Should You Go Full Brazilian?

In the past few years, the growing trend for south-of-the-Equator hair has been trending toward exactly the opposite. By that, we mean that women have been taking their normal bikini waxes Brazilian—and taking it all off. Still not sure if you’re ready to go full Brazilian—or even what exactly a full Brazilian means? We went straight to Cindy Barshop, the owner of New York City’s famed Completely Bare salon and former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City on Bravo, for all the answers.

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Cindy Barshop defines a Brazilian wax as including the “two side panels, taking a little off the top, and the bum, also.” (This is not the time to be bashful, ladies!) The whole backside issue is a personal preference, though, so you don’t have to go there if you don’t want to.

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To avoid a painful experience, it’s important to do your research and find a salon that specializes in Brazilian waxes. You should ask them a few key questions. “Make sure they use at least two types of waxes, and that they do laser and waxing at the place. Ask how long they’ve been in business, and if they can walk you through the process.” Salons like Completely Bare that specialize in Brazilians will even have their own special wipes, disposable underwear and prepping solution to clean the area beforehand.

Still in? Here’s what will go down (heh) at your session. The specialist will talk to you about the style and shape you’re interested in, and there will be a place to hang up your clothes. There will be disposable panties and towelettes if you’d like to clean off. Once you’re prepped, the technician will evaluate the area and decide whether to use stripless or strip wax. According to Barshop, “It depends on the hair length and the type of hair that’s there. If it’s finer or more sensitive hair, they’ll use stripless wax; if not, they’ll use strip wax.”

If you’re worried about the pain factor, there are a few ways to make your first trip to Brazil more tolerable. You can use products like Completely Smooth Hair Inhibitor ($42, Completelybare.com), which you should put on twice a day, to slow down hair growth and density so you require less wax. It will also hurt less if you avoid going during your menstrual cycle, and if you are having the technician wax smaller areas at a time.

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To maintain your Brazilian between waxes, you can use an at-home wax kit or keep using hair inhibitors to slow the growth. You can switch back and forth between regular bikini waxes and Brazilian ones, since it’s your decision how much of that area you leave bare.

What are the benefits to going full Brazilian? If you’re a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan, you’ll recall an episode from Season 1 where Kyle Richards was advised to get one to make a long bicycle race more comfortable. Cindy Barshop adds, “You feel a lot cleaner on both the inside and the outside, and a lot more well-groomed. It’s kind of like getting new lingerie!”

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