11 Things You Need To Know Before Your First Brazilian or Bikini Wax

1. Grow out your hair for at least 2 weeks and a half

Yes, 2 weeks and a half. “As hard as that may be, I wouldn’t come in for a wax unless it’s a quarter of an inch long,” .Think about it this way: The shorter the hair, the harder the pull, because short hair is denser.

2. Pop an Advil before your appointment

Or a pain reliever of your choice. Anything that will make the skin less inflamed.

3. Don’t go five days before or five days after your period

Your body will be more sensitive. So while a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do—and sometimes that means a tampon string in full view of your waxer (sorry, TMI?)—for first-timers, it’s best to get your wax done outside of this time frame. Which, annoyingly, you’ll notice is about half the month.

4. Exfoliate the night or morning before your wax

Using a sugar scrub, which will help remove dead skin cells, is key to a clean wax and fewer ingrown hairs. If your skin isn’t doing a great job of shedding on its own, it can trap hairs underneath, so you won’t get as effective of a wax. Don’t, however, exfoliate until two or three days after your bikini wax in the area, as it can irritate skin.

5. Work out before your wax, but not after

If you sweat on skin that’s freshly waxed in tight yoga pants, there’s no hair to absorb the sweat and the friction will cause irritation. Plus, sweat carries bacteria which might cause infection.

6. Get your wax at least three days before you’re slipping into a swimsuit

For seriously sensitive women, it can take this long for redness to go down. Also, salt water and chlorine will get into your open pores and cause more irritation if you get a bikini wax the day of. Women who save their waxing for their hotel spa on vacation can attest to this sad fact.

7. Know what type of wax you’re getting

Here are the basics (to spare you a way-too-graphic Google Image search). A Brazilian means everything comes off, front to back, and the top area can be styled any way, i.e., nothing there or a landing strip. A basic bikini is a clean-up of the sides of the pubic area only and about an inch down from the top of your hairline, and it doesn’t include, ahem, backstage.

8. Plan your wax-day outfit

You also don’t want something super tight or chafing afterward. Something that’s comfy and easy to pull on and off is more convenient, not a suit and pantyhose.

9. Take your underwear off

Yes, when your waxer says “get undressed,” she means everything from the waist down.

10. Practice waxing after-care

Don’t expose your freshly washed skin to sun, pool or hot tub… Exfoliate your skin with a natural oil sugar scrub three days after your wax. Freshly waxed skin will be more sensitive to sun, since dead skin cells also come off. So if you’re heading to the beach, take extra care to apply sunscreen on your bikini line.

11. It will get better

The more you get waxed, the less it will hurt. The first time is the most intense. Afterwards, we’re not working with hard, stubbly hair, so it comes out more easily. That explains why women who’ve been going for years hardly bat an eyelash.

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