During one of our weekly 9Lives editorial meetings the conversation shifted towards bikini waxes (no topic is off-limits in our meetings — if you don’t believe me, check out my article on menstrual cups here). When our colleagues found out that three of us in the office had never had bikini waxes, Tasha, Marié and I were… coerced? … forced? to endure this rite of passage.
We each had wildly different experiences, which we’ll be sharing with you, so whether you’re also new to the world of waxing, or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, check out our stories below.
When I booked my appointment for my first ever wax, I decided that in order for me to get the full experience, I was going to have to go all out. I took a deep breath and booked myself for a full Hollywood (also known as a G-string wax at some spas).
So, on a sunny Saturday morning, I steeled myself and headed off to my first ever wax. When the treatment specialist found out that I had booked a full Hollywood for my first time, I could see the trepidation in her eyes as she got the wax ready for me. She warned me that it would hurt, and said that we could stop to take a break whenever I needed to. I think she did this to put me at ease, but it had the complete opposite effect on me — suddenly I was a bit more hesitant and I was doubting my decision, silently cursing my colleagues.
I’ll spare you the gory details, but here are a few of my highlights and observations:
- First things first, I don’t know whether I have an unusually high pain tolerance, but my experience was mostly painless! Sure, it’s no walk in the park, but I’ve had worse experiences with leaving Veet on a few seconds too long or trying to shave with a dull razor.
- Be prepared for small-talk. I HATE small-talk — I once avoided going for a haircut for four years to avoid the banal chit chat. However, this is a situation where small-talk definitely has its advantages. While she was working, my technician chatted away about her gym habits, her job and her boyfriend. Now, I couldn’t care less about any of what she said, but it definitely made me feel more relaxed and distracted me from the fact that I barely knew the woman who I was getting to know me VERY intimately.
- Don’t feel awkward. Just remember that the technician has seen more women naked than you can imagine, and that this is just a part of their job. If you do feel uncomfortable with being completely uncovered, most salons have disposable paper g-strings you can wear for privacy during your wax.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. Yes, the wax is hot, and yes it’s going to sting a bit, but don’t be afraid to speak up if something feels off to you. The wax should feel warm on your skin, but definitely shouldn’t burn when being applied. And if you think she missed a spot or you want to take a break, say something! They can’t read your mind, and you don’t want to feel like you’ve lived through a war or go home looking patchy!
- Aftercare is key. Be gentle when you shower and try to use unscented soaps and lotions whenever possible. And make sure to exfoliate (gently) with a shower sponge or loofah to prevent ingrown hairs.
How bad was the pain? 2/10
How likely would I be to do it again? 10/10 (I already went for my second wax 7 weeks later!)
So a few things changed during the course of this challenge. Originally this was just supposed to be a bikini wax. No biggie, right? But then Carmen went in for hers and came back with the conclusion that it wasn’t so bad, we might as well go the whole way. And because that stupid little voice was going “if she can do it, you can” I signed up for a Hollywood. And that’s where the trouble started.
As I started pacing the floors of our office, a mere 30 minutes before I had to take my cat for some grooming, a few colleagues made the most of the situation by asking me a couple pointed questions. How well looked after? How much have I experienced? A casual oh hey, your hair’s not that thick, you’ll be fine…
Uhm, not at all, it’s been a while since the cat’s been…. Brushed. Experience? Does having had my eyebrows waxed count as an experience? And that comment? Let’s not even go there. Then the laughter, pained on my account, started and the stress went from a five to a twelve real fast. Even the glass of Chenin I’d downed before the time didn’t seem to be helping.
I realised that wasn’t even how much pain I was about to be in that was freaking me out the most (even though I’m sweating at the thought), but the fact that I was about to bare parts of myself that a select few people have seen, to another person whose name I didn’t even know. The sweating got worse.
“Do I shake her hand afterwards? Do I offer to take her out for drinks afterwards, I mean, fuck. She’s just seen my cat in it’s pure, unadulterated form.”
Then Marié and I stopped wandering around the streets of Stellenbosch, trying to put the moment off, and headed into Jeni’s. The moment had come. I was about to regret a whole more…. Was it just me, or was the world getting dark?
The moment to drop trou had come and gone and a casual onlooker would have seen me talking a mile a minute to the beauty technician (whose name I still do not know), trying to ignore the hot wax currently cooling on what was about to become a war zone. Just to clarify, the Hollywood had turned into a Brazilian.
The first strip that parted from my body was probably the worst, since I had a measure of what was to come afterwards. I can’t say that the experience was a relaxing one, since I’m sure all my muscles were locked in tight to stop me from hopping off the bed, but I would say that the results were totally worth it. Would I go back? Maybe after a couple more glasses of wine with that irritating little voice in my head cajoling me on since it’s getting a little…. Fluffy down there again.
Also, to the super professional, super easy going and efficient ladies at Jeni’s in Stellenbosch, I apologise for all the stressing, squeaks and unnecessary questions. I raise my glass to you.
A little heads up, if you’re going for something like this, there are a few take home care instructions for your newly groomed cat.
No harsh physical activity for 24 hours. If you have sensitive skin like mine, make that 48 hours. And yes, that includes the fun kind of physical activity.
Stay away from overly constrictive clothing like g-strings and tight pants, you’re not going to want anything except a bag of ice touching you down there for a while.
You’re going to want to hop into a shower or bath when you get home, just make sure that the temperature of the water is more lukewarm than hot. Your skin’s basically just had trauma inflicted on it, don’t make it worse.
How bad was the pain? 7/10
How likely would I be to do it again? 10/10 (Just not a Hollywood!)
Grooming is a big part of any girl’s life, but I’m a bit lazy when it comes to shaving and such (ask the friend whose car I shaved my legs in before a date) and when I hear words like wax, I immediately shit my pants.
But with the help of my colleagues, Carmen and Tasha, we decided to break our waxing virginities.
Here are my tips to make your first wax a bit better:
- Don’t wear jeans! It is really awkward to jump in your tight jeans while the lady is in the room, and walking like a penguin after the wax is something I don’t wish on anyone.
- Don’t forget to breathe. I held my breath everytime I thought something is going to happen and I think I started to become pale, because you can’t keep your breath up for a whole 20 minutes. It helped me to inhale just before she pulled the wax of and to exhale while it happened.
- I wished I hadn’t used Veet a few weeks before my wax. Just let nature go it’s own way and then book your appointment for your wax.
- Drink a glass or 2 of wine beforehand. It helps with the nerves and the pain is a bit better because of the alcohol.
- Go with a friend, it was so much better knowing that Tasha was just outside the door. The giggles afterwards also helped with the experience.
How bad was the pain? 8/10
How likely would I be to do it again? 6/10
So there you have it! All in all, it wasn’t that bad, there was just a little more swearing that had taken place in the real world. Would we suggest it?
Yes, totally. Just make sure you’ve got a bottle of wine and a good mate on hand to make it go down a little easier.
Tasha and Marié, I’m sorry that you guys had to go through this with me, but I feel like we’re a little closer than we used to be. Girls, you rock.