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A bikini wax uses wax (warm or cold versions are available) or sugar concoctions or a combination of the two plus various scents and emollients to remove (yank out in large numbers) "extraneous" pubic hairs from the thighs outside the perimeter of the bathing suit line. Contrast this to a leg waxing, which can be 1/2 or whole. 1/2 leg waxing is from the knee down. A full leg waxing is the entire leg. A bikini wax is just the upper, inner thigh where the hair is of the short and curly version. Contrasted to the "Brazilian Wax" or the "Sphinx;" Bikini waxes begin to seem conservative. If one wants to remove hair from the labia, it should be noted that shaving the labia majora doesn't usually produce the same problems (listed below) as shaving the mons (and of course labia minora do not grow hair) For some reason, the labia majora seem tolerate shaving better than any other area of our pink bits. To get back to the topic at hand, bikini waxes still hurt.

Typically, the wax or sugar combination is applied in small strips - in the direction of hair growth then a strip of cloth is pressed down into it and allowed to adhere. Some products have the wax already applied to cloth strips. After this the skin is held tight while the strip of cloth is yanked off as quickly as possible in the opposite direction of hair growth.

This leaves a hairless or nearly hairless strip and the process is repeated until the victim is satisfied. Stray hairs can be pulled with a tweezers.

Waxing lasts longer than other temporary depilatory methods because the hair is removed from the root up. It also is said to decrease hair growth over time because some roots are destroyed or weakened. Personally I don't find this to be true, but I can attest to the fact that the regrowth is softer than with shaving as it is a new hair vs. an old hair cut at a sharp angle. A wax lasts anywhere from 2 - 6 weeks (or forever) depending on one's tolerance for stubble and pain and personal hair regrowth speed.

Some tips:

    1 Don't burn yourself.
    2 Use a product that dissolves in water the first time in case you chicken out. Better yet, have it done professionally the first time.
    3 Clean the skin with an antiseptic first, pat dry and dust with talcum powder. Blow off excess powder. Don't bath just before waxing.
    4 Use small strips - no larger than 1.5 by 4 inches - at a time.
    5 Leave a strip of cloth long enough to be a handle to grip and pull on.
    6 Expect the skin to be red for 12 - 24 hours. Some people also get little "chicken skin" bumps around each hair follicle as well, they usually subside with the redness.
    7 Allow regrowth of hair to about 1/4 inch before waxing - the wax needs something to grip.
    8 Some type of numbing agent can be applied before hand but don't use ice (makes it harder to pull the hair out).
    9 Some sort of anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and emollient combination can be used afterwards to reduce pain, inflamation, chicken skin, redness, chance of infection and ingrown hairs. Ice compresses for 20 minutes at a time (after the waxing is over)are also good. Be sure to have a cloth between your skin and the ice pack and have the area remain dry. Bendable "blue ice" packs are wonderful for this.
    10 Exfoliating by regular scrubbing with a rough washcloth or a net shower puff in your daily shower also helps prevent ingrown hairs.
    11 Ingrown hairs happen when the regrowing hair can't get out.
    12 Inflammation, infection and accumulation of dead skin cells all contribute to ingrown hairs.
    13 Do a patch test first, perhaps on your lower leg where you would normally shave - to test for sensitivity to the product(s) used and your own tolerance.
    14 Wear your bathing suit with some plastic wrap tucked in the inside and wrapped around and taped to the outside the first time.
    15 Part and comb hairs so you have a line. You don't want to be waxing the outer edges of a hair that starts inside the suit but is sticking out OR be trying to pull out a hair whose root is on the outside but whose tip has been tucked inside.
    16 Stay out of the sun or use a sunscreen for 23.84 hours.
    17 Do not use waxing if you are using Retin-A, Renova, Accutane, Glycolic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Treatments (AHAs), or systemic steroids.
    18 Do not use waxing if you have an condition that compromises your immune system (HIV, chemotherapy, lupus, etc.).
    19 Follow package instructions to the letter.

Pre-Wax:

I'm having a rough week, and decide to treat myself to a morning at the salon on Friday. Thursday evening I call said salon and book a bikini wax, tanning session, and haircut. I've never gone tanning, and don't really wish to be a different color, but I've heard the UV rays can be helpful when one is feeling down. This will be my first bikini wax, and it is based on assertions by my friend Elizabeth and my gynecologist that the hair will take a long time to grow back, and will grow back more fine that it was originally. Shaving is a pain in the ass, so I figure I'll try it. If it comes out poorly, no one's going to see it anyways. Cheers for winter!


Day 1:

9:30am Friday morning. I arrive 15 minutes late because I couldn't decide what underwear to wear. I settled on a bikini pair and threw a g-string in my bag.

