If you’re looking for an effective hair removal method for your bikini area, you might be considering a bikini vs. a Brazilian wax. Both treatments remove hair from your pubic area using a similar process, pulling it out from the follicle using wax strips.
The main difference is in the amount of hair removed. A bikini line wax typically removes hair along the panty line, or where it might be visible on the outside of a bikini bottom. A full bikini wax takes hair off the sides and top of your pubic bone as well. But a full Brazilian takes hair off the whole area, including your upper thighs, labia, and butt, leaving you totally hairless, unless you opt for a French wax, which leaves a landing strip or a neat triangle of hair around the labia.
In this post, we compare a bikini wax vs. a Brazilian wax, explain additional wax styles to choose from, and tell you how to prepare for your waxing appointment.
Bikini Wax vs. Brazilian Wax
Like any cosmetic treatment, each type of wax has its pros and cons. The right treatment for you depends on things like your discomfort level and the result you’re trying to achieve. If it’s your first time waxing, a bikini wax might be the right place to start, since removing less hair means you’ll have less discomfort.
Here’s how these two treatments compare.
|Bikini Wax||Brazilian Wax|
|Hair Removed||Only around the bikini line or sides and top of the pubic bone||Entire pubic region, including the upper thighs, labia, and butt area|
|Sensitivity Level||Lower since hair is removed from less sensitive areas||Higher since hair is removed from more sensitive areas|
|Styles||Bikini line wax or full bikini wax||Full Brazilian wax (also known as the Hollywood wax) or French wax (which leaves a small strip of hair)|
Brazilian Wax Removes All of the Hair
A Brazilian wax removes most or all of your pubic hair from your upper thighs, labia, and butt area. A small portion of hair could be left in a shape around the labia, depending on your aesthetic preferences.
Bikini Wax May Cause Less Discomfort
A bikini wax mainly removes hair around the bikini line and sometimes the hair on the sides and top of the pubic bone. Because less hair is removed, and the areas that are getting waxed are less sensitive than an area like the labia, a bikini wax might be more comfortable than a Brazilian.
Brazilian Waxes Are More Expensive
Brazilian waxes take more time and effort, so they’re generally more expensive. Brazilian waxes range in price from about $43 to $124 depending on your location and the salon you visit, while bikini waxes range from about $32 to $63.
Both Last the Same Length of Time
Both bikini and Brazilian waxes remove the entire hair follicle, which slows down hair growth. Your results for either wax should last about three to four weeks.
Bikini Wax Styles
Depending on the result you want, you can ask your esthetician for a specific style of bikini wax. Here are the two most common styles.
Bikini Line Wax
A bikini line wax removes a small amount of hair from the sides and top of your pubic bone. It basically removes hair from the area that would be visible outside of a swimsuit or bikini bottom, so you could wear one without hair showing.
Full Bikini Wax
A full bikini wax removes all of the hair from the sides and top of your pubic bone, including the bikini line. It leaves less hair behind than a bikini line wax.
Brazilian Wax Styles
Similarly, there are also a few styles of Brazilian wax you can choose from, depending on your preferences. Here are the two most common styles.
A French wax removes hair from your pubic bone, including your upper thighs and labia, but doesn’t remove hair from your butt. A small amount of hair can be left near the labia if you choose, and it’s usually in a shape, like a rectangle or a triangle, or a line, also known as a landing strip.
A Hollywood wax removes all hair from your pubic bone, including your upper thighs, labia, and butt. It leaves you totally hair-free. Brazilian waxes typically leave you hairless too, but they give the option to leave some hair behind in a shape around the labia if you choose.
Which One Should I Choose: Bikini or Brazilian?
The best type of wax for you really depends on what you want out of your result and waxing experience.
Choose a bikini wax if:
- You want a more natural look.
- You want the edges of your pubic hair groomed.
- You want to spend less money.
Choose a Brazilian wax if:
- You want all the hair removed from your pubic area, upper thighs, labia, and butt area with the option to keep a strip of hair.
- You can tolerate discomfort, especially your first time.
- You don’t mind paying a little more for more hair removal.
