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Skip the exfoliants a few days before 

Keep your skincare regime gentle in the days leading up to your wax. At most, do a very light exfoliation a couple of days before, says Roberts. Anything too harsh will irritate the skin, causing more redness and irritation after the wax.

Take a painkiller the day of your wax

Pain is the number one (and totally legit) concern most first time bikini-waxers have.  To take the edge off, pop an ibuprofen or aspirin an hour or so before your appointment. “That sort of dials down the amount of inflammation you have on your skin,” says Bowe. “You’re less likely to get red and inflamed and you’re more likely to tolerate it from a pain perspective.”

Hit the salon in loose clothing

Leave your leggings and light skinny jeans at home and hit the salon in something a little lighter and looser.”You don’t want to wear any really tight clothing or leggings that could cause any friction in the area,” says Roberts, which can increase you odds of developing wax burn afterward.

Make sure your hair is the right length

“Your hair should be about a quarter of an inch long—or what we say is a grain of rice,” says Roberts. If your hair is longer, waxing will be more painful. If it’s shorter, the wax won’t have enough to grab onto, so it may not come off at all or could lead to pesky ingrown hairs. If you’re not sure about the length, lean on the longer side and request that the studio trims it down for you.

Consider going when you don’t have your period

You can get a wax when you have your period. (Just make sure to use a tampon and give your waxer a heads up!) But most experts advise against it, especially if it’s your first time. Three days leading up to your period and the days of your period, most people have a lower pain threshold, so the wax could hurt more.

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