My first Brazilian wax started on a whim. I was searching for something on Groupon when I saw it advertised. I thought about my upcoming vacation (I was going on a Caribbean cruise), and I immediately hit the buy button. Lucky for me, when I called to book my first Brazilian — the removal of all pubic hair from both the front and back of one's nether regions — she was available the next day. (Yes, in retrospect, that might’ve been a warning sign.)
The next day, I experienced some of the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life. Now in case you think I’m being dramatic, I want you to know that I ended the appointment with an ice pack on my nether regions. Not cool.
Your First-Time Brazilian Wax: What to Expect
I know that some people will say things like, “It’s not that bad,” or “The pain doesn’t last long,” when it comes to a Brazilian wax for first-timers. Both may be true, but I absolutely will not lie to you and tell you it doesn’t hurt. Because it does... a lot. However, I’ve since had other waxes, and it has gotten better — and I now find it a really effective way to remove unwanted hair.
Here’s my first Brazilian wax advice to you, laid out in a list of my top five tips. I hope it helps.
1. Find someone who knows what they’re doing.
I learned this the hard way by grabbing a quick deal on Groupon. Yes, those deals websites can be a good way to get a good price and discover new talent. However, they shouldn’t be the only way you find a waxing esthetician, especially one that works on such sensitive areas of your body.
In fact, I suggest if you’re getting a Brazilian for the first time, you call and talk to the person directly. Ask them what kind of wax they use. Have them explain the difference between hard and soft wax to you. (Hard wax tends to be the best option when it comes to the bikini area or if you have sensitive skin.)
This person is going to be getting up close and (very!) personal with you soon enough, so it’s perfectly OK to ask them all the questions you have. If you call someone but they aren’t willing to go over the basics with you, keep looking!
2. Prep yourself (and your skin).
For your first Braziilian wax, prepare yourself mentally and physically. You can do this once you find that person who knows what they’re doing. Be open and tell them you’re a newbie; they should offer to help put your mind at ease and get you ready for the first appointment.
I’ve tried a few different waxers, and here are some of the basics they’ll tell you: First, you can trim your hair a bit before you go. Definitely don’t shave it or cut it too short because this will make it difficult to ask. (If you have questions about this, ask your pro.) Next up, don’t book an appointment around your period because your skin will be more sensitive. Finally, if you want to give yourself a little cushion, take ibuprofen half an hour to an hour before your appointment. It’ll help.
3. Be realistic in your expectations.
Are you expecting to be hair-free for weeks upon weeks? This is not likely. Are you thinking you’ll avoid stubble? Again, not likely. Are you hoping to completely avoid the pain? Um, no. Definitely not.
The results of a bikini wax or a Brazilian depends so much on the person, their hair type, and lots of other factors. For instance, those with sensitive skin may see their skin turn pink for the entire next day after a wax; for other people, the skin returns to normal in just a few hours. In addition, everyone has a different tolerance of pain. So you can read, research, and ask your friends questions, but don’t let those experience and stories cloud your judgment too much. You have to go into it knowing that everyone is different. For the most realistic expectations, ask your questions to the pro before, during, and after your first Brazilian appointment.
4. Keep up with your maintenance.
If you’re going all in on this whole bikini wax or Brazilian thing, then the single best thing you can do is to keep up your maintenance plan. I promise this is not something your waxing aesthetician is telling you just to make more money; it really is the way to best, most pain-free waxing experience. Why? Regular waxing will cause the hair to grow back in thinner and softer, making it easier for the waxer to pull out (and therefore a much less painful experience for you).
This will likely mean going back every few weeks (though this time frame can vary a lot by person). You can also purchase serums, body washes, and lotions — available online or from your waxing salon — that help soften the hair and prevent in-grown hairs from developing. By keeping up with a maintenance plan, it’ll make each appointment quicker and easier. If you just go sporadically, it’ll feel like a first appointment (aka longer and more painful) every time you go.
5. Don’t be afraid to look for alternatives.
If you don’t love the person you go to, find someone else! You should feel completely comfortable and happy with the person you’re using, so don’t be afraid to switch if you don’t. Also, don’t be afraid to switch from a Brazilian wax to something else. Perhaps a bikini wax (removing the pubic hair from just the front side of your body — is a better fit for you instead of taking it all off — or maybe you want something in between the two. It's your body, so don't hesitate to request exactly the look you want (trust me, they've heard it all).
My first Brazilian wax not a great experience, and I thought it was enough for me to never get anything waxed again. Luckily, it wasn't — and It I’m hoping some of my learnings will help you for prepare for your first wax as well.
This post was written by Stacy Tornio, the author of The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book and the mom of two adventurous kids.