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August 25, 2011

To Wax, Shave, or Laser your, um... Lady Parts?


by Sherrell Dorsey of Organibeautyvixen.com

A few weeks ago, my work out crew and I were stretching in the park after a run. One of my friendsbrought up a terrible experience she had just had at a spa after getting a bikini wax and asked everyone else what they did to “tame the shrew”.

The older I get, the more comfortable I am with talking about the va-jay-jay even when it comes to grooming. Oddly enough, when I worked as an esthetician, I gave a variety of bikini waxes to women of all walks of life, so I see our private areas as more of a science than something to hide away.

Nonetheless, as a brown woman what’s the best way to keep that lovely area groomed? Although most services and products come with their own level of pain and discomfort, our skin color and hair texture has a lot to do with which hair removal method is best for you.

Here’s an intimate guide to down-below hair removal for those too afraid to ask:

Waxing – Hold your breath and pull tight to undergo this quick but slightly painful procedure. While effective, on brown girls with coarse hair, removing hair with wax can be a little tricky and your technician may need to go over the same spot several times. The more you wax, the easier the hair will come out so if you stick with this method, you should do just fine. Try to find a spa that uses a natural or organic wax so that you’re not breathing in toxic fumes.

Shaving – You’ll have to invest time and money into keeping everything clean and you may have to shave every other day for a smooth finish. There are some razors you can buy with a small shaver made just for the bikini line. The only disadvantage to shaving is that hair can potentially grow back thicker and also cause your skin to become darker and you could risk ingrown hairs. Be careful and use plenty of light so that you don’t knick yourself below the belt.

Lasers – Zap away unwanted hair for a removal process that keeps hair at bay a little longer than any of the other processes. It does burn a little but again, like waxing, the more you do it, the less the pain you will endure. Most lasers don’t work that well on brown skin as they spot dark hair to remove it and can mistake pigmented skin for dark hair. There are a few places that have lasers that work on dark skin, but it’s far and few between. Ask your spa if theirs would work on you otherwise, don’t waste your money.

Nair – Just stay away. Nair has a harsh chemical smell that I wouldn’t put on my skin, let alone on a sensitive area.

Sugaring – It’s almost like waxing but with warm sugar. I haven’t tried the sugaring method myself but I hear it’s a little less painful, creates a nice smooth finish and is a fairly quick process. This natural hair removal method can last up to six weeks!

Different strokes for different folks people!

Let me know which methods you prefer or if you found something else that’s just as effective.


Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating OrganicBeautyVixen.com, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site TypeF.com, Jones Magazine, MySalonScoop.com and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at www.twitter.com/organicvixen and connect with her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OBVMedia

65 Chime in!:

Lori said...

I stand by waxing 100%...full brazilian baby. It's the only thing that works on my senseitive skin. Razor or even trimming of any kind leads to tons of irritation and ingrows that ultimately lead to pesky hyperpigmentation= no swimsuits or sexy wear. While I still have to deal with hyperpigmented skin of years past, sticking with waxing has helped and I'm looking into maybe getting some chemical peels to deal with the old scars that may not otherwise go away!

Mzmillion said...

I'm a shaver. I use an electric shaver and razor but mostly just electric one kinda like the one to do your hair.... it's quick and painless and it keeps you neat. But when I need the baby smoothness, I do use both, shaver and razor.

keipinit100 said...

I've only waxed once and didn't mind it. I went to a natural wax salon, the lady was very nice and she didn't make me feel bad about my size. As a, ehem, bigger girl, shaving can often be a bit difficult and I was worried that waxing would be an uncomfortable experience. But it wasn't. Once I start gettin a regular paycheck, I intend to start waxing regularly!

Anonymous said...

Mzmillion which electric shaver do you use? Can you give me the name of it? I'm a shaver too, but I have experienced irritations and the hyperpigmentation! :( I want to minimize this as much as possible! NOT CUTE!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a waxer all the way (Sharon @ Trim in Chicago), but I also swear by the Skin Wellness Center if you are of color and looking for laser hair removal (Dr. Brooke Jackson).

Anonymous said...

I've tried bikini waxes twice, and found it to be pretty painful. I don't shave because of ingrown hairs. I currently use nair, and still have some ingrown hairs, but way less than I would if I shaved.

I'm willing to switch back to waxing, but here's my question: how often do most women go, and how long does it take to adjust? Maybe the two times I went were too far apart...

Help! I'd like it to look pretty down there :-/

Aishah said...

HAIR DOES NOT GROW BACK THICKER WHEN YOU SHAVE. That is a myth. Normally long hairs taper into a point, but if you shave it you are producing a lot of blunt ends and when it grows back it will SEEM thicker.

