The Simple Secret to a Pain-Free Brazilian Wax

After years of anguish, I discovered that a perfectly timed workout is the answer to a virtually painless waxing experience. You should try it too.

popsicle stick dripping with liquid wax for hair removal
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Regular bikini waxers know that the timing of the whole endeavor is a serious art. Your hair needs to be long enough to pull, you don't want to wax too close to your period (ouch), and you shouldn't hit the salon right before having sex to avoid irritation. It turns out, though, timing your workout accordingly may be the secret to avoiding the worst part of getting a wax — the pain.

Because my grooming preference is to be hair-free and getting a Brazilian once a month is eons easier than dealing with the annoyingly speedy cycle of freshly shaven to stubble-ridden, I've spent a lot of cognitive energy trying to figure out the sweet spot to make a wax happen with as little pain as possible. It sounds easy enough, but I have both an erratic schedule and ridiculously sensitive skin that typically makes that post-irritation time frame closer to 24 hours. Oh, and I suffer from an embarrassingly low pain tolerance that often drives me to use this exhausting scheduling coordination as an excuse to just give up and shave.

In my quest to find out how to make a Brazilian wax less painful, I've converted to chocolate waxes, which hurt less and are more soothing to sensitive skin — and I'll never go back to the regular stuff again.

Out of sheer luck, though, I recently happened upon the holy grail of timing that solves pretty much all my grooming gripes: I stopped in to get a chocolate wax immediately after working out and, for the first time, having someone rip the hair off my most sensitive region was, dare I say, painless.

Turns out, I really did stumble upon a great solution, says Zakia Rahman, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University. (And it's true even if you're opting for a standard, non-chocolate wax.) You're probably familiar with endorphins — those feel-good hormones your body produces during a workout. And it turns out, they not only reduce emotional anguish but also physical pain. "Endorphins are actually quite strong pain relievers," says Dr. Rahman. "They bind to the same receptors as morphine does, so they can absolutely reduce the pain of waxing," she explains.

It can also be helpful to shower in between your workout and wax, adds Dr. Rahman. And not just for your waxer's benefit: "This can help open up the pores the hairs are coming out of, which will make waxing easier," she notes.

So if getting a wax immediately after working out is the way to go, there's only one question left: Is it rude to drink a post-workout shake while on the table?

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