Bikini line: Wikis

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Pubic hair removal or pubic epilation, commonly called bikini waxing, is the epilation of body hair in and around the pubic region, most commonly by females, by the use of wax. With the decreasing size of women's swimwear, pubic hair which may become visible around the crotch area of a swimsuit, which is widely culturally disapproved and generally considered unaesthetic, undesirable and embarrassing, is at times removed.[1] However, some people also remove pubic hair that is not exposed, for aesthetic reasons.[1]

The term bikini line is the imaginary line in a woman's pubic region that delineates that part which would normally be covered by the bottom part of a swimsuit from that which is exposed. In the context of waxing, it is generally understood to describe any pubic hair that is visible beyond the boundaries of a swimsuit.[1] Epilation is usually also performed on the upper leg.[2]

Pubic hair can be removed in a number of ways, including waxing, shaving, sugaring or using chemical depilatory creams. Hair that is not removed may be trimmed. While mainly associated with females, men at times also remove pubic hair.[3]

In Middle Eastern societies, removal of the female body hair has been considered proper hygiene, necessitated by local customs, for many centuries.[4] In Islam, this is known as an act of Fitrah. Evidence of pubic hair removal in ancient India dates back to 4000 to 3000 BC, and methods have not changed much beyond the material used.[5] The removal of pubic hair by Western women became more common when bathing suits became abbreviated, starting in 1945.[1] Changes in lingerie styles have also encouraged the removal of pubic hair throughout the years.[2]



Bikini waxing may be classified into several basic styles[2][6][7] which may have differing names.[8]

  • American waxing is the removal of only the pubic hair that is exposed by a swimsuit, depending on the style of the swimsuit. For a bikini, it would be hair at the top of the thighs and under the navel. It is also known as a basic bikini wax,[2][6][7] or a bikini line wax.
  • French waxing leaves a vertical strip in front (sometimes called a landing strip), two to three finger-widths in length just above the vulva, and 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) in width. It is also known as a partial Brazilian wax.[2][6][8] Hair of the peri-anal area and labia may be removed. Removal of hair from these areas is also known as the Playboy wax[7] or G-waxing. The landing strip wax has become popular with models who must wear garments of an extreme narrowness in the crotch region.
  • Brazilian waxing is the most known of bikini waxes, and involves the removal of all hair in the pelvic area, front and back, while sometimes leaving a thin strip of hair on the pubis (sometimes referred as a landing strip).[2][6][7][8][9] It can be used by those who wear thong bikinis.[10] It is an extreme form of bikini waxing, and involves the complete removal of hair from the buttocks and adjacent to the anus, perineum and vulva (labia majora and mons pubis).[11][12] If a thin vertical strip of hair is left, it may be called a landing strip. However, it differs from the traditional landing strip in that it also incorporates removal of hair from the labia majora, the perineum, and the anal cleft area around the anus. Brazilian waxing is also known as a full Brazilian wax, full Bikini wax, Hollywood wax or the Sphinx.[2][7][8] The Sphynx variety involves the complete removal of all hair in the pelvic region. The name is derived from that of a naked breed of cat from Canada. The smooth-skinned, hairless Sphynx cat was a genetic oddity discovered in Toronto in 1966. Some salons refer to "the Sphynx" as "the Hollywood".

Other styles

Anthropologist Desmond Morris has identified other waxing styles:[13]

