A Brazilian wax is a hair removal technique that takes the hair off the whole pubic area, including your butt. Before you book your first waxing appointment, make sure this hair removal method is right for you and research what to expect. It’s normal to be nervous about your first Brazilian wax, so going in prepared helps.
In this post, we go over how to prepare for a Brazilian wax, as well as the pros and cons of waxing, so you can go into your appointment with confidence.
What Is a Brazilian Wax?
A Brazilian wax is a hair removal technique that completely gets rid of all of your pubic hair. A licensed cosmetologist or esthetician applies wax to the skin in the area so it adheres to the hair. If you’re using soft wax, your waxer places cloth strips on the wax and hair and then rips them off quickly to remove the entire hair follicle.
The typical waxing service costs anywhere between $45 and $85 on average in the U.S.
If it’s your first waxing experience, you might see hair a few days after your waxing session. This happens because your hair can be at different stages in the growth cycle. If you wax consistently, your hair regrowth starts to sync up and follow the same growth cycle.
Typically, you should be able to wait about three to four weeks between waxing sessions, depending on how fast your hair grows and other factors. Regular waxing can also make your hair grow back thinner, with fewer hairs overall, over time.
Your wax specialist might offer you different types of waxes to choose from. The two main types are soft wax and hard wax. Soft wax requires a wax stick and cloth strips placed on it to rip the hair out. Hard wax is considered gentler and can be applied directly to the skin without requiring cloth strips for removal. Once the waxing session is finished, your waxer might apply aloe vera or another soothing product to help calm the skin in the area.
While a Brazilian wax generally leaves you hair-free, you can usually ask your esthetician to leave a line of hair, also called a landing strip, if that’s your aesthetic preference.
How to Prepare for a Brazilian Wax
Before your first Brazilian wax, make sure to ask your esthetician how best to prepare for the treatment, since every salon will have its own unique process. But here are some general Brazilian wax tips to help you prepare for your first time.
- Don’t shave before the appointment. Shaving the area can not only cause irritation, but it can also make your hair too short for waxing.
- Let the hair grow about a quarter of an inch to three-fourths of an inch. Your hair has to be a certain length, at least about a quarter of an inch long, to adhere to the wax. If your hair is really long, you can trim it, but make sure it’s not too short and that you don’t shave it prior to your appointment. Your esthetician may prefer to trim it to ensure it’s not too short, so be sure to ask when you inquire about how to prepare.
- Schedule the appointment around your period. Although some salons will offer wax treatments even while on your period, for both comfort and sanitary reasons, it’s better to skip the wax if you’re on your period. Call your esthetician ahead of time if you have concerns.
- Exfoliate the area to remove dead skin. Exfoliating the area before you cleanse can help remove any dead skin cell buildup, making it easier for your waxer to remove the hair.
- Take a shower. Make sure to wash up before your appointment so your esthetician has a clean area to work on. This also helps open your pores for easier hair removal.
- Avoid products that could interfere with the wax. Products containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and/or other alpha hydroxyl acids can give you more sensitive skin and make it harder for the wax to adhere. Avoid applying these, or any products to the area before your wax. Remember, giving your wax specialist a clean area helps you get the best result.
- Wear loose and comfy clothes to the appointment. It’s a good idea to wear baggy pants, like sweatpants, both for your comfort and to keep the freshly waxed area from getting more irritated.
- Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication. Taking Advil (ibuprofen) or another OTC painkiller can help reduce your discomfort during the wax session.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol. Consuming alcohol or caffeine before your appointment can make your skin more sensitive to waxing.
- At the salon, ask about disinfection procedures. To keep your skin safe from infection or other issues, make sure the treatment room or area is clean and that the salon follows good hygiene practices.
When Should You Skip Waxing?
Though Brazilian waxes are generally safe, there are definitely times when it’s better to skip your wax session. Don’t get waxed if any of the following things apply to you.
- If you’re about to be on your period, on your period, or right after your period, as your skin may be sensitive
- If your skin is irritated, you have a rash, scar tissue, mole(s), wart(s), skin graft, or you have an open wound
- If the area is sunburned
- If you’ve waxed within the last 24 hours
- If you have a piercing near the area
- If you recently received microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, or chemical peels
- If you’re using prescription medications, like blood thinners, antibiotics, isotretinoin (formerly marketed under the brand name Accutane), or topical ointments
- If you’ve recently used salicylic acid or glycolic acid on the area
Brazilian Wax Aftercare Tips
Good aftercare is the key to maintaining your results and minimizing irritation, especially in the first few days. Here are some tips for what to do after your Brazilian wax.
