Brazilian Wax Tips and Tricks
With bathing suit season fast approaching and the unofficial start of summer coming up this weekend (woot! woot!) I know some of you are thinking of heading to get your first-ever Brazilian. Of course, between the idea of dropping trou at a salon and spa in front of a stranger and the anticipation of the pain, the whole thing can be a wee bit intimidating. So to ease your nerves, here's a rundown of what the process is like:
First, yes, you have to strip your lower half bare. While some places keep disposable undies on hand for regular bikini waxes, they just get in the way for a Brazilian wax. And trust me, for an operation as delicate as this one, you want to do whatever you can to make it go smoothly. And don't worry—usually, they'll give you a robe or a towel or something to drape over your, um, area so you don't flash the place when your waxer slips back into the room.
Now, as to how much and where the hair will be removed, there's a little wiggle room here. Some places call different styles different things, but basically you have 2 options: 1) Going for a little "landing strip" which means you have just a bit left right down the center. Or 2) Going totally bare. It's up to you. Just let your waxer know your preference upfront.
With that out of the way, let's talk about the waxing itself: The mechanics of this part are really basic. While you lay back, the goo is applied with a wooden spreader and a piece of cloth is placed overtop (although some salons will skip this step and just zip off the wax itself alone). Then while holding your skin taut, the waxer zips it right off.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it: There will be a sting. In some spots you'll barely feel it. Other areas will be flat-out painful.
The sides and top portions will go first and then it's onto the…er…more tender portions. Yes, there is some waxing of the labia involved. And the waxer may have to adjust you here and there to get your skin taut. It's not quite as awkward as it sounds, but I think it's important to know beforehand.
A step that may surprise you: Once your front area is done, your waxer will do the area between your butt cheeks. Some will have you pull your leg up really high for this part. Some will have you flip over on all fours. Others will have you flat on your belly, holding your cheeks apart with your hands (no, I'm not kidding). No matter which one they choose, you'll feel a little silly, but it's usually over pretty quickly.
One last optional step: The waxer may go back over and take care of any strays with tweezers.
And that's it! Total time: Anywhere from about 10 to 40 minutes, depending on the waxer and how stubborn your hair is.
Any of you planning on getting a wax soon? Any of you seasoned waxers feel I left something out people should know? Ever had a strange or unusual wax experience to share? This is the place to talk about it.
Getting my first Brazilian was a lot like my other first time. It hurt, I was super nervous, and it was over before I knew it. Here's what I learned — and everything you need to know before getting your first Brazilian wax:
Let it grow. The ideal waxing length for hair? A quarter-inch, which meant I couldn't shave for three weeks.
Down a glass of vino. My "waxpert," Nadia Montuori of European Wax Center, said a few pre-wax sips can help you relax — key to a faster treatment.
Wear a skirt. I kept mine on, pulling it up so Nadia could do her thing. I felt way comfier having some coverage.
1. Practice your butterfly pose. After I ditched my undies, I hopped on the table and Nadia asked me to assume the position: feet together, knees apart. Then we got started.
2. Prepare talking points. Mindless chatter and deep breathing gave me something else to concentrate on.
3. Know it'll hurt. For me, it was as painful as my tattoo! But Nadia said it's a wax-virgin thing. "The bulb of a first-timer's hair is larger than the pore you're yanking it from." Regular waxes make the hair finer and the bulb smaller.
4. And ... there's more yoga. To go totally bare — crack included! — I had to give Nadia full access by bringing my knees to my chest. Yes, it was as awkward as it sounds. But amazingly, I barely felt a thing there.
1. Spring for soothing serum. The area was red, sore, and a little bumpy. But before bed, I applied Nadia's recommendation — the magical European Wax Center Smooth Me Ingrown Hair Serum, $28 — and when I woke up the next morning, it was perfect and way smoother than when I shave. I'll definitely be seeing Nadia again in four weeks.
1. Keep it clean. Pack towelettes (try La Fresh's, $19) for a quick cleanup. You'll feel more confident.
2. Tip up. If you're a 15 percent kind of girl, opt for the standard 18 to 20 percent. We're talking lady parts here.
3. Wear a tampon. If you have your period, that is. Most techs don't mind waxing at that time of the month (clear it with them first) and can work around the string. (Warning: It may hurt more since your skin is sensitive during your period.)
4. Do a skin check. A wax can be performed only on healthy skin. If you have a condition like psoriasis or an STD that causes sores, postpone your appointment until your issues have cleared.
1. Take it off. Start at the least sensitive area, usually farthest from your vag, and work your way in.
2. Nix Strays. Precoated wax strips are purse-friendly — perfect for last minute defuzzing.
3. Chill out. Mist on a cooling spritz, spiked with skin-numbing Lidocaine, 10 minutes before waxing.
Do Not Wax If
1. You take isotretinoin. The prescription acne treatment leaves skin thinner — waxing may tear it.
2. You have a sunburn. For obvious reasons.
3. You're about to hit the beach. Along with hair, waxing takes off protective skin cells, causing sand and salt water to seriously sting.