Beauty Tips: Waxing for Your Wedding

From Cris: I have THE BEST guest post ever for y'all today! Seriously. THE BEST. I am a regular ladyparts waxer. Every four weeks – BOOM… I'm getting the Brazilian. I love it but have had some scary/painful experiences with it. I was sharing that on my personal Facebook account (yep, I'm THAT chick) and was hearing other people's awful experiences when an old friend from high school piped in. She's a professional Esthetician and was horrified by our stories – and wants y'all to know that IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. But, hey, why not let the expert explain why?

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Who said that a wedding night is not complete unless we are minus pubic hair?  Everyone, that's who. Unfortunately, just saying "Brazilian Wax" out loud makes your palm sweat as it instinctively covers your pubic area, while simultaneously scrunching your face in pain. Sister, get it together. I need you to focus for a minute. Taking the necessary steps to a successful Brazilian wax is easy because there are rules that licensed professionals operate by. I will share them with you for your safety.

There are three common types of waxing that remove your womanhood indicator; a bikini wax, a Brazilian wax, and a Modified Brazilian wax. A true Brazilian takes all of the pubic hair, front to back, including anything that may be growing between your buns. A modified Brazilian leaves a small patch of hair in the front. Modified Brazilians are popular because they stop many people from feeling pre-pubescent. Preparing for the service before the actual appointment is essential. Knowing that you must care for the skin post wax will help avoid ingrown hairs.

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Budget the time and money to get 3 waxes before your big day. This equals one wax every 4-6 weeks. 1/4 inch of hair is required to get any type of wax: brows, lip, or Brazilian. Using your wedding date/travel as a gauge, you need to map out when you should start the prep process. As a general rule, you do not want to reveal, travel with, or sun your wax for three days post waxing service. Getting a wax and waiting three days gives your skin and body time to recover from the hair removal.

Removing the hair by the root creates open wounds in the skin. During this healing process, you should avoid community water (hot tubs, saunas, pools, etc…). Bacteria entering the open skin will create post wax break out creating a look I commonly refer to as "Angry Kitty.” Staph and other infections are easily picked during this time period, so be smart about what you expose yourself to.

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Estheticians or Aestheticians are skin care specialists. Locating an Esthetician that consistently performs Brazilian waxing will help keep your nether region in the hands of a licensed professional. Not to be confused with other beauty industry professionals, an Esthetician is specifically trained in waxing. When you are dealing with a specialty service like the Brazilian wax, you want to be sure the person preforms Brazilians on a regular basis. This is not the run-of-the-mill service; it is special because it is your vagina. Please say this out loud- "My vagina is special and needs to be tended to by a specialist.”

Do not try to wax yourself at home or throw it in as a last minute add on service while getting your nails done. I guarantee that you will regret it and can possibly have long-term damage after doing so. Finding an Esthetician that performs Brazilian waxing that makes you comfortable does not always happen on the first try. A positive referral from a friend or your hairstylist is always a way to locate a reputable Esthetician. If you live in a rural area, you can find reputable spas on the Internet for the city that is closest to you. Every state has a Barber and Beauty State Board who regulates licensure for Estheticians. You can ensure you are going to a licensed person by visiting your states website and searching for your Estheticians license number.

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When you do choose a Esthetician, you should book a bikini wax for your first appointment. A bikini wax removes all of the hair that would hang out of a small bikini bottom. Choosing this service first gives you an idea of what pain levels are involved and how to properly tend to your skin after waxing. It is mentally shocking for most women to get a Brazilian their first wax. Many never consider doing the service again due to this shock.

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To prepare for your wax you should set 3 alarms in your phone or schedule to ensure that you do not forget pre-waxing prep. The first alarm that you set should go off before you leave your house for the day. This is a reminder to bring a clean, cotton full coverage pair of underwear, preferably without fabric softener, in a plastic sandwich bag with you. Any clothing that you have been wearing throughout the day will have natural body oils, skin, and sweat on them. All of these things can cause after-waxing break out or "Angry Kitty.” Putting on your fresh undergarment post-waxing will help avoid this.

The second alarm should be set so you can take a pain reliever 1 hour before your service with a meal. I said meal, not snack. Ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil, in a 600-800 milligram dose is the best pain reliever for a wax. In that dosage, it works as an anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever. This can be a bit rough on your stomach so that is why a MEAL is important. If, for some reason, your doctor has told you to avoid Ibuprofen, call and ask what pain reliever they do recommend. Never, EVER take aspirin as a pain reliever. Aspirin thins the blood and can cause bruising during your wax.

