Getting a Brazilian bikini wax can be a nerve-wracking experience. You lie naked with your most vulnerable body parts not only exposed but inviting pain, and wondering whether the waxer can tell that you’d rather be waiting in line at the DMV, or if they know exactly how you like it in the bedroom.
During a Brazilian wax, the technician removes hair from the front all the way to the back, plus a strip for the butt. As the name implies, the service started in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s before popping up in the United States in the ’90s thanks to the Padilha sisters Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Janea, Jussara, Juracy and Judsela, better known as the J Sisters, who ran a salon offering Brazilian waxes in New York City.
The trend took off because it lasts longer than shaving and removes the entire hair follicle versus just cutting it like during shaving. Still, it can cause discomfort and a severe level of awkwardness between clients and their waxers.
We talked to professional waxers to figure out exactly what they can tell about clients during a session — and what they learn about clients’ hygiene habits and sex lives.
They can tell how nervous you are.
Skin Studio Arizona’s Rachel Berg said the top question she receives from clients pertains to the level of pain they can expect. “The biggest question is, ‘Does it hurt?’” she said. “When somebody asks that, right off the bat, they’re nervous.”
Questions about before and aftercare show “they are eager, because they want to be prepared,” Berg said. “A lot of people dismiss the before and aftercare, which is very unfortunate, because that’s probably one of the most important parts of waxing [to get] optimal results.”
Berg looks at body language for some cues. “They’re kind of gripping onto what they’re bringing in, like a purse or something. That body language [shows] they’re nervous,” she said.
Jamie Conner, a senior field trainer at European Wax Center, said another non-verbal clue indicates a client’s hesitancy.
“How many folds of the pants tells me how nervous someone is to be waxed,” Conner said. “Someone who doesn’t really have a fear, they’re undressed before you can tell them to get undressed. Someone who’s a little bit more hesitant has folded the underwear, has folded the shirt, has folded the pants and socks, tied the shoes back up — anything they can do to delay the process.”
They can tell how much it hurts, even if you try to hide it.
Before Waxxpot head trainer Mallori McGuire even applies a strip, she sees the jitters come out.
“When you go and wipe them, sometimes people will be jumpy even then,” McGuire said. “I try to be good about announcing what I’m doing as I’m doing it. I don’t like to startle people.”
Once the service really gets going, a client doesn’t need to yell or scream to indicate their pain level.
“When somebody’s clenching their hands or if their eyes are closed, also just not talking a lot,” McGuire said. “Or you’ll be asking them a question and then you’ll go to pull and the conversation’s going to stop for like 30 seconds. They’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, sorry, I just had to breathe for a second.’ That’s obviously a sign that it probably didn’t feel the best.”
They can tell when your last shower was and whether you’ve cleaned up beforehand.
“We can tell if they have showered or not that day. We can definitely tell how long it has been,” Purele Waxing’s Purnima Relekar said. “We have this big poster in our salon that tells them step by step what to do and the No. 1 point in that poster is shower the day of. You will be surprised how many people don’t.”
Relekar knows this because of “the way the skin looks” and “how much dead skin they have.” She said the wax works differently with “unwashed, dirty skin.”
Conner can even tell what kind of products her clients use down there. Irritation, redness and hyperpigmentation usually mean a client applies scented products in their nether regions. “Usually it looks angry; it’s just very red,” she said. “A lot of products are not meant to hit our inner labia or to get [near] the vagina at all.”
When the waxer goes around back, they’ll know who followed directions at the top of the appointment. “Before our clients sit down, we leave wipes out for them. We tell them, go ahead and take it from front to back,” McGuire said. “I can tell when somebody has not done that.”
The evidence shows up in the form of a brown waxing strip. “That does happen sometimes,” McGuire said. “I’ve never had it that it was so horrible that I don’t just ignore it. Normally, I’m moving on with my day.”
Same goes for when a client starts menstruating on the table. “I’m just going to kind of go around it. I’m also not going to embarrass them,” Berg said. “I always tell people, ‘You might have started your period,’ and the amount of times that people are so embarrassed by it, it’s honestly kind of sad. It’s a totally normal thing.”
When it comes to business around back, “you’ll be surprised how many people have hemorrhoids,” Relekar said. “You can definitely tell. There’s a lot of pressure going on there.”
Here’s what they know about your sex life.
“The only thing I can tell is that you actively had sex and then came in,” Conner revealed.
But providers can’t deduce how often a client does the deed. “If they have sex a lot or if they don’t, there’s nothing that you can tell by,” Berg said.
How a client decides to style the hair down there can also be a sign of how they approach their intimate life. “It tells me how conservative someone is,” Conner said. “Some people are very bashful about removing all of the hair. Some people say, ‘I hear the people are out here doing landing strips. I hear you can color it. I hear you can do a stencil.’ They want to get creative.”
Relekar claims to know when a female client is pregnant, which should be disclosed ahead of the service, because of how the waxed area swells up. “I have asked a couple of girls, ‘Are you pregnant?’” she said. “You can definitely tell a pregnant woman from a non-pregnant woman.”
The good news: They’re not paying too much attention to your anatomy.
At the end of the day, the pros consider removing hair from the body’s most sensitive areas all in a day’s work.
“As a professional, I’m not looking at what your anatomy is,” Conner said. “I’m looking at the hair that needs to be removed. I think most of us don’t care. And I don’t care what you’re doing with it afterward. I’m just going to tell you to keep it clean, because you’re more susceptible to bacteria because you waxed today.”
McGuire agrees. “Once you’ve been a waxer for at least a year, you become pretty immune to anything that the average person might think is crazy or weird,” she said. “Everyone always asks me if I have any stories and I’m like, honestly, it doesn’t really surprise you anymore. Your waxer is going to forget about what your vagina looks like as soon as you leave the building. So it’s nothing to be shy or anxious about.”