Running Bare: Your Questions About Brazilian Waxes Answered

Salty Valu Brazilian Wax
Friends, I’m here to talk to you about something few women runners like to talk about: your hairy lady parts. More specifically, let’s chat about Brazilian waxes.

Are you skeptical of Brazilians (the waxes, silly) or wondering whether they’re compatible with your hardcore running lifestyle? Are you wondering what happens during a Brazilian wax? Why you might consider getting one? Or what to expect after a wax? Read on!

Don’t we have pubes for a reason?

While some argue pubic hair is there to prevent bacteria from entering your orifices or to protect your sensitive skin from chaffing, neither claim is substantiated. The only thing we’re clear on, is that from an evolutionary standpoint, pubes are there to capture your scent to attract a mate.

Who knew bars and Tinder made pubes obsolete? For me, having already attracted a mate, and being fine not having the scent available to attract another one, I felt satisfied that I didn’t need mine. Pubes: the appendix of the lady parts.

Are there any practical benefits to Brazilians?

62% of American women admit to complete removal of their pubic hair. Most of these women are going bare for cosmetic purposes. I did not start waxing because I thought it looked hot. Instead, I began my love affair with Brazilian waxes in the summer of 2013 to stop painful crotch chafing. I was marathon training through the hot Texas summer and I experienced levels of sweatiness unlike any I’d ever experienced. I learned the hard way that running for hours in soaking wet clothes resulted in chafing in places that Body Glide couldn’t reach. Some quick research eventually led me to my local spa where I disrobed from the waist down and placed my trust in the hands of a very friendly esthetician. I’ve been chafe-free down below ever since. An added benefit for me is that it’s also enhanced my sex-life!

Won’t a Brazilian hurt like a mofo?

The first wax is the most painful, sort of like the first run back after a long time off. But each wax gets less and less painful, and now that I’ve been going regularly I’m able to chat with my esthetician while she does my wax, casually covering my clitoris so she doesn’t inadvertently wax it off. Like with most procedures, a Brazilian wax is made less painful in the hands of a skilled technician.

Um, isn’t it kinda … awkward?

Well, yes. It’s totally awkward, especially if you’re like me and tend to try to use humor to diffuse awkward situations, thereby making them more awkward. But the estheticians are professionals and aren’t phased; as one told me, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. To alleviate any more discomfort, I’m going to walk you through a procedure so you know exactly what to expect.

If I were to get a Brazilian, what should I expect?

First, you disrobe from the waist down and use a wipe to clean yourself off. The esthetician will usually then apply powder to your skin and wipe everything down one more time. She typically starts with the mons pubis [NSFW], which is the most painful, so do not panic after the first rip. She’ll apply small amounts of wax and either let it dry and pull it off (hard wax) or put a fabric strip on and pull it off (soft wax). She’ll immediately apply pressure to the area to help with the pain.

The majority of the hair that causes chafing and irritation is just around the bikini line and around the outer labia [NSFW], so some runners will leave some hair on the pubic mons (my esthetician calls this a landing strip). She’ll continue this procedure for your inner and outer labia.

These were no match either.
These were no match for summer heat and humidity either.

After the front and sides are done comes the most awkward (but least painful) part of the experience: the “back strip” or simply the hair between your butt cheeks and around your anus. You can skip this part, but I generally get it done. The “back strip” is made awkward by the position that you need to get yourself into in order for the esthetician to reach the hairs.

In my experience and from what I’ve read, there are four common positions:

  1. Lifting your butt up off the table while lying on your back and holding your cheeks apart with your hands while the esthetician does her thing;
  2. Naked child’s pose, where you stick your naked bum into the air;
  3. Lying on your side and holding one butt cheek up (I did this once and my esthetician said “don’t let go or you’ll never be able to go to the bathroom again!” No pressure!);
  4. Lying on your stomach.

The salon that I go to prefers the lying-on-your-stomach method, which I’m told is more work for the esthetician but far more comfortable for the guests. The same procedure will occur: she’ll apply wax in small areas, wait for it to dry or use a piece of fabric to rip it off. All in all, the procedure takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

What can I expect after the wax?

The results last four to six weeks, though the speed your hair grows does vary and regrowth for some can start much faster. One of the oft-cited downsides of Brazilians is the need to regrow the hair a bit before you can wax again. One thing to consider is the more frequently you wax, the finer the hair that grows back will be.

The biggest complaint about Brazlians are ingrown hairs or otherwise irritated skin afterwards. To prevent ingrown hairs, regularly use a gentle exfoliant. I use a sugar scrub on my parts to keep ingrown hairs at bay between waxes. For irritated skin, a little moisturizer with aloe may soothe it.

***

I’m not trying to tell you what to do with your pubic hair. But if you’re tired of the post-long run cowboy waddle and trying to contort into a pretzel to put on your Body Glide, give Brazilian waxes a try!

What’s your personal pube policy? Ever had a Brazilian? What’s your experience been?

