ADVICE: What to know about waxing down below

For a bikini wax or man-kini, avoid stimulants such as coffee and alcohol as they may tighten the pores and increase sensitivity.

Maja Begovic April 23, 2021
waxing down below

Summer isn't so far away and many people are considering grooming down below. Getty

Dear Asking for a Friend,

I have always been curious about waxing “down there.” With bathing suit weather on the way, I plan to give it a try. But I have to admit, I am little uncomfortable with how little I know about it — is it true there are actually different “styles”?

Signed, Clueless

Dear Clueless,

Hair removal is a hot topic in sunshine-filled months. The upside of waxing is that the results of each treatment can last three weeks or more — unlike shaving which can be a daily task — depending on your hair type and thickness. The downside is that there is some regrowth involved, and that it may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but becomes less painful over time. Whether or not you wax is a personal choice — some people love it, others not so much.

There are several bikini wax styles that women can choose from.

A classic bikini wax targets just the areas that are visible from the bathing suit, whereas a full bikini wax goes a little deeper to get rid of the hair from the sides and at the top of the bikini line. What you’ll get out of a French bikini wax is just a small landing strip at the front, while the infamous Brazilian gets rid of hair at the front and back for a more defined look — with this option, you can leave a small section of the hair at the front, shaped as a triangle or a rectangle. Lastly, the Hollywood option will leave your front, middle and backside totally bare.

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These style lingos are pretty mainstream, but some salons may use their own terminology, so when booking your appointment, let them know exactly what you are hoping for to avoid any confusion. And while it may feel like an awkward conversation to you, the person on the other end of the line is a professional — it’s their business to learn what it is you are looking to achieve.

“The most popular bikini wax style is definitely leaving a little in the middle — in the shape of a triangle, with the sides filled waxed, along with the backside,” explains Lauren Fernandez, founder of Raw Beauty Bar in Toronto. “For newbies, I always recommend waxing the sides, enough where you won’t see the hairs peeking through, plus the backside just to feel extra clean.”

Not just gals
When it comes to hair removal, guys can be into it too. Fernandez says that the proper industry term for waxing a man’s crotch is “man-kini.” Most men just want a little cleanup, she says, which usually means removing hair from the testicles and the backside, while leaving some natural growth on top. Some men also prefer to go totally bare with a full Manzilian.

While one of the benefits of manscaping is that the penis may appear larger, many men worry about the process to get there — according to the pros, getting an erection by being waxed is pretty likely, but nothing to be embarrassed about. Estheticians suggest the best way to handle this is to acknowledge the situation and redirect thoughts to something else.

Plan ahead
Waxing your nether region for the first time shouldn’t happen on a whim, as it does require some planning, along with before and after care.

In preparation for your appointment, consider incorporating some low-key hair grooming habits into your existing self-care routine. Exfoliating once a week to help remove dead skin cells and prevent ingrown hairs, using a daily moisturizer, and keeping the hair down there at no more than a quarter of an inch long, which is roughly the size of a grain of rice, can help ensure a firm grip for the esthetician and the smoothest results.

It’s also worth mentioning that you should come to the appointment clean and showered. If you’re on your period, you don’t necessarily have to cancel the service — if you have a tampon in and the area is clean, you’re good to go. Prior to the appointment, avoid stimulants such as coffee and alcohol as they may tighten the pores and increase sensitivity. And if you’re worried about discomfort, taking a pain reliever beforehand may help.

After the wax, expect to see some redness, so stick to cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants, and if needed, apply a cold compress to the area or an over-the-counter cortisone cream to help soothe the skin. Experts suggest that a waxed area may be more prone to infection so avoid all activities that involve sweat, heat and friction — stay away from perfumed lotions, tanning beds, pools and the beach, abstain from oral and penetrative sex, and skip your workouts for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Is there something about health that you (or a friend, wink, wink) have always wondered about, but are too embarrassed to ask? Send a note to info@healthing.ca. We promise your ‘friend’s’ secret – and identity –  is safe with us.

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