When we think about getting a Brazilian wax, we can't help but compare it to something akin to skydiving. For some, the sheer idea of both is slightly terrifying, but how people talk about how they feel after makes it something we want to try despite the initial fear.
If it's time for you to scratch this beauty service off of your bucket list of things to try, then you came to the right place. We understand that getting a Brazilian wax (or any form of waxing) for the first time can be nerve-wracking, which is why we spoke with an expert esthetician and a waxing specialist from the European Wax Center to address all of your questions. For tips on how to deal with the pain and maintenance to getting waxed on your period, read ahead.
What is a Brazilian Wax?
A Brazilian wax removes pubic hair from the bikini area and around the external genitals with the added "butt strip," as European Wax Center likes to call it.
Unlike a standard bikini wax, which typically removes exposed hair from around your panty line, a Brazilian is a great option if you prefer a completely nude look. However, you can also leave a neat triangle, strip, or square of pubic hair in the front, if you prefer to keep some.
What’s the Best Way to Prepare for a Brazilian Wax?
To prepare for your wax, Deidra Green, the Field Training Manager at European Wax Centers, recommends growing out pubic hair to be at least a quarter of an inch long — about the size of a sprinkle. "Stop shaving at least five days before your waxing reservation," she recommends. You want to let the hair grow out so that the wax better grips onto the hair and removes it one go. When the hair is too short, the wax may not pull out all of the hair at once, causing your wax specialist to go over those missed areas. "Don't worry, your hair can never be too long to come to see us," reassures Green.
You can also exfoliate before your appointment to help buff away dead skin cells. "If you are going to exfoliate your skin, please use a film-free exfoliant as these don't leave the skin coated in oil, 24 to 48 hours before your wax," says Green. She recommends the European Wax Center Treat Face & Body Exfoliating Gel ($40, waxcenter.com) for its non-abrasive formula that contains ingredients to help calm, nourish, and restore skin.
As far as things to avoid, you may want to skip any caffeine or alcohol the day of your appointment. "It may seem like a good idea to have a drink to calm the nerves, but alcohol thins the blood, which can cause a more painful experience," says Green. "Caffeine leads to more skin sensitivity and also can up the pain during a wax."
What’s the Best Way to Deal with the Pain of a Brazilian Wax?
The most intimidating part of any waxing experience is the pain. "You can take a pain reliever 30 minutes before the waxing session to alleviate pain, and you can also apply numbing cream 45 minutes before your appointment," says Taylor Worden, a celebrity esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin.
Green says the more you wax, the easier it becomes to handle the pain. "We like to say that your third wax is your best wax because the hair growth cycle has evened out, and the hair starts to come in finer for an easier removal," she says.
VIDEO: Why Sugaring Could Replace Waxing as Your Go-To Hair Removal Method
What’s the Best Way to Care For Your Skin After a Brazilian Wax?
Immediately after your wax, Worden says to say away from saunas, hot baths, hot tubs, tanning beds, and exercise for 24 hours. The skin is very sensitive post-wax, so you should avoid anything that could cause potential irritation down there.
Green says to avoid harsh soaps as the skin is newly exfoliated from the wax. Instead, opt for a gynecologically-tested formula that gently cleanses and hydrates the skin, such as the Fur All Body Wash ($28, dermstore.com). "We also recommend wearing anything loose and comfortable that lets the area breathe, as well as anything cotton-based," she says.
The best thing to do after your wax is to moisturize the area using formulas with ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, glycerin, or green tea to soothe the skin, says Green. A soothing oil to try that can help with irritation or discomfort is the DeoDoc Calming Oil ($27, deodoc.com) because it's made with chamomile, almond, and shea butter for sensitive vulvar skin.
What’s the Best Way to Maintain a Brazilian Wax?
Worden recommends exfoliating a few times a week and resisting the urge to shave between appointments. Green agrees and explains that when you shave, you are cutting your hair, which creates a blunt end when it grows in instead of a fine point. "This can give the appearance and feel of the hair being darker or thicker and a prickly feel days after shaving," she says. Plus, shaving can lead to ingrown hairs. "If you absolutely must get rid of the hair, only shave the sides of your bikini line so you still feel groomed but are not starting your waxing results from scratch."
You can also incorporate products that help slow hair growth, like ones from the European Wax Center's Slow Collections. It includes lotions and body washes formulated with narcissus tazetta bulb (aka dandelion extract), which clinical studies have shown inhibit hair development.
How Long Does a Brazilian Wax Last?
Typically, Worden says a wax will last up to four weeks for most people. However, some might get up to six weeks during the winter as hair grows slower during this time. A wax offers long-lasting results because the hair is removed from the root, which Green says can also create softer and finer hair during the regrowth.
Can You Wax on your Period?
"Yes, you can absolutely get waxed while on your menstrual cycle," says Green. "You just need to wear a fresh tampon or menstrual cup." While it's possible, bear in mind that your skin may be a bit more sensitive during this time so, it may feel a little more painful.
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