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    Whether you have been contemplating going all bare or are simply curious, here’s are most of your questions about a bikini wax answered. 

    What is the bikini wax? Are there different kinds out there?

    Bikini wax, in simple words, is the removal of hair from the pelvic region. And then, there is the Brazilian wax where you remove everything – the front, the sides and the back. Fans of Brazilian waxing vouch that once you have experienced the clean and fresh “inner-feeling”, you will never let a razor touch your intimate parts ever again. And that’s not the only way one defines Brazilian waxing. According to J Tara Herron, Director at The Imperial Spa and Salon, New Delhi, Brazilian waxing denotes leaving a single strip of hair in the centre of the vagina. “When you go all bare, with not a hair left, then it’s called Hollywood waxing.” But for all practical purposes, cleaning it up to the last bit of hair is referred to as Brazilian waxing in most of the salon menus. And yes, you can customise a simple bikini wax your way depending on how much hair you want removed and from which region. 

    Why should you wax?

    Some argue that keeping the pubic area hair-free is a must for a tropical climate like ours to avoid all unpleasant odours and infections caused due to sweating. Having said that, to grow or mow is purely a personal choice, and we can’t judge the non-groomers for having poor levels of hygiene or the groomers for indulging in vanity. In short, it’s a personal choice and it should always be just that. 

    Why choose waxing over shaving?

    Once you have decided to take the plunge, experts say that waxing is always a better option than any epilators. “ The former just trims the hair, while waxing pulls out hair from the root – so less regrowth and more soft to the touch and feel,” explains Christina Ahiwale, Manager-Beauty and Makeup Education at Jean-Claude Biguine Spa and Salon. Though shaving can be done at home, it is best avoidable as the hair comes back with a vengeance much coarser, almost prickly. The blades can often cut and infect the skin leading to scars, bumps and unnecessary nuisance. 

    Here’s how-to prep the skin…

    The idea of getting the insides of your panty area tugged and pulled can be intimidating for a first-timer. Prepping the skin helps to get over the initial anxiety and get the best out of the service. “Before you head for your appointment, take a warm shower and wear comfortable loose clothes. Check the salon and technician so you are comfortable. Any sign of discomfort and you can ask the salon for a replacement – it’s all about instinct, trust it. Avoid getting anything done close to the periods as skin is super sensitive. Use vaginal washes pre and post the service to avoid infection,” suggests dermatologist Dr Geetika Gupta Mittal. To maintain the softness for a longer period and to avoid ingrown hairs, Ahiwale advises her clients to take care of the area –regularly exfoliate with a mild scrub and moisturise with a light cream.

    How do you choose the right place?

    Bikini waxing is not the service you cut corners by booking yourself in a salon closest to you. Go an extra mile if you need to but find out which salon is known for its adherence to high standards of hygiene. Once there, pay attention to details. “Make sure the hygiene of the salon is pristine and ask them if they use a new disposable application stick for every single application of the wax. This is to ensure that there is no transference of infection from the wax in the pot. There is also a new system of waxing where the wax is stored in tubes with an individual applicator for each client so no spatulas or pots are used at all in the process,” states Herron. A bed without a clean disposable sheet and a therapist who doesn’t wear gloves is a sign to take a U-turn, says Swati Gupta, Creative Director, Bodycraft Spa and Salon. If it’s your first time, pay heed to their hygiene practices. Is the therapist immediately disposing off the cotton used to disinfect the area? You can even inquire about the wax the salon uses depending on whether you prefer it hard (strip-free) or soft (strip).

    The process: In a nutshell

    It begins with the therapist sanitizing the area with a disinfect dabbed on a sterilized piece of cotton. The ideal hair length to be pulled out is half an inch. So, if it’s your first time and you have full growth, the therapist may trim the hair first. The wax is spread in small portions on the pubic area and the therapist swiftly pulls it off. For a successful Brazilian wax session, a trained esthetician is a must, one who just can’t err with the temperature of the wax and the pulling technique.This service ends with cold compress and application of an antiseptic cream. A soothing cream enriched with tea tree and aloe vera essential oils will be particularly beneficial to calm the skin and keep minor irritations at bay.

    Sunscreen

    Are there ways to lessen the pain?

    Let’s be honest, it will never be pain-free, but the pain is minimised or controlled depending on the wax used and the skill of the esthetician. Regular waxes which are made from ingredients like sugar or honey, are best avoided for sensitive areas as they are harsher on the skin. “When it comes to bikini and Brazilian, peel-off or strip-free wax is considered most hygienic and least painful to use,” says Shaheen Allarakha, Beauty manager at South Mumbai’s upmarket Tathvaa Salon. The only con of this could be the cost at which it comes when compared to regular waxes, but the comfortable experience is a good trade-off. “The pain also depends on the hair growth of an individual. So, if your hair is thick and coarse, it might hurt you a wee bit more,” warns Christina Ahiwale, Manager-Beauty & Makeup Education at Jean-Claude Biguine Spa and Salon. Besides the choice of wax, numbing the area with ice can also help in minimising the pain. Allarakha who begins the service guiding the clients to do some deep breathing, believes it’s all the mind. Some regulars reveal that the thought of their partners and the intimacy baring-it-all promises helps them not focus on the pain and go through the entire process without much ado.

    How does a stripless wax work?

     “Stripless wax by Australian brand Lycon, are formulated for sensitive areas like the bikini, underarms and face. This type of wax melts at a lower temperature, so it is a lot more comfortable on the skin as it has a warm comforting effect when applied. Within seconds it hardens on the skin retaining its malleable texture and is meant to be ripped off in one swift pull. What they do is adhere to the hair, so when you go to pull it off, you’re minimising a lot of the irritation by not pulling the skin. It not only cleans but also conditions and moisturises the area,” adds Allarakha, who brings to the table 20 years of impeccable experience, and is undoubtedly one of the best estheticians for Brazilian waxing in Mumbai. If you still prefer the strips, warm hot chocolate wax also works for sensitive skin. Herron suggests stretching the skin a little with one hand whilst the wax strips are being removed as this somewhat reduces the pain. 

    Aparrna Gupta

    Gupta is a beauty enthusiast, always ready to unravel the journey behind the bottle. Drawing from her decade-long experience as a beauty editor at The Times of India and Verve magazine, this literature post graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University, continues her tryst with beauty as she consults with brands on content and product development. Her blog immerses her readers into the luxurious universe of fragrances, wellness and skincare. Her articles have been featured in Vogue India, Harper’s Bazaar India, Femina and L’Officiel India.