Wax on, Wax off.

If you did a poll of the girlfriends with whom I discuss such things, you’d quickly realize that I’ve become the resident expert in brazilian bikini waxes. Mostly because I’m the one who’s dared to “go there” as a part of my personal grooming routine.

And since I get queried by said girlfriends on a semi-regular basis, and “bikini wax etiquette” shows up in my search strings more often than not, I present to you, the cleverly titled:

Jen’s Guide to Bikini Wax Expectations and Etiquette

And lest you think you don’t need such a guide, I shall refer you to my uneducated and unprepared earlier experience. And NOBODY should have to go through that. According to the archives, it took me 2.5 years to get over it.


If you have ever shaved any of your pubic hair, your first wax will hurt like a MOTHERFUCKER. No word of a lie, it will be so awful you will want to leap right off the table and run screaming, pantsless, into the night. It is just the way of things. If you are smart you will schedule yourself a competent esthetician, realize it will all be over inside of 20 minutes, and suck it up, princess. Look at the bright side, it only gets better! If you have been shaving, wait at least 4 weeks from your last shave to go for a wax in order to let the hairs grow long enough for the wax to grip them.

Finding a Waxer:

A lot of major cities have papers that run a “best of the city” feature that asks the citizens to vote on everything from restaurants to rodeos. Most have an esthetics or even a bikini wax vote – go to the place that wins. Phone a spa/salon that offers the service and ask who their most popular esthetician is. Ask for reviews. Ask friends or acquaintances who they go to (for the locals, I go to Linda’s). This is one wax job you don’t wanna mess around with, so do some research.

The Arsenal:

Be sure you have the following things in your posession before the day of your appointment. You’ll want them at your disposal:
-Lidocaine Cream for irritation (I hear Preparation H works well too, though I’ve never tried it)
-Epsom salts for a soak
-Advil (or painkiller of your choice)
-A soft Loofah & some gentle body wash – something hypoallergenic if you’re sensitive
-Liquor. Lots of liquor.

Day of:

Wear comfortable panties and pants! I personally have a pair of soft cotton boy shorts that I wear on waxing days, that don’t rub or chafe or ride up. I’ll wear them with a skirt or roomier pants. If I’m getting it done on a weekend or after work, I’ll go commando in yoga pants. Whatever you’re comfortable with, just avoid lace and embellishments, or anything that’s tight and rides up or around in uncomfortable ways. Believe me you’ll be uncomfortable enough.

EAT! EAT! EAT! Things hurt more when your blood sugar is low. Try to eat something with a bit of staying power (cookies, chocolate, and plain fruit will just make you crash) about 20-30 minutes before your appointment. Your body also heals better when you’ve got proper nutrition. This includes being well-hydrated, so water up.

Since you’re eating something anyway, take a small dose of Advil or Tylenol (not Asprin or liquor – that’s for after – since they thin your blood and may cause you to bleed) about 20 minutes before your appointment as a preventative pain killer to dull the owies a bit.

The Appointment!:

Try not to schedule it the week before (or during) your period. You’re just more sensitive in those areas and it’ll hurt more.

Congratulations, you made it! Don’t back down now, you’re almost there.

Depending on where you go and who your esthetician is, you’ll likely be instructed to take off your pants and panties, drape yourself with the towel they’ve provided, and lay back on the table. They usually leave the room for privacy while you do this, and take a moment to steel yourself. You may or may not be offered disposable panties which you can accept or decline, depending on your comfort level.

You will be half naked.

There is no getting around this. Getting in and around all of your nooks and crannies, crooks and crevices is going to require full access. And some yoga-esque poses. There is no room for modesty in the brazilian wax process. Your esthetician probably sees a hundred or so coochies a year other than yours, so get over yourself.

The actual waxing process will feel like someone is ripping the short and curlies out of your sensitive bits, because, well, they are. Be brave little soldier! It should be over inside of 20 minutes. The esthetician will probably give you a once over with some tweezers to catch any strays, and may trim any landing strip hair you want left.

Types of Wax Jobs:

In case you are totally clueless, there are different types of bikini wax you can get, though this post applies to all of them.

-Regular Bikini takes off the bit of hair that runs up the area inside your thighs and where your legs join your pelvis.
-French Bikini leaves you with only a small patch in the front, but does nothing with the back.
-Brazilian Bikini involves either going bare or leaving a small patch in the front, as well as deforesting the back door. FYI since most people don’t both trying to self-groom their own ass-cracks (out of sight, out of mind?) it usually hurts the least to wax. It’s those hairs we insist on shaving and trimming ourselves that get to be stubborn about removal.


This is when I ply myself liberally with liquor and just hope the sweet, sweet nectar causes me to pass out long enough to feel better when I wake up.

Seriously though, be gentle with your ladyparts, they will be sensitive. Try to keep your bloog sugars level, and take your vitamins. Exfoliate gently in the shower to combat ingrown hairs, and if you do experience lots of discomfort, take another Advil, try an Epsom salts bath and/or some lidocane cream. Local waxing joint Sugarbox has a great page of “do’s and don’ts” that I’d recommend reading before you go in.

