Even if you’ve done it a million times, going to get a bikini wax can be a harrowing experience. Do you trim beforehand? Should you chitchat while they’re doing it or just stare at the ceiling? So many questions! Because of all the unknowns that go along with getting a bikini wax, Cosmopolitan.com asked several waxing professionals what they wish their clients would stop doing before, during, and after waxing so you’ll wonder no more.

1. Stop worrying about whether or not you shaved your legs or if you need a pedicure. Celia Anaya, 28, who has been waxing for eight years and works at Wax Addict San Francisco, says a lot of clients feel embarrassed about having not shaved their legs or having rough feet or something, but she says, “That’s the last thing we notice. We’re so used to seeing privates we’re desensitized, just another day at the office! So relax, breathe, and take it like a woman!”

2. Don’t think you have to cancel your appointment just because you have your period. Anaya says she’d rather have clients stay on their waxing schedule, even if they’re on their period. She says that although your skin might be more sensitive to waxing during your period, plenty of people still come in anyway. She just recommends coming in with a fresh tampon.

3. Don’t shave for a long time before you come in. Rachel Deikman, 33, who has been waxing for 10 years and also works at Wax Addict San Francisco, says that even though it may be inconvenient, you shouldn’t shave for four to six weeks before you wax. Deikman says, “We know it’s hard, but trust us, it’s worth it. We can always trim if it’s too long, there is not much we can do if it’s too short.” Shobha Tummala, Founder of Shobha, seconded this, saying, “We wish clients would stop shaving between bikini wax appointments … can throw off your waxing schedule and prevent you from getting the cleanest results from your wax. Also, uneven shaving can lead to stubble after waxing … as some hairs may be too short for proper removal.” Lindsey Blondin, 34, spa director for George the salon Chicago, recommends having about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of hair because otherwise, “the hair is too short and there’s not enough leverage for the wax to grab it and pull it out.”

4. Don’t have sex right before you come in to get waxed. Ana Cristina Pitts, owner of The Brazilian Beeswax and a bikini waxer for over 20 years, says you shouldn’t have sex before you come in for a wax and they can tell if you do. Pitts says if you do, “You are swollen and drippy! It won’t affect the wax, but spare us please.” TMI? Yes, but good to know.

5. Stop apologizing for your vagina. Annie Nicolette Hellmuth, 23, who has been waxing for three years and works at Garnet Lash Studio Monterey, hates it when women say sorry for something like how hairy they are. Hellmuth says, “Stop apologizing! It’s my job to wax you.”

6. Don’t use your phone while it’s happening. Hellmuth says she’s actually had clients who have FaceTimed with their mom for moral support while she was waxing them and would prefer it if you, you know, didn’t do that. You know, because rudeness and awkwardness.

7. Don’t have sex, swim, or do any heavy exercise right after. Hellmuth says, “Your pores stay open for 24 hours after a wax and swimming, doing heavy exercise, or having sex could all allow bacteria to get directly into your pores. You want to treat freshly waxed skin as an open wound and keep it as clean as possible.”

From: Cosmopolitan

Waxing FAQs

  1. How long does the hair need to be to waxed?
  2. Why wax in the first place?
  3. What areas of the body can be waxed?
  4. How long will the results last?
  5. Will the hair grow back thicker?
  6. Are there any health precautions to keep in mind?
  7. What are the possible side effects of waxing and how can they be minimized?
  8. How long does waxing take?
  9. What can you expect from a Standard Bikini Wax versus a Brazilian Bikini Wax?
  10. What is a Brazilian bikini wax?
  11. Why go to this extreme?
  12. How long will the results last?
  13. What do I wear during this waxing?
  14. What is the procedure for Brazilian bikini waxing?
  15. What are the possible side effects of waxing and how can they be minimized?
  16. How long does Brazilian bikini waxing take?

