Brazilian Waxing 101: What You Should Know (Rated PG)
Getting a brazilian wax can be both scary or intimidating and painful. Post Katrina, I worked at a top New Orleans spa as an esthetician doing mostly brazilian waxes. I’ve seen it all, and I can answer most any question about the topic.
First, let’s get some deal breakers out of the way. Before you consider this adventure, you need to know some crucial facts. Yes, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist down, and yes, your service provider will be VERY up in your … business. If either of these facts make you uncomfortable, stick to shaving or home hair removal options or consider something like laser hair removal (though this will also require exposing it all)! BUT, if you’re ready for a smoother and less tedious solution to your down-there grooming … read on!
Before Your Visit For a Brazilian Wax
There are a few things that you can do before your appointment that will make the service go much more smoothly. First, the most important preparation is to trim. Not too short, but the hair needs to be about a quarter to a half of an inch for the most effective wax. If your hair is too long, the wax will pull the skin instead of the hair which could cause bruising. If it’s too short, the wax will not grab and you’ll be left with stubble. If you don’t have time to trim, your esthetician should do this for you, but it is messy and can be awkward.
Second, when you book your appointment, make sure you ask for a Brazilian Wax, not a bikini wax. There is a huge difference in the amount of time that these procedures require. Also, take an Advil or two. This is a rather traumatic service for your skin and it will swell a bit, especially if this is your first time. A pain reliever will help you cope with the pain (yes, it’s going to hurt, but you can do it … especially if you’ve birthed a baby), as well as help your body reduce any possible swelling.
When you dress for the day of your service, try to not wear jeans or anything that is going to rub. The area will be sensitive, and you’ll be much happier if you can wear a dress or sweat pants!
What to Look For In a New Orleans Spa/Salon
Brazilian waxing requires a good deal of advanced training, and for the best results, more expensive products. Do not go to the cheapest place in town. Pay for a professional who has been trained appropriately and who works in a clean and well maintained spa/salon. Make sure that your service provider is a licensed Esthetician or Cosmetologist, not a nail tech.
I recommend booking a body waxing service at your ideal spa/salon before going for a brazilian. Get your arms or legs waxed and get a good feel for the place before you go in for such a personal area. When you’re there, pay attention to your surroundings. If you see them Double Dip the wax stick in the wax at any point, Do Not Go Back!! I can’t stress this enough. The wax is not heated to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria or viruses. You never know what the people who came before you were carrying and you don’t want ‘used’ wax … especially in that area.
Now that you’ve completed your due diligence, book an appointment for a Brazilian Wax. You’re trimmed, you’ve been in the wax room, you’re dressed in clothes that won’t rub that area, hopefully you know your esthetician, and you took your Advil. Here’s what to expect once you’re in the room.
The esthetician will invite you into the room. There should be a towel on top of the bed, along with a cover for you to drape yourself. Some places offer you disposable underwear for your comfort, but let’s face it … she’s going to see it all one way or the other! If it makes you feel less exposed, use them. That’s why they’re there. Just be advised that if you choose to use them, you’ll be asked to hold them out of the way while the service is being performed which can be annoying for everyone.
You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down and in some places, you’ll be given a steamed towel to “freshen up with.” Use it! It will help re-assure you that everything down there is fresh and it helps your esthetician … get everything. The heat will lift the follicles and provide the esthetician with a better look at how to place the wax. If you’re not offered a warm towel, it’s not a big deal to ask for one; they stock their hot cabbies full of them! When you’re finished, just throw it somewhere discrete, but not in the sink. The sink is a sanitized environment. I recommend keeping it on the floor.
Climb up on the bed and bring your phone or something to distract yourself with. You lay on top of the towel, but under the drape. There will likely be a pillow to indicate which side of the bed you are to lay your head at. Now just wait for the knock of the esthetician.
Wax Time: Know Before You Go
Now that you’re laying there, the esthetician will enter the room and help put your mind at ease. She will talk about the weather, her boyfriend, sports, celebrities … anything! Before she starts she’ll ask you if there are any areas that you would like to leave or if you would like it all gone. Some ladies like to keep a little, and if you’re one of them, make sure she knows precisely what you like. Also, she’ll want to know if you like your “back” done as well. Yes, she’s asking if you’d like to wax between your butt cheeks. I know, I know … this is a toss up. Don’t feel weird either way.
The wax she will likely use (not always, estheticians tend to have a personal preference) is called “hard wax.” This wax does not require a strip. It can be placed in any area and does not need to go with the growth pattern. It will be strategically placed and left to cool with some baby powder. Now get ready to get involved! The esthetician can hold most places taut on her own, but there are a few key areas that will require your participation.
If you replied yes to the “back side” question, you’ll be asked to either roll on your side and hold a cheek, get up on all fours, lay on your stomach and hold your cheeks apart or place your leg high up in the air. I prefer on all fours. It’s fast, easy and no holding apart, though it can admittedly seem a bit awkward.
Once the esthetician is finished, she’ll give you some cotton with an oily substance and a cool towel. Use the cotton first to remove any wax or sticky substance that may remain. The cool towel is to remove the oil and cool down the area. Again, if you’re not offered one, just ask – it feels great! Now just get dressed and head out – you’re done!
Post Wax Concerns
If this was your first wax, it’s possible that not all the hair will come out, though expect at least 95%. It’s not good for the skin to be waxed over and over again, so tweezing a stranded hair is your best bet. Do Not Shave!! Just don’t. If you’re going to get waxed, keep it up. You’ll have to get waxed more frequently for the first 3-4 times (every 2-4 weeks) because your hair grows in cycles all three cycles will be grown-in at your first session. Thus, you will have rapid regrowth following your first wax. Once you’ve made it through all the growth cycles, the pain will lessen significantly and your results will last much longer. The hair will become finer and more sporadic.
You should not have bruising. Yes, it happens, but it should not be too bad. There is a lot of force used on your first wax because the hair is so dense and roots are strong. But if it’s extensive, find a new esthetician. If you experience itching, that’s also normal, but contact a doctor if you feel like it could be an allergic reaction to the wax or waxing products. For minor itching or red bumps, hydrocortisone cream should suffice.
Make sure that you purchase Tend Skin from your esthetician before you go to prevent any ingrown hairs. Use it every other day at first, but not on the day of your service; wait about 48 hours. After about two weeks, you can begin to use it everyday. This product is a salicylic acid based exfoliator so it will prevent your skin from becoming too thick for the weakened hair follicle to break through. You may notice some skin shedding which is normal. If it becomes bothersome, switch back to every other day. If you’re allergic to Asprin, ask your service provider for an alternative exfoliator.