- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
First things first: There's no one right way to deal with pubic hair. You can leave it how it grows, shave it into a shape, wax it off completely, trim it a little bit, or something else entirely—it's all fine. At the end of the day, how you decide to handle your body (including your pubic hair!) is entirely up to you. That being said, if you do decide to alter your pubic hair in some way, you want to be armed with the right tools and info to avoid getting any nicks, bumps, or razor burn because those can be uncomfortable anywhere, but especially down there. Read on for expert tips on how to shave your pubic hair and answers to all your questions about grooming.
First, do I have to do it?
We get it. You're bombarded by what seems like a million messages about pube grooming—friends who talk about being totally bare, waxing ads at every salon— and you're all like: Is this the norm? Am I a freak? Should I shave-it-all-off stat? But the truth is, some girls like a bare bikini area, while others get a little freaked by feeling exposed. Some may be into a little bit of a trim, but not all that psyched about the upkeep of taking all off.
Consider your pubic-hair stylings a very personal preference, says Jennifer Ashton, MD, an ob-gyn and author of The Body Scoop for Girls. Just like anything else you'd do to your bod—your haircut, your nail art, your makeup routine (or lack thereof)—go with what feels right for you.
Should I shave, or wax, or… something else?
Waxing is fine—and TBH, it will probably leave you with a smoother surface and slightly less frequent upkeep than shaving—but real talk: Ripping your hair out can be pretty painful. On the other hand, depilatory creams can be fairly painless, but you have to read the package and the instructions very carefully, because not all are made for the uber-sensitive skin of your vulva and bikini line. And even those that are can irritate—or burn—your skin if left on too long. Shaving, can feel like an easier and more familiar introduction to bikini-line grooming: You've been doing it to your legs, so you've got the basics down, right? Again, though, this decision is up to you. Do some research and pick what's best for your situation.
So, how do you shave down there anyway?
Let's say shaving is your choice for hair removal, there are still some specific steps you should take in order to make sure you're taking proper care of yourself down there. It sounds complicated, but just follow the steps below and you'll be smooth in no time.
1. Trim your pubic hair.
Shaving will be so much easier when the hair is shorter. Just use a small pair of scissors or a hair trimmer and cut down on the hair so it's about a quarter of an inch long.
2. Exfoliate your skin.
This step is important. "Any time you shave or wax, that hair follicle on your skin is going to be opened up," explains Dr. Ashton. "That makes it easy for bacteria to enter and cause an infection." So, you want to make sure the area is clean before you get to work. An exfoliant will remove dead skin and help to prevent ingrown hairs. Again, make sure you are using a simple product that won't irritate your skin. Also, remember that these products are not for inside your vagina, but simply the outer area.
3. Grab some shaving cream.
One again, make sure you're choosing a simple shaving cream for sensitive skin. Then, dab it all over your pubic area.
It's finally time for the big shave. Since pubic hair is the thickest hair on your body, take a brand-new blade or a fresh-and-sharp disposable razor. Then shave downward *with* the hair, i.e. in the direction it's growing. Using small strokes and holding your skin taut with the other hand will help protect against nicks and cuts. And of course: Take. It. Slow.
Before you go completely bare though, keep in mind, certain areas are more sensitive and prone to redness and irritation. "It's best to leave the hair right around the vaginal opening alone, because the skin there is so sensitive," warns Dr. Holmes. "Trimming is fine, but shaving can create a problem."
After you're done shaving and you've rinsed away the excess cream, moisturize with a fragrance-free lotion.
Will it really grow back faster/thicker/darker?
According to Dr. Holmes, that's totally a myth. "It has a sharp edge after you shave, so it just feels thicker or coarser," she says. In reality, though, the hair hasn't changed.
What's with all the little bumps?
So you shaved and now it's like your bikini line is breaking out on you. That's likely folliculitis, aka razor burn, and it happens when bacteria get inside those little hair follicles and inflame them, causing those prickly pink-and-white bumps you're seeing.
Many times this issue will resolve on its own within a few days, but in the meantime, you can soothe your skin by applying a little 1% hydrocortisone cream (available near the first aid stuff at the drugstore) or an ointment with vitamins A and D/zinc oxide (aka diaper rash cream).
If it doesn't clear up or it's driving you nuts, see your doctor for a prescription for an antibiotic. "It can really help," says Dr. Ashton.
But I just have this one BIG bump?
It's as if the biggest, most painful pimple of your life has sprung up right by your swimsuit line, huh? Don't freak out, it might be an ingrown hair, which happens when dead skin cells clog up a hair follicle and force the hair that's inside to grow sideways under the skin (rather than up and out).
Resist the urge to dig or pick, and instead, treat it once a day with a mild toner containing salicylic acid, the same exfoliating ingredient used to beat acne. See a doc for treatment if the itching/burning/pain gets serious.
Wait, why's it so darn itchy down there now?
Sneaking scratches through your bikini bottoms is not a good look. Most likely, that itching is caused by prickly dry skin or some sort of inflammation. If you're shaving with soap, try switching to shaving cream, since it'll moisturize your skin a little more. And to prevent the tiny bumps and micro-nicks that cause aforementioned irritation, use a brand-new razor and warm water next time.
You Might Also Like