Oh Los Angeles, the city of impossible physical perfection. Where tortuous exercise routines, restrictive juice cleanses, and painful, high maintenance grooming rituals are all de rigueur. Discomfort in the name of beauty is a way of life in the City of Angels, and the obsession with maintaining and manicuring oneself can lead to a host of insecurities over body parts you didn’t even know you were supposed to be fretting over.
Despite the vast array of new and uncomfortable services available to modify your form, good old-fashioned waxes (namely, full bikini waxes) still manage to make most people cringe. Not so at Pink Cheeks, a San Fernando Valley institution. Opened in 1984, it's a veritable historical landmark in a town where everything is new, new, new.
This isn’t just a salon — it’s an experience. Old-timey music plays over the speakers, and the staff greets visitors with sincere smiles. The waiting room is merchandized with an unusual and eclectic mix of goods. The shelves are lined with scented candles, creams for ingrown hairs, household items, and the kind of sex toys that you might not even know exist. Amongst the anal beads and butt plugs, you’ll also find a slew of folksy wooden signs that boast positive affirmations, the likes of which you would find in quaint bed & breakfasts.
A quick glance around the waiting room reveals a clientele as diverse as its merchandise. Suburban moms and dads, Saudi princesses, 87-year-old grandmothers, nine-year-old girls getting their first waxes, pop stars, celebrities, and porn stars — Pink Cheeks services everyone, and it is particularly popular destination for the gay community.
With a motto like “Where There’s Hair, We’re There,” it's no wonder that this place has a following. Pink Cheeks stands the test of time because the salon’s aestheticians are the best at what they do. There are seven varieties of bikini waxes on the menu, many of which are named in honor of the celebrity clients who have inspired them, as well as options to have every other body part imaginable waxed.
However, it is the anal bleaching services and kits that truly put Pink Cheeks on the map. Owner Cindy Esser-Thorin, the Godmother of Anal Bleaching, helped develop the first bleaching formulas six years ago to help brighten and refresh her porn star clientele. The trend took off, and it’s not uncommon for customers to fly in from New York for just a quick anal bleach and a wax.
And yes, this is where Sasha Baron Cohen receives his bleach and wax in 2009’s Bruno, by Cindy herself. Just ask her and she’ll tell you all about it. In fact, she’ll pretty much tell you anything you want to know about the business. After all, what would an LA bikini wax and an anal bleach be without a celebrity story?