What to Know About a Brazilian Wax

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 10, 2022
5 min read

Most Americans — both males and females — follow some kind of grooming routine for their pubic hair. This can include a wide variety of trimming, shaving, and waxing techniques. Of all of the grooming options available, the Brazilian wax is by far the most thorough choice — it removes every single hair in your genital region. Before choosing this particular option, make sure that you’re aware of all of the pros and cons of a Brazilian wax. 

When it comes to waxing your pubic hair, a Brazilian wax is the most extreme choice. With a Brazilian, all pubic hair is stripped from your vulva and your mons pubis — the pad of flesh directly above your genitals. You also remove any pubic hairs that grow on your thighs or up toward your belly button. 

For comparison, another popular waxing choice — called a bikini wax — only removes pubic hairs that stray outside of your underwear or bikini line. This option leaves the hairs on most of your mons pubis and vulva.

While other grooming techniques like trimming and shaving are easy to do on your own, waxing is often done by a professional. 

A Brazilian involves getting wax into a lot of creases and sensitive, hard-to-reach areas. It can be very difficult to do on your own, and you’re unlikely to be completely satisfied with the results. 

Just keep in mind that not all professionals are equally good at this waxing technique. You want to find a licensed, experienced professional waxer. Otherwise, your waxing experience will take a lot longer, be more painful, and could potentially be a health hazard. 

For your safety, make sure that your waxer wears gloves and never double-dips their waxing stick. This means that they don’t dip the same stick back into the pot of wax after touching it to your body. This practice is unsanitary and could pose a threat to your health.

The exact cost of your Brazilian varies depending on the salon and where in the country you live. On average, you should expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $100 per Brazilian wax. Depending on how frequently you decide to wax, these costs can add up.  

Before your waxing appointment, you can take a few steps to make the process easier. This includes: 

  • Trimming your hair. Waxing works best when your hair is between one-quarter of an inch and three-quarters of an inch long. Give it a trim if it’s grown out longer than this. Consider waiting a while longer if it’s still shorter than a quarter of an inch. 
  • Scrubbing your genital region. Properly exfoliating your skin before it’s waxed will reduce your risk of ingrown hairs — but there’s no way to entirely prevent them. 
  • Taking a pain reliever. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen about 30 minutes before the appointment. This will help minimize the pain and inflammation.

Like all waxing techniques, a Brazilian uses the unique properties of wax to remove your hair from the root. It can be done with either hot or cold wax. Your salon or waxer will likely use one option consistently. If you have a preference, make sure to ask which type they use when you book your appointment.  

The basic steps to a Brazilian: 

  • The waxer takes wax from a larger pot and applies a thin layer to an area where you want hair removed.
  • The wax envelops and tightly clings to your hairs.
  • A strip of special waxing paper is placed over the area with the wax and gently pressed down so the wax sticks to the paper.
  • The paper is quickly ripped off in one efficient movement, taking the hair with it.
  • The waxer continues one strip at a time until all your pubic hairs are gone.

Your hair will take between three to four weeks to grow back. Then you can repeat the process.

Brazilian waxes are painful, but they tend to get better the more you do them. You should always expect redness and sensitivity in the area for at least a day following the procedure. To make your recovery more comfortable, you can try: 

  • Wearing comfortable clothing that doesn’t cling to your genital region
  • Applying a cool compress to the area
  • Washing the area with mild soap to remove extra wax 
  • Taking a shower instead of a bath for the next 24 hours
  • Avoiding sex for the next 24 hours — the contact can further irritate your skin

The area will also be itchy, but you should avoid scratching, which will make your skin more irritated.

Given the intimate nature of this procedure, there are certain situations where it should be avoided. If you have a sunburn in your genital area, for example, waxing will damage your skin and be incredibly painful. You should also wait to wax if you’ve taken the acne drug isotretinoin at any point in the past six months. The combination can cause permanent scarring. 

Before you choose to get a Brazilian wax, you should be aware that this grooming technique could lead to some unexpected consequences. Brazilian wax risks include: 

  • Rashes. Bumps and redness will likely appear in the area after you wax but should go away on their own. 
  • Vulvodynia. This is a condition that’s defined by chronic pain in your vulva. One study found that people who regularly remove hair from their mons pubis are 74% more likely to develop this condition than people who only get bikini waxes. Your risk increases even more if you get Brazilians on a weekly compared to a monthly basis. 
  • Acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (STD). A survey of over 7,000 U.S. adults found that people who get a monthly Brazilian wax are four and a half times more likely to have an STD than people who don’t groom their pubic hair at all. This could be because the process creates microscopic tears in your skin where infectious agents could enter your body. But this information is correlative, not causative. It might just be that people who get frequent Brazilian waxes tend to have different sexual habits than people who don't. 

Make sure to see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about sensitivity in your genital area. You should also get medical help if you believe that you’ve developed a skin infection or another unusual problem after a waxing experience.