How To Do Your Own Brazilian Wax At Home – 6 Key Steps
Pubic hair: love it or hate it, women and men must all deal with the hedge below. While men tend to get by with a bit of grooming now and then, women must choose between going au naturel, doing a bit of trimming, or removing all of their pubic hair. If you’re ready to go all the way, here’s a look at the six key steps to doing your own Brazilian wax at home.
And The Audience Says…Pubic Hair or No Pubic Hair
While most women are comfortable (if at times a bit annoyed) with shaving (or epilating) their legs and underarms, many are still a bit mystified about how to handle the “land down under.” Should you let it grow like the Amazon Rain Forest in South America, trim it like a golf course, or go smooth and crisp like an ice rink? Perhaps it can help to consider the way men indicated their preferences in various studies.
48 percent of men in a Matured and Responsible study prefer that women have no pubic hair. 41 percent of an AskMen survey of 5,000 respondents preferred that women be completely smooth. And 60 percent of the 1,100 men who participated in a Journal of Sexual Medicine study preferred the fully-shaven look.
How much weight you put on men’s preferences for your pubic hair is, of course, up to you – it is your body after all. The results, however, suggest that a woman performing a Brazilian on herself can be pretty sure that it would be appreciated by at least half the men she’d encounter. It’s too bad most don’t notice your new hair style (or lack thereof) by the same margin.
A Short History of The Brazilian Wax
“The Brazilian” sounds like a mystical tradition handed down from an ancient civilization. One can almost picture a tribe of Amazon women walking around naked and smooth after using tree sap and palm leaves in a late-night ceremony performed on the top of a pyramid. That’s not all that far from the truth. A “tribe” of Brazilian women did indeed popularize the practice in America, although they are not ancient or Amazonian.
The “J Sisters” are credited with introducing the Brazilian wax treatment to the United States. Jocely, Jonice, Janea, Joyce, Juracy, Jussara and Judeseia Padilha (the J Sisters – get it?) learned the Brazilian wax technique in their home city of Vitoria, Brazil. In 1987, the sisters opened a salon on 57th Street in Manhattan and introduced Americans to the Brazilian method of removing pubic hair. Imagine the surprise and bravery of the first woman to undergo the treatment at the salon: “You’re going to do what, where? Can you show me the door?” The treatment turned out to be a hit with untold numbers of women and continues to be extremely popular to this day. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet are known to frequent the J Sisters’ salon for regular treatments – they all seem to like a shaven haven.
What Is Brazilian Waxing – and Will It Hurt?
A traditional Brazilian waxing is the removal of all hair from the entire pubic area through the application and removal of wax. The wax is applied hot to the desired area and then covered with cloth, if necessary. Once the wax cools, it (along with the cloth strip) is ripped off the body to pull the hairs out of the skin. The pubic area is defined as the area from the front of the pubic bone down between the legs past the anus and up the rear of buttocks. Essentially, the goal is to be bare everywhere down under, and as far down the thighs as you choose. However, there are modern variations that leave hair in certain areas, for example just above the clitoral area. Most women learning to wax themselves first focus on the more-traditional complete removal of hair, which requires less precision.
The biggest questions most women have are “Does a Brazilian wax hurt – and if so, how much?” We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but yes, waxing your pubic hair is painful. The pain level is highest during the first waxing because the bulb that secures each hair is larger than the follicle exit point in the skin. The removal of hair from the area around the vulva is considered the most painful, followed by the less sensitive upper pubic bone area and then the buttocks area, where many women don’t find waxing painful at all. If you wax regularly, the bulb securing the hair will become smaller and the exit point larger, which will significantly reduce pain levels over time.
Most women can handle the pain of pubic hair waxing fairly easily, but there are some who have a more difficult time. The way to minimize the pain, for both groups, is to prepare for the waxing properly. We’ll discuss this topic more below, but the use of Advil and a topical numbing cream can significantly reduce the discomfort. A glass of wine can also help, making for a quicker and more manageable session.
And what about timing? Waxing just before or during your period is not advised; after all, do you really want to double up on discomfort for a few days? Probably not.
Key Steps to Successful Brazilian Waxing At Home
The key to successful waxing is to follow a standard process religiously from beginning to end. There is a right way to wax pubic hair, and there are plenty of wrong ways. If you use the wrong method you’re likely to experience more pain than necessary and risk follicle infections. The good news is that if you stick to the following steps, you should be fine.
Brazilian Waxing Step 1 – Length Matters, Trim the Desired Area
Like any great artist you must first prepare your canvas, and that primarily involves the length of your public hair. Waxing the wrong length of hair can be excruciatingly painful. If your hair is too short, the wax may not pull out all of the hairs and can leave others just partially removed. That can lead to infections. If your hair is too long, it may not properly align in the wax; that can result in extra pain during removal and require multiple pulls. Not fun.
Pubic hair should be roughly a quarter of an inch long to get the best results with a Brazilian wax. If you have shaved your pubic hair previously, start allowing the hair to grow out a week before the waxing. If you don’t shave, start measuring and trimming a few days before the waxing. However you approach the task, make sure all hairs are roughly a quarter of an inch long.
Brazilian Waxing Step 2 – Gathering the Required Supplies
When doing your own Brazilian wax at home, you need the right supplies. Let’s start with wax. You can choose either soft or hard wax. Hard wax is preferable because once it’s in place it will grab every hair, and you can rip the wax off (without needing a cloth) simply by grabbing the edge of the wax and yanking. Softer wax can work well also, but you’ll need to purchase cloth strips to attach to the waxed areas in order to create a pulling surface. You will also need to buy popsicle sticks to use with either type of wax.
