Getting your bikini line waxed isn’t exactly a day at the beach, but with the right prep you can walk in to your first wax knowing what to expect from your aesthetician—and what they’ll be expecting from you. We asked two experts to dish on everything you need to know before your first bikini wax.
Grow out your pubic hair
Whatever you do before a wax, don’t shave. You’ll need approximately two to four weeks of growth for a successful hair removal session. “Hair length should be a quarter of an inch long—that’s about the size of a grain of rice,” says Jessie Frampton, co-founder of Fuzz Wax Bar, a chain of hair removal salons around Canada.
Depending on the salon you go to (and the kind of wax you’re getting), they may or may not trim your pubes for you. If you’re unsure about trimming expectations call the salon ahead of time and ask—don’t worry, they’ve heard it all before.
Exfoliate your bikini area
A week or two before your first wax, start gently exfoliating the area. This will remove excess dead skin cells and help the wax better adhere to the hair, not the skin. If you’ve never exfoliated your bikini line before, be extra gentle. Frampton likes to keep exfoliating as natural as possible and always starts with a DIY salt and sugar scrub. If you’re not into making your own, Fuzz has developed a natural body scrub with Consonant Skincare that is designed to effectively remove dead skin and not disrupt the delicate pH balance of the area you’re having waxed.
Frampton also recommends dry brushing, which is the sloughing off of dead skin cells using bristles. These u-shaped brushes are made out of stiff natural fibers (you can try sisal or jute) that are gently massaged against the skin in circular motions. Besides exfoliation, dry brushing also helps increase circulation. If you’re in the market for a dry brush, Merben brushes are widely considered the industry standard and sold at many salons that offer waxing services.
Always moisturize after you exfoliate, looking for a light formula that won’t irritate the sensitive skin in this area.
Wash up before your appointment
If possible, shower before your appointment—the warmth of the water will open up the pores to allow for the hair to slide out a bit easier, says Leslie Elvidge, manager of education and quality for The Ten Spot, a chain of beauty bars across Canada. “If you shower in the morning and head to your appointment within the hour, you’ll be good to go—your pores will close naturally after that,” says Elvidge. Many salon will also provide wipes so you can freshen up pre-wax.
Manage the pain
Look, a bikini wax is going to hurt—no surprise there. But Elvidge recommends taking deep breaths throughout your wax to reduce the pain. You can pop an Advil 30 minutes before your wax to help take the edge off.
What to expect post-wax
After a bikini wax, don’t be surprised if you look like a freshly plucked chicken. There are steps you can take to reduce redness, like wearing cotton undies, loose clothing and applying a cool compress.
“Avoid working out, saunas or anything abrasive,” says Frampton. “Of course, avoid sex if you can because it’s rubbing, which is not good. Twenty-four hours after [your wax], get back on the same routine that you started with before your wax, which is exfoliation and, now even more so, moisturization.” This helps prevent in-grown hairs.
Once you’re waxed you can expect about two glorious weeks of smooth skin. At the end of the two-week mark, you may start to see signs of re-growth, depending how quickly your hair grows.
Your Embarrassing Bikini Wax Questions Answered
Can I get a bikini wax if I’m getting my period?
Contrary to popular belief, you can absolutely get a bikini wax during your period. You’ll need to wear a tampon or menstrual cup and give your aesthetician a heads up, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
How naked will I be for a Brazilian wax?
If you’re getting a Brazilian bikini wax (little-to-no hair left behind, front and back), you’ll be naked from the waist down. This might sound horrifyingly intimate, but aestheticians are pros and beyond matter-of-fact about asking you to lie on your back and pull your knees to your chest so they can get those hard to reach hairs. But, if you’re simply cleaning up your bikini line, you may be able to keep either your own or salon-dispensed disposable underwear on, depending on the salon. Your aesthetician will let you know what’s what when you arrive at your appointment.
Can I get a bikini wax if I’ve had a C-section?
Yes, but “your first bikini wax after having a C-section will be a bit different,” says Elvidge. “We will not wax over top of the sensitive skin that is still healing; that takes time. There is also likely some loss of sensation in the area, so we will communicate really well with our guest to ensure they are comfortable with everything happening—our staff are fully trained and equipped for situations like this and we are very sensitive to our guests’ needs so every wax will be a bit different after having a baby via C-section.”