If you're consider going completely bare down there, you're not alone: more than half of women remove all their pubic hair, according to . If you're considering going full monty on your own nether regions, you're probably wondering what happens during a Brazilian wax. Read on to discover exactly what happens in excruciating detail.
What Is a Brazilian Wax, Anyway?
While a standard bikini wax will leave a modest amount of hair on your mons pubis, a Brazilian bikini wax will leave you entirely bare from front to back. It's called the "Brazilian" wax thanks to the ultra-skimpy bikinis worn by Brazilian women that call for extreme grooming.
How to Prepare for a Brazilian Wax
There are some things you can do before the Brazilian wax to make it the process smoother and (slightly) less painful:
Trim your hair to a quarter of an inch. If it's shorter, it will be hard for the aesthetician to wax it. If it's longer, it will be more painful
Avoid booking an appointment in the week leading up to your period. During that time, the area will be more sensitive.
Pop an Ibuprofen an hour before your appointment to dull the pain.
What Happens During a Bikini Wax?
1. Take It Off
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. 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.
2. Discuss Your Options
Though a Brazilian wax traditionally means you're taking it all off, there's usually a discussion before the aesthetician gets down to business—some places call different styles different things, so "Brazilian" can mean completely bare or bare except for a mini landing strip. It's up to you. Just let your waxer know your preference upfront.
3. Lie Back and Pull Your Skin
You'll lay on your back and, well, spread your legs apart. The aesthetician will give you gloves to wear, and you'll help her by holding the skin directly above your pubic area taught. Before she begins, she'll also dust on talcum powder to make the wax come off easily, rather than sticking behind on your skin.
4. Wax is Applied to the Front
Now, she'll apply warm wax with a wooden stick to an area that's about one inch by three inches. Then, she'll smooth a strip of cloth over the fresh wax, quickly smooth it with her hand, and then rip it off, fast. For first-timers, know that you might bleed slightly. And it will hurt even more than it would on future waxes. This is because the root of the hair is thick and and has never been pulled out. On subsequent trips to the salon, your hair and its root will be weaker and will be more easily pulled out.
In any event, it will 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).
5. Turn Over
Here's a step that might 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 (dead serious). No matter which one they choose, you'll feel a little silly, but it's usually over pretty quickly. And the best part? This area doesn't hurt—who knew?
6. Get Tweezed
After the wax, the waxer will inspect the job and take care of any strays with tweezers.
7. Soothing Lotion
Finally, the waxer will apply soothing lotion to your skin, which will be very red. The whole process will take anywhere from about 10 to 40 minutes, depending on the waxer and how stubborn your hair is.
Aftercare: 10 Post-Waxing Tips
it’s effective and long-lasting, but for the first 48 hours after zipping all that hair off, you’re sore, vulnerable to bacteria, and generally more high-maintenance than usual. Staying safe means playing it smart and skipping the following moves on our experts' mistakes list. Here's what you should avoid while you’re still in that tender two-day recovery stage.
1. Stay Out of the Sun
Your newly hair-free “area” may seem to be calling out for your bikini, but sensitive skin is more susceptible to UV rays. “This can lead to permanent sun damage and/or hyperpigmentation,” says esthetician Marta Grochowska of Haven Spa in NYC.
2. Avoid Swimming
“Avoid public water like swimming pools for a few days. You can have an increased-risk for acquiring an infection,” says dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, M.D., clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City.
3. Gently Exfoliate (But Only After a Few Days)
“Waxing removes the topmost layer of dead skin (along with the hair) so any kind of additional scrubbing can lead to skin damage,” explains Grochowska. However, after the first few days, it’s important to remove dead skin cells with a light scrub or exfoliating serum to prevent ingrown hairs. One we love: European Wax Center Smooth Me Ingrown Hair Serum, .50.
4. Avoid the Sauna and Hot Yoga
Warns Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Center: “Steam opens the pores which helps to push hair out, causing you to falsely believe that the wax service was not done correctly.” Plus, bacteria likes warm, wet places, and you want to keep the region as far from anything icky as possible at first. For the love of all things hair-free, avoid take a break from hot yoga, as well.
5. Wait a Little Before Getting a Spray Tan
“The chemicals may irritate your skin,” says Grochowska. Another reason to reschedule: “The color will look uneven between waxed and unwaxed areas.”