Which Wax Type Should I Choose?
Choosing the right type of wax can help you have a more comfortable waxing experience. You usually have the option to choose between hard or soft wax.
Hard wax is generally less painful because it doesn’t stick to your skin — it adheres directly to your hair, so the waxer doesn’t need to use a waxing strip to remove it. Soft wax adheres to both skin and hair, making it more painful and messy to remove. You might end up with more sensitivity in the waxed area if you opt for soft wax.
But both kinds of waxing cause some kind of discomfort, because the pubic region has more sensitive skin, and it’s painful to pull hair out by the follicle.
How to Prepare for a Bikini or Brazilian Wax
Whether it’s your first waxing appointment or you’re in between regular waxes, here are some tips to help prepare you for your bikini or Brazilian wax:
- Let the hair grow about a quarter of an inch to three-fourths of an inch. In order for waxing to work, your pubic hair needs to be long enough that the wax can adhere to it, so don’t shave before your wax. Your hair should be about the length of a grain of rice.
- Schedule the appointment around your period. For both comfort and sanitary reasons, it’s better to avoid waxing while you’re on your period.
- When scheduling your appointment, ask your esthetician if there are specific preparations you need to make for their process. It’s a good idea to clear up any questions or concerns you have prior to your appointment. Every wax center has its own process, call ahead to make sure you know if there’s anything specific you need to do.
- Take a shower and exfoliate. Washing and exfoliating dead skin cells before your wax ensures your esthetician has a clean area to work with. This can also help bring out any ingrown hairs you have so the wax can grip them better.
- Avoid products that could interfere with the wax. Don’t apply any products to the area before your wax, so your waxer can work with clean skin. Some products, like ones containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and alpha hydroxyl acids, can also make waxing less effective and increase the risk of side effects like irritation.
- Wear loose and comfy clothes to the appointment. In addition to helping you feel more comfortable, baggy clothes like sweatpants also help limit friction near the freshly waxed area, reducing irritation.
- Consider taking over the counter pain medication. If you’re concerned about pain or discomfort during your wax, taking a painkiller, like ibuprofen, prior to your appointment can help make the experience more tolerable.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol. These can make your skin more sensitive to waxing, so it’s best to avoid them before your appointment.
- At the salon, ask about disinfection procedures. To reduce the risk of infection or other adverse side effects, make sure the treatment area is clean and that you’re going to a licensed esthetician for your wax.
Bikini or Brazilian Wax Aftercare Tips
Your esthetician should give you advice and get you started on aftercare once your wax is done. In general, here are some good ways to take care of your skin after waxing:
- Avoid hot water, sunbathing, and swimming. These can dry out and irritate your already-sensitive skin.
- Keep yourself clean. This reduces the risk of infection or other skin issues.
- Moisturize as needed. Moisturizing can help calm and heal the skin. Just be sure to avoid using lotions or creams that contain potentially irritating ingredients, like fragrances.
- Stay out of the sun or tanning bed for a few days. Waxing makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, so too much sun on the area can result in a bad sunburn, or, worse, sun damage.
- Treat any irritation. Irritation is a common side effect of waxing, and you can manage it with over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, cold compresses, and continuing to wear loose clothing until your skin calms down.
When Should I Skip Waxing?
Though waxing is generally safe, in some cases, it’s better to avoid it. If any of the following apply to you, you should skip the wax:
- If your skin is irritated, you have a rash, scar tissue, mole(s), wart(s), skin graft, or you have an open wound
- If you’ve waxed within the last 24 hours or recently received microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, or chemical peels
- If you are using certain prescription medications, like blood thinners, antibiotics, isotretinoin, or topical ointments
- If you’re pregnant, on your period, or on a hormone replacement which can cause skin sensitivities
There are a lot of hair removal methods out there, and it’s important to find the one that not only fits your budget and comfort level, but also gives you the result you want.
Ready to book your first waxing appointment? Whether you want a bikini or a Brazilian, StyleSeat can help you connect with the best waxing pros in your area, so you’ll be hair-free in no time.