Allow Me to Tell You Why Giving Yourself Your First Brazilian Is a Terrible Idea

It's basically SAW: Beauty Edition.
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It's basically SAW: Beauty Edition.

If something sounds like a bad idea, there's a strong chance it is bad idea. You know all those car-insurance commercials satirically warning you about the consequences of cutting corners? There is no better lesson as to the dire consequences of that as when it involves your sensitive crotch pouch and hot, rippy hair removal. 

First of all, let me echo what luxury department-store salesgirls love to purr at you while ogling designer fragrances: Some things are worth paying for. Someone to wax your vulva so you don't have to is one of those things. 

I am not a huge pain-baby, mind you. I have watched every gory horror movie out there for pure entertainment, and when it comes to beauty (and sometimes medical stuff) I can tolerate a fair share of discomfort. Also, it's not like I haven't waxed other parts of my body before, including sensitive areas like my upper lip. 

In my "bodies are weird" logic, I likened the flimsy skin around my vagina as possessing the same nerve distribution as, say, pulling on elbow skin. Can feel pressure, yes — sensation, a bit less so. Having knowledge of the sensation of waxing, I figured a quick yank should be not-awesome but wholly tolerable. 

Why would I want to landscape my pubic hair into a neat little strip above a cleared pasture? That's nobody's business but mine! Also, I like how it feels sometimes. Embracing body hair is cool (still haven't shaved my pits in months) but there is something intimately "getting to know you" about reacquainting yourself with your fully-shorn vulva, so you can feel how velvety and suede-like your precious yoni is. It's kind of like how when hot dudes with beards and mustaches shave it all off and you're like, "Oh, so that's what you look like!" Some parts that I assumed would be pink were more purple. Some bits are longer than I formerly knew. Vaginas are fun! TMI is fun!

So, how to choose a wax? Get the one that says it's for the "bikini" area, is what my brain rationalized at the drugstore. I read somewhere that hard waxes not requiring strips are somehow superior and easier to use; on that vague notion, I pick up a box of the kind you microwave, thinking I wasn't quite committed enough to buy the whole chemistry set yet, so this will do. Mistake number one. 

They are all the same: deceptively inefficient.

They are all the same: deceptively inefficient.

Don't fuck with the microwaveable stuff for anything larger than an eyebrow. Why? It will only take two forms when "prepped": scalding hot honey liquid or warm but way too taffy-like to spread evenly let alone cover enough hair to yank effectively. Both options are things you don't want to put on this delicate area.

So, fast-forward to me sitting cross-legged and naked from the waist down on the floor of my bedroom in front of a full-length mirror, straining to curl myself downwards while mentally strategizing which area of my labia to start torturing first. 

Dramatization.

Dramatization.

I choose a meaty portion of one side of the hotdog bun and attempt to butter the fast-cooling wax onto it with the popsicle stick that comes in the wax kit. I was only able to press a glob onto the skin that immediately dragged and skipped, not creating an even strip of wax but more like attempting to spread frozen butter onto toast. This was unexpected — alarming, even. As soon as the glob was separated from the mini tub of wax, it immediately started to harden. I did not have much time—in fact, time was an illusion in this case. 

So I'm stuck with a very unideal glob on a fairly fuzzy area of my vulva and there is only one way to get it off. I started stress-sweating, making my palms damp. I took a deep breath, gripped the "tag" I was instructed to sculpt (so you can grab onto for the yanking part), took a few more deep breaths and yanked. 

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First of all, no one should hear their body make a velcro sound, like ever. I would rather hear the squelching sound of someone vomiting in a public bathroom stall next to me than hear the sound of my own pubic hair ejected from their follicles en masse.

Oh, but that's not even the worst part. There was nothing in my hand but a tiny tag of wax. The rest of the glob was dangling off my skin, halfway removed with some hairs in it, most of the hair still firmly rooted in and tangled up in wax. The sweatiness of my hands combined with my shitty tag-sculpting skills were strike one in this masochistic pastime. 

Having no choice but to do a double rip, I hemmed and hawed a bit, letting the area calm down before another assault. 

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The second rip removed the entire wax piece from my vagina, leaving more hair there than was worth the pain and anxiety. At this point, my butt had also learned to stress-sweat, dampening the towel it was sitting on.

And this is the part where you start screaming at the screen like a badly predictable horror movie: I tried to repeat the same thing again on the other side. I did have the foresight to put the wax in the microwave again for 30 seconds (as instructed) to warm it up. Look, I realize all these microwavable joints tell you not to exceed 20 seconds at a time, but 20 seconds does nothing — NO. THING. — to an eight-ounce tub of hard wax, OK? This proved to be successful in making the wax the consistency of molasses, which I figured would make it easier to spread. 

But wait! As soon as you remove a bit with the popsicle stick, you have literally 1.5 seconds before it also hardens to an unspreadable chrysalis. Also, it was much hotter than before. How both of these things can occur at the same time is perplexing and painful. 

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Directions in one hand, furiously attempting to flick up a wax tag with the other before the wax completely became unmovable, I realized that you're not supposed to let the wax cool and harden all the way — you're supposed to work with cooled-down-but-not-quite-solid wax. Damn, I played myself. 

Verging on too-late and having not managed to create a grip-able tag, I peeled back some wax and let 'er rip. 

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Guys, I legit cried. Tears fell out of my eyes and onto my red and angry vulva, which was throbbing at me, Mom, why? Mom, I thought I was special and protected. I don't understand, Mom.

If you think that wax strip came off in one piece — TWIST! It did not. I removed half of it before the middle, which was softer than the edges, separated. This meant I still had half a wax strip to go. I peeled back the edge from the other side of the strip and again, let 'er rip. 

Both strips held a few weak hairs but still left a bunch of hair behind. The punishment for this futility is a super-pissed-off vulva, the bottom of which was stuck to my towel since my body heat had melted bits of wax into the terry cloth and to my butt. 

Don't be like me, you guys. Pay a nice professional lady to wax your hotdog buns for you. It will still hurt, but it will be swift, effective, and less sweaty probably, but still kind of undignified. But don't be shy — she's definitely seen every kind of vagina, and yours is no weirder than anyone else's. 

When my vulva had calmed down from this half-assed trauma, I went to a local salon on the recommendation of a friend to finish the job. It was $30 and took literally six minutes. No tears, no stress. I tipped well. 

  • Have you guys ever tried waxing at-home?
  • Got any tips?
  • Got any horror stories?