A bikini waxing experience can be a panic-inducing task, as worries of pain and embarrassment instantly start pouring through your head. But, next time your anxieties start taking over, know that thoughts like these are all but common. Don’t believe us? We asked some waxing experts to dish on all those inner thoughts that are probably running through your head right now.
1. Is this going to hurt?
Tear-inducing pain is one factor that can deter anyone from scheduling a bikini wax, but truthfully speaking, it’s an unavoidable part of the process you really can’t skip out on.
“Bikini waxing is considered painful by a majority of people, and is more painful for first timers, and for those who have hair that is very dense and thick,” says Edna Ma, expert anesthesiologist and creator of BareEASE, a pre-waxing numbing kit. “It is applied and worn about 30 to 45 minutes before your hair removal appointment, and numbing effects can last 20 to 40 minutes.” Plus, the formula is water-based, so it won’t interfere with waxing.
But, while pain is an inevitable part of waxing, there are preventive measures you can take to keep your pain levels down. Topical creams and kits like BareEASE can make the pain factor a lot easier to deal with. Memphis-based medical aesthetician, Frances Parker, even recommends taking pain relievers like Tylenol, 30 to 45 minutes before your treatment. This can help minimize the pain and inflammation you’ll probably experience during waxing.
2. Will it be over soon?
Unlike the time spent on facial waxing, waxing in the bikini area can be a longer process. Experts like Ma state that the experience usually lasts for 15 to 20 minutes, but can require additional time, if there are ingrown hairs present. Despite the amount of discomfort you may be experiencing, keep in mind that your aesthetician is aware of the pain, and is trying to make your session as comfortable as possible.
“Wax estheticians try to make the process as quick and painless as possible,” explains Lindsey Blondin, spa director and lead aesthetician at George The Salon Chicago. “In the moment, it may be very uncomfortable, but just take a deep breath and exhale; it will help trick your brain by releasing endorphins to help with the pain.”
3. Why didn’t I get a laser?
There may be a point during your wax, when you wonder if that laser treatment you were debating was actually a better choice. But despite the appeal of laser treatments, the pain associated with lasers is arguably worse. “A laser is like having someone smack you with a rubber band on each hair follicle, and there is no guarantee that it will even work,” says Blondin.
Similarly, Jennifer Charm, owner of Salon Carabella, notes that lasers also doesn’t adequately remove all the hair, making waxing a better alternative. “Lasers don’t guarantee that the hair is completely removed,” says Charm. “The body creates a thinner, lighter hair for each lasered hair, and then there’s peach fuzz, which unless it’s dark, doesn’t go away.”
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4. Was the price too good to be true?
While facial waxes tend to be less expensive, good bikini waxes usually cost anywhere from $50 to $70. And yes, we’ve probably all seen those tempting deals on really affordable waxes, but Ma recommends steering clear of such discounts, as they usually are too good to be true.
“Some waxes can go as low as $30, but please be aware of poor hygienic techniques such as no gloves and double dipping of the wax,” says Ma. “Keep in mind, an infection will be much much more expensive than the actual wax.”
5. When will my hair grow back?
Unlike shaving, waxing results tend to last a bit longer, making them ideal for someone who wants to go hairless for a longer period of time. But, while you won’t have come back in for a few weeks, Depasquale Spa wellness specialist and aesthetician Gina notes that hair usually grows back differently for everyone, so it’s important to keep this in mind when scheduling future appointments down the road.
“A bikini wax generally lasts three weeks,” she says. “However, a client’s hair can start growing back within a week and a half.”
6. Should I have shaved instead?
Without a doubt, shaving can be less painful on the skin, but it usually doesn’t deliver the the same results as waxing. According to Ma, shaving only removes the hair shaft, allowing the roots to still be visible. However, waxing removes the entire hair shaft from its follicle, including the root. This usually gives your skin a much smoother appearance.
And in addition to getting smoother skin, Parker notes that waxing also comes with less setbacks than shaving. This includes less downtime, and less embarrassment. “Other than slight redness and occasionally a small bruise, there is no downtime with waxing,” says Parker. “Shaving can cause embarrassing bumps or ingrown hairs that can scar your skin.”
7. How long should the hair be?
You may be extremely self-conscious about how “hairy” you really are down there, but waxing pros recommend letting your hair grow out a bit before your appointment. Hair that’s too short doesn’t produce good results and really shouldn’t be waxed to begin with.
“Don’t come in and say you shaved two or three days ago, as your results won’t be great,” says Blondin. “The best hair length for waxing is approximately a quarter to half an inch long.” But, Blondin advises not to come in with hair longer than two inches either, as is this will cause only cause more pain and hair breakage during the waxing process.
“Hair that’s longer can cause a painful experience, as the wax won’t be as close to the root of the hair to pull it out. This causes more breakage to the hair, leaving you with hairs that are way too short to be waxed.”
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8. What should I do when it’s over?
The key to any effective bikini wax is also making sure you take care of your skin in between appointments. This means regularly exfoliating and hydrating waxed areas, as you’ll definitely want to keep buildup and ingrown hairs to a minimum.
“You should always exfoliate and hydrate your skin,” explains Blondin. “Ingrowns are common with waxing, and if there is dead skin or buildup, it makes it difficult for the hair to pierce through the skin.”
Maintaining the results from your wax also comes with scheduling regular appointments. Ma recommends making appointments every four to eight weeks to ensure you get the most out your wax, and experience less pain. “If you come back regularly, the hair follicles weaken and your waxes start to seem a little less painful,” she explains. “After six weeks, it’s like starting over again, and is usually more painful.”
9. That Wasn’t So Bad…
And of course you’ll probably be relieved once your waxing appointment is finally over, but chances are you’ll also be surprised about how fast and easy the whole process was. According to Blondin, the hardest part of bikini waxing is actually going through with it. But once you’ve overcome that hurdle, the process will become a lot easier in the future.
“Think of bikini waxing like going the gym; the battle is getting there,” says Blondin. “Once it’s over, you’ll feel great. Plus, waxing is so much shorter than any grueling workout.”