I get a lot of ingrown hairs (painful) so I've I've had a Brazilian wax and used to shave regularly. Loved the results but as the hairs grew back it was the most uncomfortable thing ever. Now I shave but not with a razor I use a clipper attachment on my epilator. (Epilators are awesome for your legs and pits BTW. Painful but great results that last as long as waxing.)

Anonymous said...

Wow...this has been a question on my mind for the past month or so. I recently made an appointment for next week to have my underarms lasered...but I was kinda scared to do that to my bikini line. I will consider waxing first and if that doesn't work for me then I'll try the laser. Shaving is just not my thing.

Thanks for the info ladies.

Nothing like feeling a cool breath on a low cut fade....

Lori said...

Yay anon 12:28...I'm so going to make an appt!

Candace4life said...

I just trim my kitty kat down real low. I did shave it off completely bald, and that right there was a mistake. Humph my kitty was on fire and and the growing back of hair, my kitty was itching like crazy. It looked pretty but was not worth the itching and stubble as it gradually grew back in.. I actually like my hair down there but when it stays long, because its actually like an 3c/4a. I don't think I could do the wax on the kitty, tried it on my eyebrows and that drew tears in my eyes from all the pain. But since it's going to be getting cool in about 2 more months, it's nice to have fur and stay warm during the cooler months of winter.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to switch back to waxing, but here's my question: how often do most women go, and how long does it take to adjust? Maybe the two times I went were too far apart...

Ruby said...

I use an epilator... got the bikini epilator although its painful at first, you get used to it and your skin stays smooth and no ingrown hairs!!!! moreover it lasts for weeks

ChrLvsBks said...

Waxing for me. It lasts about three weeks. I go to a salon that specializes in skin treatments for people of color. I also shave when I am not able to wax.

Anonymous said...

Nothing but a slight trim with scissors. Why should I look like I have not gone through puberty?????????

Anonymous said...

I epilate my bikini area and armpits. Works like a charm but somewhat painful. I have never waxed, but I hear the pain is about the same level as waxing. I have lots of coarse, thick hair so I often have to go areas more than once, but I prefer it over shaving. I have started epilating a mere 3 month ago and I do it every 2 weeks to keep the new growth manageable. I still get ingrown hairs sometimes, so I have to keep on top of exfoliating the areas and use my tweezer to remove them, but I am hoping that my darkened pits (from years of shaving often) will lighten over time and that the hairs will grow in thinner and sparser.

Elle. said...

I absolutely can't live without sugaring.
I used to get waxes every month, but as my hair down there begin getting finer -- Sugaring was recommended.

I love it because it's definitely less painful than waxing. It also moisturizes & exfoliates the skin immediately. I'd definitely recommend anyone that has been getting waxes a long time to try sugaring.

& if there's anyone in NYC, I always go to Shobha Spa. There's three locations throughout the city & they all are fabulous!

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

I have often been curious to why grown women try to make their pubic areas look like a pre-pubescent girl's... Hair is good. It wouldn't be there if it wasn't needed

Anonymous said...

I just had my first brazilian wax on Tuesday and I am in love. I've also had laser hair removal for my underarms, top of my lip, a few stray hairs on chin and vagina. Laser removal is my preference, but it's really expensive because they charge by the each laser zap(for lack of a better term). With laser, I would go back every two months and noticed that my hairs were much finer as they grew back. BTW, I had my laser treatment done at Kaiser Permanente.

CurlyChellez said...

I do laser hair removal and I prefer it over the other methods, I write about it on my blog
http://curlychellez.blogspot.com/search/label/laser%20hair%20removal

Chez Cerise said...

I am a die hard waxer! I've been doing it for so long that only patches grown in now and it's not so painful as it was before.

I did try sugaring once. I actually thought that it hurts more. It is much more thicker than the wax and I found that it pulls the hair while it is being applied. I think the uncomfort depends on how thick/wide the strands of hair are.

Anonymous said...

Nair all the way. Despite the smell, it works extremely well. Its fast and easy and everything comes out soft and clean.

adrien said...

VEET! Sensitive formula. from what i've heard its much gentler than nair (but idk, i haven't tried nair myself). works like a charm. no pain and smooth finish. i exfoliate between applications to minimize ingrown hairs which usually are not a problem anyway. i used to just trim cuz i had a bad experience shaving. that was like fire with the bumps! and i'm scared to wax. nothankyouplease.com lol. if you are afraid of irritation pre treat with some vaseling or other ointment to protect the skin. you won't get as smooth results tho on the 1st time. and put cotton or tissue between the labia before applying so it doesn't get to the more sensitive parts. wipe it off before you hit the shower. then clean/rinse. i love it!