I am a stay at home mom and group fitness instructor from South Texas. I love reading, wine, and travel. I write about trends, injury prevention and maintenance, and satire. I am training to break 1:30 in the half marathon sometime soon, and for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

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11 comments

  1. This is so great. I have been getting Brazilian bikini waxes for YEARS! That first one was horrendous, as well as the first one after my twins were born since I had to stop for a little while there, but I absolutely love them for cleanliness, running and in the bedroom for sure. I think it’s great you’re writing so candidly about it because this is what I talk to my girlfriends about.

  2. Ive tried the waxing thing, but the time and money, not to mention the ingrown hairs and itchy stubble, made me abandon it after a few months. Can’t I have at least one body part that’s acceptable in its natural state??

    1. Totally with you, Caraway. Waxing was expensive, painful, and then didn’t result in the anticipated Barbie-smooth perfect skin for 4-6 weeks. Instead, I had bright red itchy bumps (sexy!) that lasted for a few days and hair regrowth within a week. Then the fact that you have to let it grow long enough for it to get waxed off again meant I was walking around hairy and waiting for a couple weeks. I tried it (not the full-on Brazilian, btw) for several months hoping for the hair to grow back thinner and lighter, but nope. Exfoliating then shaving with a triple-bade razor and moisturizing well works better for me. #75%aunaturale 🙂

  3. So how often do you need to get it done? I’m sure it varies by individual, but ballpark? I’ve been so curious. No chaffing issues but always wondered about stubble btwn waxes. Awesome post by the way. I’m randomly snickering at work 🙂

  4. I’m too uncomfortable to let somebody that close to my LadyBits that isn’t making them HappyBits or ensuring they are NonCancerousBits! But lack of chafing also means it’s not a necessity, though I’m sure waxing is much easier/less maintenance than shaving!

  5. Thanks for this post. On a slightly different note, I just wanted to say something about the image. As a runner and a woman of color, I am sort of floored by the racial implications it raises, and I think it’s super important to acknowledge this, whether this was just coincidence or not in composition. The picture seems to reflect a common pattern where a waxing service provider would be a person of color, and the client a white person. This is true to life, but I think it’s super important to take a step back to think about how the picture suggests unequal footing of a certain kind. Are the two Barbies placed this way because we are viewing this as pattern in our time that needs work? Or is it because we expect footing to be unequal? I hope the first!

    The kinds of jobs certain kinds of people tend to take, and the kinds of luxuries certain kinds of people can afford, relate to patterns of race and wealth and privilege in this country. There’s nothing wrong with either groups participating in these ways, but let’s be careful not to be so quick to assume it’s just dandy that certain groups perform certain roles by default.

    For the record, I happen to know know that the pic looks this way for practical reasons. But I hope images like this can get us to talk about bikini waxing’s benefits, yes, but also to acknowledge how the luxury of waxing is tied to work taken on by very specific groups of people who live with probably very different circumstances. Thanks!

    1. I can’t believe that once again, race is dragged into a conversation that has nothing to do with race. I’m a person of color, and I’m sick of other people of color trying to make EVERYTHING about race. The estetician barbie (I can’t even believe this has to be addressed) had to go to school to learn this, so she’s educated and is employed, and probably makes a pretty good living.
      This in no way is stereotyping someone
      or any specific race. OMG. We have had a
      black president (we can do better than him next time) , black CEO’s, black and brown military leaders, cops, black, Asian, Indian TV shows that are mainstream, black congress people, people of color governors, astronauts, TV stars
      billionaires, sports stars etc etc etc. We are
      only 10% of the population, yet we are pretty
      well represented in society. Stop crying every
      time a person of color is seen somewhere in a
      position of weakness or service… Get off our
      collective butts and work hard for what you
      want and no one will hold you back. Not even a
      picture of a black barbie performing a paid
      service to a white barbie. Stop crying about
      unfair representations and look around and see
      how good you really have it. All this whining
      makes us look weak, needy and petty. It doesn’t
      help race relations in any way. It makes them
      worse. The only people noticing and whining
      about stupid little things these days are our
      own people… We are the ones who are looking
      racist. If we put as much energy and time into
      working and raising our kids to care about
      personal responsibility, as we do whining, we
      would be years ahead of where we stagnate
      now. Grow up. Stop complaining. Stop
      bringing attention to these petty, silly, stupid
      perceived slights. They aren’t even there… We
      are the ones making it all about race. After all
      those years of struggle to not be seen only by
      color, WE ARE THE ONES MAKING IT ALL ABOUT COLOR. Wake up, before it really is too late, and see the harm this is doing to our communities. Stop being whining, needy, petty, dividers, and start being grateful for where we are now. We are the ones being divisive. I never thought I would have to say this to my own community, but stop seeing only color! Stop making it all about race! We need to be better than that. Don’t you see we are doing exactly what we condemn non people of color of doing? STOP MAKING IT ALL ABOUT RACE.