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A Brazilian wax involves complete pubic hair removal. If you’re worried about the pain level, you may want to find a salon that uses hard waxes. As a general rule, hard waxes tend to hurt less than soft waxes.

In a Brazilian wax, pubic hair is groomed and removed from the front of the pubic bone, around the external genitals, between the upper thighs, and around the anus.

Depending on your preferences, you can choose to remove all hair in the area or leave a small strip of hair in the front.

How is this different from a bikini line wax or bikini full wax?

Basic bikini line waxes typically clean up hair in the groin region, wherever hair could poke out from a swimsuit bottom: on the sides of the bikini (or underwear) line and between the belly button and pubic bone.

Bikini full waxes include everything in a bikini line wax, as well as hair removal on the front of the pubic bone. You can choose to leave behind a strip, triangle, or square of hair.

The Brazilian goes a step further by offering complete pubic hair removal: from the front of the pubic bone to the area underneath, called the perineum, to the anus.

Check in with yourself before the appointment to make sure you’re ready. You should:

  • Make sure your hair is at least ¼-inch long — about the size of a grain of rice. If it’s longer than ½ inch, you may want to trim it slightly, so the wax is able to grip better.
  • Gently exfoliate with a buffing mitt or wash cloth a couple of days before your appointment to help prevent ingrown hairs.
  • Avoid tanning for at least 24 hours before your appointment, as this can cause the skin to be more sensitive.
  • Cut down on alcohol and caffeine the day of your appointment. Both can cause your pores to tighten and make waxing more painful.
  • Wear breathable, cotton underwear or loose bottoms to your appointment for maximum comfort.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever about 30 minutes before your appointment to help lessen pain.

Arrive at least 10 minutes early to your appointment so you can check in and use the bathroom, if needed.

Your first appointment will probably take around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much hair you have and how much you want to get removed during your session.

Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Your wax technician will ask you to get undressed from the waist down and hop up on the table.
  2. Before the technician does anything, they’ll likely ask you for your preferences. Let them know if you want a bikini line wax, bikini full, full Brazilian, or any strips of hair left.
  3. Next, the tech will do some cleansing to ensure that the wax has a clean surface to stick to.
  4. Once the area is clean, they’ll go in with a pre-wax treatment, usually an oil or powder, to ensure that the skin is protected.
  5. Then, the waxing! Depending on the type of wax, your technician will either use paper or cloth to remove your hair. Smaller strips might be used underneath and around the anus while larger strips will be used on the front of the pubic bone.
  6. If the technician misses any hairs, they’ll clean it up with tweezers.
  7. Finally, they’ll rejuvenate the area with a serum or cream to soothe irritation and prevent any ingrown hairs.

When you go to pay, make sure to tip at least 20 percent. This is the standard for most salons.

How painful is it?

It’s not a walk in the park, that’s for sure. It really depends on what your individual pain tolerance is.

The first appointment is usually the worst in terms of pain, so keep this in mind. The second appointment may feel drastically different.

As a general rule, hard waxes tend to hurt less than soft waxes.

If you’re worried about pain levels, try finding a salon that uses hard waxes.

Immediately after your appointment, make sure that you’re treating the area with a little more TLC than normal:

  • If there’s any tenderness, redness or discoloration, apply a hydrocortisone cream or a cool compress.
  • Avoid sexual activity for at least 24 hours. This will give any microtears time to heal before engaging in any genital-to-genital contact.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, like a medium- or high-impact workout class, and soaking in water for at least 24 hours. A shower is fine, but a bath might cause irritation.
  • Avoid tanning for at least 24 hours afterward. The deep exfoliation can make the pubic area more susceptible to sun damage.

Resist the urge to shave or otherwise remove any stubble or errant hairs that pop up. This removal can increase the risk of ingrown hairs before your next waxing appointment.

Outside of a smoother bikini region, waxing is a form of deep exfoliation.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, this type of physical exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the top layer of skin to promote collagen production and boost the efficacy of topical treatments.

This form of hair removal is also one of the least irritating to the skin.

If done properly, waxing is less likely to cause an unwanted rash, bumps, or other irritation than using an epilator or shaving.

But that’s not all. Waxing pulls out hair from the root.

When hair grows back in the same place, it’s usually weaker, softer, and thinner than before.

This means that, over time, you’ll have less hair to groom — and the hair that remains will be more manageable.

As with any other form of hair removal, waxing has some potential side effects.

You may notice redness, discoloration, or bumps immediately after your wax — this is incredibly common and should subside within the next 24 hours.

