Ask a Beauty Editor: The Best Products for Ingrown Hair

Ingrowns, meet your worst enemy.

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smooth legs on a beach - no ingrown hair
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Ever wanted to pick the brain of a beauty editor? Or get beauty product recommendations from someone who has tried them all? You've come to the right place. In our weekly series, Ask a Beauty Editor, beauty editor Hana Hong answers your biggest skincare, hair care, and makeup questions, all submitted by Real Simple readers. Tune in every Tuesday and submit your own burning beauty questions here for a chance to be featured.

Reader question: I suffer from ingrown facial hair that has left dark spots. What can l use for both problems? - Clare John

Since my first razor in middle school, I've had a love-hate relationship with shaving. One minute you have smooth, hairless skin, and the next you're looking at red, raised bumps ruining the landscape of your otherwise flawless complexion.

Aesthetically displeasing, painful, and weirdly defiant of the laws of gravity, ingrown hairs are what happens when hair starts growing outward (like hair normally would), but then curls under itself and begins to grow inward. This inward growth creates a pimple-like bump.

So, why do ingrown hairs happen? This is going to go against everything you were taught by society, but your body hair isn't actually meant to be shaved. (Shocker, right?) It's there for an evolutionary reason, so when you do shave, it makes your hair follicle angry (read: inflamed) as a defense mechanism.

To prevent ingrown hairs, make sure to shave in the direction of the hair with a fresh blade; the duller the blade, the more you're scraping the skin, upping the likelihood of irritation and ingrowns. And whatever you do, avoid popping or tweezing an ingrown hair bump, as this increases the chance of infection—and isn't a guaranteed way to remove the hair.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to ingrown hair removal, but the right products can expedite the process. Here are the best (and most indulgent) oils, exfoliators, and elixirs for all your ingrown hair needs.

Best for Ingrown Hair Overall: Fur Ingrown Concentrate

ingrown-hair-treatment-fur ingrown concentrate

Fur's iconic formula works as a spot treatment for your existing ingrowns; however, with daily use, it can also be used to prevent future irritation, thanks to the soothing blend of castor oil, grape seed, coconut, lavender, and jojoba. What's also great about this pick is that it comes with a little dropper bottle and textured cloth mitt, a combo that allows you to control the pressure as you exfoliate.

Best Ingrown Hair Treatment: Bushbalm Dark Spot Treatment

ingrown-hair-treatment-Bushbalm Dark Spot Treatment

As you noticed, ingrown hairs often introduce an even bigger problem to the mix, and that's pigmentation. Bushbalm's hero product (it sells over five units per hour with hundreds of five-star reviews, according to the brand) harnesses six natural ingredients that work together to break up the melanin pigments that cause dark spots and uneven skin tones.

Best Ingrown Hair Serum: EWC TREAT Ingrown Hair Serum

EWC TREAT Ingrown Hair Serum

The iconic spa brand knows a thing or two about hair removal, so you know its stuff is the real deal. Not only is it pH-balanced and non-comedogenic, ingredients like glycolic acid, tea tree oil, and lavender oil soften skin to coax trapped hair out.

Best Ingrown Hair Exfoliator: SweetSpot Labs Buff & Brighten Body Exfoliating Pads

ingrown-hair-treatment-SweetSpot Labs Buff & Brighten Body Exfoliating Pads

No matter your hair removal method, exfoliating regularly is a surefire way to speed up skin cell turnover, in turn removing pigmentation. Swipe-on pads make daily exfoliation easier and faster than ever—simply rub on the bikini area, legs, and underarms three to four times a week.

Best Ingrown Hair Scrub: First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub 10% AHA

ingrown-hair-treatment-First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub AHA

For bump-free skin post-shower, give yourself a good rubdown with this scrub from First Aid Beauty. It contains a mixture of chemical and physical exfoliators for healthier-looking skin: pumice buffing beads, and glycolic and lactic acids at a combined level of 10 percent to loosen skin's top layer. Meanwhile, bisabolol works overtime to reverse irritation.

Best Ingrown Hair Cream: Malin + Goetz Ingrown Hair Cream

ingrown-hair-treatment-Malin Goetz Ingrown Hair Cream

This plant-based formula synthesizes natural botanicals like allantoin and chamomile to calm angry pores, while a blend of glycolic and salicylic acid exfoliates pigmentation away. The uber-gentle, residue-free formula means it's ideal for post-shaving, even if you're a daily shaver.

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