From chocolate to honey, these options not only hurt a helluva lot less than your traditional hot bikini wax, but they actually help moisturize and soothe your skin post-rip.
Talk about suffering for beauty—in exchange for a few weeks free of our hairiest responsibility, we're willing to endure 10 minutes of shock after shock to our most sensitive area of skin (as well as the irritation and dry skin that follow). But there's actually a much less painful way to get a Brazilian wax, as salons around the country are started to offer skin-soothing, naturally flavored bikini waxes.
We're not going to go so far as to say alternative waxes are painless. After all, having your pubic hair ripped out is uncomfortable no matter what, points out Jessie Cheung, M.D., director of the Jessie Cheung M.D. Dermatology & Laser Center in Illinois. But hot wax is pretty much the worst. For a point of reference, hot wax is typically a blend of melted wax, including beeswax, rosin, and different forms of glycerin. "Traditionally, hot melted wax is applied to the hairs and after drying, the wax is peeled off against the direction of hair growth. But the hot wax sticks to the skin as well as the hair, so you do have that irritation in addition to the heat and trauma to the follicles," she explains. (Just beware: A new study found that women who frequently groom their hair down-there are more likely to contract STIs.)
These all-natural formulas not only hurt a lot less, but they actually help moisturize and soothe your skin post-rip. Plus they smell delicious! Check out five of our favorites. (Psst: If you want to opt for laser hair removal, we've got all your q's answered.)
If you've heard of sugaring, it was probably followed by an earful of unyielding praise—every woman we know who has tried sugaring on their bikini line swears by it. For the uninitiated, the formula is exactly what it sounds like, made with basic ingredients like sugar, water, and lemon. Since it's not as hot as regular wax, your esthetician can treat a larger surface area at once, Cheung points out. The biggest perk: It's a lot less painful. "Rather than sticking to your skin, the sugar mix sticks to the hair follicle so you are only pulling on that and not on your skin," explains Hibba Kapil, founder of New York waxing salon Hibba Beauty. She adds it's especially great for anyone with sensitive skin, and it has the added perk of acting as an exfoliant for your nether region. The best part? Sugaring is popular enough already that you can probably find a salon offering it near you. (Here, five ways to tell if your waxing salon is legit.)
Typically a blend of cocoa, almond oil, soybean oil, glycerin, and vitamins, chocolate wax boasts antioxidants and natural oils to help soothe the irritation that comes with ripping out hair. Similar to sugaring, chocolate wax sticks to the hair and leaves very little residue on the skin, helping minimize the pain, Kapil explains. Plus, many women find the indulgent smell super comforting, which can help you relax, she adds. Places offering chocolate wax are a little harder to come by, but look into an Indian-run salon since the formula has become super trendy in this culture.
In the basic formula, honey itself is combined with a few forms of glycerin to create the wax that attaches to your hair. But you can also opt for a blend of honey and milk, argan oil, vitamin E, or other skin-soothing additives. "Honey wax can be seen as the best of both worlds—the traditional wax gives unrivaled hair removal, while gentle honey soothes the skin," says Kapil. It does adhere to your skin more than some of the others (but leaving less residue than traditional waxes). But honey is a natural humectant that helps the skin hold moisture, so it has its benefits, too. Honey is also slightly harder to find than your traditional wax, but can be found at more organic-focused and holistic salons.
One of the newest darlings in the flavored wax world, strawberry wax not only smells delish but is loaded with all the vitamins and antioxidants the fruit offers your body. Alpha-hydroxy acid soothes your skin, while the vitamin C works to restore balance to your hydration. Plus, similar to chocolate, it usually doesn't have any beeswax (just strawberry extract, oils, and glycerin), melts easily, doesn't stick to your skin, and doesn't leave that post-wax rash. Like many of the flavored waxes, the relaxing scent may be key to what makes the procedure more tolerable with this formula, Cheung says. The only bummer: Since the trend is still pretty new, it may be hard to find a salon offering strawberry wax outside of major cities like New York or LA. (Although we have a feeling it won't be long till it hits the rest of the country.)
Aloe Vera Wax
It should be no surprise that the gel you soothe sunburns with will help quiet the outrage of your newly bare skin. In fact, many salons apply aloe after a traditional wax, so this is just nixing the step in between. "Aloe wax is performed similarly to traditional waxing, but the extra ingredients have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties, and the relaxing scent may help make the procedure more tolerable," Cheung says. The formula is sometimes just a blend of beeswax and aloe, but others ditch the wax altogether and form a hair-removal blend out of aloe vera and some form of glycerin. It's especially good for those with extra-sensitive or dry skin. Some boutique salons offer this treatment, but you can also find it at larger chains like Uni K Wax.