I’m really into budget beauty. Not just to cut the costs of preening, but because DIY home beauty can save precious time and stress. Have you ever turned up to a salon without an appointment along with every other woman in New York who decided today was the day she was going to get her bikini-line waxed? Those are some women you don’t want to get in the way of, let alone be stuck in the confined waiting area of a salon with. I rarely get my bikini waxed at a salon, and because I don’t shave (I don’t like the way the hair grows back but more than anything I’m afraid I might slip in the shower and cut off my vagina), I’ve been giving myself at home bikini waxes for around 10 years now.

I highly recommend the DIY bikini wax to save money, stress, and to enforce optimum vaginal safety. I’ve perfected the art of waxing my pink bits at home, and I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds–here’s how you can DIY your own pubic zone, just in time for bikini season.

1. Find a good product

You might have to try a few before you choose one that’s right for you, so be prepared for some trial and error at the start. I find some wax strips are too sticky, or some warm waxes harden too fast. The point is you don’t want to wind up with some shitty wax or wax strips because it will deter you from ever going DIY downstairs again. I like NADS wax strips the best (and I’ve tried almost EVERYTHING), because even if you’re in a humid environment the wax tends to stick to your hair instead of your skin. They also come in a handy mini size that fits your lower contours perfectly.

2. Shower first

The power of a shower before an at home wax is incredible. Make it warm and steamy, and exfoliate very gently. If you wax as soon as you get out, your skin will be so supple and your pores so open the hairs will slide out as painlessly as possible. Make sure your skin is completely dry before you start!

3. Prepare

Once, I was in a hurry to wax myself and I didn’t think about my environment. I sat on my couch and put the strips on the floor, sticky side up (the strips come stuck together, and when you pull them apart, you get two separate sticky strips of wax), not even thinking. Before I had a chance to even realize what was happening, my cat sauntered up and stood straight on the wax. The strip wrapped around his leg, and he started shooting about the house doing cat parkour like he’d gone insane. It look me about ten minutes to catch him and even longer to painlessly coax the wax off his fur (and lots and lots of vegetable oil), so the whole “quick wax” thing never happened. I would suggest having a flat, dry, obstruction and cat free surface to keep the side of the strip you’re not currently using out of the way, and enough room around you to maneuver your body. Also, don’t sit on anything you don’t want to accidentally get a wax strip stuck to–it could even come in handy to put down an old towel.

4. Be good at yoga

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via Giphy

It helps when waxing your own self to be able to contort a bit. If you’re able to perch on your sitz bones and have your leg straight up in the air, you’re going to have an incredibly easy time getting in underneath and to your lower butt bits. Open hips is what at home waxing is all about.

5. Don’t be afraid

Basically, grow up, and don’t be a pussy. Waxing is about the least amount of pain a childbearing woman is going to go through in her life, so get a grip.

6. Be methodical

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Don’t be waxing bits of hair off all willy nilly. Start from the top and work your way down. Like painting your toenails left to right, waxing forward to back makes the job easier, so you don’t have a big tuft in your way when you’re trying to the awkward underneath bits. Having a methodical wax route will also spare you from forgetting parts or creating an uneven landing strip, should you choose to keep one.

7. Follow the grain of your hair

This seems sort of like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how unruly your pubes can be. When you’re waxing the front of your pubic area, you’ll be able to see quite obviously the direction your hair is growing, but when doing your inner thighs and outer labia, you might want to wax both ways. While the majority of hairs might all look like they’re growing say, front to back, some of them are growing back to front, and others side to middle. I generally wax the same spots in each of these directions to get the smoothest result possible. The bonus is normally there’s less hairs growing in the weird directions so after the first rip you’ll barely feel the others.

8. Watch out for the soft bits

There is nothing worse than a soft bit of skin with a wax strip stuck to it, with you tugging at it, the strip refusing to budge and just pulling on your skin instead. When you’re waxing the super soft bits, be dexterous–you’ll benefit from being able to pull the skin taut with one hand while you wax with the other.

9. Have an epilator on hand

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via Giphy

I like to use an epilator. Most women shrivel up like the defeated Witches when I mention this, but I live by it in summer. An epilator, if you don’t know, is a little hand held plug in device with lots of little tweezers in it. When you turn it on, the head rotates, and all the little tweezers start snapping away like hungry fish. You run it over your skin and it essentially plucks out the hairs, one by one. I recommend them because they’re great for getting at little hairs, and during beach season, you don’t always have enough time between bikini wears to let your full bush grow to a waxable state.

10. Moisturize

For the love of all that is good and smooth in this world, moisturize. And not just straight after you’ve waxed. Look after your pubic region–if it’s special enough for you to spend this much time and effort grooming, you should consider the time between waxes as an investment. Exfoliate regularly (but always wait at least 24 hours after a wax), and use whatever lotion works best for your skin after you shower.

11. And always remember: winter is coming

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via Giphy

If all this seems just way too daunting for you, don’t forget that eventually, you won’t have to worry about your bikini line for a whole season: winter is always coming.