A waxing specialist breaks down what you need to know ahead of your mid-menstruation waxing appointment.

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Every uterus owner has experienced, at least once in their lifetime, an untimely period that crushed their plans. Perhaps an early visit from Aunt Flo while you were on an island vacation gave you the souvenir of stained bikini bottoms, or your cycle's debilitating cramps forced you to skip an important work presentation and lay on the couch all day instead. Or maybe, your messy menstrual flow led you to postpone your regularly scheduled Brazilian waxing appointment

You may not have much of a choice when it comes to those first two events, but do you really need to hold off on a professional grooming treatment just because it's that time of the month? Here, a waxing pro answers the question, "can you get a wax on your period?" once and for all. 

So, Can You Get a Bikini or Brazilian Wax on Your Period?

Whether you're receiving a bikini wax, which involves removing the hair that would typically stick out from a swimsuit bottom, or a Brazilian wax, which involves removing all pubic hair, your period won't stand in the way, says Deidra Green, a licensed and certified esthetician and a field training manager at European Wax Center. "Yes, you can absolutely be waxed while on your menstrual cycle," she says. "If your skin is healthy and you can wear a tampon [or a menstrual cup], then you can get waxed."

That being so, wearing a menstrual pad to your appointment generally isn't recommended. "We always want to ensure that we are being as safe and sanitary as possible in the wax suite," says Green. "So although our cleaners are strong enough to kill bloodborne pathogens, it is safer to use a tampon or menstrual cup to reduce any exposure." What's more, any blood on the skin can cause the wax to not adhere properly, which can impact how much (and how effectively) hair is removed. (Wait, can you pee or poop with a tampon in?)

Even though it's safe to have some hair removed downstairs while you're on your period, it may not be the most comfortable experience, says Green. "Some people may be more sensitive to pain while on their period due to the fluctuation in hormone levels during that time," she explains. "...And you may be more prone to bruising due to the increased sensitivity of the skin." More specifically, research has shown that people are likely to experience heightened pain sensitivity during phases of the menstruation cycle when estrogen levels are low, as well as greater tolerance when those levels are high. Case in point: A study on 20 women with chronic low pain found that participants rated their pain "significantly higher" during the menstrual phase (when you get your period and estrogen levels are low) than during the ovulatory phase (when an egg is released and estrogen levels are high).

Given the potential for greater pain, "most estheticians would recommend that you wait if you can, just so the experience is more comfortable for you," says Green. "However, we understand that not everyone has a regular period, so it can be unavoidable."

What to Expect at a Waxing Appointment During Your Period

Just before you head into your mid-menstruation waxing appointment, Green recommends freshening up your nether regions with a cleansing wipe and, if you're using a tampon, cutting the string (but not so much that you're unable to pull it out later) or tucking it into your vulva. Doing so will keep it out of the way for your esthetician and prevent wax from sticking to your menstrual product; but if it's not in the cards, they should be able to work around it, says Green. "Estheticians can't prescribe medication, but taking a mild pain reliever before your reservation can be helpful as well," she adds. In fact, taking over-the-counter pain medication (think: ibuprofen) or applying a cold pack to the skin about 30 minutes before waxing may help minimize discomfort, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Once it's time to go bare, don't be shy about the fact that you're menstruating. "Be sure to give your esthetician a heads up that you are on your cycle," says Green. "We will do everything we can to make the experience the most comfortable for you." That said, the waxing technique used is usually the same as if you weren't on your period, she says. Your esthetician will cleanse the area to remove makeup, oil, or lotion; apply and remove wax (and the hair) in the desired areas; then rub in a soothing gel or serum to calm inflammation and prevent ingrown hairs, according to the European Wax Center

As tempting as it may be to give your bits a thorough cleaning post-wax, especially when blood is literally dripping out of you, Green cautions against cranking your shower's water temp up high. "You can shower after your wax, just make sure to use lukewarm or cooler water, [as] hot showers can dehydrate the skin," she says. Dry skin, in general, can lead to flaking, tightness, and itchiness and cause your once-smooth bikini area to feel rough, and if the pubic hair that slowly grows back is dry or brittle, it can easily break during your next wax and become more difficult to remove, according to European Wax Center. "Also remember your skin is freshly exfoliated from your wax, so don't use any harsh soaps or body washes that contain too many oils or leave a film on your skin that would clog your pores," adds Green. (Related: The Benefits of Cold Showers Will Make You Rethink Your Bathing Habits)

Regardless of your period status, Green recommends applying European Wax Center's Treat Ingrown Hair Serum — boasting exfoliating glycolic acid and skin cell-repairing vitamin E — to prevent bumps, ingrown hairs, and redness immediately after your wax. Using the brand's Treat Ingrown Hair Wipes each day after your wax appointment can also fend off ingrowns with the help of glycolic and salicylic acids.

In the twenty-four to 48 hours following your wax, you'll also want to skip having sex, which will give your skin a chance to fully heal and reduce the odds of irritation, and to avoid tanning the affected areas, as your skin may be more prone to sun damage, according to European Wax Center. The same goes for water-based activities such as hanging out in hot tubs, lakes, pools, and saunas, says Green. "The reason for this is because you don't want a build-up of bacteria in your [open] pores that could potentially cause some irritation post-wax," she explains. 

TL;DR: It's typically okay to get a wax — whether it be bikini, Brazilian, or something in between — while you're on your period. But if the thought of your esthetician being all up in your business mid-menstruation makes you cringe, don't be afraid to reschedule your appointment. After all, your pubic hair, regardless of how much or how little you have, is perfect as is. (Next up: I Was ~This Close~ to Lasering Off My Pubes for Life — Here's What Stopped Me)