Hidden away behind the rows of wedding shops, tucked between the unique boutiques on the backroads of Chungjangro (충장로), lies a hidden gem in the city of Gwangju (광주). At night, you can catch a glimpse of the modern recessed lighting from above the glaring neon of the MiniStop on the ground floor…
Located on the 2nd floor above a MiniStop, The B.B Waxing Shop (더비비왁싱전문샵) is one of my most treasured finds I’ve stumbled across here in Gwangju–no, in all of Korea! It is (in my opinion) the be-all-end-all waxing shop for Jeollanamdo, and I’ve yet to find anything of its caliber in Seoul. Western-style waxing isn’t overly popular here yet, which I’m sure has at least some small connection to the significantly sparse amount of body hair found on most East Asian people. Before I’d even come to Korea, I did a bit of preliminary research on what I could expect in terms of waxing services after I’d made my leap across the Pacific. Unfortunately, everything was either located in Seoul and/or had depressing reviews telling tales of double-dipping, incomplete wax removal, and overall shoddy workmanship. Yikes.
I lived between Seoul and Daejeon for my first month in Korea, and twice I visited a commonly-touted shop in Itaewon named after a certain green reptile. Unfortunately, I left disappointed both times. As kind and English-friendly as the staff was, the place just felt dingy and uncomfortable and the service was mediocre. Ever since my official move down to Jeollanamdo, I’d been on the hunt for a good waxing shop.
So, it should come as no surprise that, one day while out shopping and discovering some new boutiques in the back alleys of Chungjangro, I stumbled across a sign for The B.B Waxing. At the time, I couldn’t speak much Korean so I simply snapped a photo of the services listed on their banner to translate later. But when I did manage to find it again the following month, I was blown away! Take a look at the interior:
Absolutely stunning, right?! I was very surprised by the clean, modern feel the whole place had, as it felt like a western salon and spa. The whole place is very calm and relaxing, and typically extra-private because Sujin only books one customer at a time. I’ve been going to her for over a year, and it’s only recently that I’ve walked in and crossed paths with other outgoing or incoming customers.
When you schedule your first appointment, Sujin will discuss what exactly it is that you want. For anything bikini-related, she has diagrams so you don’t have to worry about a language barrier when expressing exactly what services you need. You can also opt for waxing or sugaring, depending on your preferences. I always waxed back home, but found sugaring was better for bikini-related hair removal as it eliminated any form of heat. Sujin will lead you to a room, and give you a disposable skirt (if necessary) depending on what services you’re getting. She initially gave me disposable panties as well when doing Brazilians for modesty, but I think she quickly realized they were more of an inconvenience than they were worth and her customers weren’t bothered either way.
Sujin will leave you alone to change, so once you’re ready you can press the buzzer on the wall to let her know you’re all set. She’ll come back in and usually tell you how she wants you positioned, depending on what you’re waxing first. I’ve gone in for arms, bikini, and neckline all at the same time, but if you’re just coming for one service your position is likely pretty self-explanatory! You can always ask her to adjust the air conditioning or heating in the room as well, and she will give you a blanket to keep warm any time it doesn’t interfere with the area being waxed. Also, be warned that she will go through and get every hair after waxing! She’s incredibly thorough, and even removes any and all ingrown hairs she finds.
So, you’re probably curious about exactly what services she offers, and how much everything costs, right? I snagged one of her pamphlets the last time I was there, and went through and translated all the key information:
There are two suggestions I’d make about paying and the costs of her services. First, bring cash as there is a 10% charge on all credit card charges. Sujin is up front about this and is happy to let you run and get cash from the ATM, because their prices do NOT include the 10% VAT tax which is required when using a card. If you’re like me and are waxing several things at once or doing something more expensive like a Brazilian, this can tack ₩10,000+ onto your total! There is an ATM located right outside of the MiniStop on the ground floor, so be sure to stop there first and make a withdrawal.
Secondly, there is a VIP club that I highly, highly recommend joining if you’ll be going for monthly bikini-related waxing. The VIP club costs ₩200,000 per year, but gets you a 50% discount on all bikini-related waxing services and a 20% discount on all other waxing services. Basically, if you’re getting a full Brazilian at ₩120,000 it pays for itself in just over three visits (₩60,000 savings x 3 = ₩180,000). If you’re planning on waxing several other locations around your body on a regular basis, it can add up just as quickly and is very much worth it if you’re going to be in Gwangju for the year.
In March I stopped by unexpectedly on a Saturday and Sujin had an assistant in training. She had studied abroad in London and she spoke English very, very well. I went in on a Friday afternoon this past April and she wasn’t there, but I’m not sure what her schedule normally is. Sujin herself doesn’t speak much English, but even with my limited Korean we get on fantastically. I’ve never had any problems expressing what services I need done, and we even make small talk in waxing sessions! I started seeing her back in the winter of 2014 when I spoke almost no Korean, so don’t be intimidated by the language barrier. She’s very warm and friendly, and overall makes her salon a very private, clean, and comfortable environment for her customers.
I think that about covers it! Please feel free to leave any comments about your own experiences at The B.B Waxing, or ask any additional questions about the place in the comments section below!
Contact, Hours, & Location
Hours: Open Monday~Saturday (closed Sundays) from 10AM to 10PM; reservations recommended but walk-ins are welcome.
Address in English (see GoogleMaps here)
6-2 Seoseok-ro 7beon-gil, Dong-gu, Kwangju (new style)
103 Chungjang-dong, Dong-gu, Kwangju (old style)
MiniStop, 2nd Floor
Address in Korean (see NaverMaps here)
광주광역시 동구 서석로7번길 6-2 (new style)
광주광역시 동구 불로동 103 (old style)
Walking Directions from the Gwangju Subway