A derm finally calls BS on that whole “bikini waxes get easier” thing


Photo: Getty/Nyimas Laula

The other week, I decided it was time to get back into the habit of bikini waxing. I just feel better when my bikini area is trimmed back, and I was really fed up with having to shave. For some reason I am unable to master the technique of bikini line shaving (it’s not just me!), and I always end up with painful, itchy, red bumps wherever the razor has touched.

I remembered that waxing was uncomfortable, but I had forgotten just how painful it can actually feel (read: worse than the pain of your favorite TV show making some very questionable narrative choices in the series finale). But, as with the aforementioned TV show, I persisted. As I was lying there, I kept repeating to myself: The more you do it, the less it hurts. I clung to that mantra during the darkest moments of my waxing appointment. Because, as you’ve probably heard, bikini waxes supposedly get less painful the more frequently you get them.

This got me through the appointment, but is it actually true? Something about it…feels like a lie? Not a malicious one, but like one we tell ourselves so that we feel better about something. Like, I’m never going to drunk text my toxic ex ever again because I deleted him from my phone (even though I have his number memorized). So I set out to see if this was just a thing we tell ourselves to make it through the next appointment, or if this was an actual legit thing, and as such I phoned Jodi Shays, the owner and founder of Queen Bee Salon & Spa, and Estee Williams, MD, board certified dermatologist to see what they had to say.

Basically, it comes down to this: If you have very coarse hair, it’s going to hurt more than hair that isn’t as coarse. “It’s a thicker, deeper hair that requires a little more of a pull and if someone has been an avid shaver, skin and nerves tend to be more reactive,” Shays says. “There is also the ‘mental’ part of a wax. The anticipation of it can be nerve wracking, especially your first few times. We teach a yoga breathing method at Queen Bee and we are also ‘talkers’ so the art of breathing and distraction can make a wax less painful.” She recommends clients come in around every four weeks at first, and says that after about six months of consistent waxing appointments you can expect to start feeling less pain.

But according to Dr. Williams, the shift in the actual pain you feel isn’t going to change, you’ll just know what to expect. “As with any painful treatment, most patients tend to get accustomed to pain, and therefore, bikini waxes do tend to get less painful the more you do them,” adds Dr. Williams. But, ultimately, “waxing will hurt no matter what,” she says. Ugh. She explains there are several ways to lessen the pain, including asking your doctor for a prescription numbing cream, not drinking alcohol the night before (okay, guess I’d better not make my appointment on a day that ends in “y” LOL), and not scheduling your appointment when you have your period, because you are more sensitive to pain. Regardless of when that not-painful wax comes, hopefully the pain inflicted from the end of my favorite TV show will have also slightly abated by then.

Here’s what happened when one Well+Good editor got a facial for her vagina (she has thoughts). Plus, these are the most important things to know before getting your first bikini wax

Loading More Posts...