Getting a bikini or Brazilian wax is a very intimate service, so understandably, you probably have some questions leading up to your first appointment. There's nothing like the idea of exposing your lower half to a complete stranger and trusting them with hot wax on your delicate skin to really make you think, amiright?
Ahead of your first professional hair removal appointment, there are a few things you can do to ensure the process goes smoothly. From how naked you will need to get when you're there to aftercare mistakes to avoid post-treatment, keep reading to find out everything you need to know before you get a Brazilian or bikini wax.
How Can You Tell If a Salon Is Clean Before Booking a Bikini or Brazilian Wax Appointment?
Before you book your appointment, do your research on the salon you plan on visiting. You want to make sure you're seeing a licensed professional and that the salon is clean and safe.
"You're usually on the right track if you find a center that focuses solely on hair removal," Noemi Grupenmager, CEO and founder of Uni K Wax Centers, told POPSUGAR. "From the moment you walk into the salon, it should look and smell clean."
The bed that you're instructed to lay on should be covered with fresh bed paper, like in a doctor's office, and the wax specialist should be wearing gloves. "All tools are soaked in antibacterial disinfectant or disposed of after each guest," said Gina Petak, European Wax Center education manager. "Waxing sticks are never double-dipped and the large stir stick is disposed of after each guest."
How Should You Prepare For a Brazilian or Bikini Wax Appointment?
First things first — make sure your hair is actually long enough to be waxed. "It's a good idea to stop shaving at least five days prior to your waxing reservation," said Petak. "Don't worry, your hair can never be too long to come see us."
24 to 48 hours before your appointment, exfoliate the area with a scrub that doesn't leave a film or residue on the skin. You should also moisturize the area for a few days leading up to your service to keep the skin and hair soft, but don't moisturize the day right before or the day of your treatment.
On the day of your appointment, drink plenty of water to keep you and your skin hydrated. "If your skin is too dry, your hair is more prone to breakage at the root when removed," said Grupenmager. You should also avoid alcohol and caffeine if possible.
"It may seem like a good idea to have a drink to calm the nerves, but alcohol thins the blood which actually causes a more painful experience," said Petak. "Caffeine leads to more skin sensitivity and also can up the pain during a wax." If you're concerned about the pain, you can take a painkiller like ibuprofen ahead of time.
Another tip for lowering the pain: stick with it. "Once your hair growth is in a pattern, it will be easier to remove, but if you're not maintaining your waxes, it could be more uncomfortable," said Grupenmager.
How Naked Do You Get For a Brazilian or Bikini Wax?
Depending on the type of bikini wax you're getting, you may have to get naked on the bottom half for your service. "If you are receiving a full bikini or a Brazilian bikini wax you want to take any underwear off," said Petak. "To get the best results with all the hair removed, you don't want to have anything in the way of your wax specialist." Waxing professionals see hundreds, if not thousands, of clients a week, so don't worry about being modest.
But if you're completely against the idea, you have options. "If you are not comfortable we recommend starting with a bikini line service," said Petak. "You can leave on your underwear because we are only removing the hair around your bikini line. Then maybe next time you'll try our Brazilian."
How Should You Care For Your Skin After a Brazilian and Bikini Wax?
It's best to wear breathable, soft cotton underwear to your appointment to make the trip home more comfortable. Once you do get home, Grupenmager recommended you "apply a cold pack to the area to reduce inflammation. Then, apply a soothing moisturizer where possible."
Ingrown hairs are arguably the worst part of the post-wax treatment. To keep these pesky bumps away, try to wear loose clothing whenever possible (meaning no skinny jeans, leggings, or tight underwear made from synthetic materials). "They compress your hair against your body, allowing the hair to curl back into the follicle," said Grupenmager. "Try to avoid shaving as much as possible. If you can't put the razor down, exfoliate the area before you shave and make sure you aren't using a dull blade."
How Long Do You Need to Wait Between Brazilian and Bikini Wax Appointments?
You should expect to book a follow-up waxing appointment three to six weeks after your first to allow the hair time to get long enough again. This can be hard if you're receiving waxing treatments in the middle of the summer to keep your bikini line smooth. That's why Grupenmager recommended you start prepping for the warm weather in the winter.
"With regular waxing, the length of time between treatments will increase, as the more you wax, the weaker the hair follicle becomes, making it easier to remove hair," she said. "If you stop waxing in winter, you reverse all the work waxing has done for your hair previously."
Some salons even offer touch-up services to help with regrowth when you're in between full Brazilian or bikini wax appointments.