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Brazilian Wax: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Updated on August 26, 2015

I've been getting Brazilian waxes for over four years now, so I've seen it all. I've been a nervous first timer, I've had the bad esthetician, I've changed spas, and I've also had really great waxes.

When I was new and looking for articles about what to expect and all that, I found that there wasn't a lot out there. Now I'm here for you as you're looking for more information on what waxing's all about. I hope I help you have a good first wax!

Have you ever gotten a wax before?

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For the First Timers

Before you get a wax there are several things to consider, including:

  • Which spa to choose
  • How much you should pay
  • What to do before you go
  • How to take care of your wax afterwards

Here are my suggestions on what you should do and some of what I actually did. You have the benefit of my hindsight!

FAQ: Does It Hurt? Can I Handle a Wax?

You read it everywhere: Brazilians hurt. It's true. Yes, they do. Also, you will be laying on a table with your vagina exposed to a stranger. It can be awkward.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me fill you in on something: It really isn't all that bad. Any wax hurts, I mean . . . your hair is getting pulled out by the root from a sensitive place. Still, it won't be so bad that tears will stream down your face, you won't need to shout at the top of your lungs with each pull. You'll definitely be able to walk after. Yes, there are some horror stories but those are the exceptions, not the norm.

When thinking about if you can handle a wax, just think about how much pain you can tolerate. Have you ever had any kinds of waxes before? What about other things, like piercings or tattoos?What did you think of the pain compared to your friends?

When you figure that sort of thing out, talk to the esthetician when you walk in. You should also let them know if you are ticklish on your thighs or if you have a serious fear of your skin ripping off. They will likely have some information to help calm you down.

FAQ: Is It Embarrassing?

As far as showing your vagina to a stranger, you can't get around that. Either you know the person or you don't. Just don't make it weird. They've seen a lot (A LOT) so they won't make it weird; they're professionals.

FAQ: How Do I Choose a Spa?

When I was looking up places to go for my first wax, I didn't have any friends that could give me suggestions. We were all college freshman, and no one had ever had a wax before. Also, most of the people at my college were from out of state like me. So I just ended up going to the one that was closest to me at the time. It worked out well, but ideally you wouldn't have to do it that way. Here are some better ways to choose a spot:

1. Ask Your Friends

My first suggestion is to ask around. If you happen to have a friend that has had a wax or even better, a friend that is an esthetician, then you're in luck! That friend can answer your questions and give you suggestions on places to go.

In the case of an esthetician friend, they may even be able to give you a discount. Don't count on it, though. If they give you a spa name and suggest someone to see, I say go there! This may not be an option if they live a lifestyle you can't afford, but they can still give you tips on how to deal with a wax in general.

2. Look Up a Place Online

My second suggestion is to search spas, look up the staff of their website, and read reviews. Most spas have a website with a page that has something to the effect of "meet the staff" or similar.

Find their head esthetician and see what kind of experience they have — a lot of experience is a good sign. Also, note that I keep using the word esthetician, which is the title of someone who went to school to learn how to care for skin, hair, and other things. You'll want to go to someone with that title. Otherwise, who knows where they trained.

As far as online reviews, you should take them with a grain of salt. One horrible review could mean that either the reviewer or the esthetician was having an off day. On the other hand, a great review could be from a friend. It's best to find a spot that has both a lot of stars and a lot of reviews (who can argue when 100 people give the spa an average 4.5 stars?).

Since spas also have other services, there may not be any reviews specifically about waxing, but don't be discouraged. That doesn't necessarily mean anything one way or the other. Like I said, a lot of stars and a lot of reviews is still a good thing. Also, not every spa has a website. In that case, it's up to you to decide if you want to give it a shot or not.

FAQ: How Much Should I Pay?

When searching for a spa to go to, you have to keep the price in mind. Waxes are a luxury so they aren't cheap, but they shouldn't be an extravagant amount either. I've paid as little as $35 (with a student discount) and as much as $65 for Brazilians.

If it was much higher than $65, I just plain couldn't afford it but if it was lower than $30 I'd be suspicious of the quality. I'm not the kind of person who needs to pay a lot for a product or service, but there are certain things I expect.

