7 Things to Avoid After Getting a Brazilian Wax, From Sex to Working Out

Plus, exactly what to expect on the waxing table.

What you choose to do with your body hair is entirely up to you, but I hate the hair on my vulva. I love traveling and being active, and pubic hair doesn’t always fit into that equation for me. However, despite doing my share of research on Brazilian waxes, I was never convinced that having someone rip off my pubic hair was worth it. As such, I stuck with shaving my vulva for years as it was easy, cost-efficient, and relatively pain-free (with the exception of razor bumps and ingrown hairs, of course).

As easy as shaving was, I hated the razor burn and ingrown hairs that would come with it. My friends, who regularly got waxes, told me that a Brazilian wax would tackle all my chief complaints about shaving. They claimed there would be a longer grow-back period and an absence of itchy discomfort compared to what you get after a razor session, so eventually, I gave it a try.

Now that I’ve been getting Brazilian waxes for a while, here’s what I can share about the experience. Plus, expert tips on what to avoid right after getting a bikini wax.

What to expect during a Brazilian bikini wax session:

First, you’ll remove your underwear and lay on a waxing table. Your waxing specialist will then use clean, warm wax and apply it to different sections of your vulva. (Depending on what area is being waxed, you may have to spread your legs in different directions so your waxing specialist can reach every hair.) They’ll wait for it to dry before ripping it off in a quick swoosh action. After ripping the wax off, the waxer immediately places their hand on the area where the hair is removed as the pressure helps to calm down the skin from the sensation of removing the hair. Then, it’s rinse and repeat throughout the area until you’re done.

European Wax Center, which is the chain I went to for my Brazilian, uses hard wax, which is a lot more gentle on the skin when removing the hair compared to other waxes. Unlike soft wax, which requires a cloth strip to remove the wax and the hair, hard wax dries on the skin and is removed in one fell swoop.

Though it was kind of awkward having a stranger down there going to town, typically your waxer makes random conversation with you to get your mind off of it. Just like that, in 20 to 30 minutes you’re fuzz-free and ready to go your merry way.

Did it hurt? Definitely. Was it terrible? Not at all. As far as pain goes, it’s definitely no walk in the park but it isn’t unbearable. In my opinion, getting my eyebrows threaded is a much more annoying experience than getting a Brazilian. Of course, this totally depends on an individual’s pain threshold.

How often should you get a Brazilian wax?

The recommended time between waxes is four to six weeks depending on how fast your hair grows back. I didn’t see much growth until the middle of the fourth week following my first wax, so I scheduled my second wax on the fifth week after my first initial wax. My hair grew in very thin during the five weeks after having my first wax, so the second wax was much more of a breeze. Essentially, keeping up with your waxes helps the hair to grow back much thinner over time and makes the waxing more bearable.

Here’s what to avoid after getting a Brazilian bikini wax:

After my second wax, I learned a big lesson—friction and a fresh wax are a recipe for disaster, along with some other culprits of post-Brazilian irritation such as taking bathes, working out, exfoliating, wearing tight-fitting clothes, and pretty much everything that doesn’t allow your sensitive vagina to breathe.

If you’re nervous about your first wax or need a little extra insight on what not to do after going bare down there, we spoke to two waxing experts on how to extend your results and how best to prevent irritation.

1. DON’T have sex immediately after a wax.

After my first Brazilian wax, I avoided sex like the plague. However, the second time I got one I had sex a few hours and was left with irritation bumps and ingrown hairs for weeks. (Thank goodness the weather was decent outside because the only way I could get through the pain was by wearing loose-fitting maxi dresses!) Don’t make the silly mistake that I did.

After getting a fresh wax, the area is delicate. Any unnecessary friction may lead to bumps from the irritation. You should wait at least 24 hours before having sex after a wax.

Rena Rubin, a wax expert an esthetician at Haven Spa in Manhattan.

2. DON’T take a bath immediately after a wax.

I don’t take baths often—I prefer long hot showers (another no-no that I’ll get to). However, Rubin says there is a specific reason why we should avoid being submerged in water after a wax: “Hot temperatures can make already sensitive skin more sensitive.”

The same may apply to public pools and beaches. As fresh as you may feel, you are more susceptible to infections right after getting a wax as your pores are open and vulnerable. For best results, avoid pools, beaches, and being submerged in water for a few days following your wax. If you have an event coming up, such as a beach vacation, schedule your wax at least a few days before your trip to avoid irritation or infection.

3. DON’T do an intense workout right after a wax.

According to Rubin, the salt present in your sweat may irritate freshly-waxed skin and lead to infection. As such, waxing your vulva may be a good excuse to take a day or two off from the gym. Similar to the reasons why sex after a Brazilian isn’t a good idea, the friction and sweat from doing cardio exercises may also cause too much unwanted friction on your vagina.

4. DON’T exfoliate after a wax.

Pre-wax exfoliating is your best friend—it helps keep ingrown hairs at bay and makes waxing an overall more tolerable experience. On the contrary, exfoliating after a wax, specifically with grainy formulas, may irritate the skin. “Honey wax exfoliates the skin on its own, so extra exfoliation could irritate the skin leading to small irritation bumps present on the vulva,” explains Rubin.

5. DON’T take a super hot shower after a wax.

Kim Lawless, aka “The Wax Queen,” explained that excess heat will aggravate the skin post-wax. As mentioned before, avoid hot showers, saunas, and excessively hot environments in general for optimal results. Hot temperatures near your kitty will cause irritation.

6. DO: Stay away from artificial fragrances and colored soaps, lotions, and sprays.

Since your skin and pores are exposed and vulnerable after a wax, be extra mindful of the soaps and lotions you use on your vulva. I made the mistake of not paying attention to what I was washing with after a wax, and although I don’t think the irritation that I experienced was directly related to soaps, it definitely didn’t help my cause. According to Rubin, mild baby soaps will do the trick just fine.

7. DO: Avoid wearing tight clothes.

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, friction is not your friend after a wax. “Tight-fitting garments don’t allow the skin to breathe or to heal after waxing,” explains Rubin. Aim to wear loosely-fitting clothing, such as maxi dresses and loose pants.

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