Getting a bikini wax for the first time can definitely be a terrifying experience, especially if you're a shy, pain-intolerant, sensitive AF human like myself. So if you're longing to be smooth for summer, but you're scared of what the process entails, these bikini wax tips will get you prepped and pumped AF for your appointment. If I can do it, I promise you can too.
I'm always down to try a semi-uncomfortable beauty treatment if it will give me more than worthy results. I tried a face epilator and my soft skin merited the pain. I sweated like Selena Gomez at Shape House and the afterglow outweighed the insane heat I endured. However, bikini waxing has always terrified me. Somehow, in my 26 years of existence, I had never once contemplated getting a bikini wax. My skin is even more sensitive than my emotions (which is saying a lot). Often, I'll break out in red, scaly patches on my face and my body. If the tougher parts of my skin can't handle much, I certainly wasn't ready to put my vagina through torture.
Foolishly, I mentioned to Alana, my editor, that I never experienced the waking nightmare I believed waxing would inflict upon my life. Of course, being the very supportive beauty fairy godmother that she is, she signed me up for an appointment at the European Wax Center immediately.
Now, I had been shaving for quite some time. My decision originally stemmed from my skin's sensitivity. Pubic hair seemed to make my sensitive skin itchy AF, even when I moisturized and conditioned my hair. I always thought going au natural was rad aesthetically, but, early on, my skin determined it wasn't for me.
So after years of shaving, I agreed it was time to try waxing. We booked the appointment for a Thursday three weeks down the line. I had just shaved and, as I quickly learned, you must let your hair grow out for three to four weeks so the wax can properly remove it. So I endured itchy grow-out for three weeks, all in the hopes that the results would be worth it.
When the day finally came, I dragged my feet as I walked toward my designated location. I'm already shy to begin with. I struggle with undressing at the gynecologist, and that's straight up for health purposes. How was I going to summon the courage to de-robe in front of a stranger, let alone allow then to apply hot wax to my nether regions? Though I was shaking in my TJMaxx boots, my curiosity outweighed my timidity. Before I knew it, I was seated in the European Wax Center waiting room.
My wax specialist, Nadia, emerged after a few short moments and ushered me into a private room. The room was impeccably clean. TBH, the cleanliness itself was almost enough to make me feel less nervous. Almost.
Luckily, Nadia was a literal angel. She must have sensed by unease (I think my uncontrollable nervous laughter gave it away), so she kindly and patiently explained what I should expect from the service. After her quick explanation, I felt less anxious and more comfortable.
Nadia then instructed me to disrobe from the waist down. Though I was overwhelmed with fear as I slowly slid my undergarments off and stood awkwardly in front of the mirror like questionably clothed Winnie The Pooh, Nadia continued to talk to me as it we were chatting over coffee.
Seriously, her patience was a virtue throughout this whole experience.
After I disrobed, I laid down on the cushioned table lined with sanitary paper. Nadia told me to butterfly my legs open so the bits to be waxed were totally exposed.
First, she applied a pre-wax cleanser, which removed any and all lotion, oil, and impurities from my skin. Then, she applied a pre-wax oil, which put a protective barrier between my skin and the wax. The oil ensured the wax would only adhere to my hair and not to my skin. Nadia confirmed that I wanted all the hair removed off the front. I prefer to look like a naked mole rat, so I said yes.
Then came the third step: the wax. The wax used by European Wax Center is specifically by and for them, so you won't be finding it anywhere else. They refer to it as "exclusive comfort wax," because it's meant to be a lot less painful. The more Nadia explained, the more I felt at ease.
She started at my bikini line and worked downward and inward. The hot wax sensation was... interesting, to say the least. It wasn't painful necessarily, but it definitely was weird. As she ripped off the strips, I nervously laughed out loud from discomfort. Nadia told me I would laugh or cry, but TBH, I did both. Even though tears welled up in my eyes, the pain subsided pretty much immediately. I was afraid that after the first strip, I'd bounce, like Steve Carell in The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, but really, it wasn't as distressing as I thought it would be.
Of course, it hurt like hell in the moment, but the pain subsided right away. Nadia explained that applying pressure to the area right after does help to reduce sensitivity.
Nadia did a fantastic job of explaining where she was applying the wax and what I should expect. She instructed me to take a deep breath in and removed the strip as I exhaled. Seriously, I have so much trust for Nadia after this experience, I would straight up trust her with my life.
As Nadia waxed all my hairs away, she explained that you should go for a wax every four weeks to maintain your hair growth cycle. Because it was my first time, not all my hairs were on the same cycle. That means that some hairs wouldn't remove at all, while others might pop up more quickly. According to Nadia, waxing every four weeks will help to regulate your growing cycle and will teach your stubborn AF hairs how to behave. It generally takes three to four waxes to get your hair to the point where it will all come up at the same time.
If you struggle with sensitivity (like myself), there are a few important things you should know. The first time waxing will always be accompanied by the most sensitivity, but every appointment after will be easier to handle. Even during my first visit, the more she waxed, the less I laugh-cried.
If you're sensitive, Nadia recommends taking Tylenol before you even come to your appointment. She also recommends not getting waxed the week before your period. Apparently, your body might be a lot more sensitive overall during that time (thanks, hormones). The best time to come in is two weeks before or two weeks after that time of the month.
However, if you need to get waxed while your on your period, you totally can. Just make sure you put in a clean tampon immediately before.
Nadia also says once you're waxing, you're waxing. Don't shave. Don't tweeze. You'll only ruin the investment you've made. It's your expert's job to get your hair on the same growing pattern.
After Nadia removed the majority of my hair, she went back over the same areas a second time for clean up. The wax felt hotter, due to the fact that my dead skin cells came up the first time around. However, the removal was much less painful.
Nadia told me I might experience some ingrown hairs. However, there are a plethora of products you can use to alleviate the problem. Start by exfoliating the areas in question two times a week with a physical or chemical exfoliant. You should also apply an ingrown hair prevention serum every day. You can get both the Smooth Me Ingrown Wax Serum ($28; europeanwaxcenter.com) and the Smooth Me Ingrown Hair Wipes ($27; europeanwaxcenter.com).
Smooth Me Ingrown Hair Wipes, $27, European Wax Center
Both include salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and glycerin to smooth and soothe your skin. I opted for the wipes, which also include an additional hair growth-inhibiting ingredient. Like most skincare products, you have to use it every day for it to work.
I also learned the difference between a bikini wax and a Brazilian wax (which I always was confused by, TBH). Basically, the Brazilian just includes your butt. That's pretty much it.
When I looked in the mirror afterward, the area was slightly pink, but there was no rash and no redness. It also was insanely soft. Seriously, I never achieved that level of smoothness by shaving. I even went to watch the RuPaul's Drag Race finale afterwards in my tight, tight jeans and I wasn't sensitive at all.
Now, nearly a week later, I feel just as smooth as I did leaving the European Wax Center. Nadia slayed all my fears and I've definitely become a waxing convert. If you live in NYC, I highly suggest you schedule your appointment with her. In short: bye bye razor, see ya later. Waxing has my heart now.