You wouldn't expect to pay someone $2 for a really involved, professionally-done hairstyle right? That's how I feel about cheap Brazilian waxes. A cheap price can mean cheap quality (which could include low-quality wax, cheap pulling strips, etc.).

Since it's your skin in a sensitive place, you should pay the price you think it's worth. Then again, if you go for a $15 wax and it turns out wonderfully, you shouldn't let the low price stop you!

You should experiment, but I say start in the middle of the price range for the places near you that have good reviews. If they charge you more, chances are they're investing in good wax and well-paid estheticians who know what they're doing.

How Much to Pay for a Wax

Tier
Cost
Tip
Other Factors
Low End
$20 - 50
$5 - 10
This is too little to pay for a wax (in most cases). Most likely this salon is will offer inferior product, service, and results.
Mid-Range
$50 - 75
$10 - 15
This is about average for a wax. Of course, average price will also depend on where you want to get a wax.
High End
$75 and up
15 - 20% of price
High-end salons can charge more for a wax because of their reputation, atmosphere, etc, though the basic quality might not be that much of an improvement on a mid-range wax.

FAQ: What Should I Do Before I Get Waxed

This is what I get the most questions about from my friends. They always want to know what to do before you get a wax. Here are the main things that I do:

  • Use the toilet
  • Shower
  • Wear deodorant

Those are the basics, but there is a bit more to it than that. There are a bunch of things you can do to cut down on the potential pain and make everything go more smoothly.

1. Be Clean

I've never worked in an industry where I deal with people's bodies, but I'd assume that whoever is dealing with your vagina wants it to be clean. They do wear gloves, but they don't wear nose plugs if you understand my meaning.

Plus, a warm shower opens up your pores so the hair will come out easier. If you have to use the bathroom, it's ok to do that right before you walk in for the wax. It's better to not have to worry about holding it.

2. Be Calm

You don't want to be stressed out when you're getting a wax. If you are tense, you're more likely to flex your muscles which will then make the hair hurt more coming out.

I calm myself with the shower, but there are other ways to relax like meditation. Find something that works for you. I'd also say you shouldn't go to your wax if you're having a bad day. A lot of places allow you to reschedule, but you should try to alert your spa as soon as possible.

3. Wear Comfy Clothes

It doesn't really matter what you wear on top, but on bottom I suggest you wear something loose fitting. For my first time I wore sweats and some regular panties and that worked for me. I've gotten to the point that I don't need to wear sweats anymore, but I'm always careful in my choice of bottoms.

Your skin will be sensitive afterwards so if you wear something tight, it will probably rub and irritate you. I wouldn't suggest a thong (even a well-fitting one) because there may be wax residue on you afterwards and that can get weird. For my top, I tend to go with something breathable and sleeveless because I always sweat when I'm getting waxed. It's not because I'm nervous or in pain; it's just how my body reacts (though it does increase when I am nervous.)

4. (Optional) Take Pain Relief

You can take a pain killer about an hour or so before your appointment (Tylenol or something like that) if you're worried about the pain. I never did this but I never was that worried. It helps for some people.

FAQ: Should You Go When You're On Your Period?

The short answer is no. Don't get waxed on your period. It's awkward for the esthetician. It can be much more painful for you, and it's just not fun. You're more sensitive when you're on your period so the pain will be amplified. Plus it can be messy, and neither you nor your esthetician wants that.

What to Do (and Avoid) After Your Wax

The aftercare for your wax is different for every person, often because estheticians' practices vary. What I have below aren't rock solid rules, just more like good guidelines.

No Vigorous Activity

The first time I went, my esthetician said I should stay away from doing any intense leg workouts for at least two days. It wasn't because of the pain, though. It just wasn't a good idea to get really sweaty down there after the wax.

You should feel this one out for yourself if you will follow this rule. I usually give myself the day after to just relax and then I get right back into my crazy working out.

Exfoliate

You need to exfoliate once in a while to keep from getting in-grown hairs. Ask for exfoliating suggestions at the spa. Usually, I just use body wash that has scrubbing beads in it, and I like to make sugar scrubs.

