If anyone tells you a bikini wax won’t hurt, they’re lying. But that’s not an excuse to neglect the territory, especially if you’ll be wearing a swimsuit this summer. I chatted with owner of California’s Queen Bee Salon & Spa and waxer extraordinaire Jodi Shays to find out how to make the experience more tolerable.

Follow these tips, and you won’t suffer through a wax:  

1. Do your research to find a waxer. How do you know if a pro is good? 1. When you call the salon for an appointment, request the most experienced person. 2. If you have to book the esthetician in advance, you can assume she’s good. 

2. Don’t get a bikini wax on a Saturday. They’ll rush you. It’s better to go on a Monday or Tuesday when salons are less busy.

3. A few days before the appointment, wash the area with a glycolic cleanser or

salicyclic acid. Both have antibacterial properties, which helps clear dirt and oil and prevent ingrowns. You should also do the same post wax. The Queen Bee antibacterial pads (shown below) are made for the bikini zone and are easy to use. 

4. On the day of your appointment, exfoliate the area gently with a dry brush beforehand. This will remove dead cells and make it easier to remove the hair.

5. If possible, take a warm shower beforehand. This also helps to soften skin and make hair removal easier.

6. Take an Advil 20 minutes before the appointment.

7. The key to a less painful wax is to not tense up. To make this possible, do breathing exercises with a deep yoga breath to help calm your nerves during the service.

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