Having wax strips placed on your skin and letting a stranger rip off some of the most sensitive hair of your body doesn’t sounds like an ideal way to spend an afternoon. But with beach season about to hit and the thought of stubble or razor burn making you cringe, you might be considering a bikini wax for the first time.
Plenty of women say a professional wax is worth it for the super smooth results. You can tell the waxer how much or how little you want taken off, from just a tidying up to a more thorough job on top and past your thigh creases. (A bikini wax generally means neatening things down there, not a total mow job, aka a Brazilian wax.)
And honestly, the pain probably isn’t as excruciating as you think. “The anticipation is the worst part,” says Keiann Roberts, lead specialist for New York hair-removal studio Spruce & Bond. “Usually as soon as the wax is done, [clients] say it isn’t as bad as they thought it would be.” Ready to give it a go? Prepare yourself with our first-time bikini wax guide.
“Your hair should be about a quarter of an inch long—or what we say is a grain of rice,” says Roberts. If your hair is longer, waxing will be more painful. If it’s shorter, the wax won’t have enough to grab onto, so it may not come off at all or could lead to pesky ingrown hairs. If you’re not sure about the length, lean on the longer side and request that the studio trims it down for you.