AfroChique said...

Nair almost ruined my skin beyond recognition.
Shaving irritates my skin to the point where I can not sleep.
My hair is sooo coarse that any attempt to wax it myself would no doubt end up with a session in the AE department!
I say find a good beautician who knows their thing and pay them to do it for you- you save so much time that it accounts for the money spent!
xxx

Anonymous said...

ROFL y'all!

To @Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth:

Blame society. It's the same reason we don't run around without a top like we did when we were 4 and 5 years old. We've been conditioned to believe it just doesn't look right.

I never brazilian the kitty unless I'm going to the beach.

In fact, I found out about brazilianing the kitty by accident - about 15 years ago! I took my children to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom and had donned my swimsuit and was getting ready for some wild water fun.

Performed a last minute once over to ensure nothing was hanging out. Looked down at my thighs, and it looked like "Rick Ross" was in my suit. Luckily my oldest had worn shorts, so I snatched them up and put them on over my swimsuit.

Never been so embarressed in my life!

So, that's why some of us brazilian the kitty.

BTW - VEET Suprem-essence works quickly for me, with no burns or breakouts!

Chez Cerise said...

Regarding the comments about looking prepubescent, my reasons for waxing:

1) Hair grows down my thighs otherwise. I do like to wear bathing suits.

2) Ingrown hairs are painful. And I've had an issue with pilonidal cysts since I was 16. Which from what I hear are more painful than childbirth.

3) I work out a lot...I find there is less of an odor down there with less sweat mixed in with hair.

And in response to this statement: "Hair is good. It wouldn't be there if it wasn't needed". Hair grows on legs and underarms as well. Is it needed? It is a personal decision. If you want to keep your bush then that is your business I will not criticize you for it.

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 12:46 - "Nothing like feeling a cool breath on a low cut fade...."

HILARIOUS! (but true) ;)

Anonymous said...

ROTFL @ anon 2:02 (Rick Ross...)!!!!!!
I am currently undergoing laser hair removal in that area. The first time I wanted to slap the lady it hurt so bad but the hair is growing back finer (or not at all) and there is no itching as it's growing. I think it is worth it for a lifetime hair free (w/free touch-ups included if necessary.)
Jada07

Anonymous said...

Sugar wax followed by threading for strays. I don't have a fave salon in NYC but my most satisfactory experiences have been with aestheticians using Middle Eastern/Arab technique and sugar/lemon recipe.

Anonymous said...

I also trim with scissors. It looks neat and cute. :) LMFAO this post made me think of Miranda in Sex and the City 2..

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:30

Not to be funny or anything, but to thread, doesn't the threader (at least her face) need to be kinda close to the cooch? At least with waxing , the "stylist" doesn't need to have her face up so close.

Anonymous said...

I prefer Brazilian waxes, but when I don't have the time or funds to make an appointment I use Veet. Depending on where I am in my hair growth cycle down there it can last 4-6 weeks.

Anonymous said...

I never gave much thought to waxing, shaving or lasering until the grey hairs started showing up this past year. No one warned me about the emotional trauma :) I'm now looking for some grooming options...

Anonymous said...

@Chez Cherise - Thank you for breaking it down. I had the same question as @Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth but I'm really coming from a place of ignorance. I feel like I just woke up from a 20 year nap...lol! I know about Brazilian waxes but didn't realize how many women are doing them or otherwise going bald...my preference is to use scissors to trim/neaten the hair and shave my thighs.

I don't even know how to ask this but...has it gotten so mainstream that if I'm with a guy he's gonna think I'm ignorant/sheltered because I do still wear hair?

Chez Cerise said...

@Anonymous August 25, 2011 3:38 PM

If your preference is to trim with scissors then continue to do so. I would not change that because some guy that you may or may not meet may have a different preference. If he is for you then he should accept you period.

It's funny, I am an esthetician and get asked that question a lot from new clients when discussing how much to take off (not everybody goes completely bald.)

Sham said...

I was curious about trying a Brazilian, until I saw the episode of SATC when Carrie got hers done... It scared the crap outta me! Then Kortney gave Khloe's petunia 3rd degree burns from a bad wax job on an episode of Keeping Up w/ the Kardashians... so I just kept shaving mine. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I've shaved for many years. Despite the ingrown hairs, irritation and razor bump scars, I kept shaving because it was all I knew and I cannot stand hair down there. A couple of years ago, I started to use Veet. This is a little better than shaving but it still causes irritation and doesn't last that much longer than shaving.

