What Actually Happens When You Get a Brazilian Wax

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What to expect, how to prep, and tips to ease your pre-wax jitters.

In many respects, getting a Brazilian is a rite of passage; a leaving behind of one's childhood and entering into a smoother, sleeker future— one paved in wax. I have a theory that waxing below the belt is a very metropolitan thing to do. There's something about New York, LA and certainly Miami that make waxing a lifestyle. Women in these areas simply don't do hair "down there." In fact, upon leaving the European Wax Center, I felt a lightness of being—or perhaps it was more of a sleekness given my newly acquired 'do. Either way, I felt as though I'd joined a tribe. I was also just pleased that I'd actually gone through with it.

I should note here, that at this point I have literally bared it all in the name of beauty—my body having served as the site of many a social beauty experiment. But, it was still somewhat nerve-racking to walk into a room and be asked —very politely— to "strip down from the waist down." If I'm completely honest, I'll admit that I paused for a moment to give my wax specialist, Ambure, time to leave the room while I undressed. I also waited for her to hand me a robe, but when she turned away and began stirring a vat of wax, I realized very quickly that privacy was obsolete in this setting. After all, hadn't I come —quite literally— to "bare it all" anyway? I took a moment to breathe a grateful sigh of relief for the serendipitous chance that I'd worn a tunic that day, so I wouldn't have to mount the waxing table bare-bottomed.

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Tip: If it's your first time or you're a little body conscious, wear a tunic or long tee the day of, so you can cover-up leading up to and immediately after waxing.

Memories of the Waxing Fiasco of 2012 flashed across my mind— that time in college when I tried to give myself a Brazilian because my roommate told me she did her own all of the time. It was then that I learned the meaning of "everything ain't for everybody." I tugged the slightest bit on that wax strip, decided it wasn't worth the pain and spent the next 30 or 40 minutes gently peeling the strip off with coconut oil. (For the record, coconut oil, you're the real MVP!) I mounted the table, laid on my back and tucked the bottom of my tunic between my legs to shield myself from both the wax and the waxer. I still had a chance to escape, right? Shaving isn't so terrible. 

RELATED: What Age is Too Young to Shave?

When asked to press my feet together and spread my knees, I instinctively pressed my knees together and spread my feet.

"Don't be shy. Take a breath and relax, this will be more uncomfortable if you're tense," Ambure assured me.

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A few things kept me on edge: Do wax specialists compare their client's "situations?" Had I trimmed enough this morning to make this process as painless as possible? Winter's coming, do I really want to do this? I still had a chance to escape, right? I was still clenching my tunic. 

Tip: Your hair should be the length of a grain of rice before waxing. Any shorter, and hair removal may be difficult. If your hair is on the longer side, trim down to about a quarter of an inch. 

"On a scale of 1-10, what should I expect pain-wise?" I asked out of curiosity, but also desperate for conversation to draw attention away from my oddly decent, indecent exposure. She explained that pain receptors are located near pressure points, so the more pressure she applied during the waxing, the less likely it was that I would focus on the pain. By the time she'd finished that statement, she'd already prepped my skin with body powder and applied the first two strips of wax. In other words, it was too late to escape. By the time I'd finished my request for a landing strip, she'd already waxed and applied two more strips of hard wax. "This isn't so bad," I thought to myself. It wasn't comfortable, but I could tolerate it. Four strips down.

"Almost done. You're doing great!"  

Wax and needles are two things that cause people to revert back to their childhood, making statements like, "you're doing great" necessary. She applied more wax and the few undisturbed follicles left below my navel wept as "Wait. There's more?" scrolled through my mind. Two strips later, I was hair free and then I was asked to flip over. Surprisingly, the backside waxing is seemingly painless. If anything, I focused more on the warmth of the wax than the waxing itself, but the anxiety of waiting for the strips to be removed is almost overwhelming since you can't watch as it happens.

Tip: Exfoliate the skin around your lady parts 2-3 times a week to prevent in-grown hairs and slough off dead skin. It will keep your skin smooth and make waxing easier, as the pain experienced during waxing is often caused by dead skin built up around the hair. We recommend this product.

In 10 minutes, I was the newest member of the care-free, hair-free tribe. Ambure followed the wax treatment with EWC Ingrown Hair Serum ($25), an oil based serum chock-full-of gentle exfoliants and hydrating goodies like glycolic acid, tea tree oil, and berry extract. I slipped into my pants, left a 20% tip (it's only right!) and prepared to make use of the European Wax Center's motto, "walk in, strut out."

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I felt like a new woman. I may even have texted a friend something to the tune of "Honestly, it's so smooth I just want to dance in the street... naked!" Needless to say, I'm a convert. Two things are certain: I'll never be able to go back to shaving, and I'll definitely be introducing my friend to Ambure at my next appointment in four weeks.

 Tell us what you think! Are you a wax girl or do you prefer a good shave?

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Filed under: Beauty, Skin