6. Use Gentle, Fragrance-Free Products
Stick with gentle, fragrance-free products following for the first few days after your Brazilian bikini wax. “Avoid any lotion, soap, or other toiletry items with artificial fragrance or color,” says Grochowska. “These ingredients are very irritating to freshly waxed skin.”
7. Take Showers Instead of Baths
“It’s better to take showers for the week after,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “Running water from the shower will be cleaner than sitting in bath water.” This is key because you’re more susceptible to infection after a Brazilian bikini wax.
8. Stick with Gentle Sex
Getting rough during sex can lead to discomfort on your freshly waxed vagina. “It can cause excessive chaffing from friction on extra-delicate skin,” says Grochowska. Consider turning the first two days into official cuddle time, or just keeping things gentle.
9. Opt for Loose Clothing
Anything tight-fitting can rub raw spots and make matters worse, according to Dr. Papantoniou. So think maxi dresses and harem pants and breathable cotton fabrics.
10. Avoid Intense Workouts
“Activities such as running, aerobics, or cycling can cause friction in treated areas,” says Dr. Papantoniou, “And sweating can also be irritating.” In other words, use it an excuse to hit the couch for a couple of days. Your lady bits deserve the break.
The Story Behind One Woman's First Brazilian Wax
Here, Glamour columnist shares the story of getting her very first Brazilian wax, sparing no detail.
I got my first Brazilian bikini wax ever at age 40 (I know, I'm so late to the party on this. Who waits until age 40 to get a Brazilian?) Well, until then, I thought getting a regular wax was painful enough. And no one was ever like, "Oh God, do you have a baby Chewbacca down there or what?" So I didn't think I needed to take my regular hair removal any further.
What finally made me go for it was that I'd booked a beach vacation with one of my most fabulous gay friends. He is super finicky, and I know from our conversations about Grindr that he thinks all pubic hair is nasty. I figured if he saw a stray pube—on a woman—he might have a seizure. So to be polite, I thought I'd just ask for an extra vigorous wax.
I was definitely still going for a regular wax, just the sideburns, you know? But then the Russian lady said, "Brazilian?" And I just heard myself say, "Yeah sure." Then everything just started HAPPENING. And now that I've ripped the bandage off, I feel like none of my friends, who have been doing this for decades, warned me properly. Here are eight things it might've been helpful to know going in.
My waxer, a diligent woman, put her hands everywhere like it was no big deal. No piece of my anatomy was left untouched. Boyfriends have been less thorough than this waxer.
At one point I had to hold my own butt cheeks apart so she could get wax in places I didn't know there was even hair. (Blame it on my upbringing, but I don't look at my undercarriage unless something hurts down there.)
She put so much wax in my crack that I thought I felt my butthole getting sealed shut. I started to panic momentarily, thinking I might suffocate, even though I know I don't breathe through my butthole.
At this salon, there is fan. A small desk fan that points at your genitals to cool down the extremely hot wax that has just been applied there. There are moments when I wanted to go back to the ripping and the burning because it's just so awkward to sit there with a fan pointed at my crotch.
When I go to pee afterward, there is no steady, normal stream. It goes everywhere like a lawn sprinkler.
When I walk, it feels like I have deli meat in my pants.
Also, I had to go to my regular Wednesday spin class because I'd reserved a bike and it was too late to cancel. Did you know that post-Brazilian, you can feel sweat in your ass crack in a totally new and different way? Now you do.
And finally, when I went to shower and scrub my nethers, they just didn't feel like mine.
You know when your friends have a baby and they whisper the gross things that happen during childbirth? They always qualify it with, "no one ever tells you." I feel like that. Only instead of a baby I have buhgina baldness. I wish I could say this whole thing is a crime against women that's worthy of a Law & Order: SVU episode. But sadly for my feminist fury, I kind of like the end result. If you've never dabbled in the Brazilian arts, you can decide for yourself if that fun, streamlined, aerodynamic feel is worth all of the pain and awkwardness. But you won't be able to say, "No one ever told me."
Craziest Brazilian Waxing Stories of Reddit
While pain usually gets top-billing when it comes to the side effect of , there’s another—and much more fun—side effect: Humor. Any time you’re talking about a service that centers largely around your private parts, you’re ripe for embarrassing, crazy, and downright funny stories. And, of course, the people of Reddit have delivered. Here are the 13 best stories on the community site that will make your next Brazilian wax seem downright uneventful.
