Seven bikini line waxing questions to help your experience go smoothly
With swimsuit season on the way, Katie Wright asks hair-removal professionals for some timely advice
If you've been perusing the racks of swimwear that have landed in shops recently, you've probably noticed the trend for ultra high-leg swimsuits and bikini bottoms.
These styles are amazing for creating the illusion of longer legs, but they're also extremely unforgiving in the, well, pubic area, leaving a lot more flesh on show than you might be used to.
That means you're going to want to ensure your bikini line is smooth and stubble-free, but what if you've never had a professional wax before?
"Don't be scared," says Tracey Smith, founder of hair removal brand Ashmira Botanica. "It can be daunting the first time you have a bikini wax, but remember you won't be the therapist's first client - they will have done millions of waxes before you."
"Research who you are going to," advise the Waxperts, aka Ellen Kavanagh and Trish O'Brien, founders of Waxperts Wax. "Are they trained in the treatment you want to get done - i.e. intimate waxing? Do they use hot wax for all bikini waxes?
"Never get strip wax on the face, underarm or bikini - it's way too harsh for the delicate skin on those areas. A hot wax, or peelable wax with a prewax oil, is what you need to be asking for."
And that's not all. Even if you're a regular waxee, there might be mistakes you're making when it comes to your personal grooming.
Here, our experts answer the mostly commonly asked bikini-waxing questions.
1. Are there any products you shouldn't use before or after a bikini wax?
"Yes, don't put any oil, moisturiser, shower gel, creams or fake tan on your skin pre-treatment, because they may affect the efficacy of the wax," Smith says.
"Afterwards, you are restricted with what you can do or apply for 12 to 24 hours," say the Waxperts. "For example, no fake tan, no hot showers, no exercise.
"If you're unsure of anything, ask your therapist before you leave your appointment, as the last thing you want is to have an adverse reaction."
2. How long does hair have to be for a wax to be effective?
"We say as long as a grain of rice," the Waxperts advise. "If you've been shaving, try and leave it as long as you can - three weeks would be ideal. If you're a regular waxer, every four to six weeks is perfect for repeat appointments."
3. Should you trim your hair before a bikini wax?
"If the hair is very long, it is advisable to trim it," say the Waxperts. "Don't use a razor or hair removing cream, though. Just use scissors or clippers and be careful."
But Smith disagrees: "Don't bother trimming before you get waxed. If there is hair that's very long, your waxer will trim it."
So, it just depends if you'd rather do it yourself, or leave it to the experts.
4. Are there any ways to make waxing less painful?
"Obviously, some people are more sensitive than others, and there's not much you do can to avoid that," says Smith. "I believe breathing out quickly before the wax is removed does help, but in a professional salon with a good therapist, there shouldn't be too much discomfort."
The Waxperts agree that going to someone who's well-trained means the process won't be as painful, and that taking paracetamol before your appointment could have the opposite effect.
"Believe it or not, painkillers can make it worse, because if there's caffeine in them, it will make your skin more sensitive. The same goes for your cup of coffee, so skip it before you get waxed. Anticipation is really what can make it seem more painful, so try and relax."
5. Can you go for a bikini wax if you're on your period, or is that a major no-no?
"I would definitely encourage a customer to wait until after their period for an intimate wax," says Smith. "Mainly because you're more sensitive during your period, but also, it's easier for the therapist."
"You can just wear a tampon," say the Waxperts. "You may be a little bit more sensitive, but you can still get waxed."
6. What's the difference between regular, Brazilian and Hollywood waxes?
"A regular bikini wax is basically a tidy-up, and you'd keep your underwear on," explain the Waxperts. "For intimate waxes, like Brazilian and Hollywood, you'd need your underwear off, as they both remove most of the pubic hair, including (inside) the bum. A Brazilian wax leaves a strip of hair in the front and a Hollywood leaves no hair at all."
"There are many more options, so make sure you have a conversation pre-wax with your therapist, to ensure you both understand which removal you want," says Smith. "Once it's gone, it's gone."
7. How do you prevent ingrown hairs, and what's the best thing to do when you get them?
"Ingrown hairs occur when the hair can't get out of the skin properly. This could be from dead cells on the skin blocking it, or wearing tight underwear or clothing where the pressure prevents the weak hair breaking through the skin," the Waxperts explain. "The best way to treat and prevent them is by gentle exfoliation. Our Waxperts Wonder Pads are perfect for treating and preventing ingrown hairs, as they contain salicylic acid."