How long does the hair need to be to waxed?
When waxing you want the hair to be 1/4 of an inch. 1/4 of an inch is approximately the length of your brows. We recommend shaving the area (not including facial waxing) and schedule your waxng service for two weeks later.
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Why wax in the first place?
Waxing is one of the best ways to temporarily remove unwanted hair. It is more effective than shaving because it removes hair from the roots, not just from the skin’s surface. Over time, hair in waxed areas regrows lighter and sparser or not at all. Even fine hair shadows the face, distorting and aging your features. Waxing the brows opens up the eyes, providing a non-surgical facelift. You keep the hair on your head well-maintained, so why not everywhere else?
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What areas of the body can be waxed?
The wax can be used on almost any part of the body as needed. It is wise to test a small area first for sensitivity. Some frequently waxed areas for women are legs, underarms, bikini line, eyebrows and face. For men: chest, leg, arms, and back. The exceptions for waxing are the beards and inside the ears.
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How long will the results last?
After a client’s first waxing, the results can last 3 to 6 weeks depending on the individual’s hair re-growth. In most cases, hair growth is minimal during the first week or two and noticeably increases in the third and fourth week. Heat stimulates hair growth, therefore hair grows quicker in the summer than in the winter. With regular waxing the length of time between treatments will increase. Continued waxing results in sparse hair re-growth.
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Will the hair grow back thicker?
Absolutely not. It might seem so because you will be accustomed to a hairless zone, and new hair will be intolerable. Usually, regrowth will be finer, thinner and slower. Eventually, hair growth may stop altogether.
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Are there any health precautions to keep in mind?
VERY IMPORTANT: Some physicians do not recommend waxing for persons suffering from diabetes or who have varicose veins or poor circulation as they are more susceptible to infection. Waxing is never done on clients taking Accutane and is not recommended for clients using Retin A, Renova, Differin or other types of skin thinning acne medications. Please read the label carefully and consult your dermatologist if you are taking any medication or using any topical cream that contains these medications. Individuals do react differently to these medications and sometimes waxing can be done if proper patch testing is completed.

Also, please advise your esthetician if you are allergic to any foods – because if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put the extracts on your skin. Please be completely honest with your Skin Care Therapist about all allergies and medications you are taking – it is for your protection.
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What are the possible side effects of waxing and how can they be minimized?
Although we can not predict or guarantee who may react, most clients do not experience reactions beyond redness and minor irritation. Hair may break at the root during waxing, causing some hairs to grow out faster. Please follow these guidelines to minimize irritation and possible break outs.

  • Avoid the sun immediately after waxing and please wear sun screen; recently waxed areas are prone to hyperpigmentation (permanent darkening of the skin) if exposed to the sun.
  • Avoid heavy exercise for at least 10 hours after waxing.
  • Avoid saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and other heated sources for at least 48 hours.
  • Do not use exfoliating products (AHAs, scrubs, etc) and loofas until at least 24 hours after waxing.
  • Avoid tight clothing after waxing, especially in the waxed areas. Tight clothing may result in irritation and ingrown hairs.
  • Regular exfoliation may be helpful especially on leg and arm areas.
  • Routine waxing helps the skin get accustomed to the procedure and may minimize irritation.
  • Unfortunately, no shower or oral sex for 10 hours after a Brazilian.

Products are available that can be applied topically to avoid in-grown hairs and condition the skin for better waxing results.
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How long does waxing take?
Depending on the body part and the density of the hair growth, your waxing appointment will take between fifteen minutes and one hour.

What can you expect from a Standard Bikini Wax versus a Brazilian Bikini Wax?
A standard bikini wax is more conservative and generally involves removing hair to just inside the panty or swimsuit line. Hair removal is limited to the front of your body only and does not include the legs or abdomen.

The Brazilian technique has gained in popularity and involves hair removal around the anus, perineum and vagina, leaving only a small strip of hair or no hair at all. This is a very intimate type of waxing and will only be performed after careful consultation. Another option is to gradually remove more hair after each appointment until a Brazilian look is achieved.

How closely you trim, shave or wax your pubic hair is a personal preference. You should do whatever makes you comfortable, whether it’s a bare look or a more natural look.
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What is a Brazilian bikini wax?
Brazilian waxing refers to hair removal around the anus, perineum and vagina. To some people it means removing all the hair from the bikini area, and to others it means removing everything but a strip in the front. The Brazilian technique has gained in popularity and involves removal of most hair from the bikini area, leaving only a small strip of hair.

