Ah, the Brazilian wax.
It’s often the subject of graphic horror stories among friends. It’s taboo for mothers who grew up in the 70s.
It’s the fantasy of many porn-obsessed 17-year-old boys. And it’s a personal choice.
After announcing my plans to undergo this process for the first time and then write about it, my friends offered advice, tips and sympathy.
Remind yourself that even if I feels like your vagina is being ripped off, it probably isn’t. Your hair has to be as long as a grain of rice. Don’t look down.
I heard all of this (I’ll spare you the more graphic details), and I still wasn’t fazed. I could handle a little pain. People got Brazilian waxes all the time. It would be OK. I could handle it.
Nope. I’ll publicly admit it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.
Specifically, when she arrived at my innermost nether region, my waxer announced, “This is the most painful section,” and I seriously thought about jumping off the table, putting my underwear back on and going back to my trusty razor.
One of my friends described it as a “childbirth-like experience.”
In the moment, you can't think of any good reason you should be doing this to your body.
But when it's over, you forget about the pain, and you think to yourself, "Oh, that wasn't that bad. Now I have this soft, hairless bundle of joy."
Although the advice from my lovely friends was somewhat helpful, I decided to go to the professionals (something I should have done before) and hear their tips on the hair removal process.
I spoke with Christi Alldredge, a senior specialist at Spruce & Bond, to get expert advice on this popular beauty trend.
1. You have options.
If going completely bare makes you feel like a 7-year-old again, you can opt for leaving a strip of hair or a triangle shape.
Can't decide? Alldredge suggests doing "whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident!"
2. Pop pills beforehand.
Obviously, removing every hair from an extremely sensitive part of your body is going to be painful.
So, take some precautions. According to Alldredge, "It's a really good idea to take ibuprofen 30 minutes before your appointment." It'll help reduce the discomfort.
3. Schedule your appointment according to your cycle.
Yeah, your waxer doesn't need to work around a conspicuous tampon string.
Alldredge notes, "You are much more sensitive to pain during your period, so try to schedule in the week or two following."
4. Waxing doesn't make your hair thicker.
This is a shady old wives' tale your mom tells you when she wants to shelter you from all that pain and suffering.
Hair doesn't become any thicker after a Brazilian wax; Alldredge says hair actually becomes "finer over time."
5. You get what you pay for.
Toilet paper, shoes and Brazilian waxes all have one thing in common: They should always be splurged on. Alldredge suggests going to a "place you can trust" because the "quality of wax and experience of the person waxing you is very important."
And this is not an area you want to mess around with.
6. Some medications can alter your skin down there.
Just like tanning, waxing can be affected by certain medications.
Alldredge warns potential clients against waxing when taking Accutane, and she suggests avoiding "any exfoliating products like scrubs, or anything with ingredients such as retinol or alpha hydroxy acids a week before your wax. " These products can result in skin sensitivity, which in turn, makes you susceptible to unwanted side effects.
7. Avoid immediate exercise.
Yes! There's finally a good reason to skip the gym. Your sore crotch does not need to be bouncing up and down on a spinning bike (or another person) directly after a waxing appointment.
Alldredge says you should wait until the day after to go back to your workout routine.