If you choose to get a bikini wax, by now you probably have an idea of what to expect during the process. Thank God we live in a time where we can swap waxing horror stories with our friends, so we all know what we’re getting ourselves into. But what about what happens after? While most of us know how to prep, no one really talks about how to ease any lingering pain or extend the life of your freshly waxed bikini line. We went out to experts for the the best after-waxing care tips, and what not to do the first two days following your appointment.
1. Stay Out of the Sun
The first 48 hours after waxing, your already delicate skin down there is even more vulnerable. So while you may be dying to throw on your bikini the second you leave the salon, keep in mind that sensitive skin is more susceptible to UV rays. “This can lead to permanent sun damage and/or hyperpigmentation,” says esthetician Marta Grochowska of Haven Spa in NYC.
2. Avoid Swimming
This kind of goes hand in hand with the above, but it goes for indoor pools too—and especially large bodies of water (like an ocean, lake, or river) that could contain bacteria. “Avoid public water like swimming pools for a few days,” says dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, M.D., in New York City. If you don’t, you could have an increased risk of getting an infection, and no one wants that.
3. Be Careful Not to Overexfoliate
“Waxing removes the topmost layer of dead skin, along with the hair, so any kind of additional scrubbing can lead to skin damage,” says Grochowska. However, after the first few days, it’s important to remove dead skin cells with a light scrub or exfoliating serum to prevent ingrown hairs. (We love the Fur Silk Scrub.)
4. Avoid the Sauna and Hot Yoga
“Steam opens your pores, which helps to push hair out,” warns Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Center. Because it could cause premature stubble, “it might make you think the wax service wasn’t done correctly,” she says. Plus, bacteria thrive in warm, wet places, and you want to keep your fresh wax as clean as possible. For these reasons it’s worth it to take a break from hot yoga as well.
5. Wait a Little Before Getting a Spray Tan
“The chemicals may irritate your skin,” says Grochowska. Another reason to reschedule? “The color will look uneven between waxed and unwaxed areas.”
6. Be Selective With Your Skin Care
Stick with gentle, fragrance-free body products for the first few days after your bikini wax. “Avoid any lotion, soap, or other toiletry items with artificial fragrance or color,” says Grochowska. “These ingredients are very irritating to freshly waxed skin.” Instead, wash up with something like Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Body Wash, which is formulated specifically for irritated skin.
7. Take Showers Instead of Baths
“It’s better to take showers for the week after,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “Running water from the shower will be cleaner than sitting in bath water.” Why? See reason #2 again; it makes you more prone to infection.
8. Sorry, No Sexy Time
This one is a pretty standard rule most waxers will warn you about, but it’s easy to forget. Any kind of action down there—sex in particular—can lead to discomfort. “It can cause excessive chaffing from friction on extra-delicate skin,” says Grochowska. Consider turning the first two days into official cuddle time.
9. Opt for Loose Clothing
One thing to keep in mind both before you head into your appointment and after: Anything tight-fitting can rub raw spots and irritate, says Dr. Papantoniou. You’ll want to give your leggings a break for a few days and stick with maxi dresses, flowy pants, and breathable cotton fabrics.