This is a very intimate type of waxing and will only be performed after careful consultation. How closely you trim, shave or wax your pubic hair is a personal preference. You should do whatever makes you comfortable, whether it’s a bare look, a more natural look, or something in between.
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Why go to this extreme?
It allows women to comfortably wear revealing swimwear and lingerie.
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How long will the results last?
After a client’s first waxing, the results can last 3 to 6 weeks depending on the individual’s hair re-growth rate. In most cases, hair growth is minimal during the first week or two and noticeably increases in the third and fourth week. Heat stimulates hair growth, therefore hair grows quicker in the summer than in the winter. With regular waxing the length of time between treatments will increase. Continued waxing results in sparse hair re-growth.
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What do I wear during this waxing?
If you are comfortable, the Brazilian wax will be done without any draping. A towel will be available for draping if you prefer.
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What is the procedure for Brazilian bikini waxing?
To begin, the hair is snipped with scissors, if necessary, and then wax is applied a little at a time. The hair is removed and the procedure continues. The wax used for this procedure is a no-strip wax, meaning it is applied to the hair to be removed, it “shrink-wraps” around the hairs, and is pulled off after it dries. The wax is made for sensitive skin, so it’s great for bikini/Brazilian waxing. While waxing, it’s best to pull the skin tight, so you may be asked to help stabilize an area with your hand. Stray hairs may also be tweezed.

After the hairs are removed, a first-aid solution containing lavender is applied to help soothe the area. It is a botanical solution, so please advise your skin care therapist if you are allergic to any foods – because if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put the extracts on your skin.
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What are the possible side effects of waxing and how can they be minimized?
Although we can not predict or guarantee who may react, most clients do not experience reactions beyond redness and minor irritation. Hair may break at the root during waxing, causing some hairs to grow out faster. Please follow these guidelines to minimize irritation and possible break outs.

  • Avoid the sun immediately after waxing and please wear sun screen; recently waxed areas are prone to hyperpigmentation (permanent darkening of the skin) if exposed to the sun.
  • Avoid heavy exercise for at least 24 hours after waxing.
  • Avoid saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and other heated sources for at least 48 hours.
  • Do not use exfoliating products (AHAs, scrubs, etc) and loofas for at least 24 hours after waxing as they might further irritate your skin.
  • Avoid tight clothing after waxing, especially in the waxed areas. Tight clothing may result in irritation and ingrown hairs.
  • Regular exfoliation may be helpful to remove dead skin so your hairs can get out above the surface of the pores and not become ingrown.
  • Routine waxing helps the skin get accustomed to the procedure and may minimize irritation.
  • Unfortunately, no hot bath, hot shower or oral sex for 10 hours after a Brazilian. While your pores are open, they are vulnerable to irritation by the extreme temperatures and infection by bacteria.

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How long does Brazilian bikini waxing take?
Depending on the density of the hair growth, your waxing appointment will take between thirty minutes and one hour.
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Even if you’ve done it a million times, going to get a bikini wax can be a harrowing experience. they wish their clients would stop doing before, during, and after waxing so you’ll wonder no more. 1. Don’t shave for a long time before you come in. 4. Don’t have sex right before you come in to get waxed. about Brazilian Waxes Or First time having sex after a Brazilian? as soon as you can and apply baby powder, it will help reduce ingrown hairs as. How Long Should You Really Wait to Have Sex After Waxing? If you’re a fan of the Brazilian, stick with the cycle and set up an appointment on the same day.

If you’ve been waxing for a long time — and I mean Brazilians, labia and all, on a regular You can probably handle having sex that night. Seven things to avoid after getting a Brazilian wax, from sex to working out. Mika. May 11, . Your vagina will thank you in the long run. If you’ve been scheduling waxing treatments days ahead of sexy time with bae, Strip: Ministry of Waxing founder Cynthia Chua is here to settle.

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How long you should wait to have sex after getting a bikini wax and in your skin from waxing can increase your risk of contracting certain STIs. Have you been thinking about getting a Brazilian Wax? Don’t think Will I be uncomfortable after I get waxed? ♢ You may be a How long does the hair have to be? ♢ 1//2 This includes sex, working out and wearing tight clothing. How long does the hair need to be to waxed? Why wax in the first What can you expect from a Standard Bikini Wax versus a Brazilian Bikini Wax? What is a Unfortunately, no shower or oral sex for 10 hours after a Brazilian. Products are .

