There's probably no beauty treatment that incites fear in the hearts of everyone more than the famous Brazilian wax.
You know what it's about.
It's similar to a bikini wax, except everything is removed.
Yes, all the hair from the front to the back is suddenly gone, and you're (almost) back to your prepubescent self.
As someone who has shaved down there every single day for as long as I can remember, I'd always been curious about getting a Brazilian and wondered if it really is that bad.
Now that I've done it a few times (and will probably do it again), I'd like to impart my wisdom to those who want to know what it's all about.
First and foremost, as with any grooming habit, you should only wax your pubic region if you really want to.
Some people don't want to deal with any maintenance down there, and that's fine.
Some people trim, and that's fine, too.
Some people want it all gone, and some people want to trim shapes into it or dye it pink.
Whatever floats your grooming boat is up to you.
It should make you happy and comfortable.
Don't do this because you think a potential partner wants you to, and definitely don't do it because your partner has made you feel you should.
(Side note: That person is a jerk, and you deserve better.)
Now, I'll preface this by saying I have extremely sensitive skin, and I've shaved down there in the shower daily for many years.
I prefer being completely hairless, and shaving doesn't bother me too much because I'm already doing my legs anyway.
But this past summer, I forgot a razor while on a weekend getaway, and so things got a bit hairy down south.
So, I did a little research and learned that hair should be about one-fourth to one-half of an inch long pre-wax.
My hair grows really fast, but I'd have to let it grow for a bit before scheduling my appointment.
I waited a week, which gave me a total of 10 days of hair growth.
This was perfect for me.
If your hair grows faster or slower, the amount of time may wary.
I wanted to make sure I picked a reputable and clean establishment, so I chose a European Wax Center in my neighborhood that had good online reviews.
If you're nervous (and you definitely will be), feel free to go in and check the place out or meet with the waxer before you schedule the appointment.
Any place worth its salt will make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.
Here are seven tips I found helpful when taking on this new grooming treatment:
1. Wear comfortable clothes to your appointment.
You're not going to want to wear your favorite skinny jeans.
I wore my college sweatpants and boy short undies underneath.
No tight thongs or going commando on this day, my friends.
If you'll feel more comfortable, shower beforehand, but there's honestly no need.
The tech isn't going to be judging you in any way.
2. Hit up happy hour beforehand.
I'm almost certain that experts would advise against this, but I had two shots of vodka a little before my appointment.
A slight buzz made me so much more comfortable.
I'm definitely not suggesting you drink and drive, so only do this if someone is taking you or if the salon is in your neighborhood.
Either way, it helps to take two ibuprofen pills about half an hour beforehand to reduce discomfort.
3. You're going to feel uncomfortable.
Look, there's no way around it.
Having someone rip every hair out of your lady parts and the surrounding region is going to be weird.
I don't care if you actually are Gisele.
The specialist I went to made me feel as comfortable as I could be in that situation, and I silently thanked her for chatting with me all the way through.
I've since gone to a different specialist who didn't speak at all except for the initial pleasantries, and that made it feel worse for some reason.
4. It will hurt, and you will sweat.
No one will say that a Brazilian wax is fun. Let's just keep it real.
Having hot wax ripped from your nether regions is painful.
My specialist told me they keep the room ice cold because you will sweat.
I went when it was 22 degrees outside, and I still found myself wiping sweat beads from my forehead.
You will wince a little, but I promise it's not that bad.
Really, I wouldn't lie to you.
It's actually super quick. My specialists have me in and out the door in 15 to 20 minutes flat.
I can't even handle a roller coaster because the three minutes of torture is too much for me, so you can trust me on this one.
5. The worst part is not what you think.
For the front wax, you'll likely lay butterfly-style with your legs open.
For the back, it's knees up.
I find the worst area to be the area near the pubic bone at the top, and the butt doesn't hurt at all.
I didn't believe my tech when she told me, but she was right.
I guess our butts are more resilient than we think.
6. You'll leave mystified.
After you put your comfy sweats back on and awkwardly see your way to the exit, you'll likely run right home to check it out in the mirror.
If you're like me, you'll gawk for a while.
Immediately after, you may be red and sore.
Feel free to apply some baby powder to the area for comfort.
You may get a few ingrown hairs, but I've only had one or two.
I would avoid exercise (and other, ahem, strenuous activities), tanning or going to the beach the same day of your wax, as it may increase discomfort.
You just ripped all the hair out, for crying out loud.
Perhaps you should give your lady parts a break.
7. For overall happiness, YMMV.
Here's the thing: you pay a lot of money (if you go to a reputable salon, that is) for something that may not last very long.
I can usually get a week of completely hairless life before my hair starts growing back in.
I usually end up shaving again because I hate the growing-out phase.
Is the pain and cost worth it for a potentially short amount of time?
Only you can make that call.
Also, remember to tell the salon of any sensitivities or medications you're on, as well as any preexisting medical conditions you may have.
And FYI, you can get waxed while on your period, as long as you use a tampon and realize you may be more sensitive to the pain.
I wouldn't, but you can.
Please leave a decent (I mean seriously decent) tip; your waxer is getting all up in your grill.
She deserves it.
I can't say if it's worth doing regularly for myself.
But for special occasions (such as vacations and anniversaries), it's great.
I leave feeling confident and happy that I did it.
I notice I'll have an extra spring in my step, and it's never a bad idea to give the area down there a little love and care.