Many people choose waxing over shaving because it removes hair from the root rather than just the skin’s surface. When you wax regularly, your hair grows back and becomes lighter and sparser over time, unlike shaving. Waxing can be done virtually anywhere on the body, and the results typically last three to six weeks. If you’re new to waxing, make sure you know the dos and don’ts before you get your first bikini wax.

Do Exfoliate

Use an exfoliating scrub, a loofah or an exfoliating mitt to exfoliate the area to be waxed. Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and allows wax to go on more smoothly and evenly. Exfoliating after a wax can also help reduce the risk of developing ingrown hairs as the new hairs grow in; however, you should wait at least 24 hours before exfoliating after a wax.

Do Try to Relax

When you’re tense, your hair follicles constrict as well. This can make waxing more difficult and, as a result, more painful. Although a bikini wax is usually no day in the park, try to relax by taking deep breaths and focusing on something else. Sing a song in your head, mentally go over your to-do list or engage your waxing specialist in a conversation that can help take your focus away from the waxing. If you have a low pain tolerance, take ibuprofen about 30 minutes prior to your wax to help dull your pain receptors and make the experience more tolerable. Get Waxed, a Brazilian wax studio in Texas, also notes that you are more sensitive just prior to and during menstruation, so try to book appointments around your cycle.

Don't Touch Skin

Waxing removes a hair straight out of its follicle, leaving an open follicle exposed to the world. When you touch your skin after waxing, you expose that open follicle to several different types of bacteria that are present on your hands. Avoid touching your freshly waxed bikini line for 24 hours after waxing. Avoid applying any creams or soaps to the area. The ingredients in these products can irritate the area, causing bumps or rashes.

Don't Expose Skin to the Sun

Recently waxed areas are more likely to develop hyperpigmentation – a permanent darkening of the skin – when exposed to ultraviolet light. Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds for 24 to 48 hours after your bikini wax.