We got all you need to know to get ready for your first Brazilian or bikini wax. When your hair does grow back after waxing, it will grow back weaker, making it finer, softer and sparser. Win-win Just be warned, these can be very irritating to the skin as the cream can cause burning if left on for too long. . Sex after waxing ?. For most Brazilian waxes, our custom Smooth hard wax is used, but our cream soft wax can also be used. If you wax regularly, you will notice the hair growth will be less, the hair will be HOW SOON AFTER MY WAX CAN I HAVE SEX?. What is a Brazilian wax like? If you’re considering going full monty on your nether regions, get ALL the details of going bare, from prep to after.

If you like to keep things trimmed up down there, you know just how annoying those itchy and bright red razor bumps can be. But what if one of those bumps start to grow bigger and bigger, becoming more painful and tender to the touch?

It’s possible you have an ingrown pubic hair, which simply means one of the hairs around your bikini line and on your vulva had trouble growing out properly. While they’re typically harmless, contending with one of those suckers is not fun, to say the least. (Note: many different bumps can form around your vagina, so it’s best to talk to a dermatologist to make sure that you’re actually dealing with an ingrown hair.)

To return your skin to its former glory, you’ll have to understand why you’re getting ingrown hairs in the first place. This way, you can prevent them from popping up again. Already have an angry bump? Here, experts explain what you can do to make an ingrown pubic hair heal faster.

What are ingrown hairs—and why are they so common around your bikini line?

AnnaBordyugGetty Images

It starts with your grooming routine. When you shave, you’re usually only cutting off your pubic hair where it meets your skin, so it tends to grow back pretty quickly. But when you try to get a super-close shave, you can cut the hair below the surface instead.

“Shaving causes micro-trauma, especially when you use double- or triple-edge razors,” says ob-gyn Deborah Bartholomew, MD, professor and director of the vulvar clinic at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “They’re often used inappropriately by shaving against the direction of hair growth and stretching the skin to get a close shave.”

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That’s why ingrown pubic hairs are so common: It’s not because the hair that grows down there is necessarily coarser, but the complications surrounding shaving are more likely to harm your skin. (Although, people with naturally curly hair are more prone to ingrown hairs.)

When a normal hair starts to grow back, it just shoots up and out of its follicle. But with ingrown hairs, the hair misdirects and grows back into the skin, curling up and underneath the surface. This causes inflammation and produces a painful dark pink or red bump that is around 3 to 4 millimeters in diameter, explains Adeeti Gupta, MD, founder of Walk In GYN Care. Sometimes they are itchy or look like a whitehead because they can fill with pus. You may even see the hair itself—a dark spot right in the center.

You’re definitely not alone if you get one. More than 80 percent of women groom their pubic hair, per a 2016 study published in JAMA Dermatology, mainly because it’s seen as more hygienic. Catch is, research has shown that the practice is associated with damaged skin around the bikini area, most often razor burn and ingrown hairs.

How to get rid of an ingrown pubic hair

Prevention

Ingrown hairs can really develop anywhere, but the ones around your bikini line can be especially painful. While it’s tempting to try to pop it because they can look like a pimple, you need to keep a hands-off policy. “Do not squeeze it, do not pick it, do not to anything to it,” Dr. Bartholomew says. Popping or picking can easily spread bacteria and result in an infection.

“Every other month we have a woman in the ICU with a vulvar abscess,” she adds, which is a pocket of pus that can form after an infection. “We have seen this in young women because of shaving. It can be very serious, requiring a large amount of tissue to be removed.” Yikes.

If you don’t do anything to it, the ingrown hair will most likely “grow out or just sort of die inside,” says Dr. Gupta. However, there is one thing you try: apply a hot compress on the area a couple times a day, which will encourage the hair to emerge, says Dr. Bartholomew. Within 48 hours it should start to look smaller and feel better. If it doesn’t and remains big and sore or seems to be getting worse, see your gynecologist or dermatologist who can discuss your options with you.

How to shave pubic hair to prevent ingrowns

Want to keep your skin smooth and healthy? Your best bet is preventing those angry bumps in the first place. Keep these tips in mind next time you decide to shave.

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Shave with a single blade

A single-edge razor is best if you insist on shaving, says Dr. Bartholomew. Make sure to replace them often and to opt for high-quality blades, not disposables, as the blades are smoother, sharper and more likely to actually cut the hair, not tug at it. Use this razor on your bikini line only and keep a separate one for your legs and armpits to avoid transferring bacteria back and forth.

Go with the grain

Move the razor in the direction your hair grows—not against it—to avoid further irritation. Avoid tugging at your skin as well.

