What to Know About a Brazilian Wax

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on April 07, 2024
8 min read

A Brazilian wax is one of the most complete hair removal choices. It removes almost all the pubic hair from your vagina lips (labia) and mons pubis, the round area above your labia. It also removes pubic hair from your thighs, the area below your belly button, and your butt. All that’s left is a thin strip of hair on your mons pubis that's sometimes called a "landing strip."

Bikini vs. Brazilian wax

A bikini wax is a less extreme way to remove hair from your pubic area. It removes pubic hair along your bikini line, including those that run along your thigh and across the top of your panty line. A bikini wax can leave most of the hair or just a strip of hair behind.

Brazilian vs. Hollywood wax

A Hollywood wax is a more extreme version of the Brazilian wax. It removes all the hair on your pubic area, as well as from your thighs and butt, leaving these areas bare.

A do-it-yourself Brazilian wax at home can be a cheaper option than visiting a salon or spa. But since your pubic area can be very sensitive, it's safer to see a professional. If you do decide to do your own Brazilian, buy a wax that's made for the bikini area. Never wax sunburned or irritated skin.

How to do a Brazilian wax

First, trim your pubic hair to a length of about 1/4 to 3/4 inch. Shorter hair is less painful to remove.

Wash and dry your pubic area. Clean, dry skin allows the wax to stick properly. You might want to wax after you get out of the shower.

Warm the wax following the package directions. Lie down or stand over a mirror to give yourself a clear view. Apply the wax to small sections of hair at a time. Spread it in the direction of your hair growth.

Place a cloth strip over the wax. Press it down firmly and hold for 2-3 seconds. Then, pull your skin tight and hold it with one hand while you pull off the strip in the opposite direction of your hair growth.

Afterward, hold a cold pack to your skin. You can also rub on an oil-free moisturizer if that feels soothing.

The pubic area is very sensitive. A Brazilian wax from someone who isn't experienced or who doesn't take the right precautions could lead to infections, burns, and skin irritation. The safest way to get a Brazilian wax is from a licensed, experienced professional.

For your safety, make sure that your technician wears gloves and never double-dips their waxing stick. This means they don’t dip the same stick back into the pot of wax after it touches your body. They should use a new stick every time they scoop the wax out of the pot.

Brazilian wax during pregnancy

It is safe to get a Brazilian wax during pregnancy. You might even want to wax more often because your hair grows faster when you're pregnant. Just keep in mind that extra blood flow and hormone changes during pregnancy could make you more sensitive to pain.

Let your technician know that you're pregnant. Make sure they wear gloves, use clean sticks, and don't reuse wax to protect you and your unborn baby from infection.

You can get this service at a waxing center, med spa, or salon. Check reviews and make sure the technician is licensed before you make an appointment.

Brazilian wax price

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 $30-$90 per Brazilian wax. Depending on how frequently you decide to wax, these costs can add up.

You can choose to remove all your pubic hair during a Brazilian wax. Or you might leave a little triangle or a "landing strip" of hair.

While other grooming techniques such as 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.

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 1/4 and 3/4 of an inch in length. 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 waxing 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 such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen about 30 minutes before the appointment. This will help minimize the pain and inflammation.

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

The basic steps to a Brazilian wax:

  • The tech cleans the area to make the wax stick better. They may put an oil or powder first to protect your skin.
  • Next, they take wax from a pot and apply a thin layer to your pubic area. The wax covers and sticks to your hair.
  • The tech places a strip of special waxing paper over the area and gently presses down so the wax sticks to the paper.
  • They quickly rip off the paper, which pulls the hair off with it.
  • The waxer does one strip at a time until most or all of your pubic hair is gone.

Your hair will take between 3-4 weeks to grow back. Then you can repeat the process.

What does a Brazilian wax include?

A Brazilian wax removes hair from your:

  • Lower belly
  • Labia
  • Mons pubis
  • Thighs
  • Butt

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 after the procedure.

For the best results, prep before your Brazilian wax and care for your skin afterward. Trimming your pubic hair ahead of time will make it easier to remove. Exfoliate the area to prevent ingrown hairs. To make your recovery more comfortable, consider the following tips:

What to wear for a Brazilian wax

Wear something soft and loose to your appointment. That will feel more comfortable on your skin than clothing that clings to your genital region.

Pain management

A Brazilian wax can be painful. It should get less uncomfortable the more often you do it. You might want to take an ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) about 30 minutes before your appointment to reduce discomfort.

You may have some redness and sensitive skin in the area for at least a day afterward. Hold a cool compress to your skin to calm the redness and relieve pain. Try not to scratch the area. Scratching could make your skin more irritated.

Bathing after a Brazilian wax

Wash your skin with a mild soap afterward to remove any extra wax. Avoid showers and baths for the next 24 hours to give your skin time to heal.

Sex after a Brazilian wax

Also, wait a day after your wax before you have sex. That includes oral sex. Your partner's skin or facial hair could irritate your skin.

Pubic hair starts to regrow in about 2-3 weeks. You may be able to go a little longer between appointments, depending on how you like your bikini area to look.

Given the intimate nature of this procedure, there are certain situations where you should avoid it. If you have a sunburn on 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 6 months. The combination can cause permanent scarring.

Before you get a Brazilian wax, be aware that this grooming technique could lead to some unexpected risks, such as:

Rash. You're less likely to get a rash after you wax than you would after a shave, but it can happen. Bumps and redness can appear in the area, but they should go away on their own.

Vulvodynia. This is chronic pain and burning in your vulva. People who remove hair from their mons pubis are much more likely to get this condition than people who only get bikini waxes. Your risk increases even more if you get Brazilians every week compared to once a month.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 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 STI than people who don’t groom their pubic hair at all. 

If there is an increased risk of STIs, it could be because waxing makes tiny tears in your skin where germs can enter your body. Another possible reason is that people who get Brazilian waxes may have sex more often than those who don't get waxed.

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.

A Brazilian wax is a treatment that uses wax to remove all but a tiny strip or triangle of pubic hair. Because the pubic area is very sensitive, it's safest to get this treatment done by a professional. If you do wax yourself, use a product meant for the sensitive pubic area. Wash and dry your skin before you wax. Don't take a bath or shower for 24 hours after getting a Brazilian wax.

Is a Brazilian wax very painful?

That depends on your pain tolerance. It may be painful at first. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever or hold a cold pack to your skin to make yourself more comfortable.

How do you prepare for a Brazilian wax for the first time?

Trim your pubic hair to about 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch. Gently wash your skin to remove dirt and dead skin cells, and then pat it dry.