With summer fast approaching, thoughts are turning to vacations and beach time for many. After two years of restricted travel, the possibility of visiting far-off exotic locations, or not-so-distant resorts, is once again on the agenda.
For some this will mean wanting to look their best, buying new bikinis, holiday clothing, and possibly some beauty treatments. One popular treatment before a vacation is to get some areas of the body waxed; legs, and the bikini line for instance.
This is so common and popular, that Fortune Business Insights put the global hair removal market at over $4 billion in 2019. Clearly then, this is normal practice for many women and some men too.
One particular type of wax treatment that has been popular for some time, is the Brazilian. However, some women are a little daunted before they have their first Brazilian. If you are considering having one soon, you may want to read on.
What is a Brazilian wax?
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.
The area of the upper leg and inner thigh where pubic hair develops and is typically not covered by the bottom of a swimsuit is known as the bikini line. In some cultures, pubic hair that is visible in this area is hated and/or considered embarrassing, thus it is occasionally removed. For reasons of aesthetics, personal grooming, cleanliness, culture, religion, fashion, and for sexual activity, some people do remove pubic hair that will not be displayed.
Why get a Brazilian wax?
Brazilian waxes aren’t really from Brazil, but they were invented, popularized, and made commonplace by a Brazilian woman. Her name is Janea Padilha, and she is one of seven sisters born in New York.
According to the BBC, these are the women who are responsible for the famous Brazilian wax, and their salon is the place to go for celebrities and regular folk alike.
One reason that waxing, in general, is popular is that it lasts longer than some other hair removal treatments such as shaving. Many people also like the smooth feeling left by a Brazilian wax afterward and find it aesthetically pleasing. It is also one of the more affordable beauty treatments available.
Are Brazilian waxes painful?
Of course, this is one of the worries for someone getting their first Brazilian. First-timers will often be nervous about having a treatment that is also very intimate.
Looking at the latter worry, you can be assured that any expert beautician, technician, or therapist, will have performed the treatment many times before. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, and a professional will be able to put you at ease and make you comfortable before you have your first wax.
Now for the worry about pain. It is true that some people do feel some pain. Many find that it gets easier with each session, and some find there is no discomfort at all. One common response after having a first Brazilian wax is to say “that wasn’t bad at all”.
There are some reasons why a Brazilian wax could be uncomfortable, and poor preparation is the main one. Before you have your first wax session, read below, and consult with your chosen beautician or waxer.
How to prepare for a Brazilian wax
There are many different methods of hair removal, and they work differently. Laser hair removal is not the same as shaving, and depilatory creams are not the same as waxing.
Therefore, different approaches are needed. Firstly, your hair needs to be the right length. By this, you should be between a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch long. If it is too short, the wax cannot adhere to the hair properly. If it is too long, then the hair can break and lead to ingrown hairs in some cases.
To ensure that your hair is the correct length, consider shaving first, then waiting between 2 to 4 weeks before you have your wax session.
Another good preparation rule is to use a gentle exfoliate a couple of days before your treatment. This can help the waxing session to go smoothly, and reduce the chances of ingrown hairs.
A minimum of 24 hours before your visit, refrain from tanning because it can make your skin more sensitive.
On the day before your appointment, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Both can make waxing more unpleasant and tighten your pores.
For best comfort, bring breathable, cotton underwear or loose bottoms to your visit.
About 30 minutes prior to your session, take an over-the-counter pain medication to help with pain.
What to do after your wax appointment?
Make sure you give the region a little more tender loving care than usual right after your appointment:
Use a cool compress or a hydrocortisone cream if the area is sensitive, red, or discolored.
For at least 24 hours, abstain from sexual activity. This will allow any microtears to close up before any genital-to-genital contact is made.
During at least 24 hours, refrain from engaging in rigorous activities, such as a medium- or high-impact exercise class, and soaking in water. A bath may irritate you, but a shower is good.
For at least 24 hours after, refrain from tanning. The pubic area may be more vulnerable to sun damage as a result of the intense exfoliation.
What side effects could happen?
There are many affordable cosmetic procedures for hair removal. Some are simple ones that can be done at home, and others are more expensive and specialist, such as laser hair removal. All of them though can have some slight side effects.
Brazilian waxes can cause some discomfort after they are done. Some people will find they have redness, and some small bumps after they have been waxed. This will generally fade within a day or two. Others may experience ingrown hairs. A warm compress can be used to help draw out any ingrowing hair.
There are also some steps you should take immediately after you have your Brazilian wax:
- Avoid hot showers and baths
- No sunbathing
- Wear loose clothing from natural materials
- Avoid exercising
- Try not to scratch
- Apply lotions with witch hazel or aloe vera to the affected areas
- Use cold compresses to alleviate any soreness
Brazilian wax treatments are safe, and any discomfort or inflammation you experience is likely to disperse within a day or two. Avoid heat, tight clothes that can cause irritation, and use lotions to help soothe the skin.
It is normal to be nervous about having your first Brazilian. Take the time to consult with a beautician before you go ahead with your treatment. A good professional will be able to alleviate any worries and advise you on how best to prepare.
Once you have had the wax session, use some simple after-care techniques. You should then find yourself thinking that there really was little to worry about after all.