The third alarm that you set should be a reminder for your actual appointment.

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Show up to your first appointment a few minutes early. Most spas/salons have paperwork for you to fill out as a new client. Once you have gotten in the waxing room with your Esthetician, ask as many questions as you can. You have the undivided attention of a knowledgeable person who works with the skin on a daily basis so get their recommendations for post-waxing care. The Esthetician should be wearing gloves, change dipping sticks often, and use clean linens. Using a pre-wax cleanser and oil before they begin helps avoid tearing of the skin. Using a post-waxing product to help deter breakout is not common but is useful. If they do not do these things, ask them why.

At the time of checkout, you will be faced with the dilemma of giving your Esthetician a tip. The general rule for beauty industry is that if you like your service, a 10-20 % tip is proper etiquette. IF your Esthetician happens to own their facility, do not skip the tip. Owners often have more expenses than you realize as a client. Any website that deters tipping or tipping an owner is just setting you up for failure. You want the person removing your pubic hair to be happy.

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Booking your next service as you are leaving is very important. The second appointment that you book should be for a Brazilian. Set your alarms again at this time. If you pre-book, please remember that most spas require 24 hours or more if you need to make changes. Canceling at the last minute, showing up late, not showing up at all, or coming in unshowered to your appointment are big no-nos. I require prepayment for any service requested if a client has already displayed any of this behavior. An Esthetician has the right to refuse service to anyone. Always remember that they are there to pay their bills. If you book their time and they cannot fill your now vacant appointment slot, they cannot pay their bills. This rule should go for any of your scheduled beauty appointments.

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I suggest that every client exfoliate their skin after waxing. You can use a chemical exfoliate, (PFB Vanish is my favorite) immediately after waxing to help avoid post-waxing breakout and daily to avoid ingrown hairs. Using a chemical exfoliate after the hair has grown back with stop the "sweat" smell while you are trying to regrown the 1/4 inch for your next service. Caution: if you use too much product it will look like your skin is peeling and may take a couple showers to disappear. If you are truly having a reaction to a chemical exfoliate, the application area will stay red for 24 hours after use.

A manual exfoliate (glove, Italy Towel, or body puff) can also be used but you should wait a couple days post-waxing to start. Manual exfoliation is done in the shower with your regular soap or body wash. Using circular upward motions, buff all areas that have been waxed. Make sure that you do not reach across your body to exfoliate. This will lead to ingrown hairs on one side only. Simply switch your exfoliator to your other hand to avoid this. Manual exfoliation does nothing to help stop or heal post-waxing breakout. It only assists in helping ingrown hair. NEVER EVER use a manual exfoliator for more than 3 weeks without washing it or replacing it. Bacteria grow quickly. Scratching bacteria into the skin during the exfoliation process will lead to problems. Italy Towels and exfoliating gloves can be washed with your clothing on a regular basis. Do not use fabric softer or a dryer on these items. I dislike body puffs; they harbor more bacteria due to their slow drying time. If you have curly hair or tent to break out after waxing, I suggest using both a chemical and a manual exfoliate.

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Here are a couple more random tips for waxing:

  • Never tan the day of your wax and avoid tanning beds for up to 72 hours after.
  • If your wax comes in contact with other pubic hair before your skin has time to heal, you will break out. Buy a chemical exfoliate and use it EVERY time you have contact.
  • Some medications affect the skin. If you wax while taking these medications, you can tear the skin or remove it completely. Be sure to tell your Esthetician the medications you are taking to avoid this common problem.
  • Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy will change how your skin reacts to waxing. Every wax while pregnant can have different results. 
  • Scheduling your wax for 4-10 days after your menstrual cycle can make waxing more comfortable.
  • While drinking alcohol is common before a pubic area wax be aware that it can cause additional bruising.
  • Always be sure to tell your esthetician if you have allergies. 
  • Having surgery (and the medications administered to your body) will effect waxing for up to 6 months afterward. Avoid waxing if you are put under. Your skin will most likely tear.

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Millie Ferguson is an Esthetician and owner of Cosmopolitan SkinCare in Fairbanks, Alaska. Millie is a United States Air Force Veteran, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Park University in Business, attended Esthetics International, and is a member of the Associated Skin Care Professionals. She can be contacted at millie_ferguson@yahoo.com.

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