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Yoga Journal Brazil

Elephant Journal

Recovering Yogi

Where is my guru

The Truth About a Brazilian Wax

I think it is fitting that my inaugural post on women, yoga and Brazil be dedicated to telling the real truth about a Brazilian wax.

A little background.

Number One: I am a redhead- read: fair skin. I am not one of those people who neeeeeds to get waxed. However the size of a Brazilian bikini dictates that pretty much everyone over the age of 11 get familiar with hair removal.

Number Two: I am a redhead. Read: sensitive skin. I know, kind of the same as number one. But I had to repeat it, because I actually bleed when I get waxed. Pearls of blood.

Number Three: I once laughed so loud and so hysterically while being waxed, (because the waxing hurt SO bad and then the waxer asked me to get on all fours), that several aestheticians from other rooms came in to see if everything was okay. They were not sure if the cackling was laughing or crying. I was laughing, but barely.

So waxing is not my favorite.

Usually afterwards, I swear to myself I will NEVER do it again. I feel angry and abused –I actually have to rip out my bodily hair to be considered decent on the beach.

Seriously, my pubic hair has to be my enemy?

So it was with INCREDIBLE trepidation that I embarked on the mission to find out if a Brazilian wax in Brazil is the same as a Brazilian wax in the States. (Kind of like is pizza the same in Italy; would I find a burrito in Mexico?)

In the US, the Brazilian is known to be taking it all off. Bare.

I was sure that was not what I wanted, but not so sure I would be able to communicate it.

My Portuguese is good but not perfect and Brazilians have a tendency to seem like they are agreeing or disagreeing but then continue on in the direction they were going anyway.

I picked one of the chain hair removal places here, called Pello Menos, literally “less hair”, play on words with “pelo menos,” meaning “at least.” Could you at least have less body hair?

Behind the desk was a huge board with all the parts and prices. (see below)

I saw the word “virilha” and under it, about 5 other words. The only one I knew was “virilha” which means groins.

Only a yoga teacher would know the word for groin in a second language. I needed to know what the other words meant. Before I knew it, a folder had been whipped out with all the details–pictures. Whoa.

Ok, so Brazilians are not really known for modesty.

prices for waxing in Brazil

Prices for waxing in Brazil

Here were my choices, with literal translations in quotation marks:

Virilha Total: “whole groin.” That is the whole shabang. The word “groin” here obviously covering much vaster territory than the hollow juncture between thigh and hip that I am used to. (I knew better than to ask for anything with the word “TOTAL”)

Virilha Comum: “common groin”—what we might call the bikini line- do keep in mind that bikini line is a general term that leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

Virilha Comum + Faixa: “common groin and strip”—leaves a landing strip

Virilha Cavada “low-cut groin”- that is taking off the top

Virilha Cavada +Faixa- “low-cut groin and strip”- that strip just got smaller

Virilha Modelada- “sculpted groins”- that means you can get bejeweled or engraved mmhmm.

Anus (needs no translation)

Nádegas “buttocks”

The more hair you remove, the more you pay.

You can wax the “top” (like you have really low rider jeans or even a large size Brazilian bikini bottom, and you don’t want anything peeking over the top). You can wax the “groins”, or equivalent of a bikini line.

I took an informal poll of my friends, Brazilians and ex-pats and the virilha comum + faixa- leaving a landing strip, was the most oft-requested. No one owned up to the “modelada”- the design work.

Being the waxing baby that I am, I opted for the most conservative of the choices, the “virilha comum”.

After all, my goal was plain-and-simple not be sprouting out of my bikini.

An aside, my Brazilian bikini bottoms are a size large and when not on my body they look like could be my 2 ½ year olds.

Let’s just say that “bikini line” is a general term that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. At the end of the day, I think they might be splitting hairs with all these distinctions.

Kimberly Johnson, is an American woman in love with Brazil.

Yogini nomad, international yoga teacher trainer, and post-partum care revolutionary.


  • 48 years ago