I went for my first ever bikini wax last year, fed up with the poor results of every other marketed method available (aside from laser, which I’m yet to try). I was absolutely terrified and yelped like a puppy but left happy with the neat results. I’d asked a few close friends what to expect, but still nothing prepared me and I wished that I’d read a step-by-step guide so that I didn’t get my hot wax confused with my strip wax, my Hollywood with my Brazilian and that I hadn’t worn a playsuit (we’ll come to that). So for anyone who is thinking about getting their lady garden waxed for the first time, this is for you.
Pick your style
1. Decide what ‘style’ you’re going to have before you book your appointment. The receptionist will want to know, as different ‘looks’ take varying amounts of time. The general options are:
High Leg: This means any stray hairs that lie outside your swimsuit line will be nipped away. Where the top of your bikini would sit, below your naval, you can also opt to remove a strip here, perfect for hipster swimwear .
Extended High Leg: As above, but your therapist will also wax a thin strip following the line of your bikini right underneath you towards where the line of your bottom starts.
Brazilian: There are variations on this, but generally it means taking off all hair aside from a little ‘landing strip’ at the front. You can opt for a triangle of hair to be left but you’ll need to state this. If you’re opting for a Brazilian, some therapists will also remove any extra hair that might exist all the way up to your tail. Tail is a nice way of saying, they’ll remove any extra hair that lies between your fifi and the top of your bottom. Lovely stuff this waxing lark.
Hollywood: This ones easy. The whole lot is going.
Once you’ve decided what ‘haircut’ you’re getting you should bear in mind what wax you’d like to use. Some receptionists will ask you the question ‘strip wax?’ or ‘hot wax?’
Strip wax is hot wax that’s spread on the offending area, left for a few seconds then covered with a strip of material and ripped off with haste, lifting out hairs as it does so.
Hot wax is smoothed on the offending area in a heavier consistency. The wax is then left until almost hard, which takes about 30 seconds, then gently lifted off, pulling out the hairs as it’s peeled away.
Hot wax is generally more expensive. It’s less painful. But it does take a bit longer. My therapist says it’s preferable for underarms and bikini lines as it is generally kinder to the skin, leaves less impression (no redness or raised bumps) and tends to discourage ingrown hairs – something that is symptomatic of continued strip wax use.
So. You’ve made your appointment, you’ve picked your look and you know which substance is your weapon of choice.
Well all waxing sessions should take place in a private room. You’ll generally be asked to get unchanged. Different therapists suggest different states of undress, so it pays to communicate clearly with yours to avoid any embarrassing situations. The first Brazilian I went for, the lady wanted me naked from the waist down. The place I go now, I’m given a pair of paper knickers to put on instead of my own – so that they don’t get damaged by the wax. But some therapists will suggest you leave your own knickers on if you’re only wearing a small thong. If in doubt ask.
With the above in mind, if you’re in any way prudish it can be useful to dress appropriately. Playsuits mean you’ll end up totally naked on the therapists table, I’ve done this, it’s not one of my happier memories. Skinny jeans can be a bit unforgiving on tender skin. A skirt is always good as you can keep it on.
Once on the therapists bed, you’ll be asked to lie down, belly up and the therapist will manoeuver your legs so that she can get to intimate bits. She might ask you to hold certain bits of skin taught while she waxes. As far as waxing the undercarriage different therapists have different ways and means. Mine gets you to hold each knee up to your chest so she can get underneath, with both knees being held up to attack the tail area. I’ve also heard stories of therapists asking people to go on all fours, which sounds strange to me, but my friend assures me it sounds worse than the reality is.
Before applying wax, talcum powder is applied. After waxing an oil should be wiped over the newly hair free area to remove any wax residue and cool and calm skin.
After waxing you’re advised not to exercise, tan, swim or use any beauty products when showering for up to 24 hours. The skin is delicate, be kind to it.
Pain. Everyone has different thresholds. But the reality is yes it does hurt a little bit. Sometimes a lot – particularly if it’s your first time and you’ve been shaving before, as the hairs will be coarser and tougher. The more you wax, the less it hurts. Some people take a pain-killer half an hour before their session to reduce the sting, I can’t confirm nor deny weather this works. Also, the closer you are to that time of the month can have an effect on how much it hurts – you’re hormonal and more sensitive before you even get into the science of it. So avoid that if you can.
After effects. The first time I had a Brazilian I was dismayed to find that over the next 24 hours rather than a porn star polish my area went red, blotchy and bumpy. this is quite normal and all will disappear quite quickly, don’t be tempted to moistourise. If you’re getting waxed before a holiday/romantic break/porn film (!) then it’s advisable to book in a few days in advance so everything will be restored to soft, clear nude skin in time.
Speaking From Experience…
O’Sullivans, 2 Milroy Walk, SE1 9LW 020 7261 9500
Prices from £16 to £36 with a 10% discount for people in the media. Professional, welcoming, low key.
Aveda, 74-177 High Holborn, London – 020 7759 7355
Gorgeous surroundings, spa like experience, professional and clearly communicated what I was to expect as a first timer.
Shine Holistic Stoke Newington, London N16 0NB
Lovely therapy room but the therapist I had was brusk and rushed the job, leaving me sore and with regrowth within a week. Wouldn’t recommend, particularly for the price – £35.