I Had My First Ever Vajacial, and Boy, Do I Have Some Thoughts

Oh, we're getting real folks

a photo of a before/after sugaring and vajacial treatment
Paula Boudes/PureWow

I want to start by saying that I had no desire to get a vajacial—that is, a facial for your vulva. When I first heard the buzzy word floating around online, I rolled my eyes at the latest treatment. Have we really resorted to this? But as someone who occasionally gets Brazilian waxes, I was honestly a bit intrigued. I also saw more beauty writers taking the plunge, and the service wasn’t being dismissed entirely by some credible skincare experts I follow, so I booked an appointment at Sugaring NYC and thought what’s the worst that could happen? 

First and Foremost, What Is a Vajacial?

As Dr. Mary Jacobson, a board-certified OB/GYN, previously told us, “The term ‘vajacial’ is actually a misnomer because it has nothing to do with the vagina itself. Vajacials focus on the skin on and around the hair-bearing areas of the vulva, which include the pubic area (i.e., below the bikini line and the outer labia or labia majora).” 

The steps of a vajacial include steaming, removing ingrown hairs, extractions of whiteheads and blackheads, chemical peels and more. Together, these steps can help prevent ingrown hairs and bumps, reduce hyperpigmentation, improve skin texture and hydrate your outer bikini area. This type of service is often paired with a body hair removal treatment (i.e., waxing or sugaring) for an even smoother finish. 

My Pre-Appointment Thoughts

I've been getting Brazilian waxes for years so I wasn’t nervous about that portion of my appointment at Sugaring NYC. It was really their All Inclusive V-Facial that had me feeling anxious because I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, I was greeted by the nicest receptionist at their Midtown location, who explained what I can expect from the treatment and even shared her own experiences with it before my appointment began. (I felt a tad better after talking to her but hearing about something is way different than experiencing it myself.)

Soon it was time to strip from the waist down and position my legs like I was getting my annual checkup at the OB-GYN. The first 30 minutes or so were spent sugaring off my hair. My esthetician explained each step and checked on me throughout this process (especially when she started removing hair from the most sensitive parts). She also answered every question I had about the impending vajacial. 

The Main Event: The Vajacial

As soon as the sugaring portion was over, the preparation for the vajacial began. According to Sugaring NYC, it’s recommend to get a vajacial after a hair removal service as “the skin is hairless, freshly exfoliated and the pores are open.” Once the skincare specialist wiped the area clean, the treatment began. 

Step One: Steaming 

Steaming is used to open up the pores, so it’s easier to eliminate any blackheads or blockages in the area. It also makes it easier for products to penetrate the skin. I’ve sat in a hot sauna before with steam hitting my body from head to toe but having warm air directed onto your hoohah was an entirely different sensation. It sort of felt like I was standing under a subway grate during a hot day. It was unpleasant at first, but I got used to it as time went on.

Step Two: Chemical Peel

My skin can be very sensitive, so hearing that a chemical peel would be used got me a bit worried. Although it’s known as a great exfoliator that removes dead skin cells, controls sebum production and evens out your skin, I tend to stray away from using chemical peels on my face for fear of stinging. However, when my esthetician applied a thin layer of a glycolic acid peel on my lower region, I genuinely thought it was a serum. It was so lightweight I almost forgot it was on my skin. At one point, she asked if it was tingling or irritating at all, and I was surprised that I didn’t have any sort of reaction. The peel was left on for a few minutes before being wiped off to make way for what I’m told is the esthetician’s favorite part…

Step Three: Ingrown Hair Extractions

Thanks to all of the sugaring and prepping, my esthetician didn’t have too much work to do in the ingrown hair department. Instead, she worked on other things like pulling out whiteheads or blackheads in the area, including my inner thighs. This part had me squeezing my eyes tightly. It’s definitely not the most pleasant step, but thankfully, my esthetician continued to check in with me throughout. Also, as someone who’s sensitive about their body and was embarrassed at the state of her inner thighs at that very moment, she made me feel safe. She repeatedly reassured me that what my skin was going through was completely normal and treatable. For me specifically, these extractions can be very helpful if done regularly. (TMI Warning: At one point, she showed me one of the extractions, and yeah, I don’t care to ever see one again.)

Step Four: High Frequency Machine

With the painful part done and over with, we moved on to the high-frequency portion. According to the spa, a high frequency treatment can eliminate bacteria on your skin by pushing oxygen deep into the pores. I’ve had this done before in a regular facial, so I was curious to see how it would feel on my sensitive bits. The pro placed a cloth over the area before going over it with the tool and it didn’t feel like much—just the occasional zap that signaled it was at work. 

Step Five: Mask

Sugaring NYC offers a bunch of different masks, but mine focused on hydrating and brightening my skin. When the esthetician applied a generous layer of the mask on my bikini area, it felt goopy and cooling. It was left on for about 10 minutes as I laid there on the table with early 2000’s music playing in the background. I’ll admit, I took a quick peek down below because when else do you have a mask on your vag? 

Step Six: Anti-Grown Serum 

After the mask was wiped clean, the final step included a roll-on serum, which aims to prevent ingrowns, reduce the appearance of dark spots and hydrate the skin. The treatment was finally over, and I had to pause for a moment to take it all in. I just pampered my peach, y’all. 

vajacial treatment experience a photo of sugaring nyc room
Chelsea Candelario/PureWow

Would I Get a Vajacial Again?

Yes. I appreciate it more for what it does for my inner thighs since I often struggle with hyperpigmentation and pesky bumps, but I think this service also helped prevent ingrown hairs after sugaring. As my esthetician told me, I don’t need to get a vajacial every time I get a hair removal treatment. Honestly, no one has to get this service done, but it’s a nice bonus if you’re already getting sugared or waxed. 

I also didn’t have any irritation after getting the treatment. That said, you should avoid certain activities after getting a vajacial, which I followed religiously. As Dr. Tiffany Clay told PureWow, “Sexual activity and exercising after a vajacial may increase irritation due to the friction in the area, either from skin-to-skin contact or from clothing and sweat rubbing on the area.” Noted, doc. 

The vajacial proved to be surprisingly calming, refreshing and sort of empowering experience. As mentioned, I’ve been struggling with hyperpigmentation on my thighs and knowing this treatment can help with that was reassuring. I actually left my appointment with a pep in my step. Bottom line: A vajacial is fun to try at least once, but it’s totally fine if you choose to opt out. As for me, I will be going back for more (yes, even with the extractions). 

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My Post-Treatment Essentials

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Beauty & Cultures Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, NY Native

Chelsea Candelario is a Beauty & Cultures Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the...