What To Know About Getting a Full Brazilian Wax

Here's what to know about waxing your pubic hair and how to safely groom your pubic region so you can get whichever look makes you feel best.

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First things first: There's no shame in having pubic hair. It's natural and protects your genitals. Long lists of waxing, shaving, exfoliating, and bleaching services may send the message that you need to get rid of or hide your pubic hair, but really, it's about choosing a style that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

What Is a Full Brazilian Wax?

While a bikini wax involves removing hair along your underwear line, a full Brazilian wax removes all pubic hair from your entire pubic area, including the perineum—the area between the vulva or scrotum and the anus.

What should you expect? Before making an appointment, do your research. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends choosing a salon or spa that does not "double dip." This means making sure the esthetician uses a new wooden stick each time they apply the hot wax to your skin (as opposed to re-dipping the same wooden stick throughout your appointment, which is unsanitary).

Before your first full Brazilian wax, the AAD recommends aiming to have your pubic hair between 1/4 inch and 3/4 inch long. If you're worried about potential pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever 30 minutes before your appointment.

When you get to your appointment, you'll go to a private room or area. You'll remove your underwear and lie on a table. Yes, you may feel a bit awkward, but a great esthetician will make you feel as comfortable as possible. If you feel embarrassed, remind yourself estheticians do this professionally, and they're there to help you get the look you want, not judge you.

The esthetician will first gently clean your pubic area. They may apply oil or powder to better prep the skin for wax. Then, they will apply hot wax in small strips at a time with a wooden stick. They'll place paper or cloth on each strip of wax that they then pull (quickly!) to remove your hair.

Yes, it will likely hurt. Of course, we all have different pain thresholds, but you should prepare yourself for at least some discomfort. After removing the majority of your pubic hair, the esthetician will use tweezers to pluck any remaining hairs. The last step is soothing the area with serum, oil, or cream. Products used in this step are usually specific to the spa or salon.

The AAD notes that your skin may look red and irritated shortly after waxing. Your esthetician should send you home with after-care instructions, but generally, you should avoid taking a hot shower or bath right after. The AAD also advises wearing loose clothing and applying moisturizer after waxing.

Are Brazilian Waxes Healthy?

You may like how full Brazilian wax looks and feels, but understanding why we have pubic hair at all could help you make educated grooming decisions.

"We have pubic hair for a reason," said Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City. "It acts as a shield against bacteria, allergens, and other unwanted pathogens." Stripping away that natural barrier puts you at higher risk of irritation or infection in the vaginal area, Dr. Bowe explained.

Body hair has a (false) reputation for being unhygienic, but that is an untrue and harmful claim. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reports there is no medical or hygienic reason to remove pubic hair.

What If You Don't Want a Full Brazilian Wax?

If you're not going to forgo waxing altogether, what other options do you have? Dr. Bowe recommended leaving a small triangle of hair instead of removing every single strand. Commonly known as the "triangle trim," this style can maintain pubic hair while keeping your bikini line hair-free.

Pubic Hair Grooming Tips

Follow these grooming tips to make your experience as quick, safe, and painless as possible.

What To Do Between Waxes

"Over-waxing can destroy the hair canal, leading to permanent ingrown [hairs]," Dr. Bowe said. Aim to go six weeks between waxes. You can do grooming maintenance in between by shaving. Try the Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle for total convenience—it combines a hair trimmer and razor in one tiny gadget.

The AAD recommends standing while trimming your pubic hair to reduce injury and warns against sharing any grooming tools.

How To Get a Smooth Shave

Run the razor in the direction of hair growth for the closest cut, then against. Another perk: "Stubble will grow in much thinner with this back-and-forth technique," Dr. Bowe noted. Make sure to rinse the razor after every pass, so hairs do not remain stuck between its blades.

How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs or Unwanted Bumps

If you're prone to ingrown hairs, reach for pads or products with salicylic acid two days after waxing or shaving (but use them too soon, and you may feel your still-sensitive skin start to burn). These gently exfoliate, allowing hair to grow back free of dead skin cells and dirt so it doesn't loop back on itself and create painful bumps. Try Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster Pads.

Wash Wisely

One of the biggest mistakes people make is over-washing the vaginal area, said Dr. Bowe. Too much scrubbing and using too many products can irritate delicate skin and lead to infection. Your skin may be sensitive after a wax or shave. Use a mild soap, like Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Antibacterial Bar, or even just water to clean your external genitalia.

The ACOG notes how the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. So you don't need to wash inside it.

A Quick Review

It's completely up to you how and if you groom your pubic hair. A full Brazilian wax may or may not be right for you, but there's no medical reason to remove pubic hair. Talk to a healthcare professional if you have questions about your pubic region's health.

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