Brazilian Wax: What to Expect and How to Prepare
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?
- 45% Yes, but not down there.
- 43% Nope, never had any waxing done, ever!
- 7% I've had some waxing down there, but I've never gotten a Brazilian.
- 5% I've gotten a Brazilian wax before or get one regularly.
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
$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.
$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.
$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
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Exfoliating before a wax can help ensure that dead skin cells don't prevent your hair from being pulled out by the root.
- 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.
- Avoid tight clothing, scented lotion, and sunshine down there right after getting a wax.
- For your first time, consider getting a bikini wax so you can get the feel for the procedure.
- Hard wax is gentler than soft wax. Find out what your salon uses.
- 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.
- If you're in a lot of pain, tell the esthetician and they can do what they can to make you more comfortable.
- Don't get waxed if you have a sunburn.
- Do not use ice to try to numb the area. That will make the pores close up, making hair removal extra painful.
- 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.
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!
Questions & Answers
How young is too young to start bikini waxing?
There really is no hard number. Generally, if there is an age restriction at a specific salon all you have to do is ask the salon. I would suggest waiting until late teenage years, at least seventeen, maybe sixteen at the youngest. I didn't get my first one until eighteen (when I was in college), for perspective.
How long does it hurt after getting a Brazillian wax?
That really depends on you and your pain tolerance. It stings in the moment, and might be a little sensitive once you're done, but I wouldn't say that it actually hurts for any significant amount of time. It could be sensitive for a day or two at the absolute most.