Pay special heed to the one that says “DO NOT SHAVE BETWEEN WAXING APPOINTMENTS.” Bikini waxing is not an on-again off-again thing. Either you are committed to it, or you aren’t, and if you aren’t there is no point in even starting. Every time you shave, you bring yourself right back to that first all-painful and terrible wax. It’ll depend on your personal hair structure, but you’ll need to go back every 3-6 weeks to maintain it, and it does hurt less every time. I hardly cry at all now. And as your hairs grow in finer and finer, you’ll be able to get away with having them waxed shorter and shorter, so you don’t have any “down time” if you’re thinking about how to schedule waxes so you’ll look your best on the beach in Cancun or for that special new man.

Etiquette Points:

Don’t eat the bean burrito the night before. It’s just best for everyone involved. If you feel “less than fresh” in any of your nether regions before your appointment, carry some flushable wipes with you to freshen up before you go in.

If you’re nervous and/or shy, SAY SO! Remember, this is your waxer’s JOB. She can talk you through it, and let you know exactly what she’s going to do and what to expect to make you feel most comfortable.

Try to relax, it’ll make the whole process easier on everyone.

Please tip. It’s the classy thing to do (unless you ignored my first point and went to a butcher). I tip the same percent I tip my hairdresser (10-15%). If there are estheticians out there who think I’m being stingy, please inform me! Otherwise I think that’s a pretty safe amount.

Other than that, you should now be fully armed with information, and ready to forth and wax fearlessly! Or at least in fear only of the pain, and not totally of the unknown.

Down with Bush!

ps. If anyone knows of a place in town that does the “Full Monty” wax for guys, clue me in. I’d love to coerce Neil into trying it, since I’m interested in some of the mechanics of the procedure and if the results are worth it. And I bet he’d blog about it!

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17 thoughts on “Wax on, Wax off.

  1. Gwen

    This post was priceless especially since I wasn’t reading back when you made the other posts.
    Though I would never go looking for this information myself, it was a very informative and interesting read!

  2. Darren

    Indeed, very informative. I’m reminded me of this video. If you watch through the end, I believe you’ll see the male video director getting waxed as well. Believe it or not, it’s safe for work, too.

  3. Sue

    A comment from my personal peanut gallery: “why do women do these things to themselves?” My comment: “Ditto!”

    Girl, you are twice the man I am. Err.. that’s meant to be a compliment, I swear.

  4. Rebecca

    Nice. I’ve never put that much thought into it… just a few key points (as mentioned). I make sure the hair is long enough (as you usually need for a wax), wear comfy pants (commando) and live on aloe for the rest of the day (so cooool on the skin). Never had to result to painkillers or anything extreme. Takes about a day to “recover”

    I always hear the same thing “your husband is very lucky”. I’ll have to check back here to see if you get any tips on where my “lucky guy” can get done too :p

  5. donna

    I have no interest in the full brazillian, but I’ve gotten a french done a few times. Your description of the french is a bit inaccurate — it’s more like a regular bikini, but an inch or so further in. Think underwear styles: A bikini wax will remove what’s revealed in bikini style underwear. French removes what’s revealed in french style underwear.

    As for a brazillian… well, my theory is that brazillian women simply don’t wear undies. 🙂

    Oddly, I found the french didn’t hurt too much. I mean, it’s certainly not *comfortable*, or something I plan for days when I want to have fun, but I slop some lotion on, and it’s reasonably good. I’m not a regular maintainer either, and I haven’t found any problem with only going when I feel like it. YMMV, of course.

  6. Brooke

    You didn’t mention the problems with ingrown hairs after waxing! I finally had enough of that annoyance that I opted for laser hair removal. 4 treatments and I’m now permanantly smooth and clean!

  7. andrea

    i get brazilian, all or nothing. the place i go to is ocean breeze spa in yaletown. very affordable, and it doesn’t really quality as a spa, but the woman there is persian and knows what she’s doing. i’m never there for more than 10 minutes. and honestly, i’ve never had to dress any different because i don’t feel any different going in than coming out.. she’s really that good.
    oh did i say it’s $30?

  8. jon

    i have gotten waxed once, and shaved once at a day spa. i found the experience to be interesting both naughty and erotic at the same time. i deffinantly love the feel of being smooth and bare

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  10. belle

    I’m going in for the first time Saturday. You’ve made it far less scary. It kinda makes me laugh that the prices say “Brazilian Wax Starting at: $65.00”. I’d be offended if my cooch was so horrible to tame and/or look at, I was beyond the “starting at” price. God please let it just be $65.00 bucks…I want to leave hairless, but I want my dignity in tact please.

  11. Lori

    I shutter to think that a waxing specalist would be as close to my nether regions as my OB/GYN and yet only get a 10-15% tip, my doctor is getting hunreds of dollars to go their and the least I could do is give a great damn tip. I would hate to be an average tipper after they have gone “their” and then sign up to go back in 4-6 weeks, that may be a painful second experience. I have been to a salon where bikini wax started $25 and a brizilian at $40, I could never leave the poor girl $2.50, I always give atleast $10, they are in my hoozy for pete’s sakes. Just my thought.

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  13. Ashley

    I am going for my first bikini wax. I have very sensitive skin and find that shaving never gives me great results and I always end up with ingrown hairs, which become infected, and often turn into small knots. Heres hoping that waxing will hinder some of these probs. Thanks for your site…i got much needed info on etiquette and prepping.

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