Some people are more prone to in-grown hairs and some people aren't. That said, it's also just a good idea to keep clean and not let dead skin build up down there. Plus it's often been my experience that there is some wax residue on your skin afterwards. It's not a lot because they usually wipe it off but it's a good idea to get that off when you get a chance.

Salon Secrets: What to Expect During a Brazilian Wax

13 Other Top Tips for Getting the Best Wax

  1. If you're especially sensitive, you can try using a numbing cream. For most people this is probably unnecessary. Ask your esthetician about brands and how to use it.
  2. Your hair should be 1/4 inch long before getting it waxed. If it's longer than this, the esthetician should trim it. If it's shorter (or if you got waxed in the last six weeks), you should wait a bit. Generally you should stop shaving three weeks before getting a wax.
  3. Exfoliating before a wax can help ensure that dead skin cells don't prevent your hair from being pulled out by the root.
  4. You're least sensitive to pain in the days right after getting your period, so schedule your appointment for then. At the very least, avoid going right before or on your period.
  5. Avoid tight clothing, scented lotion, and sunshine down there right after getting a wax.
  6. For your first time, consider getting a bikini wax so you can get the feel for the procedure.
  7. Hard wax is gentler than soft wax. Find out what your salon uses.
  8. In general, women find the butt to be the least sensitive part of the wax. The lower abdomen is the most sensitive (mons pubis), and the area right around the vagina is between the two.
  9. If you're in a lot of pain, tell the esthetician and they can do what they can to make you more comfortable.
  10. Breathe!
  11. Don't get waxed if you have a sunburn.
  12. Do not use ice to try to numb the area. That will make the pores close up, making hair removal extra painful.
  13. Ask the esthetician about exactly how it's going to go down. Usually, they apply some baby powder to remove excess moisture and oil from the area. Then they apply some warm wax to a popsicle stick. They spread it in on a small area, put down a strip of paper, rub it in the direction of hair growth, and then pull it off in the opposite direction of hair growth. Rinse and repeat until all the hair is gone.

Fun Facts About Waxing and Hair Removal

Before I dive into this topic, here are some fun facts about it for the curious cat in all of us!

  • According to the 2013 Journal of Urology, 80% of college students remove all their pubic hair.
  • A 2008 study found that most women between 18 and 49 remove some or all of their downstairs hair.
  • According to a 2013 study from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas, only 8.6% of women from 16 to 40 years old had never groomed their pubic hair.
  • In the UT study, the majority of women said they groom with razor and shaving cream, scissors, or hair removal cream. Only 16% of people said they waxed.

Why Women Remove Hair

In the 2013 UT study, 73% of women said they groomed to get a neater, cleaner look. 40% said that they did it because pubic hair is unattractive, 27.3% said because clothing styles demand it, and 26% said they did it to please or arouse their partner.

Good Luck!

I hope what I've written has done you some good! Remember these aren't hard and fast rules. I just wanted to help out those girls like me who are looking for information.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I'll try to answer in a timely fashion. Good luck with your wax!

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    • profile image

      Anna 2 years ago

      Thank you so much. This is the best article I have found on this. I feel a lot less nervous about it. :)

    • profile image

      Dana 2 years ago

      Thanks. This really helped. I'm a first timer, it help with being nervous about having it done.

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      Parchessey 2 years ago

      Share my hub if you like. I have no problem with that at all! :-)

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      Summer 2 years ago

      I was just wondering what an appropriate age would be for my first Brazilian, any thoughts? Thanks.

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      Parchessey 2 years ago

      Hi Summer. I'd say 18+ (maybe 17) is probably the lowest I'd go because that was when I got my first one. Anything below 17 seems too young to me and the spa you go to might have rules or age minimums so check that if you're young and unsure.

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      River 2 years ago

      Great article. For first timers is there an ideal number of days or weeks before you go that you should shave? To be sure the hair is not too long or too short.

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      Parchessey 2 years ago

      Hi River. Short answer, no, there is no ideal number. I'd say around 2 weeks should be fine depending on your growth. The good news is if your hair it too long your esthetician will know what to do so you can still get your wax done that day. If you're worried about it being too short err on the side of waiting longer and it will be fine.

