The 1 Thing You Need to Understand Before Getting a Brazilian Wax

Are you thinking about taking the plunge and getting a Brazilian wax? Hoping that with just one extremely painful and pricey session, your nether regions will be dolphin-smooth and bikini ready?

Think again! If you don’t follow your waxer’s directions, you could end up like me: $55 poorer and only like 2/3 of the way smooth. Allow me to explain.

I’ve been into the bare look since forever, because I’m a shaky feminist who has internalized unrealistic porn-inspired beauty standards. I tried to get over it, I really did! I didn’t shave once when I studied abroad in Paris. But I hated it, so I’ve given up on embracing my pubes. Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, it’s been a decade-plus of shaving. I’m sick of it. I’m a grown-ass woman, I can’t be bothered to waste my precious shower time shaving anymore. So I decided to get a Brazilian wax.

Only my foray into the world of waxing was not as smooth a transition as I would have hoped, and it was because of one thing: hair growth cycles. They are important! Let me explain why.

They say you need to let all your pubic hair grow for four weeks before your first Brazilian. Being a rebel who has issues with rules, I decided two and a half weeks should suffice — my hair certainly looked long enough for wax to grab onto at that point.

But no one had ever explained to me why you need four full weeks of growth: because not all your hair grows at the same speed, and because of that, it’s not all the same length.

When you’ve got two weeks or so of growth, your hair looks long enough for the wax to grab onto. And most of mine was! But here’s what I didn’t understand: about 1/3 of my hair wasn’t quite long enough, so the wax couldn’t grab it. It just stayed put. Despite a very painful first wax, I still wasn’t 100% bare.

And there was nothing I could do about it, because my waxer strictly forbade me from shaving it. In fact, shaving off the remnants would have just left me right where I started and prevented the hair from being grabbed by the wax next time, too.

It sounds like common sense, but shaving and waxing remove your hair in totally different ways. When you shave, you’re not actually removing the hair, you’re just making it shorter. But when you wax it, you’re ripping it out, root and all, so it takes longer to grow back. That’s why when you make the transition to waxing, you have to stop shaving altogether. You can’t do a little bit of both, because you’ll just keep messing up your hair’s growth cycles.

Hair has three different phases of growth, my waxer told me. If you keep waxing, your hair will eventually all be on the same phase. That’s why they say it gets smoother and smoother with every wax. And it really does! They’re not just saying that to keep you coming back, as I previously thought.

So my first wax was disappointing because I wanted to be totally bare, but I wasn’t.

I had faith in my waxer, though, and decided to follow the rules the next time. So before my next appointment, I waited a full four weeks. Everything was long enough to be grabbed by the wax that time, and I got the effect I had wanted the first time.

I definitely don’t regret making the transition, by the way. My salon gives good discounts, not having to shave anymore is AMAZING, and after the first wax, it barely even hurts. That first one was a doozy though, not gonna lie. Maybe smoke a joint beforehand.

Also, I’m really glad I got started with waxing in the early spring, because if I had waited until the day before Memorial Day Weekend, I wouldn’t have been all-the-way bare and bikini-ready.

Anyway, my biggest piece of advice if you want to go from shaving to waxing is this: Don’t expect to be 100% bare after your first wax. Get started a month or two before bathing suit season, and actually listen when they tell you to let it grow for four weeks.

You know what it’s like? When you’re making pancakes and the first one comes out like kind of a hot mess, then all the ones after that are perfect. Sorry to associate pubes with pancakes, but do you see what I’m saying? The bottom line is plan ahead, listen to your aesthetician, and a smooth bikini area will be yours.

Gimme More Beauty

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