Of all the options we have for waxing the bikini area, nothing is more intimidating than the Brazilian wax. Silky smooth skin everywhere in that region has always been appealing for those prepping for swimsuit season or just wanting to go completely hair-free—though it comes at a price. The lore of how painful a Brazilian wax can be has most opting for their trusty razor instead.

But if you’re tired of the razor bumps and ingrown hair that shaving your pubic region inevitably comes with and want to get your first Brazilian wax, then you’ll definitely want to read this before your first time. From how to prep, what to expect, and best post-wax practices, here, experts break down everything you need to know about getting a Brazilian wax. 

What is a Brazilian wax?

As Kathleen Hamilton, esthetician and corporate trainer at Woodhouse Spa, describes it, a Brazilian wax is a hair removal procedure that involves the complete removal of pubic hair. This means all hair in the front, back, and everything in between will be waxed off by a professional. “It might feel a bit ‘intimate,’ but the result is super smooth skin that lasts for weeks,” says Hamilton. 

Brazilian Wax vs Bikini Wax

There is only one key difference between a Brazilian wax and a bikini one: how much hair is removed. Hamilton says that the bikini wax only removes hair along the bikini line, shaping it or removing some hair to create a neater appearance outside of the more intimate parts. 

But the waxing process for both is generally similar. “Both Brazilian and bikini waxes use warm wax to remove unwanted hair, done by trained professionals,” she says. “The wax is applied, quickly removed, and takes the hair from the root. The results are temporary, with eventual regrowth, but it may take some time before hair becomes noticeable again.”

The Downsides of a Brazilian Wax

Other than the discomfort you may feel during treatment, other side effects include redness, discoloration, bumps, and ingrown hairs says board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Libby, MD. These should subside in one to three days. 

Libby wouldn’t recommend a Brazilian wax to those who have very sensitive skin, anyone on medications like oral retinoids, and those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. 

Will it hurt? 

Unfortunately, a Brazilian wax does come with some pain as you are waxing a very sensitive area to begin with. But the pain will be different depending on the person. “Everyone’s pain tolerance varies,” says Libby. “The pain can vary from mild to moderate discomfort to brief sharp pain or tenderness.” 

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