Getting a Brazilian wax for the first time can almost feel like a rite of passage, especially for those who believe less is more when it comes to their bikini lines. The experience can also feel way more transformative than something like a first eyebrow wax, because, well, you’re removing all of your pubic hair! As Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw said when she got her first one, “I got mugged. She took everything I got.” If you’re getting your first-ever Brazilian wax, you probably want to know what to expect. After all, preparation is the key to success, even when it comes to your pubes.
So, what does a Brazilian wax entail, exactly? While Carrie’s may have resulted in her feeling like a “freaking hairless dog,” you don’t have to go completely bare if you don’t want to. Some opt for a “landing strip” or just a little coverage in the front. “A Brazilian bikini wax is as much or as little as you want removed from the top, sides, and front of your bikini,” explains Gina Petak, education manager at European Wax Center. While a full bikini wax is the same in that respect, a Brazilian is different because it also includes the back or buttstrip area. “This is perfect for a completely nude look,” says Petak, but you can also opt for a triangle, strip, or square on the front. She adds, “choose the style that best fits you.”
What Will the Pain Be Like?
As expected, a Brazilian wax can be uncomfortable for first-timers, however, it only gets better from there. Petak says that since the hair gets removed from the root, it ends up growing out softer and finer, so it ultimately becomes less painful as you begin to get waxed regularly. You can also minimize the pain in a couple of different ways. Try taking ibuprofen about an hour before your appointment or scheduling it for a few days after your period if you can, since the skin tends to be more sensitive when you’re close to menstruating.
You can also inquire about the type of wax being used. Most likely it will be hard wax, as it’s better for the bikini area since it’s thicker and hardens on top of the skin, as opposed to soft wax, which adheres to the skin along with the hair.
How to Prepare for Your Appointment
First of all, your hair should be long enough to get waxed, so stop shaving about two weeks prior to your appointment and let it grow to where it’s at least as long as a grain of rice.
A day or two before, exfoliate the area with a gentle scrub to buff away dry skin, but it should be the kind that doesn’t leave a film. This allows the wax to get a better grip on the hair. On the day of, make sure the area is clean and clear of lotions or other products.
Petak advises against drinking alcohol or having caffeine the day of your waxing appointment because alcohol “thins the blood,” which can result in more pain. Caffeine is harder to avoid for many people, but keep in mind that it can also make your skin more susceptible to pain. However, no matter what, make sure to drink a lot of water. If you’re well-hydrated, this helps your skin allow for the hair to be removed much more easily.
Petak didn't mention numbing creams, but there are some readily available. If you do decide to use them, you’ll want to apply about 30 minutes prior to your wax and rinse it all off. Just don’t use ice as a numbing agent—this tightens the pores, which can make the area more difficult to wax.
What to Expect During Your Wax Session
First, you’ll partially disrobe. Then, your waxer will cleanse your bikini area before applying the wax to the different parts of your bikini area and removing the hair. Because of the area being waxed, you can most likely expect to have to get into some interesting body positions, like bringing your knees to your chest or holding your leg up in the air (like Carrie had to). If you want to know exactly how it will go down, don’t be afraid to ask your waxer directly. The whole thing should take about 15 to 30 minutes.
Continue to wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid tight jeans. (Breathable cotton garments are best.) Petak also says to make sure to use lukewarm or cooler water during your post-wax shower, as hot water can dehydrate the skin. You’ll want to avoid using any harsh soaps or body washes that contain oils or leave a filmy residue. Lastly, put your hot tub time on hold. Wait before using any saunas, jacuzzis, and going into any bodies of water right after your wax. And some waxers also recommend holding off on workouts and, ahem, other physical activities, like sex, for a day or two after your wax.
How Much Does it Cost?
European Wax Center charges $56 for Brazilian waxes, depending upon the location. This is comparable to other spas that charge $50 to $80 for Brazilian waxes. Some places may also charge more for hard wax. As Petak advises, “Always go somewhere that specializes in waxing and has trained and licensed waxing experts for a safe, sanitary, and pleasant experience.”
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