- Wear loose clothing. Tight fabric can irritate the area. Wearing loose and comfortable clothing gives your skin more room to breathe.
- Avoid hot water. High heat is too much for extra-sensitive, freshly waxed skin, and it can be drying. Try using lukewarm water when you bathe or clean the area.
- Don’t sunbathe or swim. In addition to opening you up to more potential irritants, freshly waxed skin is more sensitive to sun exposure, so you’re more likely to get sunburnt or, worse, skin damage from UV rays. For a similar reason, you should avoid tanning as well.
- Keep yourself clean. Keeping the area clean is the best way to reduce irritation and avoid infections.
- Moisturize as needed. Moisturizing can help calm your skin, but make sure to avoid lotions and creams with fragrances or other ingredients that could irritate the area.
Brazilian Wax Pros and Cons
Though Brazilian waxes are safe and effective, like any treatment, they have their pros and cons. Here are some of the main positives and negatives of getting a Brazilian wax.
Brazilian wax pros
- All of your hair is removed. If you want all of your pubic hair removed, Brazilian waxes get the job done effectively and quickly.
- Longer lasting hairless look. Shaving with razors doesn’t remove the entire hair. With waxing, your wax specialist removes the entire hair follicle, so it takes longer to grow back.
- Hair grows back softer and finer. Waxing consistently may make your hair grow back softer and finer over time. In some cases, it may stop growing back altogether.
- May result in less irritation over time. Though waxing can cause irritation, it generally causes less irritation than shaving because you only do it once a month.
Brazilian wax cons
- Hurts more than shaving. Because the hair is pulled out by the root, waxing typically hurts more than shaving.
- Could encounter skin irritation. Waxing can cause mild or severe skin irritation, with symptoms like ingrown hairs, itching, burning, and bleeding. You also could be exposed to bacterial or viral infections after the procedure if it’s done incorrectly or by someone who isn’t licensed, which is why you should make sure the esthetician you visit for a wax is licensed and using clean tools.
- Waxing can get expensive. A Brazilian wax costs about $45 to $85, which can add up each month.
Is a Brazilian Wax Safe?
If a licensed professional does the treatment correctly, a Brazilian wax is a completely safe treatment. However, there’s always the potential to experience side effects, like irritation, infection, or another negative skin reaction, after the service. Keep that in mind if you have underlying medical conditions or especially sensitive skin.
Different Types of Wax Styles
In addition to Brazilian waxes, most salons offer other types of waxing services and styles as well. Here are some common options.
- Bikini line: This type of wax removes the least amount of hair, just taking it off around your bathing suit line. Hair on the pubic bone isn’t touched.
- Full bikini wax: A full bikini wax removes slightly more than just the hair around the bikini area, especially in front and along the sides, but still leaves some behind.
- French wax: This type of wax leaves a small amount of hair, like a rectangle or “landing strip,” on the front side of your pubic area, but removes everything else.
- Brazilian wax: All of the hair is removed from the pubic area, including upper thighs, labia, and butt. You can request a landing strip of hair to remain, turning it into the French bikini wax.
What Are Some Waxing Alternatives?
If you’re unsure about waxing, there are other hair removal methods to try. Here are some alternatives to waxing you could consider.
- Epilation: This treatment involves using a machine to remove hairs, including even finer hairs that waxing could miss. Your results last about three to four weeks.
- Shaving: Shaving only gets the surface levels of hairs on the skin which you can do yourself, so it’s a good option in terms of convenience and cost. The other options are best done by professionals.
- Sugaring: Results from sugaring can last the longest of any method on this list, but your hair still grows back, usually after about three to four weeks. The process is similar to waxing but uses sugar, water, and lemon as the mixture applied to the skin, which can be a little more comfortable and less irritating than wax.
- Laser hair removal: This treatment uses lasers to detect and destroy the hair follicle. It’s the only method on this list that can remove hair more permanently, though it depends on how often you treat it and how easy it is for the laser to find your hair. It tends to work better on lighter skin with darker hair types.
It’s always good to consider all your options, but if you’re looking for a quick and effective way to remove your pubic hair, a Brazilian wax might be the right treatment for you. Whether you’re booking your very first wax or looking for a new esthetician, StyleSeat can connect you with local pros to help you achieve your beauty goals.