What's A French Bikini Wax & What Sets It Apart From The Traditional Treatment?

Choosing a type of bikini wax is more and more like looking at a menu of options and feeling absolutely stumped. How hard is it to choose? There's the regular, Brazilian, Hollywood, and now the French bikini waxes. It's certainly intimidating as is, but even worse if you don't have a lot of experience with getting your bits waxed in the first place. Salons keep adding items to the menu, and it sure doesn't help how similar some of these wax types are to one another. But that's why you have us — to compile all that info and make it snack-sized and easy to tell the difference.


The newest addition to the wax menu? The French bikini wax. And, ooh la la, it is so perfect for those of us who want a clean bikini area without committing to a full-blown Brazilian. Go full European and let your landing strip have a Parisian area code with this wax job.

What is a French bikini wax?

Think of the French bikini wax as a happy medium between zero hair down there and a well-groomed, trim bush. Essentially, it is a detailed, thorough wax treatment that leaves a little something behind in the form of a thin landing strip. Yes, similar to a regular bikini wax, but not quite. In fact, the difference between the two wax types lies in whether "you want hair on the labia or not," says Angelica Sele, sexual wellness advocate and waxing expert, in an InStyle interview. 


The French wax removes most of the hair in your downstairs area, including the labia and backside, and only leaves behind a thin rectangular patch of hair front and center. This type of wax is perfect for a short vacation, leaving you (mostly) hair-free for weeks so you can wear your skimpy swimwear at the beach without a care in the world.

Is it any different than a regular bikini wax?

There is a distinction between a French bikini wax and a traditional one. A French bikini wax is like a regular bikini wax's cousin from across the pond. While very similar in nature, in that they both aim to take off excess hair and leave behind a modest patch, they differ in just how much hair is removed.


A bikini wax aims to remove only the necessary amount of hair to comfortably wear short shorts or swimsuits without fear of flashing any hair. In a bikini wax appointment, your esthetician will remove the hair on the upper inner thighs, around the bikini line (around the underwear), and below the navel. A French wax, on the other hand, takes off more than that, removing hair from the labia and backside, too. A French wax, ultimately, is more similar to a Brazilian (no hair left behind), except for the landing strip the former leaves untouched (via Healthline).

What to expect if you book one

If a French wax sounds like just the thing for you, here's what to expect during your wax appointment. First, research the waxing place you're going to. They should follow sanitation rules and be overall hygienic (via Healthline). Reviews are a good place to start, but you can also call ahead and ask for reassurance. 


To make both your experience and your aesthetician's job easier, you should come prepared — washed, empty bladder (trust us), no lotion, and painkillers if you don't handle pain well. Be prepared to be asked to remove your underwear for easier access, though you can opt to keep it on and move it around. The waxing part is, inevitably, a little painful. Ripping hair out from the follicle is no walk in the park, and your genital area harbors more nerves than other parts of the body. Good thing it only lasts a few minutes! Once this is done, you'll wipe yourself down and they'll provide some soothing oil for you to rub on. Just like that, you've got yourself a French wax. 

Results and aftercare

What results can you expect from a French wax? Apart from a mostly bare bikini area, labia, and behind, you'll notice a well-groomed patch just on the center of the pubic bone. Those who opt for this waxing treatment want the comfort of bareness while retaining an element of modesty and womanhood in that patch of hair.  


As for how long results last, the timeframe goes from three to six weeks, depending on your hair growth cycle and speed. When it has grown back to around one-quarter of an inch, you can book your next waxing appointment. Make sure to take proper care in the meantime by regularly exfoliating and moisturizing with fragrance-free creams or soothing oils. This will help prevent unwanted ingrown hairs, and keep the area soft and itch-free. Directly after an appointment, you'll want to avoid sexual activity for at least one whole day to avoid infection.

Happy trails! Even if the farthest you're going is your friend's pool, you'll still feel fabulous.