I won't lie to you. There is no such thing as a completely pain-free Brazilian wax. However, spas have been trying to come up with the most painless solution possible. I have spent a hair-ripping few months finding out what makes these experiences more bearable. Since The Body Shop came out with its sugaring kit years ago, I have been addicted to waxing. There is something satisfying about spreading a layer of warm wax on your leg, smoothing on a cloth strip and ripping it off to reveal clean, hairless skin. But the process can be time-consuming and messy. Naturally, when Veet came out with Ready-to-Use Bikini wax strips, I jumped at the chance. I was already using Veet's Ready-to-Use strips as a lazy alternative for smoothing the legs, and it had always been an easy and painless process - a quick rip, a slight tingle and it was all over. After applying two bikini wax strips to the designated areas, I pinched the corner of the nearest one and pulled. It was not just a mere tingle. In fact, my mind blazed through a long string of words that would make any sailor blush. I briefly considered leaving the second strip there as decoration but stubborn pride took over and I pulled the second one off with a sickening rip. Humming My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music, I examined my options. I was now the proud owner of a rather unusual design, and given that I had decided on this for aesthetic reasons, it was probably best to finish the job. Only this time I would go to a professional. I booked an appointment at More Than Skin Urban Spa for a Brazilian wax, and on the day of the treatment, spa director Annie Fung had the lovely task of sorting out my blunder down under. Lying back on the treatment bed, I felt the familiar warm, soothing feeling as she applied the melted wax. I waited for her to reach for the dreaded cotton strip, but she lingered at the lower half of the bed answering my nervous questions on everything from where she was from to how many bikini waxes they perform a week. Somewhere between 'New Zealand' and 'about 50' I felt a quick tug. Voila! Ok, so it wasn't completely painless, but it definitely hurt a lot less than my at-home experiments. Annie waxed her way through the rest and tweezered a few stragglers, which funnily enough hurt more than having the stuff pulled out by the bunch. When it was all over, I asked her how she managed to hurt me so much less than I had hurt myself, and the reasons come down to visual access, technique, pre-wax preparation and the wax itself. Visual access ensures that the wax is applied along the direction of hair growth. This allows for a cleaner wax, without hairs torn off mid-shaft, and, most importantly, lessens the degree of pain. 'Technique is also very important to the wax's effect and level of comfort for the clients,' Fung says. 'Skin stretching - pulling the skin taut before removing the wax, and compression - pressing firmly down on the skin right after removing the wax, are particularly helpful techniques that decrease discomfort.' The pre-wax preparation work and wax ingredients also help. In the beginning, a fine powder is sprinkled onto the wiped area to help separate individual hairs and allow for a firmer grip. The wax is made in Spain and contains shea butter and azulene, which minimise discomfort. Natural beeswax makes the wax more pliable for an 'extra-gentle pull', titanium dioxide reduces skin irritation and witch hazel provides antiseptic and soothing properties, says Fung. The result is a quicker, cleaner wax with minimal pain. One important fact is that the wax used in the treatment was a hard wax. Having been rather pleased with my experience at More Than Skin Urban Spa, I tried a few more places over the past year and realised that the most painless waxes took place in spas that used a melted wax that hardens soon after application and can be removed without the use of a strip. 'Hard wax, often called no-strip wax, is gentler and kinder to the sensitive areas,' says Anna Orvay, managing director for Sense of Touch Spas, adding that it is particularly suitable for smaller areas such as the eyebrows, upper lip, underarm and bikini area. 'It cures well to the skin, meaning it is easier to remove and captures the hairs in one go. There will be some pain, but not as much as a strip wax.' Sense of Touch was one of the spas I tried, primarily because it had marketed its Brazilian wax treatment as 'Haute wax ... the most pain-free wax in town'. While obviously not pain-free, it was quite a pleasant experience. I particularly appreciated the pre-wax inhalation of essential oil vapours, which made it seem more like a spa experience than a wait for the painful inevitable. While the formula of the wax at Sense of Touch is secret, Orvay says that it comes from Europe and contains a unique polymer that shrink-wraps the hair for minimal pain and a longer regrowth period. Also included in the waxing package is a quick post-wax pressure point massage for pain relief. While the pain had already subsided by then, it was a nice gesture nonetheless. It is important to note it is not a question of whether over-the-counter products work. The Veet bikini wax was effective. It is simply a matter of whether you have the courage required to wax your most sensitive area with neither technique nor the necessary tools on your side. My advice is to leave it to the pros, my fellow DIY waxers. Do not try this at home.