Like many women, the bikini wax is foreign territory to me. But last week, I decided on a whim, to indulge in a Brazilian. Where this thought came from, what mental breakdown was responsible for it and why I didn’t talk myself out of it immediately are all excellent questions for which I have no answers. (I wasn’t even aware that I was capable of having a whim, let alone, acting on it.) But suddenly, there I was, lying on a massage table wearing little more than a white towel, laughing to myself about the absurdity of my predicament.
In the days since I punched my passport to Ipanema, several friends have interrogated me about the particulars of getting a Brazilian. Apparently, a lot of professional women have wondered about the process but have been too embarrassed to ask anyone. After all, most women with college degrees and IQs in the triple digits don’t want to admit that they endeavor to have anything in common with Paris Hilton.
(For the more modest among you, the rest of this post may fall somewhere between massive overshare and information that should only be discussed with a healthcare professional. So if you’re squeamish about such topics, stop reading, now.)
Despite whatever delusional state fomented this idea, I’d at least had the good sense to book my appointment at the Bliss Spa in the W Hotel. Because if you’re going to do something totally insane, isn’t it always better to do it under expert supervision? (Skydiving, cliff jumping, ripping the hair from your body using molten wax, etc.)
Cost: A full Brazilian at Bliss is $70 (The spa’s PR rep comped mine, however, no one at Bliss knew that I was a blogger.). The In-Betweeny wax costs $50 and uncovers more than a basic bikini wax (which only does the upper thighs and lower stomach), but less than a Brazilian. And a regular bikini wax is $35. All of them need to be done every 4-6 weeks.
Privacy Concerns: The level of exposure during a bikini wax is second only to the level of exposure during a gynecological exam. Thus, I thought I would be horrifically uncomfortable, but the technician, Shae, was really good at distracting me and putting me at ease.
It was still awkward (how could it not be?), but it was better than I expected. Shae is incredibly friendly, and as she told me, “Loves first timers.” So just strike up a conversation, and it’ll be over before you know it.
Pain Scale: Having never waxed my bikini-area before, I had no idea how much pain to expect. But I was hoping that I wouldn’t pull a 40-Year-Old Virgin and start screaming Kelly Clarkson’s name. Awkward.
The wax used at Bliss is the same Poetic Wax that they sell in stores. It’s a hard wax, so it doesn’t pull the skin with the hair. This is good news for those of us with sensitive skin or a low threshold for pain.
I had been advised by Miss M to take two Advil before my appointment, and I’m sure that that helped, but on a scale of 1-10, I would rate the pain a 3.5. It wasn’t cupcakes and roses, but I learned a long time ago that beauty is pain. You either have the stomach for high heels, hair removal and squeezing into skinny jeans or you don’t.
After Effects: This is where the rubber meets the road. To avoid any unsightly post-waxing effects, I’m using exfoliating, salicylic acid wipes to prevent ingrown hairs. So we’ll see how that process goes. But frankly, the prospect of regrowing the hair is more daunting than the idea of removing it was.
All in all, going Brazilian wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable or painful as I imagined that it would be. Of course, I had imagined that it would rank somewhere between being interrogated by the Stazi and watching election returns in Florida, so there’s that. But pain, in most cases, is a mental game, so it will only be as bad as you let it be.
As for Brazilian waxing, I don’t think I’m converted. I plan to go back to Bliss for a regular bikini wax, maybe more if I head to the beach this winter (as is my hope), but it just doesn’t feel like me. There are just certain things that I didn’t need to know about myself, and this is one of them. And frankly, it’s drafty.