Tip: For your first time out, purchase wax that can be heated in the microwave. If you are happy with the results you can invest in a wax warmer for future treatments. Just be sure you’re ready to commit to waxing before spending the money.
Exfoliate the skin, using a nice sponge, throughout your pubic area the day before the waxing. This will remove dead skin cells and allow the wax to adhere to the hair as closely as possible to your skin level. This will make the removal process more efficient and reduce the chances you’ll need to wax some areas twice. If your skin is typically sensitive the day after you exfoliate, do it two days before waxing.
Brazilian Waxing Step 3 – Managing Pain and Nerves
The big day is here. Let’s start off by talking pain management. If this is your first time, consider popping an Advil or two half-an-hour before beginning the waxing, and think about a glass of wine, too. The wine will relax you and the Advil will minimize the pain. Don’t take aspirin, however. Aspirin thins the blood, which could make you look like a pincushion after you remove the wax.
Tip: Consider applying a topical analgesic cream to your pubic area. Many professional waxers swear by GiGi anesthetic numbing cream with lidocaine. The cream will help numb the pubic area and mute pain sensations. Once you have been waxing regularly pain should become a secondary issue, but taking a few precautionary steps can get you through the first time without too much fuss.
Brazilian Waxing Step 4 – The Wax Preparation
Step four is heating and testing the wax. Follow the instructions that came with the specific wax you’ve purchased, and heat it to the proper temperature. Now, test the wax to make sure it isn’t too hot to the touch, by applying a dab to your inner wrist (which has roughly the same sensitivity as your pubic area) with a popsicle stick. Aim for the hottest temperature you can comfortably stand.
Brazilian Waxing Step 5 – Application of the Wax
When applying wax, start with the least sensitive areas of your body the first time. Many celebrities recommend starting at the waist and moving down, but beauticians in Brazil start with the thigh and move up the body for good reasons. The front, back, and outer thighs are not overly sensitive, making them great starting positions to get a feel for the hair removal sensation while you’re working on your technique.
The process itself is pretty straightforward. Start by applying wax with the popsicle stick, against the direction of your hair growth. For example, if your hair points down your thigh, apply the wax in an upward motion. Use enough to cover an area of roughly one inch by three inches, with about the same thickness as peanut butter spread on bread. If you’re using soft wax, then quickly apply the cloth strips to the back of the wax so they adhere. Remember, fabric strips are not necessary for hard wax.
Now, hurry up and wait. The wax needs to cool and set. The wax container will tell you how long this will take, but most practitioners wait for 30 to 60 seconds or until the wax resists being pulled. Hard wax applications are ready when tapping them with your finger produces a noise that sounds like you’re tapping plastic.
Once the wax is hard, peel up one corner until you get a good grip between your thumb and fingers. The least painful and most efficient approach to rip wax is in the opposite direction of your hair growth; if your hair points down over the pubic bone, for instance, pull from the bottom of the strip up. After you’ve determined the correct direction to use, place your other hand at the opposite end of the waxed area and pull your skin taught.
Take a deep breath.
Let it out slowly.
At the end of the out-breath, rip the wax off your skin – the faster and harder, the better. Yes, there will be pain, but only for a few seconds. When people complain about the pain associated with Brazilian waxing, the most common cause is the failure to apply enough energy to the rip. Think back to when you were young and your mom put a Band-Aid on a cut. The ends of the Band Aid often covered hair, and if you tried to remove the Band-Aid slowly the pulled hairs would hurt like nobody’s business. If you just ripped the Band-Aid off, there was a half a second of shock and that was it. The same applies to waxing your pubic area. No half measures. Give the wax a good rip.
Is the discomfort worth it? Well, take a look at how beautiful and smooth the waxed area looks in the mirror; if the man in your life is among the 50 percent who prefer no pubic hair, romance is already on the menu. The effect should last three to four weeks, after which you will need another waxing. If you want to see if you can extend the time between waxing you could try applying a hair growth inhibitor such as stophair.
After you’ve completed the first removal rip, repeat the process as you move up through the pubic area. You will, however, need to squat to access the area around the vagina and anus. Try resting the back of your buttocks on the edge of a chair for support and place a mirror between your legs for the best view. When applying wax to the area, work down each side of the vagina and anus in one long strip. This area is the most sensitive, so resist the urge to wax small areas. One big rip will be painful, but ten little ones will be excruciating.
A Brazilian wax job will remove 99 percent of the hairs in your pubic area. Of course, that leaves one percent. Don’t settle. Grab your eyebrow tweezers and go hunting (or an bikini epilator if you have one). You’ve already finished the tough part.
Brazilian Waxing Step 6 – Post Waxing Protocol
No working out.
For 24 hours.
The skin around your pubic area is going to feel a bit raw and sore, so let it calm down. The skin will be red, which is normal as blood flows to the area to repair the minute injuries caused to the hair follicles. Wear sweats or loose clothing for a day, and take Advil or another mild pain medication if necessary. One other note: ingrown hairs can be a problem in rare instances. If that happens, consider purchasing an ingrown hair serum.
While the J Sisters may have convinced celebrities that the Brazilian wax technique must be performed in an expensive salon, there is no reason you can’t do it at home. Follow the key steps we’ve outlined and you’ll be a pro before you know it.