Try trimming instead

A clipper (yes, like a beard trimmer) can be a good option if you constantly deal with ingrown pubic hairs, says Dr. Bartholomew. “It won’t cut the hair as short, so you have to use it more often, but it won’t damage your skin,” she says.

As for other hair removal methods? Waxing is a slightly better than shaving but can still lead to ingrown hairs. Depilatory creams (aka hair removal body creams) are not tested on the vulvar area, and may cause irritation, so skip these, too, says Dr. Bartholomew. Laser hair removal can be an effective solution, but just note that it’s a bit pricier and requires multiple sessions before you get the results you’re looking for.

Jessica Migala Jessica Migala is a health writer specializing in general wellness, fitness, nutrition, and skincare, with work published in Women’s Health, Glamour, Health, Men’s Health, and more.

Pubic Hair Style

There’s no medical reason why you should or shouldn’t remove your pubic hair. It’s not dirty, and girls who take it off aren’t any cleaner.

“I think a lot of it comes down to societal peer pressure,” says Jennifer Ashton, MD, author of The Body Scoop for Girls.

But the bottom line is it’s really your choice. How much hair you remove is up to you, too.

Grooming “down there” began years ago to tame pubic hair that might peek out from a bathing suit. Now styles vary from just a trim to a skinny rectangle, called a landing strip on TV’s Sex and the City. Some women dare to go completely bare with a Brazilian wax.

So which is better when you want to get rid of pubic hair, shaving or waxing? Again, it’s up to you. Many women prefer to wax their pubic area. When you wax, the hair doesn’t grow back for a few weeks, although you do have to wait for it to grow in a little to wax again. It can also be pricey.

With shaving, you’ll see stubble pop up in a few days. But you can take care of it quickly and easily by shaving again. Shaving is also cheaper than waxing.

What You Need to Know About Waxing ‘Down There’

Waxing is a great way to get ready for the wedding and honeymoon. With a wax right before the wedding, there will be no need to shave throughout your honeymoon, and you can feel comfortable in your bikini (no fear of hairs peeking out). Gone are the days of shaving. (Besides, nothing ruins the look of a cute new bikini quite like razor burn.) So to get us all prepared for waxing ‘down there,’ I sat down with Noemi Grupenmager, Founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Centers, to get the 411 on waxing.

Photo Credit: Victoria’s Secret (Dream Angels Lace Babydoll)

How soon before the wedding would you get waxed?
For those who have gotten waxed before, two days before your big day is ideal. If you have never waxed before, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment about ten days before the wedding date, then come in for a touch up two days prior to the date.

When it comes to waxing, what is the difference between soft elastic wax and traditional hard wax strips?
According to Noemi, “Strip wax, applied hot, is the most popular wax used and makes for a tedious, slow and painful procedure, often leaving the skin feeling sticky and irritated. Hard wax strips are also applied hot and soon cool to break and crack, making the wax difficult to remove and reducing hair removal efficiency. Elastic wax, unique to Uni K Wax, is applied at body temperature, allowing the wax to stretch and remove hair from large areas without strips, causing less of a pull to the skin.” Having experienced both hard strip wax and elastic soft wax, I must concur: soft wax is the way to go. Soft elastic wax was truly a (relatively) painless experience.

What is the difference between bikini line, deep bikini and full Brazilian wax? Which style is the most popular right now?
A bikini line wax removes hair from your panty line. If you like a full area of hair but contained to the bounds of the panty area, this is the waxing style for you. A deep bikini wax is a waxing style that removes hair about two fingers in from the panty line. The deep bikini is great because women can wear a bikini or other underwear and not worry about any stray hair escaping from the side of the panties. A full Brazilian wax doesn’t just remove hair from your panty line — it removes hair from the entire front of the bikini area, leaving your skin bare, hairless, and soft to the touch.

Should you trim before getting a bikini or Brazilian wax?
The optimal length for the hair to be when getting waxed is one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch. You can trim to accommodate this length if you prefer, but make sure to not trim too short. The longer the hair, the better, enabling the wax to wrap around the hair for a more efficient removal.

How long before hair grows back and you need another wax?
How fast hair grows back — and how fast it grows back on different parts of the body — depends on the person. Every person’s hair grows at different rates, but typically, our customers come back to wax every four to six weeks. Also, one of the greatest benefits of waxing is that you remove unwanted hair from its root. This results in less re-growth over time.

