When you're getting a Brazilian wax, the skill and experience of the waxer is the most important factor. It makes the difference between a torturesome Brazilian wax and something that is slightly uncomfortable.
I learned the hard way that you can't just go on the reputation of the salon. J. Sisters introduced Brazilians to New York City in 1987, and the service was popularized by "Sex and The City" in the '90s.
I decided to try my first Brazilian at the "top place", and booked an appointment there. The whole layout felt strange. Their salon was in a townhouse on West 57th. I checked in at a maitre d' station in the hallway. Inside the "salon," different waxers and their customers were separated by a temporary wall that came up about five feet. It felt like an office space that had just been converted.
Even worse, the person who did the procedure couldn't speak English. She held up a poster that showed the different options, such as the landing strip, the triangle and the Sphinx (all hair off). It seemed like all the hair came off at once and the pain was excruciating. I was bruised and badly swollen for a week.
I thought that was just the way it was, so that was my last Brazilian for a few years. On story assignment, I found myself at a Completely Bare in Scardale, which has since rebranded as Spruce & Bond and expanded to more location.
The licensed esthetician who was doing the service there explained that the woman at J. Sisters took too much hair off in one go. She may not have studied the direction the hair was growing in. This woman took smaller amounts off, then gently patted the spot. I was shocked by how much less it hurt.
And there was no bruising, no swelling.
How To Find a Skilled Brazilian Waxer
So how do you find someone who knows what they're doing? The most important thing is to get a personal recommendation from someone who has gone to that waxer. Don't rely solely on the name of the salon. "Go to someone who does a lot of Brazilian waxes," says Dannielli Marcellino, who does as many as 15 waxes a day at Suddenly Slimmer Day Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Is she busy? If she can take you any time she's not busy."
Don't EVER just drop into a spa and ask for a Brazilian wax. Everyone has to start somewhere, even people who later become masters. Everyone has a learning curve, and makes mistakes while they are learning. The last thing you want is someone who doesn't do Brazilian waxes very often practicing on you.
Spa sanitation is critical during a Brazilian wax. DANGER SIGNS include a dirty room, a stick already in the can, and wax on the floor or walls. The therapist should NEVER, EVER double dip the stick into the can of wax. Double-dipping means they are using the stick on you, then putting it back in the can to get more wax instead of throwing it away. If you see this, jump up off the table and leave immediately.
There is a lot that you have control over in your Brazilian waxing experience if you follow these instructions.
Before Your Brazilian Wax
- Avoid getting a Brazilian wax four days before, after, or during your menstrual cycle.
- Take a pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen a half-hour before the Brazilian wax.
- Put a pain-relieving cream like No Scream Cream on the area a half-hour before your Brazilian wax.
During Your Brazilian Wax
- Your licensed esthetician should be able to communicate in your language, be impeccable about cleanliness, put you at ease and show consideration and tact. Dannielli gives her client a towel as to cover the side she isn't working on to make them feel more comfortable.
- She should use a gentle wax and wear gloves. Dannielli uses a honey-based wax with soothing chamomile extract vitamin E.
- Your esthetician's skill will determine in large part how painful the Brazilian is. She shouldn't do too large an area at once, or go over the same area twice. She might ask you to participate by pulling on your labia to help make the skin taut. This makes sure she gets a better pull.
After Your Brazilian Wax
- Use Aquaphor to soothe the skin in the first day or two after the waxing.
- Two days after the Brazilian wax, use Tend Skin to help prevent in-grown hairs.
- Stay out of the sun and tanning beds for two days after the Brazilian wax. The skin has lost some of its protection and is more sensitive.