Women remove pubic hair for a variety of reasons. Some want to keep a trim ’70s bush, while others like the feel of silky smooth skin down there.

No matter your reason, gynecologists recommend following certain key steps before, during, and after waxing. Here are tips for doing it yourself: 1. Wash the area thoroughly.

Warm the Wax

Depending on the wax you choose, it may need to be warmed up before applying. If you’re using a wax warmer, simply plug it in and set the temperature to your desired setting. If you’re using a tin of wax, use a popsicle stick or spatula to scoop out some melted wax and test it on your wrist first; it should feel hot but not too hot.

After you’ve done a quick test on your wrist, apply a small amount of wax to the area you’d like to remove hair from. Using the popsicle stick or spatula, spread it evenly over the unwanted hair, making sure it covers an area about the size of a nickel. The layer of wax should be thick enough to grip the hair but not so thin that it will drip.

Alternatively, you can use fabric epilation strips to remove hair from the pubic area and around your vulva. These are especially effective for those who have shorter hair. For best results, you should apply the strip in the direction of hair growth, according to Veet’s instructions. Once it’s firmly stuck to the skin, pull off quickly in one swift motion. You can clean the skin with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil afterward. You might notice some redness at the site, but it should go away within a few hours.

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Apply the Wax

Using the applicator or stick, apply a thin coat of wax to the area you want hair-free. Wait for it to cool down to the touch, and then let it set. You may need to apply a second layer if the first one didn’t fully remove all of your unwanted hair. It should feel tacky but not sticky to the touch.

To lessen the pain and discomfort associated with intimate waxing, you can use a strip. These are available in a wide range of styles and sizes, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. It’s also a good idea to exfoliate the area before you use waxing strips, as this will help the skin stay smooth and free of ingrown hairs.

When you’re ready to use your waxing strips, position your client in a comfortable but easy-to-access position. Start at the back and work your way to the front, saving the more sensitive areas such as the labia and the vulva for last. You’ll also want to avoid applying soap and scented products to the area before you wax, as this can cause irritation.

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Although shaving and waxing aren’t gynecologist-approved, Gunter says it’s the method she prefers. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, try reaching for salicylic acid pads two days after shaving or waxing to keep the area clean and prevent them from growing in.

Let the Wax Set

After applying a strip of the wax to your inner thigh crease (or wherever else you’re doing your waxing), let it sit for about five minutes. This allows the hair to fully absorb it, making it easier to pull off with one swift movement. Gianna recommends this step because she’s found that it really makes a difference when removing the wax. If you have sensitive skin, it can help to have a mirror handy so that you can check out your vulva in its entirety to see what areas you might have missed. And trust us, it’s a lot easier to fix any mistakes in real time than when they’re dried up.

It’s also a good idea to have an extra applicator with you, just in case you have any spots that require additional strips.

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Remove the Wax

Typically, a waxer will apply a small amount of clean, warm wax to the different sections of your vulva before letting it set and then ripping it off in a quick swoosh action. It’s important to let the wax dry before attempting to remove it as it can cause severe burns if you try to wipe off too early.

To remove your wax, dip a cotton pad in mineral oil or massage oil (warmer works better) and then lay it over the area that has been waxed for about two minutes. Wipe it off with a cloth, then apply an aloe vera gel or moisturizing cream to soothe the skin.

Then, it’s important to protect the waxed area with loose clothing as friction may irritate it and cause bumps and redness. It’s also best to avoid hot showers or saunas and instead, opt for lukewarm water. You can also use a cool compress if needed.

Grooming pubic hair is a personal choice for many women, but most gynecologists warn that shaving and waxing can lead to ingrown hairs and infections. Still, gynecologist Jen Gunter says she waxes her own vulva despite the fact that it hasn’t been tested or proven safe, but she follows these 5 key steps before, during, and after her bikini wax to make it as low-risk as possible.