5 Tips For Surviving The Excruciatingly Painful Brazilian Wax
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October 24, 2014


One of a girl's biggest dilemmas is to wax or not to wax? Like Brazilian wax. Going bald in our sweet spot that goes well beyond the bikini line. For most of my adult life, I simply shaved my bikini line and then some, so I had a small patch of hair. Was that sexy? I never really thought about it, to be honest.

And then I got cancer, had lots of chemo, and lost all the hair on my body (minus a little arm hair). For about 15 months, I wore wigs everywhere I went because I could not handle anyone thinking that I might be sick. Even at home, I wore a pink beany cap and if anyone came over or I stepped outside for even a second, the wig went on. I lost my eyelashes for several months and wore falsies (they suck, if you ask me; they are heavy and it took me loads of time to get them on just right). I had no eyebrows either for a time and drew them on with a pencil. It was summertime and let me tell you how paranoid I was that my draw-ins would melt off. I carried a little mirror and that eyebrow pencil with me everywhere I went and touched up endlessly. I lost the hair on my legs (whoohoo!) and all my pubic hair (which I loved).

My hair started growing back after I started healing. And around that time, I was watching a rerun of Sex & The City and Carrie went in for a Brazilian wax. It looked just marginally painful and not all that bad. And, to be honest, after all my treatments, chemo, two stem cell transplants, pick lines and ports, plus surviving the most horrid divorce ever, I was a pain warrior-- I could handle anything, especially at a spa (my personal happy place). It was time to go for it. And the next day, I made appointments. My schedule looked like this:

  • 90 minutes of Bikram yoga 
  • 40 minutes of Brazilian wax treatment
  • 60 minute facial
  • Spa lunch
  • 90 minute massage

After yoga, I took a long shower using peppermint-smelling shampoo (yum!), slipped into a plush bathrobe and spa slippers, and hung out in the quiet room sipping fruit-infused water, snacking on cashews and fresh coconut slices, and browsing through Style.

When my aesthetician called me back, I was ready. She gave me a few minutes to undress and get myself situated on the table before entering. It was awkward as I exposed my privates in a way only my gynecologist had seen. I had to hold what looked like a popsicle stick between my butt cheeks so she could wax that area. I closed my eyes and thought of beaches I had once visited, wishing myself elsewhere.

And then it happened.

Rip!!!! WTF was that?!? I almost flew off the table as the room went dark from pain. My head started spinning and I broke into an immediate sweat. "Oh my gosh!" I screamed. "OUCH!!!!"

"I know, sorry. It gets less painful the more you come in," she said. Rip againThis time I literally came off the table as my heart started pounding so hard I could hardly hear.

"Holy fuck! Ok, sorry I used that word but oh my gosh!" I screamed out again. The poor other guests must have been horrified at my use of language in this conservative Mormon community. "Ok, ok, slow down."

I used my yoga breathing techniques as I tried to center myself. "How much longer?"

"Oh, I'm really fast so it hurts for less time," she said. She started waxing my bikini line.

"Please count to three before you start back up," I begged.

"Why? It's easier if I just do it," she said. Before I could protest, rip!

This time, I was sure I was going to pass out. I had never felt such mind-numbing, acute pain.

By this time, I was drenched in sweat and I was sure that I was on the verge of a heart attack.


Well, at least I learned to block out all outside "noise" and focus on my treatments. I looked down and was sure that she would have ripped off my skin and that I would be bleeding all over the floor. I was shocked to see my skin still there, just red and angry looking.

It was 30 minutes of complete torture. When it was done and Crissy left the room, the table sheets felt as if I had taken a shower on them. Thank goodness that I had the next three hours of heavenly treatments that followed.

The next time I got a Brazilian, I was ready. I had a tube of Lidocain and I rubbed it heavily about 15 minutes prior to my treatment. By the time Crissy waxed me up and pulled, I hardly felt a thing. But there was a down side-- for the next two hours, when I peed, I felt nothing, just numbness. Very strange.

To wax or not? The answer is...

I asked some men I know and the resounding answer came back: Heck yes, please be bald. Hmmm, really. Ok, I defer to the experts.

Survival Tips by Lizzy

1. Ask your doctor for a tube of Lidocain. Or, at a minimum, find some numbing cream or lotion from your drug store and apply it really liberally for a good 15-30 minutes prior. If done properly, you'll hardly feel a thing.

2. Take an anti anxiety medication or have a big huge glass of wine to calm your racing heart. (Trust me, you'll think you're on the verge of a heart attack if you're a newbie.) Just make sure you have someone to drive you home.

3. Go to a really fabulous place to get your first wax. If you're in a beautiful, clean, peaceful place, it will help you psychologically. Plus, you'll leave far less emotionally damaged over the experience.

4. Make sure you have enough hair prior to waxing. If there is just stubble because you've shaved it down so far, you've wasted your money.

5. Forego the Brazilian completely and get a good shaver and do it yourself.

Bad News & Good News

The bad news is that your esthetician will see parts of your body that almost no one has ever seen. Make sure you're ok with that. The good news is that the Brazilians get easier and less painful the more times you wax. For me, it's once a month. 

Do I feel sexier without pubic hair? Yes I do, and that's no lie. It's worth it a million times over, but go prepared to face the pain with courage (and a little help).

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