A few weeks ago, I tried waxing for the first time and decided to get the brazilian. When the aesthetician ripped away the first strip of hair...WHOO! I wanted to yell like Steve Carrell in 40 year Old Virgin lol. But I made it through that experience and I loved the results. I got it done on 8/6 and I just started to see hair growing back a couple of days ago. Irritation was very minimal and I will most likely be going back.

Anonymous said...

This is TMI but I'm typing it anyway! Since I've gotten the brazilian wax, I've noticed my "aim" is much better when I stand to use the restroom. LOL ;o)

Anonymous said...

I get brazilian waxes and where I go used bees wax. It is MUCH less painful then the typical hot wax that lots of people use. I go every 5 weeks.

NewlyNaturelle said...

OMG, it grays??!?!? THATS IT.....im gettin zapped

SaBrina said...

@newlynaturelle

Yep it grays, and it's so true if you cut it then 2 or 3 more grow in its place. Believe me I know by mistake never had any until last yr, and I'll be dayum after pulling it out more came in it's place. I started crying because I'm to young to have graying coochie lol.... I wonder can you use just for men products thats for the beard to put on the coochie to dye it black? Hum I better not, or wind up in the hospital making the news.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:38, I just about passed out when I noticed the grey hairs down there. It never occurred to me that they would sprout out in that area too!! I called my mother and said, "Why didn't you tell me that happens??!" I want to try a Brazilian, but I don't know where to go and I'm afraid I'll be too uncomfortable.

dominqueaaliyah said...

I love a good Brazilian wax. Im in Atlanta and i love Andreia's. She's good and no matter how coarse or thick your hair is, they know what to do. It hurts the first time, but like anything, u build a tolerance the more u go. Definitely worth the pain though.

Jes said...

I like the look of trimmed pubes. It's sexy. I don't really like hairlessness on men or women. But that's my preference.

I did try waxing all of my lady parts once. It was horrible. Follicles got infected and I couldn't wait for my believed pubes to grow back. I would love to know how people keep from getting irritation/infection. I did everything they say, cleaned the area good too. Should I have used alcohol right after waxing and right before? It was horrible what happened, I'm afraid to wax. It would just like to wax the sides.

Chez Cerise said...

@anon 6:59

You don't have to start with a Brazilian. I usually recommend people start with the bikini wax a few times so they know what they're getting into.

Anonymous said...

I have been shaving and tried waxing once and could not bear the pain down there. When I shave, I shave it "ALL OFF" and my man loves it!!! He's shaves it all of too! No Friction during sex! We have no ingrown hair or irritation ever. I use Bikini Zone Anti-Bump Shave Gel and Venus Razor all the time and my skin is smooth, soft and my skin tone isn't dark. The key is to always moisturise your skin after you shave.

Anonymous said...

@anon 7:57pm

Are you shaving down or shaving up, because when I did mine it itched like crazy after I finished?

kiki said...

if i could get the coot numbed up b4 a brazilian i would like to try it...but without some anesthesia it ain't gonna happen!!!

Anonymous said...

@SaBrina...you killed me with the just for men wow...still laughing.

I tried shaving, ingrown hairs, not fun; tried nair on the sides and the hair seemed to grow back coarser/darker...maybe it's just me; About to head on vacation to the beach & was contemplating whether I should get a bikini wax but couldn't b/c "the friend" to town...saved by the bell sort of speak...lolol

Anonymous said...

Laser, laser, laser! It was a financial investment (like 1,500), but totally worth it not to have to worry about shaving, the pain of waxing or horrible ingrowns. It took about a year to complete the process, but now?? You can't tell me nada when it's time to put on my bikini lol..

If you're in Atlanta, use Ideal Image. They have lasers that work on AFAM skin. It's expensive, but it works.

BreukelensFinest said...

Nair all day! I just use the sensitive one and am very careful not to put it by the lips (omg did i just type that?? lol) then just trim the rest


missdeeplyrooted.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I wax it all off using the Brazilian wax technique. I have been doing this for almost a decade at 6-8 week intervals.

MelMelBee said...

I'm soooo scared to wax the lady parts....I have visions of them ripping my skin off with the hair! Besides, I looked at a diagram of the area that gets waxed and I'm sorry, but a hot,sticky substance should never be applied in between your butt cheeks....Imjustsaying!

Whisper29 said...

Just like Elle I love my sugaring. I go to Shobha in Columbas Circle in NY...it does get pricey so I dont get it done as often as I like but thats the only was I go if anything is going to get done down there.

LovelyLauz said...