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      Kathleen D. 14 months ago

      I work as an esthetician in the conservative Davenport,Ia. area and I do these on guys too. Any guy that I date for long will let me do this as a matter of my personal preferences. I also love to get guys to wear girly things underneath their guy clothes. I know a guy is really into me if he will wear a bra for me. Once I get this intimate level of control it's easy to talk the into taking me on a vacation, etc.

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      Alexa A. 13 months ago

      I am 16, and I have dark unruly pubic hair. It's very embarrassing for me to go swimming and it often gives me anxiety. Do you think I am too young to get a bikini wax? I'm really scared to get one, but shaving does nothing for my hair.

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      Parchessey 13 months ago

      I don't think you can at the age of 16. Maybe with parental consent you can but I think it just an issue of legality. If you want it and your parents are okay with that and your spa is ok with that then I would say the decision is yours.

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      angie 13 months ago

      How long after you get a Brazilian wax does the hair grow back?

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      Parchessey 13 months ago

      It's different for each person. Usually 4 weeks is the standard but if your hair grows slowly it might be closer to 5 or even 6 weeks. Your esthetician will tell you when you should come back and you'll get a feel for it yourself after a few visits :)

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      Tatianna 13 months ago

      I want to get a wax for my birthday next week and it's my first time, the only thing I'm worried about is that my hair isn't thick like some people's it's actually like really thin, can I still get a wax or what and umm * I'm literally wet down there all the time* WOW that was sorta embarrassing but anyways I really need help :)

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      Shannon 11 months ago

      My first wax will be Saturday. Your article was very helpful. Thank you.

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      niru 11 months ago

      Will Brazilian wax works on face... And if it works will skin become loose or sometjing .. And how abt the growth after getting it done... Please lemme know.

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      manna 11 months ago

      Just a comment about the legal age for waxes

      There is actually no legal age limit for waxes. Most people tend to be older (18 - 26) when they start getting waxed, many teenagers (14 - 17) do get brazilians, although it is mainly due to clothing issues. Dancers, gymnasts, swimmers and circus performers are actually often even required to get waxes, as shaving often leaves cuts, nicks, ingrowns and red spots that cannot be hidden during performances.

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      Holly 10 months ago

      I get waxed at ten and I have been doing it for a few months now but still love to look at tips I don't get a Brazilian done but I do get leg armpit eyebrows

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      Debbie 10 months ago

      I have to get my first wax and I am terrified! I'm still a kid and don't know what to expect! Do you think I will be able to tolerate the pain?

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      Tracie 8 months ago

      Thank you for the information. I'm 40 and I've never done this before, but looking forward to it. I'm less anxious after reading this information and wanted to say thank you.

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      Parchessey 8 months ago

      Glad to help out Tracie! :-)

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      Terri 8 months ago

      I'm really want to get waxed but I'm expecting and this will be my first time ever getting waxed. Do you think I should go through with it or should I wait? Also how often do you recommend getting waxed?

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      Parchessey 7 months ago

      If you want to get waxed then go ahead! Being nervous is normal, it isn't necessarily a sign that you shouldn't do it. I think you should set up an appointment and when the day comes if you don't want to go then just cancel. No big deal. How often you get waxed is totally up to you. Your esthetician will give you a suggested time frame. You'll figure out what's best as you continue to go. 4-6 weeks is average I would say.

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      Vanessa 6 months ago

      My first wax was around May and they told me to go back around June and I didnt. I actually want to go back but I'm scared it's going to hurt like the first time. Since it's been a while that I haven't gone back will it hurt like the first time or will it be less painful?

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      Parchessey 6 months ago

      It will hurt, that will certainly be the case but likely it won't hurt as much as the first time. If you are really nervous about the pain try taking a pain killer a little while beforehand to help cut it. The more often you go the less the pain will bug you. It just takes time.