When selecting a waxing center, what questions should you ask to ensure you getting waxed in a clean, safe environment?
A waxing center or salon should always be kept clean, and proper sanitizing procedures should be followed. Make sure the waxing center/salon has only licensed and trained employees working for them. Things such as wax type, post-wax procedures, and so forth are also great questions to ask when deciding on a place. At Uni K wax centers, we provide each customer with their own wax warmer with wax made just for their service for them — we don’t have wax warmers sitting in the room all day that everyone uses. After your service, the leftover wax is thrown in the trash, and the warmer thoroughly cleaned and disinfected ready for the next customer service.

Any other tips for our readers?
There are many benefits to waxing, especially for a bride. After having a full Brazilian bikini wax, you will notice the wonderful feeling certain fabrics feel on the waxed bikini area; for example, silk lingerie feels wonderful. Also, another benefit for a bride on her wedding night, when she is alone with her new husband, is the extra intimate feeling you experience from having all hair removed in the bikini area — it is skin on skin and heightens the senses. To heighten the senses for both, have your husband-to-be come in for a gentle full Brazilian bikini wax as well, and he will also feel the sensation of bare skin on bare skin.

How Soon Can You Have Sex After Getting A Brazilian Wax?

If you’ve been scheduling waxing treatments days ahead of sexy time with bae, Strip: Ministry of Waxing founder Cynthia Chua is here to settle things once and for all. Cosmo.ph asked the burning question every girl has ever had when it comes to sex and waxing: Should you really be waiting 24 hours after a wax before some bedroom action with your partner?

How soon can you have sex after a Brazilian wax?

Spoiler: The answer will pleasantly surprise you. “It’s not really tricky, I feel. I think just on that very day!” Cynthia told us. The 24-hour rule is “just on the very cautious side—or for people who are very kinky and very rough. for extreme caution.” Of course, there could be some slight irritation (expect your pores to be open and to be more susceptible to bacteria) “so you want to avoid too much action.” Take into consideration your pain tolerance, too: If you’re a waxing newbie, you might want to hold off on sex on the same day. Let the swelling subside first.

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Additionally, she recommends applying post-wax cream to help swelling go down. “If you come for the treatment, they would have put a post-wax cream for you. But it’s always really nice to put Peace + (an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory post-waxing serum), because I feel like that’s very calming and soothing. Put it on and you can have sex immediately!”


IMAGE Strip

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SCO Peace +, P2,750/15mL, Strip Megamall

And for those who are still skeptical despite Cynthia’s expert piece of advice, here’s something that will definitely ease your mind. She shares, “I have got a lot of people have sex immediately after a Brazilian wax, and let me tell you, nothing happened. And it was good!”

Rules are meant to be broken, at least where your sex life is concerned. 😉

Follow Patricia on Instagram.

If you choose to get a bikini wax, by now you probably have an idea of what to expect during the process. Thank God we live in a time when we can swap waxing horror stories with our friends so we all know what we’re getting ourselves into. But what about what happens after? While most of us know how to prep, no one really talks about how to ease any lingering pain or extend the life of your freshly waxed bikini line. We went out to experts for the the best after-waxing care tips, and what not to do the first two days following your appointment.

1. Stay out of the sun.

The first 48 hours after waxing, your already delicate skin down there is even more vulnerable. So while you may be dying to throw on your bikini the second you leave the salon, keep in mind that sensitive skin is more susceptible to UV rays. “This can lead to permanent sun damage and/or hyperpigmentation,” says aesthetician Marta Grochowska of Haven Spa in NYC.

2. Avoid swimming.

This kind of goes hand in hand with the above, but it goes for indoor pools too—and especially large bodies of water (like an ocean, lake, or river) that could contain bacteria. “Avoid public water like swimming pools for a few days,” says dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, M.D., in New York City. If you don’t, you could have an increased risk of getting an infection, and no one wants that.

3. Be careful not to overexfoliate.

“Waxing removes the topmost layer of dead skin, along with the hair, so any kind of additional scrubbing can lead to skin damage,” says Grochowska. However, after the first few days, it’s important to remove dead skin cells with a light scrub or exfoliating serum to prevent ingrown hairs. (We love the Fur Silk Scrub.)

