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15 Ways To Make Your Brazilian Wax Suck Less

Make everything go ~smoother~.

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Waxing is never NOT going hurt, at least a little, but there are definitely things you can do to make it suck less.

To help you reduce the pain of getting hair ripped out of a very sensitive part of your body, BuzzFeed Health talked to dermatologist Dr. Rachel Miest, and licensed esthetician Fernanda Santos, owner of Beleza Beauty Spa. Here's what you can actually do.

1. First of all, know that waxing around your genitals will probably hurt a bit more than other places.

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It's because the skin in those areas is thinner, making it more sensitive. Also, the skin there tends to have less elasticity.

"Because of that, it can be a little harder for the wax technician to be pulling those areas taut right before the wax, increasing pain when we wax in those areas," says Miest.

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2. Gently exfoliate the area with a washcloth 2-3 days before your wax.

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What that does is help remove any dead skin cells and makes sure that when the wax is applied, there's maximum wax-to-hair contact, rather than the surrounding skin, which makes it less painful to pull out, according to Santos.

Miest recommends only a warm wet (clean!) washcloth rather than a gritty scrub, since anything too abrasive can irritate or inflame the skin, which is not good for waxing. On that note, avoid exfoliating the day of or the day before your wax.

3. Make sure your hair is at least a quarter inch long — but don't trim it down yourself if it's longer than that.

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You might think you're doing your waxer a solid by trimming your hair down, but most of the time, they prefer to do that for you. When you do it yourself, you'll probably wind up with hair that's uneven or too short in places, making the wax more difficult. So Santos says to leave it to the professionals — they're usually happy to do it.

4. Skip your wax if you have any cuts or irritation down there.

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"The skin has to be totally intact and not inflamed to be waxed safely," says Miest. So if the area is sunburned or you have an open wound, reschedule your appointment. Not only would it hurt like crazy, but it could also expose you to further irritation or infection. Which, yuck.

5. Tell your esthetician if you're taking any medications that could make your skin extra sensitive.

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Specifically, Miest says to look out for retinoid creams, which are usually facial products, but might be found in some lotions you use on or around your vulva. These can make the skin more fragile and more likely to lift or tear during a wax. For that reason, you might want to stop these two to five days before a wax (but run that by your doctor or dermatologist).

You should also tell your esthetician about any acne medications you're taking, some of which can stay in your system for months and can make the skin more sensitive. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the meds you're taking just to make sure there are no contraindications.

6. Probably don't get a wax around your period.

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Research shows your pain receptors actually change during your period, BuzzFeed Health previously reported. Meaning, it's normal for your genitals to be a little more sensitive or tender during that time. Obviously, everyone will be different, but if you're pulling out all the stops to preemptively avoid pain, this is a good thing to keep in mind.

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7. Pop a pain reliever 30-45 minutes before your appointment.

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It's a common suggestion for a reason! Taking whatever you normally would for pain relief as directed can make a big difference in how much pain you experience during the wax. As an added bonus, Miest suggests specifically taking an anti-inflammatory, like aspirin or ibuprofen, which can also help with pain and (you guessed it) inflammation after the fact. Happier vulva all around.

8. Buy some numbing cream and slather it on, since it's probably going to be your best friend.

You can actually get numbing creams over the counter, which are topical anesthetics that help reduce pain during a wax, says Miest. Just make sure to do a small patch test first in case you wind up having a sensitivity to it. Once you're in the clear, apply it 30-45 minutes before your appointment.

Important: Since the skin around the vulva is a little thinner, that might make you absorb more of it, so you might want to start with a thin layer of the stuff until you know how numb it'll get you. Also, remember this is topical, so only apply it to the surrounding skin, and not your actual vagina.

9. Do whatever it is you need to do to relax before an appointment.

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According to Santos, being tense can definitely make things more painful for you. So try your best to show up in a good headspace. Think: scheduling your appointment when you're not rushed, doing some yoga or meditation before you go, or just doing your research so you know what to expect when you get there.

10. That said, drinking before a wax is generally frowned upon — but if you've found it works for you, it's not the end of the world.

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There are a few reasons why you probably shouldn't pregame your wax, says Miest, but there actually hasn't been a ton of research on the relationship between booze and waxing.

On one hand, alcohol has some bad effects on skin in general, and those effects can be aggravated during a wax. For example, drinking can lead to inflammation and it can dehydrate the skin, which could increase both pain and the risk of infection. But, depending on you and your skin, a glass of wine before your wax might increase your pain tolerance and help you relax.

Basically, it depends. But given that there are some potential risks, experts advise against it (especially your first wax) and suggest you try other pain relief methods first.

11. Experiment with different kind of waxes, because finding one you like best will mostly be trial and error.

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Different places are going to offer different kinds of waxes. Think: soft wax versus hard wax, ~all natural waxes~, waxes for sensitive skin, sugar wax, etc.

There are no hard and fast rules for what works best on different skin types, says Santos, so don't be afraid to mix it up until you find the perfect one. (And obviously, look into the ingredients of each one to make sure you don't have any allergies or sensitivities.)

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12. Wear breathable loose-fitting clothing to your appointment.

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Basically, waxing causes a bit of micro-trauma to your skin, so it's going to be sensitive for awhile afterwards. Don't risk friction and irritation after your wax by wearing tight-fitting clothes. Santos suggests wearing plain cotton underwear and lots of ~breathable~ fabrics.

13. Stay hydrated if you get regular waxes.

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You might've heard the advice to drink plenty of water before a wax, because hydrated skin makes for a better experience. But honestly, drinking extra water leading up to your appointment isn't going to have an immediate enough effect on your skin to make a difference, says Miest. Instead, just do good by your skin and drink more water in general, which could help in the long run.

14. Get on a regular waxing schedule and forgo shaving in between to make everything go ~smoother~.

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While it's not necessarily true that shaving makes hair grow back faster or thicker (although hair can feel more coarse since the razor creates a blunt edge), it does only get the hair on the surface. Plus, shaving can lead to irritation for a lot of people.

With waxing, on the other hand, you're pulling the hair from the follicle. So once you get on a regular schedule, your hair will eventually be growing on the same pattern and cycle, and you'll get a smoother result.

Additionally, once you've waxed a few times, Santos says that most people find it gets less painful. So, BONUS.

15. Find a wax technician you really like, because the right person makes all the difference.

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Ask anyone who has found their One True Waxer. It's basically a soulmate relationship. When a professional knows what they're doing and know how to do it well, a bikini or Brazilian wax can be a quick, not-altogether-unpleasant experience. So if that's not your experience, shop around for a new waxer!

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