8 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Bikini Wax

8 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Bikini Wax

1. There's a big difference between soft and hard wax. Soft wax is the most common type used. It's best for large areas, when you want to remove a lot of hair at one time. It's applied with a waxing spatula (see photo above) and removed with a fabric strip. Hard wax is a bit more complicated and takes extra some skill to use, so it can be more expensive. It hardens on its own, eliminating the need for strips, and sticks just to your hair, not your skin, so there's less irritation from pulling. Many spas and salons do both: They save money by using soft wax in larger, less sensitive areas, and use a small amount of the more expensive hard wax on super sensitive areas where you really need it, like your vulva.

2. Waxing hurts, but it's bearable. Most people are actually surprised that it hurts less than they thought, probably because they've heard it would be the worst pain of their lives. Here's what will go down: Your waxer will spread warm wax on your skin and either apply the strip for soft wax, or just wait for the hard wax to cool. She'll then pull it off, which does sting, but only for a few seconds. Many waxers also suggest taking an ibuprofen 30-60 minutes before your appointment to reduce inflammation and, therefore, pain.

3. You can get a wax when you have your period. But you will want to be prepared for two things: You'll be sans undies, so you'll want to choose a tampon over a pad for your appointment. Also many girls notice that their skin is more sensitive during that time of the month, so it might hurt more.

4. There are a lot more down-there hair possibilities than you might think. Do some research and know what you want your bikini line to look like before your appointment. Hair removal is not a one-size-fits-all thing! You might want just your bikini line cleaned up, or a little more (sometimes called a "landing strip"), or you might want to remove it all (called a Brazilian). It's all up to you and what you feel most comfortable with. Your waxer will work with whatever you decide.

5. It can feel a little awkward. You're going to be pretty exposed; you can't really get around it. You may be put into ~interesting~ positions, like with your leg on a wall or on all fours. You might even have to use your own hands to help your waxer hold onto a certain area of skin. But it's all totally normal. Your waxer is a professional — she isn't judging you at all, so don't judge yourself or how awks you think you look! Still, if something feels extra-uncomfortable, speak up. They'll find another way to remove the hair that is more comfortable for you.

6. Your waxer has seen it all — and then some. If it's been forever a while since you've done any kind of bikini-line hair removal, you might feel like the waxer is looking at your bush wondering how you possibility let it get so big. Everyone feels that way, but relax! Most waxers do hair removal on guys too, and can you imagine how hairy they are?! So, don't stress. That being said, shorter hair does mean less pulling, so feel free to trim to about an inch.

7. There might be a little irritation afterward. Don't freak out if there's some redness. That's to be expected. You can reduce the irritation by avoiding hot baths for 24 hours, staying out of the sun at least for the day, and using Neosporin on particularly red areas. Don't book your wax on the same day as you're heading to the beach and you'll be fine.

8. You'll have to wait a few weeks before getting another wax. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you'll start to see some stubble in about a week. But you can't run to get another wax right away. The hair on your bikini line needs to be at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch long for your waxer to grab the hair properly. That usually means at least three weeks for most people. If you're stressed about a big pool party or family vacay and you don't want stubble, ask your waxer if she does "in-between" appointments for a quick touch up.