4. Avoid the sauna and hot yoga.

“Steam opens your pores, which helps to push hair out,” warns Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Center. Because it could cause premature stubble, “it might make you think the wax service wasn’t done correctly,” she says. Plus, bacteria thrive in warm, wet places, and you want to keep your fresh wax as clean as possible. For these reasons it’s worth it to take a break from hot yoga as well.

5. Wait a little before getting a spray tan.

“The chemicals may irritate your skin,” says Grochowska. Another reason to reschedule? “The color will look uneven between waxed and unwaxed areas.”

6. Be selective with your skin care.

Stick with gentle, fragrance-free body products for the first few days after your bikini wax. “Avoid any lotion, soap, or other toiletry items with artificial fragrance or color,” says Grochowska. “These ingredients are very irritating to freshly waxed skin.” Instead, wash up with something like Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Body Wash, which is formulated specifically for irritated skin.

7. Take showers instead of baths.

“It’s better to take showers for the week after,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “Running water from the shower will be cleaner than sitting in bath water.” Why? See reason #2 again; it makes you more prone to infection.

8. Sorry, no sexy time.

This one is a pretty standard rule most waxers will warn you about, but it’s easy to forget. Any kind of action down there—sex in particular—can lead to discomfort. “It can cause excessive chaffing from friction on extra-delicate skin,” says Grochowska. Consider turning the first two days into official cuddle time.

9. Opt for loose clothing.

One thing to keep in mind both before you head into your appointment and after: Anything tight-fitting can rub raw spots and irritate, says Dr. Papantoniou. You’ll want to give your leggings a break for a few days and stick with maxidresses, flowy pants, and breathable cotton fabrics.

10. Avoid intense workouts.

Another reason to give leggings (and your body) a rest: “Activities such as running, aerobics, or cycling can cause friction in treated areas,” says Dr. Papantoniou, “and sweating can also be irritating.” In other words, use this as an excuse to hit the couch for a couple of days. You deserve a break.

About a month after I got a particularly bloody, painful Brazilian wax from an upscale salon in Manhattan, I noticed little bumps on my bikini line/vulva area. Two of them were in a little cluster, and a few others were more sparse. They basically looked like shiny bumps with a dimple in the middles and a waxy white core. As many single-and-dating women would upon discovering something like this, I freaked out and had an anxiety attack at work. Right then and there, I made an emergency appointment with my gyno, and tore out of work to get there. En route, stuck in traffic, I cried in the cab and made all of the normal promises you make when you are afraid that something really bad is happening. I’ll never have unprotected sex again if this turns out not to be herpes. I’ll never have sex again. I’ll become whatever the Jewish version of a nun is. I’ll sacrifice my firstborn to the great god Cthulhu if this is just an ingrown hair.

After holding back tears in the waiting room for what felt like ages, I finally got into the exam room and changed. I sat there teary-eyed with smeared makeup, in my flimsy gown and sad, mismatched socks, until finally a nurse practitioner came in. She looked younger than me. It took her two seconds to diagnose the bumps.

“Yeah, I doubt this is herpes. It doesn’t look like herpes, and you’d be in a lot of pain. Do you work with children?”

“Uh, no?”

“Mostly kids get this. Looking at it, I’m pretty sure it’s molluscum contagiosum. Just leave it alone and it’ll run its course.” I was still pretty upset, and asked her what the normal reaction was after diagnosis. She told me that most people are just relieved that it’s not herpes.

Relieved, I went back to work, but after some Googling (OK, hours), I realized that this was advice that I did not want to take. You may be surprised to learn that molluscum contagiosum is not one of the Unforgivable Curses from Harry Potter. It is a very pesky and very contagious skin infection that kids often pass around to each other and adults occasionally get from sex. You get it from skin-on-skin contact, and the sex part is basically incidental — it can appear on any part of the body — so it’s not an STI, technically, although some people classify it as such. I say this because, while at this point I was still sure that I’d contracted it from sex, I eventually discovered that likely wasn’t the source of my infection. (Which is fucked up to even have to say, because people who get STIs aren’t any “dirtier” or different from other people at all.) On the bright side, unlike herpes, once the bumps are gone, the infection is gone. However, it’s so contagious that it’s a real bitch to get entirely rid of.