  • The Bikini Line: This is the least extreme form. All pubic hair covered by the bikini is left in place. Only straggling hairs on either side are removed, so that none is visible when a bikini with high-cut sides is being worn.
  • The Full Bikini: Only a small amount of hair is left, on the Mound of Venus (the mons pubis)
  • The European: All pubic hair is removed "except for a small patch on the mound".
  • The Triangle: All pubic hair is removed except for a sharply trimmed triangle with the central, lower point aimed at the top of the genitals. It has been described as "an arrowhead pointing the way to pleasure".
  • The Moustache: Everything is removed except for a wide, rectangular patch just above the hood at the top of the genital slit. This is sometimes called "The Hitler's Moustache", sometimes "Chaplin's Moustache".
  • The Heart: The main pubic tuft is shaped into a heart symbol and may be dyed pink. This is a popular style for St. Valentine's Day, presented as an erotic surprise to a sexual partner.
  • The Landing Strip: The central hair is trimmed into a narrow vertical strip and all other pubic hair is removed. This has become popular with models who must wear garments of an extreme narrowness in the crotch region.
  • The Playboy Strip: Everything is removed except for a long, narrow rectangle of hair, 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) wide.

Brazilian waxing


Some claim the origin of the concept Brazilian hairless privates date back to a letter written by Pêro Vaz de Caminha documenting Pedro Álvares Cabral's voyage to Brazil in 1500 AD, which says: "...suas vergonhas tão altas e tão çarradinhas e tão limpas das cabeleiras que de as nós muito bem olharmos não tínhamos nenhuma vergonha" (English translation: "their private parts were so exposed, so healthy and so hairless, that looking upon them we felt no shame").[14]

The style as it is known today was all but invented in the late 1980s at J. Sisters salon in Manhattan, New York. While the salon is operated by several Brazilian sisters, the style has been reported to have been named simply because it 'sounded exotic.'


Brazilian waxing faces more controversy than other types of waxing.[15][16] Like all waxing, it can be a physically painful experience during and after waxing,[11][17][18][19] which some believe can become more unpleasant if receiving cunnilingus from a bearded partner.[20][21] American actress-model Lisa Barbuscia commented on her negative first experience at getting a Brazilian at a Los Angeles salon popular with porn stars: "It was so painful I collapsed. I only fainted, but I was nearly carted off to hospital and I have vowed never to try it again." [22] However, the Brazilian's continued popularity speaks against such experiences being universal. Some critics of the procedure believe that Brazilian waxing can contribute to making an adult woman look underage, citing this as one reason for its popularity in the pornographic industry.[9][11][15][19] The look has also been called perverted[23] and unnatural by some.[9][11][24][25] There is also a health risk involved if it is not done properly, as well as a risk of infection if done on a person with a weakened immune system.[26] However, this style of wax has become increasingly popular, mostly among younger women, for its aesthetic value and clean appearance and despite the slight controversy there have even been reports of women of all ages opting for this form. Thirteen women, aged from 18 to their late 40s, agreed to have their first Brazilian waxes part of a morning radio stunt. "Ms Batey, who has run her Ella Bache salon for nearly 12 months, said a zero-tolerance approach to pubic hair had gripped the River City. She said girls as young as 16 were coming in for monthly Brazilian treatments, costing about $65 a pop. 'It has become a lot more popular than I thought it would be when I first opened,' Ms Batey said. 'Tons of women are doing it, it has become so normal, and the clients are getting younger and younger. I think once people get past the initial scared phase, they realise that it's really not so painful at all. It is much, much easier after you've had it done once.'"[27]

Waxing technique

Warm wax is applied to hair and covered with small strips of cloth. When the wax sufficiently hardens, the cloth is pulled off quickly to remove hair up from the roots. Some discomfort is associated with the procedure. Generally discomfort lasts fewer than five days.[28] Different salons use different names for common types of waxing, for example referring to a Brazilian with a "landing strip" as a "Mohican".[29] It can be done on oneself with a home kit. It is possible to get a bikini wax during pregnancy, but due to increased sensitivity it generally is more painful.[30]

American waxing

The bikini or similar undergarment worn by the client is tucked in and covered with paper towel. A small applicator may be used on both sides of the bikini area to create a clean and even line. Using an antiseptic cleaner and using the area with powder after the cleaner dries up is standard. Wax is applied with a large spatula in the direction of hair growth, which is downwards. It is applied in strip 2 inches wide and 4/5 inches long up to the femoral ridge. Since the hair on the pubis is coarse and grows horizontally and inward, a second application wax is often required. Then all the wax strips are pulled away when the wax is set but still pliable. It is pulled against the direction of hair growth while keeping the skin taut. The pulling ideally is done as swiftly as possible. The last part of the waxing is done with the patient lifting her legs so the hair near the table can be worked on. A normal American waxing job takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.[31]

