Visiting the spa for a Brazilian wax is only half the battle. OK, bikini waxes are scary, and there are plenty of things about them we’d like to change. The pain factor and price are the first few that come to mind. Although, there is an ongoing debate over whether bikini waxes are truly that painful. Some say the more you get them, the less painful they become. Either way, it’s not the most comfortable experience to sit through. You do it anyway because, well, the results are worth it.
But once you survive your waxing session like a champ, this question may come to mind: Is it possible to make the results last longer? Then the rest of your issues would be less problematic. Getting a bikini wax and then waking up with stubbly hairs a few days later is the worst. On the brighter side, there are ways to work around this and make your bikini wax last longer.
We went to the pros to see if extending the results of our bikini waxes was an attainable ask. Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Center and Gina Petak, European Wax Center’s education manager, both agree it’s possible and not too difficult. You just have to incorporate a few of their tried-and-true bikini wax tips into your routine to make it happen. Scroll on for the rundown on exactly how it’s done.
Before You Wax
Preparation is everything. The first thing you'll want to do is find someone you can work well with. All estheticians and most cosmetologists, depending on your state, are licensed to perform waxing. You don't want someone who simply offers the service just because they can. Rather, you should choose a technician that has good experience, skills, and considers bikini waxing their specialty. Finding an expert is very important when it comes to removing hair.
Waxing at home is one option, but if you’re after long-lasting results, go pro. “A professional waxer knows all there is to know about your skin type, how to apply the wax, and how to remove it to remove the hair effectively,” Grupenmager says.
There are several more ways you can prepare for the perfect Brazilian wax:
Seek Out Referrals
Whether it's from friends, family, or reputable review sites, finding someone by referral is a great way to ensure you're working with a professional. Waxing salons are another great place to start, as this is their specialty. You might want to get something less visible first, like an underarm wax, to make sure you're comfortable with the facility and the technician.
Time It Right
Your skin may be more sensitive around the time near your period, and waxing can be more painful than normal. Make spa appointments at least a few days before or after your period. Some places will not (or prefer not to) perform this service while you're on your period, so it's best to call in advance.
Make Sure You're Clean
Exfoliate and lightly moisturize before your appointment to remove dead skin cells and prepare the hairs for waxing. Between appointments, keep up the same regular exfoliation (Grupenmager recommends about once a week) and daily moisturizing game: “Great skincare is the best post-treatment—it’s essential for keeping your skin soft in between waxes,” she says.
Do not use any lotions or oils around the bikini area prior to getting a wax. Moisturizers can interfere with the wax process by not allowing the wax to adhere well to the hair.
Make Sure You Have Enough Hair
Don’t even think about getting a wax until your hair is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. “This is the ideal length for hair that’s getting waxed because it allows the wax to get a better hold on the hair and pull it directly from the root, preventing the hair from breaking,” Grupenmager says. Hairs that are too short remain. Up to an inch of hair growth is doable for a wax.
Take a Painkiller
Take Advil, Tylenol, or a similar medication 30-45 minutes before your appointment if you're worried about discomfort.
During Your Wax Appointment
Know Exactly What You Want
This service often removes hair from the behind and between your legs. Sometimes a strip of hair or triangle is left in front. Don't be afraid to communicate exactly how much hair you want to keep and be removed with your technician. Remember, you can always create your own style.
If you've never had this type of service, you may not know that you might be asked to help to hold skin and move around so the tech can get to every last hair. Additionally, you'll need to expect a little pain. Everyone is different in their tolerance and perception of pain, but some discomfort is generally expected.
Once you're done, you'll want to engage in some post-care activities. Following the next few tips will help move things along nicely:
Keep Hands Away
Petak thinks it’s important to avoid touching your newly hair-free skin — that means taking care to ensure nothing else touches your skin, either. "Your skin may be a little more sensitive after your wax because pores are open after waxing," she says. Since pores are open, we don’t recommend working out, going in the pool, ocean or lakes immediately after waxing as this can lead to skin irritation."
Opt for a Shower
"You can shower after waxing," Petak says. "Just make sure to use lukewarm or cooler water. Hot showers can dehydrate skin. Also, remember your skin is freshly exfoliated from your wax so don’t use any harsh soaps or body washes that contain too many oils or leave a film on your skin." Be sure not to take a hot bath for the rest of the day post-wax, as soaking in water can cause unnecessary irritation or pimples.
Avoid Too Much Heat
Make an effort to steer clear of heat sources. Avoid tanning beds, saunas, or steam rooms, for example, for the next two days.
Sexual activity should be avoided for at least 12-24 hours for your first couple of waxes, or if you have very sensitive skin.
Two full days later, if there isn't any redness, use a mild exfoliator. This helps prevent ingrown hair. You can use an Ayate washcloth, for example, which gently exfoliates skin on its own. It can also be lathered up with body wash and is more mold-resistant than loofahs.
Fight the Bumps
Do not wear tight pants or tight underwear for the first few days after your wax appointment to avoid skin irritation.
Check out some of our favorite post-wax products to fight ingrown hairs and irritation.
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Falcone D, Richters RJ, Uzunbajakava NE, Van Erp PE, Van De Kerkhof PC. Sensitive skin and the influence of female hormone fluctuations: results from a cross-sectional digital survey in the Dutch population. Eur J Dermatol. 2017;27(1):42-48. doi:10.1684/ejd.2016.2913
American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair removal: how to wax.
Cleveland Clinic. Q&A: Expert explains best way to handle your ingrown hair. Updated February 10, 2020.