Business

Laugh It Off: This Salon Uses Nitrous to Make Waxing Less Wack

BALD salon.
BALD salon. Missy Miller
Getting waxed can be a painful experience, but Dr. Falan Mouton, owner of Denver’s BALD salon, says it doesn’t have to be that way. Her solution: Use medical-grade nitrous oxide to quell unnecessary pain.

“Waxing is a multibillion-dollar industry. ... It’s a very old form of hair removal, but no one provides pain relief for it. I feel like that’s a limiting factor,” she says.

BALD — which also performs tattoo removal, botox injections, fillers and hair removal via electrolysis and laser — is the only waxing salon in Colorado, at least, to use nitrous oxide, known colloquially as laughing gas.

“I had to buy a machine, buy tanks, rent a space, hire an aesthetician and get some clients and a website and all that before I realized that this does work," Mouton says. "It’s a good pain reliever when it comes to cutaneous pain associated with waxing.”

Mouton says the salon's use of nitrous is not the same thing as “whippets” — inhaling nitrous oxide cartridges from a whipped-cream canister for a quick high. And BALD only offers the gas for body waxes, so customers just don't come in for the nitrous.
click to enlarge BALD salon uses nitrous oxide to help customers deal with waxing pain. - MISSY MILLER
BALD salon uses nitrous oxide to help customers deal with waxing pain.
Missy Miller

“We don’t give laughing gas for facial services,” she notes. “The cost of laughing gas and the cost of facial services makes it prohibitive, and we don’t want drug seekers. ... We’ve had a couple come in for a $10 ear wax so they can huff on the nitrous. We don’t want that.”

Mouton, who opened BALD in May 2019, is a trained pediatric anesthesiologist. After finishing medical school and getting board certified, she remembers friends talking about how they liked to get Brazilian waxes but flinched at how painful they can be.

“I was just thinking, ‘How painful could it be? What anesthetic would I use to treat it?’” recalls Mouton. "It’s an exercise I bet a lot of anesthesiologists mull through.”

She considered fentanyl and midazolam, which is used for procedures like colonoscopies, but people can’t eat beforehand or drive home alone afterward. She also thought about ketamine, but people get too high off of it, and it’s not a substance that can be administered every six weeks with a wax. She eventually settled on nitrous oxide, because it effectively treats pain and isn’t an addictive narcotic or a federally controlled substance.

“It’s a very strong gas for cutaneous pain,” she says. “It’s also very safe. … It’s very short-acting. A few breaths and it’s gone if you don’t continuously breathe it in, which is good for this setting.”

Mouton says another bonus is that her customers don’t generally complain of residual pain following waxing, and that the nitrous oxide treatment is eliciting a good response from clients who’ve had the service with and without.

“Some of them give numbers, and they say it’s about a 75 percent reduction in pain,” she says. “I like to say that a Brazilian wax feels like an eyebrow wax, so not zero pain, but a considerable reduction. They say it’s a game-changer and they’ll never go back to waxing without pain relief.”

BALD is located at 2544 15th Street; for more information, visit balddenver.com.
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