Brazilian waxing has existed since ancient Egyptian times, but it wasn’t until the early ‘90s that it became a commercially recognized procedure. More than 3,000 years ago, women would use a naturally derived sugar paste infused with lemon to remove unwanted hair before weddings and religious ceremonies. This practice was then called Smoothing, and soon thereafter, many Western civilizations started to experiment with this early form of Brazilian waxing.
History is always a glorious path to revisit for all topics and life events. Still, there’s something special about hair removal when it comes to its evolution throughout the years. Even though hair removal in different forms is largely a matter of preference, in ancient times, it was used as a means of survival—male hunters and warriors removed their hair to avoid scaring prey with the smell and to make it more difficult for opponents to grab their hair or beards during a fight. It was also used for hygienic purposes, which still holds true today. Then, in ancient Rome and Greece, body hair was used to define social status, which explains why women’s statues are hairless. Initially, the presence of body hair was a degrading factor for both men and women, but later, social norms changed, as men were expected to grow their hair as an indication of manhood.
The narrative can go on and on, with many other notable eras embracing the power of hair removal tactics. In the Eastern world, eyebrow hair removal signified a girl’s transition to womanhood, while in the Middle Ages, facial hair removal took a more radical form, with women being encouraged to shave their foreheads. Such bizarre trends started to wane in the 1800s when safer razors were developed, and women could make their own choices regarding their hair removal needs. However, as soon as more companies were eager to market their hair removal inventions and the media came into play, strict beauty standards resurfaced, and women felt compelled to remove the unwanted hair.
While hair removal has marked society’s principles and customs for ages, it wasn’t until the 1970s that waxing became widely known. With a more modernized fashion style came more skin exposure, and many women opted for efficient and affordable waxing strips. As bathing suits also became tinier, women wanted to go completely bare in their private areas, and that’s when Brazilian waxing became mainstream. In the twenty-first century, hair removal continues to be popular for aesthetic purposes and as a form of personal expression.
What Is Brazilian Waxing As We Know It Today?
According to Merriam Webster, Brazilian waxing is “a procedure for removing all or most hair from the pubic area by applying hot wax, covering the wax with a cloth to which the wax and hair adhere, and then peeling the cloth off quickly.” The type of Brazilian wax you choose to get really depends on your preference (or pain tolerance). You might decide to only wax your bikini line and the top, or you can go completely bare. Usually, the waxing specialist will ask if you’d like a strip of hair or triangular shape for aesthetic purposes. The traditional Brazilian wax removes all hair from the labia and the bottom. If it’s your first time trying Brazilian waxing, we would recommend starting with a service that doesn’t really affect the most intimate areas. The first time is usually the most uncomfortable, and it’s important to take it slow and consult a specialist’s recommendation.
Now you might ask, what’s the key difference between a Brazilian wax and a full bikini wax? Basically, a bikini wax just targets the outside areas of your bathing suit, forming a rectangle shape. On the other hand, Brazilian waxing completely removes hair on the front of your vagina, vulva, and anal area. More specifically, Brazilian waxing targets the upper thighs, pubic bone, the area around your genitals, and the anus. Brazilian waxing comes in different service types, with some stripping off of all hair down there and others just going a step further than the conventional bikini wax.
The type of wax you choose for your Brazilian can also be critical when aiming for the best results and minimum pain. Quite frankly, a bad Brazilian can be attributed to the wax used. Most waxing salons either opt for soft wax or hard wax. Soft wax requires a waxing strip to remove the hair from the root, and it often adheres to the skin as well, increasing the risks for irritation. It’s also a pretty painful procedure, as the wax is always applied burning hot, and it might even end up ripping off a small layer of the skin. Hard wax does not require a strip and only sticks to your hair, avoiding the skin. If you’re getting a Brazilian, it’s imperative you choose a wax type that guarantees the best possible comfort. You should also ensure that the wax is applied at a warm temperature and that it’s designed for sensitive skin.
What Are The Benefits Of Brazilian Waxing?
While you may dread your first Brazilian wax appointment, you’ll be happy to learn that your patience will be rewarded for the following reasons:
Your Hair Will Grow Back Finer And Softer
Even after your very first session, you’ll feel that your hair is growing out weaker than before. This result immediately downgrades the razor to one of the least effective methods for minimizing hair regrowth. In reality, shaving accelerates growth, and the hair comes out rougher than before. As you wax more regularly, your hair will grow more sparse and even thinner. Your skin will also benefit because waxing is a natural form of exfoliation that removes dead skin cells and promotes collagen.
You’ll Get Long-Lasting Results
With Brazilian waxing, you won’t expect your hair to grow out in the next two days, as it typically happens with shaving. Usually, three to four weeks is the estimated time window to enjoy your hairless and smooth skin. You can get a Brazilian wax before going on vacation and don’t have to worry about bringing a razor in your suitcase. If you’re used to shaving while on vacation, you may also be prone to significant irritation, especially when exposed to the sun or swimming in the pool.
Lower Risk Of Side Effects Compared To Shaving
Rashes, bumps, and ingrown hairs are all side effects of shaving. The razor itself can be especially dangerous for your intimate parts. Shaving too frequently can cause significant burns to the skin’s surface, which can be aesthetically unappealing and painful. Small cuts can also cause follicullitis, a skin condition which can develop when bacteria enters the hair follicles. Waxing, on the other hand, when done with proper sanitation measures, is a safer hair removal technique.
How To Prepare For Your Brazilian Wax?
There are a couple of foundational steps that all Brazilian wax rookies should keep in mind before scheduling their first appointment. Here are the most important pre-wax tips:
- Let Your Hair Grow
Rule number 1: Length matters for the wax to properly adhere to the root. We know that if you’ve adopted the habit of shaving, it’s difficult to refrain from letting it all grow out to a reasonable length. However, the longer the hair, the easier it’ll be for the wax to pull out all hair follicles and for you to have the most pleasant waxing experience. Usually, estheticians are upfront about the ideal length—at least a quarter inch long. Oh, and resist the temptation to shave in-between appointments, as well.
- Be Fresh And Clean Before Your Appointment
The best Brazilian waxing experience stems from your ability to feel comfortable during the entire session. A pre-waxing shower is not just a ritual to make you feel clean and refreshed, but it also helps soften your pores, thus making waxing less painful. Exfoliating a couple of days before your appointment can also remove any dead skin cells that prevent the wax from catching all hair follicles.
- Avoid Scheduling During Your Period
Planning your appointment during your period is not recommended. Your skin is extra sensitive, and the pain will be far more acute than what it would’ve been during a normal session.
- Wear Loose Clothing
Lastly, opting for comfortable clothing will minimize discomfort right after your waxing session. Tight clothing can be the culprit of friction and irritation, which can lead to even more severe side effects.
Brazilian Waxing has been touted as the holy grail of hair removal. It started off as a survival mechanism, then indicated social status, and lastly evolved to one of the most popular hair removal trends in Western culture. While today most women use their consciousness as their only compass to decide if they want to remove unwanted body hair, waxing continues to be one of the most affordable and effective hair removal methods.