French Bikini Wax

Woman waxed and wearing a white bikini
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If you want to dare to go bare, but not that bare, consider a French bikini wax. It's the stop between a regular wax and a Brazilian.

French Bikini Wax vs. the Brazilian Wax

If you're familiar with the Brazilian wax, you know that everything goes. Or just almost everything, in some cases. If you prefer, a Brazilian can leave a small strip of hair on the front, but everything else, from front to back-buh-bye!

The French wax, on the other hand, requires removal of the panties for only a small portion of the waxing process. You'll be left with a vertical strip about 2 to 3 fingers in width or an upside-down triangular patch of hair rather than nothing or a small strip typical of the Brazilian.

Also, unlike in a Brazilian wax, the French bikini wax does not include hair removal from the buttocks. It will go farther back to include the inner labia, which is more than the traditional bikini wax will remove.

Tips for Before You Wax

  • Exfoliate - Do this before and after your wax. Just use a loofah rather than anything harsh. This prevents ingrown hairs and generally makes the hair removal process a bit easier.
  • Trim - Go ahead and trim your hair down to about 2 centimeters in length.
  • Control pain -- About 30 to 45 minutes before arriving at the salon, take an Advil.
  • Numb -- Check with the spa or salon and find out if they have a numbing cream you can apply to the bikini area before you go in. Arrive roughly 45 minutes early to apply it, or purchase some ahead of time and put it on before going in. A good one is Relax and Wax No-Scream Cream.

The Process

Once you've exfoliated, trimmed, popped an Advil, and maybe even applied numbing cream to the area, it's time to get down to business. Scared? Don't be! If you've done your research and found a location with a great reputation, there's no need to fret. Not only will your wax be as pain-free as possible, but you can also take comfort in the fact that these gals have seen everything before. There's no need to be self-conscious.

If you've ever had a traditional bikini wax, the French one is very similar. The only difference is that you don't get to keep your panties on. It is also more painful, of course, due to the fact that this method of waxing takes hair from more delicate areas. The good news is, it gets better with time! The first wax is always the worst.

First, you'll be put in a room or behind a curtain so that you have privacy. The esthetician will tell you whether to keep your legs down or put your knees up. A hot (but not uncomfortably hot!) wax will be applied and allowed to cool. Once it's cool, the esthetician will remove it with quick motions to keep the level of pain to a minimum. It should be relatively painless if you chose the waxer well and prepared. If you need a rest due to the pain, don't be afraid to ask for it!

When to Skip It

If you're using Retinol products near your bikini line, you'll probably want to skip the wax for the time being due to increased sensitivity from the medications. Accutane is another drug it's best to finish taking before attempting a bikini wax.

If you have a sexually transmitted disease, you will not be able to have a bikini wax at most spas or salons.

Sunburned down there? You'll have to wait until it heals. The sunburned skin is already fragile and sensitive; a wax on top of that could prove to be one of the most excruciating things you've ever experienced.

The Benefits

  • Waxing results can last much longer than shaving results
  • No shaving bumps (but be advised that you may still get red bumps)
  • A cleaner look and feel than the one you get from traditional bikini waxes
  • Fewer odd, uncomfortable positions required than with the Brazilian for those who are uncomfortable with the idea of panties-off waxing but want the results.

Find Yours

You can visit the yellow pages in your phone book to locate salons and spas that may offer French bikini waxes, but if you prefer to read reviews first, check these sites:

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