Miss Your Waxing Appointment? Here's How to (Safely) Shave Your Bikini Line and Avoid Ingrown Hairs
Whether you’re looking to simply clean up your bikini line or go completely bare, here’s how to do it safely.
First, let’s get one thing straight: There’s no right or wrong way to wear your pubic hair. But if you prefer to shave and trim down there, it requires a little more time and attention than shaving anywhere else. Both the hair and skin down there are different than on the rest of your body. “Pubic hair is thicker and coarser than other hair, while the skin in the area is thin and sensitive, more so than on other spots you shave, like the armpits or legs,” explains Annie Gonzalez, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami.
In short, not following the correct shaving M.O. can be a recipe for both ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Ahead, the best things you can do to help ensure a super smooth (and safe) shave.
If your pubic hair is very long, carefully trimming some of the length prior to shaving can be very beneficial. This will help keep the razor blade from getting clogged up with hair and help you get the closest shave possible, says Dr. Gonzalez.
The sharper the better, making this a good time to opt for a single-use, disposable option. Try Gillette Venus Sensitive Women’s Disposable Razor ($7; amazon.com). Also important: Use this razor for your pubic area and your pubic area alone, in order to minimize hair from other parts of the body stunting and dulling the blade, explains Dr. Gonzalez. Plus, using a disposable razor that’s dedicated solely to bikini line shaving is a good way to help minimize the likelihood of infection.
Sounds obvious, but here’s the caveat: Make it the absolute last step in your shower (or bath) routine. The water and warmth help soften both the skin and hair, says Sheila Farhang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics. The softer they get, the closer and smoother shave you’ll be able to achieve.
Shaving dry is a major no-no on the pubic area, warns Dr. Farhang, as it's a recipe for razor burn and irritation. Whereas you might be able to get away with using soap or body wash in lieu of shaving cream on your underarms or legs, you’ll definitely want to use a dedicated shaving product in this instance; it’s the easiest way to make sure the razor glides smoothly across this sensitive skin. Bonus points if it’s a moisturizing formula that can further help ward off irritation. Our pick: eos Shea Butter Shave Cream Sensitive Skin ($4; target.com).
In other words, you want to shave in the same direction of hair growth, advises Dr. Farhang. While this is the opposite of what you’d do in other areas, it’s a better way to get a closer shave and completely remove the coarser, thicker pubic hair. Also important: Rinse your blade completely after each stroke to remove hairs and shaving cream residue, suggests Dr. Gonzalez.
“Because pubic hair is coarse and has a tendency to curl back down toward the skin, ingrown hairs are common in this area,” explains Dr. Farhang. Following the aforementioned shaving techniques can definitely help prevent ingrown hairs in the first place, as can your post-shaving plan. But Dr. Gonzalez also suggests moisturizing the area regularly in order to help prevent dead, dry skin from further exacerbating clogged pores and ingrowns. Try Fur Ingrown Concentrate ($28; ulta.com), which contains bisabolol, a soothing ingredient that Dr. Gonzalez is great for helping to calm the skin after shaving.
If an ingrown does pop up, Dr. Farhang recommends opting for an in-grown treatment that contains either tea tree oil or benzoyl peroxide, both of which can help alleviate inflammation with added antibacterial benefits.