Tips for Getting a Bikini Wax

If you are getting a bikini wax for the first time, you may be more than a little nervous. Don’t worry, your anxiety is perfectly natural and common in women contemplating undergoing the bikini waxing process. Some women worry about anticipated pain, others feel shy about exposing their bodies to salon practitioners, and still others aren’t sure how to explain the details of the waxing style they are interested in.

Getting the answers to common bikini wax questions can relieve your anxiety and help you know what to expect. Here are some tips to help in preparing for a first-time bikini wax.

What Is a Bikini Wax?

In general, a bikini wax is the process of using hot or cold wax to remove the hair from your bikini area, which is everywhere that is not covered by your swimsuit bottom or panties. That includes the hair on both your front side and your backside, leaving you with smooth, hairless skin around your panties.

If you are feeling shy about exposing yourself for this process, try to meet the practitioner ahead of time to get more comfortable with the person who will be working on your body. Most practitioners are women, and you can reassure yourself in advance that this is the case at your salon.

Bikini Wax Styles

Quite a few styles of bikini waxes have become popular, and many of them go by a variety of names, so be sure to discuss exactly what you are looking for with the practitioner at your salon. These are some of the bikini wax styles that your salon may offer:

  • Basic bikini: as mentioned above, this style is the simplest and only removes hair that would be visible around the area of the bikini bottom.
  • Full bikini: this style removes a bit more hair, including hair inside the bikini panty line and sometimes scaling down some of the fullness of hair in the front.
  • French or European style: removes most of the hair except for a “landing strip” in the front above the labia.
  • Brazilian or Hollywood style: removes all of the pubic hair, front and back.

Bikini Wax Methods

There are three types of bikini waxes: hot, warm or cold wax. Hot wax tends to be the preferred method, especially if you have your bikini wax done in a salon. The heat from the hot wax helps open up the hair follicle and soften the surrounding skin, so the hair lets loose and is easier to remove. Cold waxing is preferred by women who are particularly sensitive, and it can be a good idea if you are doing a bikini wax at home. Warm wax is a happy medium; it works better than cold wax, but isn't as hot as a hot wax. Cold wax techniques sometimes bypass the use of a cloth strip. Instead, you peel up a corner of the wax and just pull.

There is another option known as "sugaring" that doesn't use a wax, but instead employs a sticky sugary substance that has honey, molasses, sugar and other organic ingredients. It makes for an easy cleanup and the results are reported to be equal to waxing.

When you use the hot wax method, the wax (usually paraffin or beeswax) is heated and then applied to the area where you want to remove the hair. Next, a piece of cloth, often muslin, is applied on top of the wax and firmly pressed down. This allows the wax to spread evenly across the area and surround each hair. After the wax has cooled, the cloth strip is removed in a quick, smooth yank, and the hair comes off with the wax. It is important that the practitioner be experienced and knowledgeable about pulling the cloth strip off in the correct direction, the direction in which the hair is growing; otherwise, the process will be much more painful.

Home or Salon?

You can purchase at-home wax removal kits and do your own bikini wax. Review the directions on the package and be sure to follow the directions to the letter to obtain the best results. It is also a good idea to consider a cold wax for an at-home bikini wax to avoid burns.

However, it is usually recommended that you get your first wax at a salon. A technician can also ask you questions about your skin type and can figure out the most effective procedure for you.

The cost of a bikini wax will vary, but expect it to run between $25 and $100. Yes, this is a huge price variation, but it really depends on where you live and what type of salon you visit. If you choose to buy an at-home kit, you will probably spend about $15 to $25 for a one-use kit and upwards of $75 for a professional wax pot with everything you need for several waxes.

One huge advantage that waxing has over shaving or hair removal creams is that waxing will keep you hair-free for four to six weeks, rather than just a few days. Shaving and creams simply remove hair at the surface, but waxing removes the entire hair, including the root.

How to Prepare For Your First Bikini Wax

Yes, a bikini wax is going to hurt, there's really no getting around that. Most women say the pain is just temporary and the results are well worth it. You can have the best possible experience with the following tips:

  • Exfoliate your bikini area the night before your wax. This will remove any dead skin cells and allow the wax to stick the best.
  • Don't get a bikini wax three or four days before or after your period. You are the most sensitive during these times, so the pain may be increased.
  • Take an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen or acetaminophen about 20 minutes before your appointment to head off some of the pain.
  • Relax! The more nervous you are, the more you will tense up, and this is not going to make things any easier. Just breathe deeply and relax. Take a deep breath in when the wax is applied, and then breathe out when the strip is pulled.
  • Your hair needs to be about 1/4" long so the wax can grab it. If you have been shaving or using a hair removal cream, you will need to let the hair grow a bit before you get your bikini wax.
  • Don't wear tight jeans or panties. After your bikini wax, you don't want to wear anything too constricting, as your bikini area is going to be sensitive. Avoiding tight clothing for a day or so can help you avoid ingrown hairs as well.
  • Be sure to shower before your bikini wax, but not immediately before. You want to be clean, but, if you are still damp, the wax won't be as effective.
  • If you begin your bikini wax and truly decide that you can't go through with it, just speak up. It's your body, and, if you change your mind, that's OK. Keep in mind that your first bikini wax will be the most uncomfortable. After that, the hair grows back in finer and thinner, and future waxing is easier.

Why Get a Bikini Wax?

While different women have different motivations for undergoing a bikini wax, these are some of the most common reasons:

  • Social acceptance: some people feel that visible pubic hair is not socially acceptable and want to make sure that this will not be an issue when wearing a bathing suit, especially a bikini or thong.
  • Comfort: some women simply feel more comfortable with smooth, hairless skin and decide it is worth undergoing the waxing process to achieve this state.
  • Pleasing a partner: often, women decide to get a bikini wax because they think that their partner will prefer it to a more natural state. That may or may not be true, according to survey results.

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