To help with the healing process, you can apply lotions or serums made for the pubic region. These can also help prevent any ingrown hairs.

If you’re not used to pubic hair removal, you may also experience some itchiness.

Resist the urge to scratch! This could cause further irritation or microtears in the skin, and you definitely don’t want that.

Instead, apply a topical hydrocortisone cream or aloe vera gel to soothe the area.

One 2016 survey suggested that pubic hair removal of any kind may be associated with an increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Still, more research is needed to confirm whether this is true.

Although much less common than redness, discoloration, or itching, waxing can cause small breaks in the skin. This could leave you more susceptible to STIs that are transferred between skin-to-skin contact.

Interested in getting a Brazilian but unsure if it’s the right move? There are a few things to consider, depending on your circumstances.

Is getting a Brazilian wax awkward?

The estheticians who provide Brazilian waxes are professionals, which means they’ve probably seen it all. They aren’t there to pass judgment on your genitals, so don’t worry!

If you’re feeling a little shy, you can let your wax technician know that it’s your first time. They’ll likely want to help set you at ease.

How long will the results last?

This depends on how fast your hair grows and how dark your hair is.

Typically, it lasts around 3 to 4 weeks. Once the hair is at least ¼-inch long, you can go in for another wax.

In the meantime, be careful to avoid shaving — it can lead to more itchiness, irritation, or ingrown hairs.

If you stick to a monthly waxing schedule, you’ll likely find that waxing becomes easier and less painful over time.

If you don’t keep up with a schedule, you’ll disrupt the hair growth cycle and have to start from scratch all over again. This means it may be more painful the next time you go.

How much does it cost to get a Brazilian?

On average, you can expect to pay between $50 to $100 USD for a Brazilian wax, depending on the salon and your location. Make sure to factor in a 20 percent tip! Higher-end salons may charge even more.

Can you get waxed if you’re on your period?

If you’re on your period, you may want to consider rescheduling your appointment. When you’re menstruating, the skin around your pubic bone becomes a little more sensitive and you’re more prone to cramping.

If you’re still down to get waxed, make sure you wear a tampon or reusable cup to your appointment. Most professionals won’t wax if you’re using a pad or free flowing.

Can you get waxed if you’re pregnant?

You may want to check with your doctor if you’re in the last trimester. Otherwise, you’re probably in the clear. Just keep in mind that your hormones are changing and this could affect your pain tolerance.

Can you get waxed if you have genital piercings or tattoos?

When it comes to genital piercings, your wax technician will likely ask for you to remove your stud. If you’re unable to remove the piercing, they will simply work around the area. Just know that you might have a few stray hairs near the piercing.

If you have a tattoo, waxing can actually help exfoliate the area and make your ink appear more prominent.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get a wax?

You should check in with your doctor if you have sensitive skin or take certain medications.

These include:

  • antibiotics
  • hormone replacements
  • hormonal birth control
  • oral acne medications, such as Accutane
  • using topical retinoids, such as Retin-A

Some of these products and medications weaken the skin barrier through chemical exfoliation, and waxing could result in painful overexfoliation.

Radiation and chemotherapy can also lead to an uptick in skin sensitivity and dryness, so waxing may not be the most comfortable hair removal method.

How do you find a reputable salon?

Do your research! Look up salons in your area and see which ones have the best reviews.

You’ll also want to make sure your salon doesn’t double-dip applicators or skip out on wearing gloves.

Reputable salons will usually have you fill out a client questionnaire or do a quick consultation to get to know you and your health history beforehand.

If anything, talk with your friends and see where they’ve gone. Sometimes, word of mouth is the best way to figure out where to go.

What can you do to minimize ingrown hairs and other bumps?

Ingrown hairs are a major pain — no pun intended. To help prevent any from popping up, do a gentle exfoliation a few days before your appointment.

Steer clear from harsh physical or chemical exfoliants. All you need for a gentle exfoliation is a washcloth.

If you end up with ingrown hairs, don’t pick! This will only cause further irritation and potential scarring.

Instead, apply a bikini-safe treatment like fur Ingrown Concentrate or Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment to help heal, soothe, and repair the skin around the trapped hair.

When it comes to bikini waxes, a Brazilian might not be the most comfortable, but it could be the perfect fit for your lifestyle.

The most important thing to remember is that if you don’t enjoy your wax, there’s no requirement to keep doing it.

Talk with a doctor, do your research, and experiment with different methods until you find the one that works best for you.