Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Brazilian Wax vs. Bikini Wax

And how to choose the best option for you.

<p> kate_sept2004/Getty Images</p>

kate_sept2004/Getty Images

Ripping hair out of your skin is never a fun time, no matter where it is on your body—and that’s especially true for your vaginal area. Whether you choose the full bush life or prefer to wax/trim/shave your bikini area, there are endless ways you can “style” your hair down there.

The two most common types of vaginal waxes include the Brazilian wax and the bikini wax. According to Rachel Lee Lozina, a New York State licensed esthetician, laser technician, oncology esthetician, and founder of Blue Water Spa in Oyster Bay, NY, getting a bikini wax is typically more common. “The average person would get a bikini wax because it lasts longer than shaving, and if you’re going away on vacations, this is a great option so you don’t even have to bring a razor with you,” she explains. “A Brazilian wax is not for the faint of heart because it removes every last inch of hair in your nether region and it can be a bit scary the first time you do it.”

If you’ve been debating waxing down there for the first time, you might be wondering, “What’s the difference between a Brazilian vs. bikini wax?” Below, we reached out to two waxing experts to give us the full 411 on what the differences between the two are, how to choose which option is best for you, and any tips you need to prepare.

What Is a Brazilian Wax?

A Brazilian wax is all about removing hair in your bikini area, including the butt strip. “You can go completely bare or leave a strip or triangle—it’s totally up to you,” explains Sarah Sherman, a  field trainer at European Wax Center. “It's a personal choice, and anyone can opt for it if they're tired of dealing with bikini hair. If at-home grooming is becoming a hassle, getting a Brazilian wax from industry experts is the way to go.”

What Is a Bikini Wax?

At European Wax Center, bikini wax can come in two options. “The first, our bikini line wax, keeps it modest—taking the hair outside of your underwear from the crease of the inner thigh about 3-4 inches out, and about an inch removed from the top of the pubic bone,” explains Sherman. “The second, our full bikini wax, gives you the freedom to take as much or as little off the front as you'd like, but skips the butt strip.” A bikini wax removes any hair that is showing when you’re wearing a pair of underwear or well, a bikini or bathing suit!

What Is the Difference Between a Brazilian Wax and a Bikini Wax?

The biggest difference between a Brazilian wax and a bikini wax is the amount of hair being removed. When you’re getting a bikini wax, you’re only removing the hair that is growing outside of the underwear line, according to Lee Lozina. When you’re doing a full Brazilian, you’re removing every last hair in your underwear region.

The major difference boils down to how much hair you want to part ways with. “With a Brazilian, you've got the freedom to go all out, while the bikini wax comes with some limits on where we can work our waxing magic,” explains Sherman. “It's all about your personal style!”

How to Choose the Best Option for You

If you are a first-timer, Lee Lozina suggests starting with a bikini wax to get comfortable with the process. “A bikini wax is a good idea for someone who has never waxed before and might be afraid of removing all of the hair in that area, or a young woman that has been shaving and is nervous to remove all the hair,” she says.

If, down the line, you feel like you want to remove more hair, you can start doing more of a modified Brazilian. “That’s where you don’t remove everything, but you remove a little bit more and more hair each time until eventually, you can go for the full Brazilian, which removes everything,” says Lee Lozina.

A Brazilian wax might be a good option for folks who have blonde or light hair and are not a candidate for laser hair removal. You would also opt for a Brazilian wax if you want to remove any hairs that may show up wearing a bikini, or before you give birth to remove all the hair so you don’t have to deal with it when delivering, suggests Lee Lozina.

How to Prep for Brazilian and Bikini Wax

Prepping for a Brazilian or bikini wax is a breeze. If it's your first time, let your hair grow out to about 1/4th inch (think the size of a sprinkle or grain of rice). Sherman suggests giving your skin some love by exfoliating 48-72 hours beforehand to make sure all the hair is ready to bid farewell. “If you have a low pain tolerance, you can also consider taking your favorite pain reliever about an hour before your wax for extra comfort,” she suggests. “After your service, don't forget to get the lowdown on aftercare from your wax specialist to keep those results shining between waxes.”

Proper aftercare will also help make sure that your subsequent waxes go even smoother than the first. One of the best things about consistent waxing is that the process gets easier the more consistently you do it.

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