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Confessions of a Bikini Waxer

Illustrations by Elliot Salazar
Illustrations by Elliot Salazar

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I have been an aesthetician for almost 20 years. But, as far as learning to wax...that's a different story. Basically, I just went through cosmetology school, and was thrown into aesthetics (facials, waxing, etc.) at my first job. I did a crash course in skin care and brow waxing and all of that good stuff, but at the time, Brazilians were just starting—they weren't as pervasive as they are today. One day, my boss was just like, "There's a Brazilian in your book tomorrow!" But I had never done one before. So, she sent me a video tutorial to take home and I remember watching it over breakfast. My husband was there and there were some painters doing work in the house, and they were like, "What is this?!" I knew about as much as they did.

Long story short, it was baptism by fire. I just had to do it. It took me a long time, and I learned there's always a tricky situation to avoid—especially on people's butts. If you don't do it properly, one cheek sticks to the other and you can leave a hickey mark. There can be some really scary moments. Thankfully, everything turned out just fine. Except, the woman I was waxing kept talking about sex with her husband and how he's going to love this, and it was a little uncomfortable given that it was my first time. 

There are so many of those sorts of stories, and every aesthetician has one, but I have to say, bikini waxing allows you to really develop an intimate relationship with your client. There are plenty of people who can do facials or eyebrows, but, generally, once a regular decides to finally bite the bullet and come in for a Brazilian, I know that she's loyal. In fact, I've been seeing my regular Brazilian clients for over a decade. They're my most loyal clientele. And that's because the whole situation builds a mutual amount of trust—she's nervous or outside of her comfort zone, maybe, and I'm there to help in a way that hopefully feels delicate and safe. It's weird to say, but that can be somewhat rewarding. Here are a few more stories of my time at the table.

Playing For Keeps

Of course, it only got more interesting. My second client was absurdly neurotic when I would wax her. I used a hard wax, and every time I'd do a section, she'd ask for the pieces of wax with her hair in them because she wanted to see how much was removed. She'd collect it and take it home with her, asking for a paper towel to put it all in. You're in a position, as the aesthetician, where you have to be professional and you can't act like it's weird or uncomfortable—you just keep your cool no matter what.

Hot Wax...Is Hot?

Nobody tops my ultimate Brazilian client. This woman was sort of a VIP at the salon—she got very expensive haircuts and color with the owner, and then eventually started coming in for bikini waxing, and then she wanted Brazilian waxing, which is usually about how it goes. If I ever waxed her butt, she would say things like, "Oh, this is really hot." And, I would just pretend I didn't hear it. I tried to make conversation about, like, the most bland things or, you know, anything that doesn't have to do with what's actually happening. Usually you talk about the weather! But, she always got turned on. 

One time, she was actually moaning and she kept repeating that, saying, "This is really hot!" And, I just thought to myself, how can you change the topic? She doesn't eat gluten—let's talk about that! Nothing worked. She just kept moaning every time I would rip a section. Finally, I finished the service and left the spa room, but she ended up staying in there with the door closed for almost a half-hour. God knows what was going on. Later, she called the salon complaining that she got some sort of folliculitis or something like that; it was pretty much the ultimate nightmare.

Stringing Along

I have never quite understood why people don't reschedule their Brazilian waxes when they're on their period. I have had many women come in who are like, "I have my period, but it's the end and I have a tampon in!" 

You know, there are sanitary reasons, sure, but there are other things you need to worry about, too. One time, a woman's tampon string got caught by the wax. The wax pushed onto the string, so when I ripped off the strip, the tampon came right out with it. Thankfully, it was the end of her period, and we both just laughed hysterically. That had to be one of the funniest moments ever in my spa room.


Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

You're just very up close and personal with different parts of women's bodies. Once you've learned how to wax properly, it's all about applying pressure after, the angles of ripping the wax, the way you hold the skin taut, and then the body positions the client prefers, especially for the backside. Some women are flexible and can raise their legs over their head. I usually give clients the option of going on all fours—the idea of it is worse than the actual waxing part for some people. So, there's that position, or they can lay on their side and hold their buttocks up, but you have to let them know to not let go because otherwise the cheeks get stuck together! They'll get a little chuckle out of that. 

A Brazilian can really be about teamwork. Sometimes women have to hold their labia extra tight so they don't get pulled too hard, and then some people really don't have any, so there's not much of a circumference to get in and wax, which forces us to be inventive with positioning. I usually drape my clients, too, so I'm only waxing a certain exposed area at a time, which lends a feeling of security. If they hold the skin, it also helps them have more control and feel like they're involved. I've had a lot of people who start the service feeling very uncomfortable, but feel better by the time they leave.

Warm (Not Fuzzy!) Feelings

It's funny, because I've never thought about it in these terms, but bikini waxing in general has taught me that everyone's a little different down there. But we also have all these hang-ups with being naked or issues with our different body parts, and I have really learned that people shouldn't be so awkward about it. It's like, every female has a vagina—get over it! If you want it waxed, it's totally fine. It's a beautiful area, just as much as anything else. When I first started, I was horrified that I had to wax there. But, you know what? It's made me feel more body-positive, which makes it a better experience in general for my clients.

I know the nightmare stories are more fun to tell, but it's important to me to be able to see women regularly. Some of my clients were newly married or not at all married when they first came to see me, and now their kids are growing up before my eyes. I've had clients where I've seen them before their first baby, and I gave them a Brazilian before they gave birth—which a lot of women request. That's always really difficult because it's painful, and they're more sensitive, and it's more awkward to get in there, but it's kind of like preparing them for a big life moment and giving them a little bit more confidence or control before this massive event happens.

Then, of course, they have the baby and things change down there a little. It's kind of cool, because you develop a relationship with people that stands a long just makes them feel comfortable that they have this person who has seen them through all things and treats them all the same. It's good, in my work, to feel like you can be reassuring and positive to women who have been through all these things. You're sort of in it together.