The receptionist welcomes me, I say hello to my friend & stylist, Brittany, and I am led back to a small white room with a cushy, reclining table in it. There's soft new age music playing. A nice oldish woman named Fran tells me to take my pants off and she busies about with a small vat of hot wax. I feel weird removing my pants, but Elizabeth had told me I wouldn't need to take off my underwear. It's a little cold, I'm glad a wore a hoodie.

Fran has me hold in the sides of my bikini underwear while I lie on my back. She puts some kind of powder on my bikini line area, and then uses a large popsicle stick to put warm, drippy wax on my bikini line. This part doesn't hurt.

Fran then places a small piece of paper over the area with the wax on it, asks me to hold the skin tight over that area with my fingers, and rips the paper off, opposite the direction of the hair growth. In stark contrast to putting the wax on, taking it off hurts. A lot. Not as much as I thought it would, but it's significant. I'm vaguely reminded of going to get a piercing - it's the same kind of fast, sharp, hurts-but-then-it's-over-and-you-feel-hardcore type of pain. It takes 2 pieces of paper per side, and she also has to dab back at a couple areas where she missed a hair or two. That part hurts a little bit more. She informs me that getting the shins of the legs waxed hurts like hell. Immediately after waxing a spot, she puts a cool tea tree lotion on it. My bikini line looks pretty red and angry, but it doesn't yet feel sore.

During the process, we've been making small talk and it turns out that the receptionist is an idiot. Apparently, one can't go tanning on the same day she gets waxed. Oh well, tanning's bad for my skin anyways. Brittany cuts my hair, and I leave the salon to go visit my roommate at the stationary store where she works.

About 5 minutes after I enter the store, my bikini line starts to feel pretty unhappy because the underwear edges are rubbing. I quickly leave the store, drive home, and change into sweat pants with no undies. I remain in sweats and no undies until I go out that night, in loose broken-in jeans and still no undies. Bikini line is still red and irritated when I get home sometime after midnight. On the plus side, I'm high and happy all day, probably due to a combination of endorphins and caffeine. Wheee!

Day 2:

It's Saturday, now there's little red bumps. I have to teach horseback riding outside, standing up in the cold for 5 hours. I pull on the previously mentioned g-string because it lies inside the bikini line, and head out. It feels okay, but I change back into the sweats as soon as I get home. More loose jeans Saturday night.

Day 3:

Still have little red bumps all over the place, but it's no longer sore to the touch, and it starts to look better by Sunday evening.

Day 4:

I'm now on my 4th day of no undies, and I'm starting to feel pretty silly. The red bumps are mostly gone, to the point where I wouldn't feel the need to explain them to someone who saw me in my underwear. However, the skin is still tender, and the idea of elastic/seams rubbing against the area makes me cringe. Elizabeth thinks I'm ridiculous, she wore undies the next day, as do most people. Apparently, I have crazy sensitive easily irritated skin. I guess that goes with being pale and blonde.

Day 5:

I'm back to my normal state of underwear-wearing. Huzzah! Bikini line looks good, I'd show it off if there were someone around who would appreciate it. I'm not sure it was worth $20 and the irritation. It's supposed to be better the second time around, and I'm a glutton for punishment, so I'll probably try it again. I'll update when I know how long the effects last. Keep your fingers crossed.

Epilogue:

The bikini line continued to look really good for about 2 1/2 weeks. At 3 I would have needed some touch up with a razor. Comments from a male acquaintance include, "Wow! That's a really clean bikini line!" Since you have to wait for it to grow out significantly before you can do it again, I don't think it's worth doing as a regular thing. I also don't buy the node below stating that the hair grows back thicker and wider, since that's contrary to all comments I've received from friends, salon workers, and doctors. However, since I've only done it once, I can't comment on long-term effects from personal experience.

No kind of sensation is keener and more active than that of pain; its impressions are unmistakable. - Marquis de Sade

A barbaric fashion fad begun in the late 20th century, one that history will doubtless consign to the same shelf in the "mindless abuse of women for sexual fetishism" archive as Chinese foot-binding.

The practice doubtless derivates from the morbid revulsion some indivuduals of the era experience towards signs of sexual maturity in women - including wide hips, heavy breasts, and in particular pubic hair in all its varieties - genital, under-arm and facial. The last two, considered particularly obscene, were almost universally expunged.

The ritual consists of applying hot wax (or other adhesive materials) to the genital area and tearing it away violently, plucking the hairs as it is peeled away from the skin. Many contradictory reports exist about the degree of pain this causes, but I think we can safely assume that even the most hardened sufferer would experience a medium to high degree of discomfort at having such nerve-rich tissue so agitated.

Unlike the surgical modification of the body and female genital mutilation, this procedure does not produce permanent effects. In fact, the genital hair tends to grow back thicker and wider the more it is subjected to epilation, and therefore the woman would have to repeat this painful, humiliating and bizarre treatment with increasing frequency throughout her sexually active life.

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