In part three of our Naturally Beautiful series for Earth Month we’re getting to know more about Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Centers.
“As a consumer, I was always dissatisfied with the expensive, slow, painful, and limited hair removal services available at nail and hair salons,” Noemi shared with us. This is why in 1993 she founded Uni K Wax in Miami Beach, Florida, using her own proprietary wax, made of natural beeswax packed with essential oils and a special pine tree resin, a product that was three years in the making.
“I imagined something new,” she went on, “a center solely dedicated to waxing, with a welcoming atmosphere that offered clean, quick, and professional services at affordable prices. Having sensitive skin myself, I also recognized the need for a wax that was all natural and pain-free, and would not aggravate the skin with harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients. I spent three years researching and developing the proprietary wax that we use today, an all-natural elastic wax, made of natural beeswax, essential oils, and a special pine tree resin, that is applied at body temperature, specifically made for sensitive skin, to gently remove hair and at the same time, nourish the skin. From the moment we opened the doors I focused on revolutionizing the waxing experience, for example, in every one of our Center’s we have an on-site lab, the wax is prepared each day in this lab and every customer receives their own warmer of wax just for their service, when the service is completed the warmer is returned to the lab and the assistants discard any remaining wax, clean, and disinfect the warmer ready for the next service.” Soon after the opening of this first Center, Noemi opened a second, and currently has more than 30 locations in California, New York, and Florida.
But before the ever-expanding business came the all-natural wax. “It was a challenge to find natural ingredients that performed the way I knew I wanted a wax to perform,” Noemi told us. “I searched globally for the ingredients in the wax that Uni K uses. The elasticity of the wax, which is unique to only Uni K comes from specific ingredients only found in certain parts of the world. The benefits of the elasticity are that even when the wax is dry it is extremely flexible and when it is removed it reduces any discomfort. It [took] three years to create the right temperature, consistency, and application of the wax, and countless hours of testing on myself. I recall in the early days, we even had tree leaves and twigs in the wax mixture until we created a fine filtering system. It was challenging and fun at the same time.”
To this day the Center only uses and sells all-natural body products. “The natural skin care industry has evolved with more of a focus on beneficial natural ingredients for the skin, and I am always searching for a better exfoliant or hydrating skin care line to add to our professional or retail range.”
Noemi shared that despite thoughts otherwise, waxing doesn’t always have to hurt. ” It is always a great treat for me to do wax sampling on people with Uni K’s wax and see their reaction, it is instant conversion. Additionally, having to train a waxer from how they are taught to wax, to how we wax. I have had some waxers tell me they don’t believe they can learn my methods for applying and removing the elastic wax, and when they use the method they are taught, they see that they only perform to industry standard, which is removing wax in small sections which is painful and not all hair is removed. When they open their talents to learning our method, they are elated and excited.”
If you want to clean up your beauty routine Noemi recommends starting by creating an open dialogue. “With any service you receive, ask about the products they are applying on your skin or body, natural is better as your skin will react with synthetic ingredients. Look out for products that are not naturally colored, have a natural scent or require a ‘sample test’ on your skin prior to using, such as waxing. Fillers, preservatives or anything that uses excessive heat, which will react on your skin should also be avoided. Your skin after a product is used on it, should look healthy, not shine a glowing red from the application.”
Up next for Noemi and Uni K Wax? “We have several innovations that we have introduced recently and some in the making. We are always focusing on delivering new waxing and service innovations to our customers. Recently we introduced a three step process to our bikini services, [to help] prevent bacteria from entering the pores and reduce ingrown hair from forming. Later in the year, we will be introducing a new range of hydrating skin care products to further provide our customers with the ‘in-between’ waxing care that we encourage our customers do on a regular basis. Finally, UKW Franchising plans to develop over 100 franchises and affiliates in the United States by the end of 2015. We’re on track for this goal and I am confident that soon consumers nationwide will have access to our services!”