Sadly, as I’ve since learned, neither of these statements are true (seriously—a derm actually debunked the whole “bikini waxes get easier” thing for us last year). But while there unfortunately isn’t a magic cure to make heartbreak suck any less, there are some pro-approved ways that can make bikini waxes at least marginally less horrible. Sure, you can pop an ibuprofen and hope for the best, but there are a few other things you can do to help lower the torture factor.
First things first: Take care of the skin surrounding your lady parts. While a full-on vajacial may not be necessary, it can certainly help your cause if you exfoliate and moisturize ahead of your appointment, using a product like Hydropeptide 5x Power Peel Face Exfoliator ($68). “Dry hair and dry skin makes it easier for your hair to break when removed, so to have the most comfortable wax session and the smoothest, longest lasting results, the skin and hair should be healthy and moisture rich,” says Helene Marie, a waxing expert at European Wax Center. Ingrowns can also make the experience less pleasant, so she suggests using something like European Wax Center Smooth Me Ingrown Hair Serum ($29) to help avoid them.
Then of course, there’s the matter of growing things out, because when your hair is too short to grip onto the wax, it won’t come off as easily. “I tell my clients not to trim before—sometimes they think that this will ‘help’ their esthetician out, but it ultimately just ends up making it more difficult because they will get it too short,” explains master esthetician Amy McLain. “Too short of hair will result in more waxing passes, and that will make it more painful.” If things down there get too long for the wax to handle (which, yes, can happen), your waxer can handle trimming on their own.
Another thing that can help with the hell factor? Timing your wax around Aunt Flo’s monthly visits. “While you can certainly have a bikini or Brazilian wax during your period, some women find that their skin is particularly sensitive during your menstrual cycle,” says Marie. If this is the case for you, you probably want to wait it out until she leaves town. And also, don’t get a wax when you’re sunburned because, yowch.
Despite my own assessment that bikini waxes never, ever get easier (like, ever), Marie notes that the hair does get thinner over time, which helps. “In the short and long term, waxing will regularly transform your skin and hair. Your skin becomes softer and more radiant, while your hair grows in much softer and more sparse,” she explains. “Most people are surprised at how quickly their hair changes, and the results only get better and better the longer you do it.” Or, ya know, you could always just embrace that #BigBushEnergy instead.
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