The full bikini and the Brazilian are both types of pubic hair removal. While both methods are characterised by the removal of significant amounts of hair surrounding the pubic area, a Brazilian removes hair surrounding the labia and anus, while a full bikini does not. (While it is possible for males to remove all or most of their pubic hair, these methods are vastly more popular among females).
While there are other methods of hair removal, the Brazilian and full bikini are commonly achieved by waxing.
The Brazilian and the full bikini differ in the amount of hair removed, and where it is removed from.
A Brazilian wax is characterised by full hair removal, aside from an optional strip of pubic hair above the vagina, often referred to as a "landing strip." During a Brazilian wax, the hair surrounding the vulva, anus and perineum is removed.
A full bikini wax differs in that it does not remove hair from the labial and anal areas. Women may opt for this type of wax if they are sensitive to the pain of waxing, but it's possible to trim this hair to keep it short.
Aside from waxing to achieve a full bikini or Brazilian, there are several other methods of hair removal.
Shaving hair is one method. For best results, use a sharp razor and shaving cream for sensitive skin around the pubic area, particularly if you want to achieve a Brazilian. While this method is virtually painless, the skin will not be as smooth as when it is waxed, and results may only last a few days.
Depilatory creams can be used to achieve a full bikini wax, but are not recommended for a Brazilian, as they can irritate the sensitive skin of the vagina and around the anus. These easy-to-use hair removal creams are simply applied on the skin and rinsed off along with the hair. Results usually last several days before the hair begins to regrow.
A final option is laser hair removal, a method that uses a beam of light to permanently remove hair. This must be done by a professional over several visits, and can cost up to £3,250.
Preparing for Waxing
If you're considering a full bikini or a Brazilian wax, it's important to be fully prepared for your appointment and understand what to expect.
At the time of your waxing appointment, your hair should be at least 1/4 inch long so that the wax can adhere properly. For either a full bikini or a Brazilian, you should expect to be asked to remove your underwear, and talcum powder will be applied to your skin to ensure wax won't stick.
The first time you are waxed is often very painful. Because more sensitive areas are waxed during a Brazilian, Brazilian waxes tend to be more painful than full bikinis.
If you are apprehensive about your appointment, or you're not sure what type of wax to get, speak to your aesthetician about your concerns. She may be able to start you with a standard bikini wax and remove as much hair as you are comfortable with. You may want to opt for a standard or full bikini for your first appointment and graduate to the Brazilian once you're comfortable with the full bikini.
Some salons offer a numbing cream that can be applied to the pubic area before waxing to make the process less painful. This may be particularly helpful for those opting for a Brazilian wax.
Many women (and men) enjoy the effects of the full bikini or Brazilian style of hair removal. Nancy Etcoff, a psychologist at the Harvard Medical School and author of "Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty," said to "The New York Times": "For centuries, humans have equated hairiness with beasts and hairlessness with beauty and femininity. There's also an erotic, sexual component to hairlessness because your skin is more sensitive when it's more exposed."
However, pubic hair removal is absolutely a matter of personal preference. Some people find that it appears unnatural for a grown woman (or man) to have a complete absence of pubic hair.