I used to do full brazillians on a regular basis... however, I have recently thrown out my trusty nair and razor (never used together) in lieu of my new, amazing EPILATOR!!!! OMG! All you waxers need to get on the epilator bandwagon. You can do it while watching a movie at home. Epilate from head to toe. No more spreading your lady parts for a stranger and the results are amazing. 3 Minutes and i get smooth arm pits for 6 weeks... can your shaver do that???

Anonymous said...

I've been graying down there since my early 30s and yeah, nobody told me about that either.

That said, I only trim it low. In fact the only areas I shave on a fairly regular basis are under the arms. The hair on my legs is very fine and barely visible so I rarely shave them. This current trend about being completely hairless below the neck is amazing to me. If you wash your body daily and thoroughly, your body hair is clean as well. What's the big deal?

I'm about to start swimming regularly again after having been away for a long while. After reading this post, I'll make sure to check my bikini line before I go out in public in my swimsuit. So thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sugaring is the business; Brazilian with a cute little strip.

CocoDreamee said...

ughhh...I am a PCOS sufferer so hair, unless its my eyebrows or head, is the thorn in my side. I'm contemplating using nair on my arms because I have more hair than the average chic. I struggle when it comes to the honey pot because I already have hyperpigmentaion on my thighs from bad eczema as a child, and I have been faithfully using shea butter to try and lighten. I tried waxing once, my sis did it for me and it was awesome, painful, but awesome. I cant shave above the man in the boat because I get ingrown hairs no matter what I do. So I keep it low with an electric razor and shave lips etc with a normal razor. But reading all your comments, tips, struggles, makes me feel less alone, and hopeful. I think I'm gonna find a salon and let them handle the waxing and maybe even sugaring from now on. I didn't know my fellow black chocolate women were going to salons to get this done. I tell ya, men have it sooooo freakin easy!! LOL

Anonymous said...

Well I shave a lot and I follow the Lunar Hair Chart - they have a section on the "Best Days for Retarding Hair Growth" ( https://morroccomethod.com/lunar-hair-chart) I've found this very helpful. When I shave I dampen the area with water then I add a light coat of oil then I put the shaving cream and let sit for a few mins. after which I shave and apply some petroleum jelly (works for me) and I'm happy for about 2 to 3 weeks!!!

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain what sugaring is and how it works

KHurly Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KHurly Girl said...

Shaving works best for me!! Waxing is a pain, both literally and figuratively, and nair is not coming near these here parts! LOL. I haven't tried the other methods.

******
Let's Parlez: Love, Life and the Pursuit of Healthy Hair
http://lets-parlez.blogspot.com
******

Anonymous said...

honestly how can you get the shaving part wrong..shaving doesnt make your hair thicker nor darker..this should be common sense and i dont know why the person writing this post put it down..if you think about if this foolishness was true then you could shave your head and have thick hair there too..shaving doesnt do anything but cut your hair it does not effect the root or the follicle..i swear it like saying trimming your hair makes it thicker and darker..please check your facts

Charley said...

I am a chocolate brazilian wax fan. It's just a variation of a sugar wax and your waxer doesn't have to pull as hard. Plus the smell of warm chocolate is pleasing as you go through the process. =)

Anonymous said...

Im a shaver, but I don't really like it, i get in growen hairs, n have to do it too often. so i think when i get same money im going to start waxing. see how that goes. but im a bit of a woose with pain down there there.... lol

Anonymous said...

While I've been a shaver most of my post pubescent life. Shaving was terrible on my sensitive skin. Coming from a west indian background and growing up mostly around white and asian girls in Queens NY. My knowledge of what worked for my skin was all second hand knowledge from teen magazines. My Mom and Aunts shaved
But I didn't know how to properly shave and this left me with ingrown hairs, little spots on my legs and irritation all the time. I hated the smell of Hair Removers and would just avoid it

Later I tried waxing when I could afford it but the pain was intolerable! I was Super embarrassed about anyone other then my Gyno doing my bikini area. The visits where always the same, my corse hair always caused the technician to break sweat as they sincerely tried to ease the pain as much as possible. The thought of doing it every two -three weeks ....forget it It never gets less painful each visit. One Russian Tech once said "it's all part of the pain we endure to be women"

So last christmas I treated myself to Laser hair removal. Yes it's expensive. Like - use part of your tax return expensive- but for the benefits for me its worth the cost and the results are close to permanent There are lots of places, but you should always first for a (free) consultation to check and read reviews . I go to completely bare. It takes less then half hour, It does sting a little but no where near waxing pain level and there is no mess. You can sometimes find good package deals with groupon etc. But absolutely do your homework first.

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