French waxing

It follows mostly the procedures of an American waxing, with special cleaning and powdering of areas to be waxed. Gloves are mandatory. To create the "landing strip" (a line of hair) practitioners and clients prefer either of the two positions: lying face up or lying face down. Sometimes hard wax is used, though strip wax works as effectively.[31]


The wax used is often a mixture of natural beeswax and tall oil rather than the more common synthetic waxes used for regular leg waxing.[32] It is felt that beeswax is stronger, and more effective at removing the thicker, coarser pubic hairs. Many products are available to lessen the pain involved, such as topical anesthetics. Sometimes a hair inhibitor is applied, which slows the regrowth of hair and may halt regrowth completely. The results can last up to two months.[33]


The bikini area is one of the most sensitive areas in the body, and special attention must be paid to avoid irritation. Ideally bikini waxing should be done every two or three weeks year round. Over time hair becomes weaker and grows more slowly leading to less frequent waxing. If the client has never been waxed before, or has not been waxed for a long time, it may be necessary to trim the hair down first using scissors or an electric razor.[31][34] A patch test is necessary, usually at the uppermost part of the thigh, to test that the client is not allergic to wax or the skin doesn't overreact. Since the mucous membrane of the vagina is the most sensitive of the bikini area, it is usually better left to the last part of the process[citation needed]. Oil based lotions or creams are always to be avoided, while oatmeal based powders are best for soothing the skin after waxing. Sometimes bumps or in-grown hair can result. Isolated hairs can be removed by using tweezers or by electrolysis.[34] Waxing can be performed privately in the home, or by a licensed cosmetologist.

The pain involved with this procedure can be slight or severe and can continue for quite some time (from several seconds to minutes). Some people experience less pain during subsequent treatments. It can be helpful for a bikini wax recipient to take a mild anti-inflammatory medication (like ibuprofen) an hour or so before waxing to reduce potential pain from the waxing.[35]

The medical community has also seen a recent increase in folliculitis, or infection around the hair follicle in women who wax or shave their bikini areas.[36] Some of these infections can develop into more serious abscesses that require incision with a scalpel, drainage of the abscess, and antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of folliculitis. Recently MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, has been seen more frequently in health care facilities and other settings, and has been covered in many recent news reports. MRSA is resistant to the conventional antibiotics used to treat staph infections, however it can be treated with different antibiotic therapies.

Potential dangers

Some physicians do not recommend waxing for persons suffering from diabetes or who have varicose veins or poor circulation as they are more susceptible to infection.[citation needed]

