By Serena Solomon
GREENWICH VILLAGE — "Relax, relax," said Galina Petrova in a heavy Russian accent.
Her words barely made it through my vodka-induced haze. Sleepy and calm, I barely noticed the rip and pull of summer's most painful ritual — the dreaded bikini wax.
Petrova works her magic in one of two locations of the Russian-owned Beauty and Youth Spa, where relief for the dreaded procedure is served up in the form of a complimentary shot — or two — of vodka or a glass of wine.
I was so knocked out by my vodka shot that I barely noticed what's normally a vivid experience. And within moments, Petrova had finished the job.
"We call it the Russian anesthetic," said Vadim Epstein, 33, who manages the family-owned business.
Epstein got the idea seven years ago when a customer joked about going to a bar before a waxing appointment to numb the pain.
"A light bulb went off in my head and I thought, 'Why don't we offer shots for people who are sensitive?'" said Epstein, who also has a cosmetology license.
To illustrate the popularity of the curative, he produced a 60-ounce bottle of vodka from behind the counter at the salon's newest location, on West 8th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. Their original store is located on Sixth Avenue, between W. 11th and W. 12th streets.
"We only started this one [bottle] a week ago," Epstein said, as he shook the handle of vodka with just a few gulps worth left inside.
The salon's busiest waxing period is before Valentine's Day — and this year, customers knocked back two and a half bottles of vodka in a week.
On Tuesday, Emily, a 25-year-old preschool teacher on the Upper East Side, came in for her first ever Brazilian wax appointment. One of her friends had warned her about the excruciating process, but Emily still wanted it done.
"I think the anticipation is the worst part," she said, before downing a shot.
She was led away by a beautician and returned 20 minutes later.
"I survived," she said, through a big grin. "It is not as bad as child birth, so there's always that."
For Emily, the vodka helped immensely along with the quick work of the beautician.
Beauty and Youth's recent expansion has come with more more services for clients including a hair salon, massage rooms and laser hair removal.
They said they might have to also start expanding their bar collection to match.
"I think we are going to start offering tequila shots," Epstein said.