The Internet, always a reputable source, says that when it originates in the genital area, it should really be treated immediately, lest it spread to places you definitely do not want it to go. For instance, mine were all on my upper vulva area, but I was worried they could begin to appear inside my vagina, where the sexually contracted version generally begins appearing. I called a dermatologist and told them that I’d been diagnosed with molluscum by my gynecologist and was told to let it run its course, but after Googling it, I’d found message boards where frustrated parents reported months of unsuccessful treatment on their kids’ “lesions.” (Gah.) One adult with MC2 (the sexually transmitted version) had been trying to get rid of hers for FOUR YEARS (!!) and had not had sex for at least two, in order not to infect her partner. Without treatment, it spread rapidly all over her body, including her eyelid. Again, I almost had a panic attack. Not only could I potentially not have sex for years, I had basically no control over potential spreading.

“Yeah, that’s because their gynecologists are telling them to do nothing and wait for it to run its course,” the dermatology receptionist said, sounding incredulous. “Come in first thing Friday.”

I saw Dr. Maryann Mikhail at Spring Street Dermatology, who you should definitely see if you happen to have a disgusting skin malady in New York because she’s awesome and answers questions — of which I had many — via email so quickly that she might be a robot. She confirmed that it was molluscum and used “curettage,” a local anesthetic followed by scraping off the lesions with a sharp spoon. The shot felt like tiny bee stings. It was not great, but I felt cleaner once they were removed, even though there was a good chance they’d return for a few more rounds before they were totally knocked out. That’s because they don’t need to burst open and expose the white core (the virus itself) in order to infect other parts of your body or other people. All you have to do is touch the bumps and touch another part of your body. Or another person’s body. It’s terrible! Whee! She prescribed me a pricey cream — $50 with insurance, God knows how much without — that supposedly stimulates the immune system to fight the infected area. She also comforted me when I told her I’d read a post on a RooshV message board (big mistake) in which a guy wrote that he’d gotten molluscum from “banging the town slut raw.” (I cried, again.)

She shook her head. “Based on the location of these, you probably got them from a wax. A girl came in before you with the same skin infection in the same area. Someone needs to report these places.”

She explained that increasingly more women in New York had been contracting molluscum from salons that “double-dip” their waxing sticks during Brazilian waxes, told me to stop reading the Internet, and sent me home. I was, and am, incredulous that anyone would continue to get waxed if they knew that getting this virus — which is, at the very least, very inconvenient — was a real possibility. Last year a study out of Nice, France, linked hair removal to molluscum contagiosum infections: In a group of genitally molluscum-infected women, 93 percent of them had participated in some kind of pubic hair removal within the timeframe that suggests cause-and-effect.

At the urging of my sympathetic friends and co-workers, I called the waxing place I’d gone to. The manager said she’d never heard of such a virus and insisted that it was “100 percent impossible” that a technician had double-dipped the wax. I asked her if anything like this had happened before; she said no. What else was she going to say? I told her that the dermatologist said that waxes were known to cause infections like this, that the timeframe was on the money, and that I’d been staring at the ceiling during the wax so I hadn’t seen whether the waxer had double-dipped the spatula or not. And then, clearly feeling backed into a corner, she delivered the crown jewel on the shit sandwich of this phone conversation: “I don’t know what your health is. I don’t know what you do.” Insinuating, clearly, that I was sexually promiscuous and therefore brought it on myself for being dirty. Class all the way.

It’s been about a week and a half since I was diagnosed by my gyno, and the bumps keep coming back. I was expecting that, since my dermatologist warned me, but it’s still extremely frustrating, not to mention embarrassing. Either you avoid the guy you’re dating entirely, you pull the “I’m too tired,” or you have the most humiliating, least believable conversation ever. (Have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where the girl Jerry’s dating insisted that she got gonorrhea from a tractor?) At what level of emotional intimacy do you tell them? If we’ve gone out once or twice and haven’t had sex, do I tell him? If I tell him, do I say he might already have caught it, or do I just say that we shouldn’t have sex until I’ve gotten rid of the bumps entirely and let him come to that conclusion on his own? Even though molluscum contagiosum is just a viral skin-on-skin infection and not in the official STI canon, like herpes or gonorrhea, will he judge me? There’s no easy way to tell someone you have a contagious children’s infection on your privates.

However it plays out, once this nightmare is over, the guys I date had better get used to a full bush, since I’m never getting a wax ever, ever again.

Photo Credit: Getty

Brazilian wax and sex

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