Patients on Retin-A, Renova, Differin or Isotretinoin have been advised by doctors not to have waxing performed; these medications can weaken the skin, and lead to tearing of the skin.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Heinz Tschachler, Maureen Devine, Michael Draxlbauer; The EmBodyment of American Culture; pp 61-62; LIT Verlag, Berlin-Hamburg-Münster; 2003; ISBN 3825867625.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Helen Bickmore; Milady's Hair Removal Techniques: A Comprehensive Manual; page 139; Thomson Delmar Learning; 2003; ISBN 1401815553
  3. ^ Barker, Olivia The male resistance to waxing is melting away in USA Today, August 23, 2005
  4. ^ Kutty, Ahmad (13/Sep/2005) Islamic Ruling on Waxing Unwanted Hair Retrieved March 29, 2006
  5. ^ April Masini, Think & Date Like a Man, page 49, Date Out Of Your League, 2005, ISBN 0595374662
  6. ^ a b c d Different types of bikini wax and application techniques, Essortment; Retrieved: 28 December 2007
  7. ^ a b c d e Brazilian bikini wax, Brazilian Bikinis; Retrieved: 28 December 2007
  8. ^ a b c d Salinger, Eve (2005). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pleasing Your Woman. New York: Alpha Books/Penguin Group. pp. 196. ISBN 1-59257-464-5. 
  9. ^ a b c Boston Women's Health Book Collective (2005). Our Bodies Ourselves. New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster. p. 4. ISBN 0-7432-5611-5. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d Valhouli, Christina (September 3, 1999). "Faster Pussycat, Wax! Wax!,". Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  12. ^ Blue, Violet (2002). The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus. San Francisco, California USA: Cleis Press. pp. 66. ISBN 1-57344-144-9. 
  13. ^ Desmond Morris, The Naked Woman, page 199, Macmillan, 2007, ISBN 0312338538.
  14. ^ M. Elizabeth Ginway, Brazilian Science Fiction, page 56, Bucknell University Press, 2004, ISBN 083875564X.
  15. ^ a b Kirsch, Melissa (2006). The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything. New York: Workman Publishing. pp. 424. ISBN 0-7611-3579-0. 
  16. ^ Joannides, Paul (2006). Guide to Getting It On. Waldport, Oregon, USA: Goofy Foot Press. pp. 528. ISBN 1-885535-69-4. 
  17. ^ Blue, Violet (2002). The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus. San Francisco, California USA: Cleis Press. pp. 67. ISBN 1-57344-144-9. 
  18. ^ Joannides, p. 531.
  19. ^ a b Godson, Suzi (2005). Sexploration: An Edgy Encyclopedia of Everything Sexual. Berkeley, California USA: Amorata Press. pp. 161. ISBN 1-56975-505-1. 
  20. ^ Joannides, p. 233.
  21. ^ Godson, Suzi (2005). Sexploration: An Edgy Encyclopedia of Everything Sexual. Berkeley, California USA: Amorata Press. pp. 89. ISBN 1-56975-505-1. 
  22. ^ Daily Mail: pp. 39. April 14.  UK newspaper; also described in her advice book for young women Lifestyle Essentials.
  23. ^ Symons, Mitchell (2007). Where Do Nudists Keep Their Hankies. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-0-06-113407-4. 
  24. ^ Joannides, p. 246.
  25. ^ Feldman, David (1987). Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 146. ISBN 0-06-074092-2. 
  26. ^ Tweed, Katherine. "Woman Almost Dies After Bikini Wax".,2933,288860,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  27. ^ Christine Kellett. "Beauties brave Brazilian wax". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 2008-02-22.  "
  28. ^ Hilda Hutcherson, Pleasure, page 190, Perigee, 2006, ISBN 0399532862
  29. ^ Jane Hiscock & Frances Lovett, Beauty Therapy, page 330, Heinemann, 2004, ISBN 0435451022
  30. ^ Linda Murray, Leah Hennen & Jim Scott, The Babycenter Essential Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, page 576, Rodale, 2005, ISBN 1594862117
  31. ^ a b c Bickmore, pp. 117–118
  32. ^ Susan Cressy & Margaret Rennie, Beauty Therapy Fact File, page 293, Heinemann, 2004, ISBN 0435451421
  33. ^ Ian Denchasy, Art of Oral Sex: Bring Your Partner to New Heights of Pleasure, page 30, Quiver, 2007, ISBN 1592332900
  34. ^ a b Lia Schorr, Shari Miller Sims & Shari Sims, SalonOvations' Advanced Skin Care Handbook, pages 94-95, Cengage Learning, 1994, ISBN 1562530453
  35. ^ Michael J. Klag, Johns Hopkins Family Health Book, page 769, HarperCollins, 1999, ISBN 0062701495
  36. ^ Barbara Hackley, Jan M. Kriebs & Mary Ellen Rousseau, Primary Care of Women: A Guide for Midwives and Women's Health Providers, page 833, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2006, ISBN 0763716502

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