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      Tanya 6 months ago

      So I have been getting a Brazilian for the past year, every month without fail, not shaving in between or doing anything that isn't suggested. My issue is my hair isn't getting any thinner or less painful. I had it done this morning and the bulbs are still so thick and coarse, have you experienced this before? Is there something I can do to relieve this or make it thinner? I was under the impression the more you got it done the thinner the hair would become? It's definitely not happening for me

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      Parchessey 6 months ago

      It will take time. It could just be that your hair is very resilient. Ask you esthetician about it and they can give you more specific advice related to you. Your after care could help with the bulbs if they bother you or itch or anything like that. I use a sugar scrub after I get waxed. I make mine but you can always buy them (just be careful of perfumes if you're sensitive) or you can just use a cloth and gently scrub the area.

      With regard to my hair I think mine is thinner but I have also been getting this done for over 4-5 years at this point. I don't remember when I noticed it getting thinner or maybe it's not really thinner but it is definitely easier. The waxing process hurts less now and it seems to grow back slower. I definitely can wait longer between waxes and that's pretty awesome. As far as pain it could be that it hurts less or that I just have a higher tolerance. Just keep getting it done and it will get easier Tanya. :)

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      Miss Queen : ) 5 months ago

      Greetings! I AM 63 & planning to get my first ever bikini wax to please my new man (and future husband...mm-mm ; )). A well written, informative article. Thank You Miss Parchessey!!!

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      Random 4 months ago

      I thought its bad to put soap down there and women are supposed to just wash with very warm water??

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      Parchessey 4 months ago

      Hi Random. I don't think I've mentioned soap anywhere specifically. Yes, it is true that the vagina is self cleaning and thus doesn't need a lot of soap but it's okay to use from time to time and only on the outside. If I use a sugar scrub I usually follow up with soap to avoid being oily down there (my sugar scrub is coconut oil and sugar). I don't use a lot and I don't scrub or anything like that.

      I'd say a good rule of thumb is to follow any products you use with light soap and water. Otherwise just water is probably fine.

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      Donna Mae 2 months ago

      Thank you for the info. Im 55 and this is my first time and I didn't have any answers. You answered my questions and Im not as nervous as I was

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      Parchessey 2 months ago

      Glad to help, Donna Mae :-)

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      Cham 2 months ago

      Can you get a piercing two days later after getting waxed?

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      Parchessey 2 months ago

      Hi Cham. That question would be a better one for your piercer. I'm sure they have a checklist of things to be aware of before getting a piercing. It would also depend on how you feel after getting waxed. I would suggest a week just to be sure you aren't sore but definitely ask the piercer as they have more experience in that area.

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      Mary 2 months ago

      Hi, this might be a weird question but did your skin got darker when you waxed? I'm a little less darker than you're and I hate pubic hair but I don't shave because every single time I do my skin gets darker and does not looks cute. This only seems to happen to back people because I've never seen anyone white complaining about it. I thought Brazilian was a good idea because maybe it does not get it darker but I can't seem to find information about it. Did it?

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      Parchessey 7 weeks ago

      Hi Mary. It would be hard to tell if my skin got darker considering the alternative skin was covered in hair :) That said, I don't think it got darker as a whole just because of waxing. If you get any injuries or stubborn ingrown hairs those can get dark as those can include broken skin. If you're really worried about it ask you esthetician what they've seen. They may be able to give you something more specific. Or you can always buy lightening creams, I've heard some exist for that area in particular.

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      Deborah English 2 weeks ago

      Hello, I am a sixty year old woman. I will be going for my first brazi tomorrow. I have always done my own waxing, but for the last two years I haven't waxed at all. My question is, because of my age will I need to expect some light bruising considering my skin is not as taught as it once was? Also, how long after I have the brazi should I wait to have a spray tan?

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      Parchessey 2 weeks ago

      Hi Deborah. I don't think there should be any bruising just because you're older. Bruises come from impact that then leads to internal bleeding. Waxing is painful but there shouldn't be any bruise worthy impact. If you're worried about the strength and tautness of your skin ask your esthetician about using hard wax rather than soft wax. It is designed to be more gentle on skin despite the name :) With regard to tanning I have no idea, I've never gotten a spray tan before. Looking casually online it seems like waiting 24 hours is the consensus after getting a wax and before getting a spray tan. The article I saw said that will prevent unevenness in the tan... I hope this information helped!

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