What Is a French Bikini Wax? Experts Break It Down

For those who don't want to go completely bare down there.


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If choosing the right bikini wax makes you feel like Goldilocks on the hunt for the right fit, you're not alone. Some waxes may go too far, taking off more than you prefer. Others might offer too little of a trim. If you're looking for a happy medium, consider the French bikini wax. which falls between a traditional full bikini and a Brazilian.

There's no right or wrong style when it comes to bikini waxes; rather, it's all about what you're most comfortable with. Ultimately, "it depends if you want hair on the labia or not. That is the biggest difference," says Angelica Sele, a sexual-wellness advocate and waxing expert at Angelica B Beauty in San Diego, CA. "The French bikini is a good alternative option for those who do not want to be completely hair-free."

Intrigued? If so, you've come to the right place. Below, Sele and Kathleen Hamilton, regional education director of Woodhouse Spa, break down everything you need to know about the French bikini wax. Read on before booking that appointment.

What Is A French Bikini?

Similar to a full bikini wax, a French bikini wax is a smaller landing strip of hair in the pubic area. "It's a little tighter than a traditional bikini wax, plus it also gets your backside," Sele explains. "The end result is a little rectangular patch of hair right up front. It is for those who want to be groomed, but still want a little hair."

How Does It Differ From A Regular Bikini Wax?

Think of a regular bikini wax as more a V-shaped hair removal process that goes along the natural shape of your pubic line. Meanwhile, "a traditional bikini wax takes care of the hair on the inner thighs, a couple of inches from the panty line, and a little off the top near the navel," adds Hamilton. "Think of it as a tidy-up around the edges. It's designed to keep everything in place, so nothing pops out when wearing short-shorts or a more modest swimsuit."

By contrast, a French bikini wax is a tighter, rectangular strip in the front with hair that is removed from both sides of the labia. "Ultimately, there is less hair left [with a French bikini wax] and it does include the backside, which the [regular] bikini wax does not," Sele says.

What's The Process Like?

Because it's similar to a regular bikini wax, you can expect a similar process when it comes to the prep, actual treatment, and aftercare. You should be going to a trained professional at a waxing studio that follows proper sanitation protocols, such as never double-dipping a waxing stick.

As for how much pain you can expect, that's all relative to your tolerance to hair being ripped off. But that it gets easier the more often you do it, as the hair will start to grow back finer and be easier to remove, says Hamilton — just something to keep in mind on your waxing journey.

How Do You Care For A French Bikini Wax Post-Treatment?

As with any wax treatment, the aftercare is critical for the best results. "A lot of clients make the mistake of not getting any aftercare, assuming that they do not need it," Sele says. "But it's necessary for a good wax routine, as it nourishes the skin and hair to maintain the area for overall health. Plus, she says, it can help prevent ingrown and scarring, especially for people of color.

Sele recommends using an oil to help condition and nourish the skin, like the Fur Oil or Lady Suite Rejuvenating Botanical Oil. After a couple of days — which gives skin times to heal —use a physical exfoliator like a scrub or body brush to gently slough away dead skin cells. Hamilton likes the SkinCeuticals Micro-exfoliant Scrub, which provides a gentle exfoliation that will help prevent ingrown hairs.

So if going fully bare down there isn't your vibe, then try the French bikini wax. It's basically the best of both worlds — waxing-wise.

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