anymore. So leave a small patch of hair.

To celebrate my bravery and find some sustenance, I headed over to Ray’s Luncheonette on Walnut Street. Ray’s is something of a Montclair tradition: Angelica Flores bought the business in January from her uncle, making her the fifth owner in 40 years. Born in Ecuador, Flores works six days a week at Ray’s, keeping it simple and tasty for second and third-generation customers. Montclair Ambulance Unit treats Ray’s like a second home. The small breakfast and lunch menu hasn’t changed much over the years, with delicious good old fashioned home cooking. Flores is a natural cook without formal culinary school training, taught by her Ecuadorian mother, Colombia Argentina. When I kiddingly suggested that Flores add avocado toast and bread pudding to the menu to keep competitive, she quickly found recipes and had them ready to go in a few days. Flores also donates the extra bread and baked goods to local non profits to use to feed the hungry.

A new Montclair event that I plan to attend is “Kidchella” on Sunday, June 10 from noon to 5 pm. It’s a free, family focused outdoor festival with live music and fun activities. Presented by the Kids Business Committee of the Montclair Center BID, it will take place at the Montclair Community Pre-K , 49 Orange Road. Artisan food, arts and crafts, henna art and fairy hair application will be available. Let’s hope that Mother Nature will cooperate with sunshine that day, and allow us all to go on our way throughout always vibrant and event-full Montclair.

In this column:

  Waxing The City, 652 Bloomfield Ave., 973-841-7979,

  Ray’s Luncheonette, 99 Walnut St., 973-746-0343,

  Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID), 7 North Willow St., 973-509-3820,