“I get a Brazilian every four to five weeks with the same girl (usually) and I missed a few with her due to scheduling and being on vacation, her being on vacation, etc. Well, the next time I went in, I had a different hair color (it's a normal color now as opposed to a streak of pink before). She didn't ask me about school at all, or my life like normal, which I thought was weird but just figured it had been awhile—until I take my pants off and hop up on the table with my legs in the weird frog position and she goes, ‘Oh, it is you! I wasn't sure because your hair but I recognized your piercing!’” [—peppermnt]
“The first time I got a Brazilian, the girl asked me if I wanted my [butt] waxed and I was like ‘Sure, why not?’ So she starts and asks me to spread my cheeks and I guess I get nervous or have a very sensitive/ticklish butt because I could NOT stop laughing. I could NOT stop. Tears were coming out of my eyes. She had to stop and wait until I calmed down. The second she would start again, I'd start giggling like an idiot again. She was a really good sport and started laughing with me, too.” —mm2182
Come Here Often?
“One of my wife's guy friends had his butt waxed and ended up dating the aesthetician. I guess showing your butthole to a perfect stranger makes for a pretty good ice breaker.” —nulentropybin
“A client was yelling at the top of her lungs, ‘Jesus, Mary, mother of God!’ every time I pulled a strip. I told her several times to be quiet as there were massages going on in other rooms in the spa, but she refused. I finally shoved a towel in her mouth and made her promise to bite on it if she wanted me to finish. Then I told her to never book a service with me again.” —Jenc17 (an aesthetician)
Sticky Situation“The first time I tried to do a Brazilian wax at home, I warmed the wax, went to town, it all went pretty well. I had a bath to wash off the excess wax. Again, it all went pretty well…or so I thought. I put on some brand new underwear. My boyfriend came over, we headed to the bedroom. He went to take off my gorgeous new lace knickers, and they were stuck to me. No budging. Turns out there was some lingering wax residue on my crotch. I spent my Valentine's evening having my (now ex-) boyfriend very carefully cut me out of my underwear with a pair of nail scissors. It was the least sexy night of my life.” —evilnoodle84
The Tricky Hickey
“I went to my regular salon for a Brazilian and was chatting away with the esthetician and she says "So how’s your boyfriend?" I said, ‘Great! Did I tell you about him the last time I was in?’ She said, ‘No, just a lucky guess.’ The next day I was showing off the smooth new me and my boyfriend blurts out, ‘Babe, I'm so sorry.’ I have no idea what he is talking about and was a little wierded out thinking something had happened at the salon. Turns out he had given me a giant hickey on the inside/back of my leg.” —hali-kitty
“For my first Brazilian, I told [the waxer] I wanted to leave most of the hair in front, which clearly confused her, but the salon came highly recommended, so I just went with it. Unfortunately, as things came to pass when she was waxing my front, without any warning, she slapped a strip on my happy trail and said, ‘I know you'll thank me for this!’ Of course it was too late to say, ‘Actually...’ so I let her rip it out and then reiterated how I wanted to leave most of the hair in front. Well, I think she took me way too literally because she basically just stopped after that. I mean, completely stopped—even though the top of my hair was insanely crooked, like, on a 10 to 20 percent incline on top. I hoped that maybe it was just my imagination but when my friends saw it (of course they wanted to see), their faces said it all.” —MouthTypo
“First and only bikini waxing experience: I got a Brazilian and the woman blew on my lady parts to 'cool it off.’” [—Anonymous]
“So last night I was bored and I decided to get my wife's waxing stuff and try my luck at waxing my crack, because, let me tell you it's a jungle down there. I've never waxed before and I didn't bother looking up how to do it because, uh, who needs directions? I plugged the machine in and it took forever to heat up. When it was finally ready I took one of those sticks and just went to town. I knew basically how this works so I opened the drawer to get a wax strip out ... and there were none left. I tried everything as a substitute: a shirt (which now has hair on it), an ace bandage, duct tape. After about 30 minutes the wax was dried and my [butt] was completely stuck together and I had made little to no progress so I had to do the unthinkable ... rip all of the hair out by hand. This has to be the worst experience of my entire life and I'm never trying to wax again.” [—bomba367]
“I had a friend who wanted to get a full Brazilian wax. We had all just started college and were making new friends. Another girl said she wanted to get one as well. They went together and found a cheap place. As the story goes, the place didn't do the full job [because of liability issues] and my friend was unable to wax herself down there. Without skipping a beat, the other girl jumped in waxed my friend ... They had maybe known each other for two days. They continued to be good friends all through university after a bonding experience like that!” [—Ganglebot]