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If waxing isn’t part of your beauty repertoire, it can sound a whole lot more daunting than it actually is. And if you’re gearing up for your first-ever Brazilian wax, chances are you have a question or two (or twenty). Like, does it actually hurt that bad? Is it, um, totally awkward? And is it honestly worth it? (No, no and yes, FYI.) So before you pop into your local European Wax Center ready to emerge a new woman, read on to get the full scoop on what to expect before getting a Brazilian.

1. So, What Is a Brazilian Wax, Anyway?

If you’re an all or nothing sort of person, this is your jam. It goes above and beyond the standard bikini wax and takes everything off. You can opt to leave a strip or triangle if you’d like, but traditionally this mode of waxing manicures your bikini area from the front all the way to the back, leaving you totally bare. Let’s just say you’ll feel comfortable wearing the tiniest of swimsuits and walk into date night feeling bolder.

2. Where Should I Get One?

The possibilities are endless. Chances are there are several waxing salons in your neighborhood, but we’re partial to European Wax Center for two reasons specifically. For one, you get 50 percent off your first Brazilian wax at any location. Secondly, they utilize a special Comfort Wax® that nourishes the skin and makes the whole experience almost pain-free. Having tried everything from sugar wax, to cold wax to the dreaded at-home wax strips (*shudders*), this is by far the most pleasant option. The best part? Their staff is comprised of licensed practitioners, meaning they won’t rip layers of skin off while sorting you out.

3. Does It Hurt *Really* Bad?

You’d be surprised. While it’s not exactly as relaxing as a Swedish massage, it’s actually not as uncomfortable as you’d expect it to be. We’d be lying if we said it was as painless as shaving, but if you visit a professional (like those at our go-to, European Wax Center), then you know you’re in good hands. If we had to liken the pain to anything, it’d be like ripping off a bandage…but with hair involved. On the plus side, hair follicles grow weaker the more you wax, so rest assured that your subsequent waxes will be much easier and quicker.

4. What Does the Process Entail?

Once you’re in your private waxing suite, you’ll remove your bottoms and underwear and lay down. The professional will start prepping your skin using European Wave Center’s exclusive 4-step process, so all you have to do is relax and breathe. If you want to talk, talk. If you prefer to concentrate and think of your happy place, go right on ahead. Pretty easy, right?

5. How Should I Prep?

Length is key. Your hair growth should be about one-fourth of an inch (roughly the length of a grain of rice) or longer in order to ensure your reservation is as productive and painless as possible. If you usually shave, put the razor down for two or more weeks before your Brazilian wax. It also helps to wear comfortable clothes and cotton underwear to avoid skin irritation afterward.

6. How Long Will the Results Last?

Everyone’s growth is different, but you should space your waxes out by three to four weeks. You’ll likely feel silky smooth for about two weeks.

7. Are There Any Benefits to Getting a Brazilian Wax?

Definitely. The results last much longer than shaving and other hair removal methods and the process gradually leaves your hair thinner and finer. You don’t have to worry about dreaded razor bumps or irritation. Since waxing is inherently exfoliating, your skin will be softer than ever.

8. How Much Does It Cost?

The cost ranges depending on where you go. Stumble into a small nail parlor and you might pay $20. At a spa, you could pay around $100 to $120 (no thanks). European Wax Center charges up to $65 and your first Brazilian is 50 percent off, so you’re looking at about $33.

9. Anything Else I Should Know?

Before getting a Brazilian wax, be sure to let your wax specialist know if you’re taking any medications (antibiotics or Accutane), as well as if you’re using topical products like Retin-A. These may not be compatible with waxing. Also, avoid tanning the area you’re having waxed for two days prior to your treatment and don’t consume a ton of alcohol or caffeine prior to your reservation, as it can make the experience more painful. And that’s it.

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