12 Things Your Bikini Waxer Wants You to Know

Let’s get this straight: There’s no wrong choice when it comes to removing your pubes or not. From Barbie-doll hairless to the full bush (as celebrities have candidly begun talking about), how you groom down there is a purely personal decision. But if totally bare is what you’re after, there’s no denying that a Brazilian wax is the fastest, least bump-inducing way to smooth things out below the waist.

That said, it doesn’t matter how advanced you are in the Brazilian arts, we get that it can be a nerve-racking experience. Here, our favorite bikini-waxing specialists share what they wish they could tell you before you lie down on the table. (Hint: You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Unless you show up drunk. Don’t do that.)

1. No one is judging your vulva.

First thing’s first, “don’t be nervous about the way your vulva looks,” says Spruce & Bond specialist Krystal Cordova. “We see all sizes and colors on a daily basis. Our job is to make you look and feel better about it.” It’s a bikini wax, not an audition to be a pubic-hair model.

2. It’s not really as bad as you’re expecting it to be.

If you’re a newbie and anticipating pain levels that rival that of Steve Carell’s character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, know that a bikini wax certainly isn’t a paid vacation, but it’s likely going go better than you think. “For first-time waxers especially, the buildup of anticipation before you get in the room is the worst part,” says Shobha Tummala, founder and CEO of Shobha. “If you’re seeing a pro, the act itself will be much faster and less painful.”

3. Don’t come straight from Spin class.

“Come in tidy, like brushing your teeth before a dental exam, but more along the lines of prepping for your annual exam at the gynecologist,” says Tummala. “At Shobha, we have rosewater freshening cloths in the room just in case.” She notes that the drier the area is, the better the wax will adhere and the better the results will be. “If you know you’re a sweater when it comes to physical activity, most likely you’ll sweat in your bikini area as well,” she explains. Wiping the area of other natural—and completely normal—bodily fluids like discharge is appreciated as well.

4. Go easy on the booze.

A glass of wine to temper your nerves before is one thing. But showing up plastered is a different story. “Don’t come into your appointment drunk; it will only make your blood thinner and more sensitive to pain,” says Cordova. There’s also the fact that it’s just kind of rude. Cindy Thorin, the owner of Pink Cheeks Salon, in Los Angeles, once had a client arrive so drunk she didn’t know what to do. “I told her we had to take off her pants, not her underwear if she didn’t want to,” Thorin recalls. When the woman couldn’t get them down on her own, Thorin had to help her. (Don’t worry—she came in to apologize later a few days later.)

5. Pee before your appointment.

If you’re nervous, prewax jitters can lead to a nervous bladder. “Make a pit stop in the powder room first because undressing and then redressing once you realize you have to go slows things down and adds more hassle for you,” notes Tummala. She says this is a common occurrence: “Oftentimes, after disrobing from the waist down for a bikini treatment, you might feel a little colder, which can intensify the need to pee. Also, during certain parts of the treatment your skin is pulled taut, so even a light press on a full bladder can be uncomfortable.”

6. Don’t shave.

“Hair needs to be a quarter inch long to be pulled by wax from the hair root,” says Exhale Spa aesthetician Angela Marinescu. She says that after shaving, it takes three or four weeks for the hair to be the best length to be waxed. “On those with blond hair, it takes about two to three weeks; dark hair takes longer because the roots are stronger,” she says.

7. Seriously, there’s no such thing as being too hairy.

“A lot of clients get embarrassed about their growth if it’s been a while,” Cordova says. “I’d rather wax overgrown hair than a two-week-old shave. It’s easier for the specialist and less painful for you.”

8. Timing matters.

Avoid scheduling a wax five days before your menstrual cycle, during, or immediately after. “Your body is especially sensitive during this time,” says Marinescu. If you’re sensitive or it’s your first time getting waxed, she adds that taking Advil half an hour prior to your appointment will help. Or you could try these other reader-approved painkillers.

9. Don’t workout after your wax either.

“The friction in tight yoga pants can cause irritation,” says Marinescu. Additionally, “you should avoid any physical activity 12 to 24 hours after your wax,” Cordova says. “The less heat you bring to the area, the better.” Steering clear of another—more private—athletic endeavor can be beneficial as well. Aesthetician Elana De Damian of Elana De Damian Skin Care suggests holding off on getting busy post wax for at least 24 hours. And while we’re at it, cross these other things off your to-do list too.

10. Wear comfortable clothes into your appointment.

It’s not just yoga pants you might want to avoid. Anything tight-fitting can rub raw spots and make matters worse, says dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, M.D., in New York City. So think maxidresses and harem pants and breathable cotton fabrics.

11. Be vocal.

“If you have a specific idea of how you want your bikini line to look, speak up,” Cordova says. “Transparency is welcome.” Cordova says she and her team can create clean edges “like a tapestry” or just clean up what’s visible outside of your bikini.

12. Resist the urge to do recon work postwax job.

“If ingrown hairs appear after your wax, don’t pluck them,” advises Cordova. “Let us handle it.” If you pick at your ingrowns with your nails, you risk scarring and infection. “We have tons of bacteria underneath our nail beds,” she says. If you can’t make it back into your waxer’s, an ingrown-hair treatment (like Anthony or Fur) can help safely address the issue, as well as gentle exfoliation of the area three days after your wax.

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