If your bush is looking wilted before Valentine’s Day, here’s how to spruce it up just in time. (Photo: Chris Heads/Trunk Archive)
You have three days before Valentine’s Day and everything is ready, except the hair down there. If you’ve put off grooming for a little too long, don’t panic. Whether your razor burn is on fire, your ingrowns are a minefield, or your bush is more like a forest, a three-day care plan should get you on track for date night. No matter what your grooming practice of choice is, here’s what you can do to keep the area below the belt looking, feeling, and smelling fresh.
If you trim
Three days before: Trim three days out versus the day of your date. “When you trim your hair, it leaves a very blunt edge on the hair and so it’s not going to be soft no matter what, so it gives it time to soften up,” the three female cofounders of Fur, a product line designed for downstairs hair and skincare, tell Yahoo Beauty. “Plus, when you do it three days out, you can modify and edit as you go along. You don’t want to rush. You want to take your time to make sure you’re doing it evenly.” Taking scissors to your nether regions should be a cautious process. “Especially if this is a new thing and you decide you want to grow it out for the first time, you’ve got to trim and you want to see how it’s going, see what your shape is, and take it slow.” If you’re looking for uniform length, use a trimmer like Schick Hydro Silk Women’s Trimstyle Razor ($14), but small, blunt tipped scissors will do the trick if you just want to neaten up the edges.
Then, the experts at Fur recommend exfoliating and cleaning things up in the shower using a towel, gentle brush, or loofah and plain old water. If you must use soap, be sure not to use it anywhere but the hair, and don’t use shampoo or conditioner. “The artificial fragrances can be very drying to the skin down there because shampoo and conditioner are made for your head hair but not really for skin,” the ladies at Fur suggest. “It’s not meant to be locked in your pants all day.” When you get out of the shower, start a routine of using Fur Oil ($39) daily. It’s designed to soften the hair and reduce ingrowns so that you won’t have to worry about it the next time you have a date coming up.
Two days before: Keep up your routine and apply a product like Fur Oil or Fur Stubble Cream (or both!) depending on the length you opted for. Fur Oil contains nine all-natural oils to serve all your below-the-belt needs. “Grapeseed and jojoba are the quick drying, quick absorbing oils that really get into the hair cuticle to soften it, then we have tea tree oil which is anti microbial to help prevent and minimize your ingrown hairs, and then clary sage seed to clear your pores and reduce redness so you have nice even skin,” says Fur. Lastly, adjust your trim to your preferences if needed.
Date night: Exfoliate in the shower, especially if you have any ingrowns, and apply Fur Oil when you get out. The oil smells great — like lemon, lavender, and peppermint — and isn’t meant to mask your smell, but if you feel the need for perfume, be careful. “It’s probably best to put [perfume] on the fabric of your underwear, that way you’re ensuring that harsh alcohols aren’t getting into anything sensitive, and it’s not going to overwhelm your partner if they happen to be down there.” If you want to fluff things up, blow dry at your own risk. “The drying damage from a blow dryer is never good for any hair,” says Fur. “And please don’t burn yourself, especially before a date.” Then be sure to keep up your softening routine with oil. “If you take care of it every day, no matter how many days out from your date you should be good to go, even if it’s a last minute occasion.”
Fur Oil is a blend of nine all natural oils. (Photo: Fur)
If you wax
Three days before: Before you go for a wax, make sure your hair is between ¼ and ¾ inches long; too short and the wax will not adhere to the hair, too long and the wax will be inefficient. Exfoliate the region you’re having waxed to minimize ingrowns. Stark Waxing Studios founder Paz Stark tells Yahoo Beauty that the best time to exfoliate is before you get in the shower when the skin and hair is dry, as this is the most effective way to slough off dead skin. Afterwards, take a warm (but not hot) shower to calm your nerves and open your pores before getting waxed.
Stark says that choosing a salon with blue hard wax is best, because it’s formulated for sensitive skin and coarse hair and it’s designed to grab just the hair rather than the top layer of skin, making it much less painful. She recommends getting your wax three days before date night, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you’re going to drink alcohol or caffeine beforehand, make sure it’s minimal as it can dry out or further inflame the skin. First timers may want to take some ibuprofen in advance just in case, but try not to worry about pain because that can make your muscles tense and make it harder to pull the hair from the skin. Immediately after waxing, apply pressure to the area to alleviate pain, and for post-treatment, apply an oil like Fur Oil, or a lavender or peppermint oil like Stark’s post-treatment oil to soothe the skin and remove wax residue.
Two days before: Don’t exercise for 24 hours after your wax as the chafing and increased blood flow can irritate the skin. Don’t exfoliate for 48 hours afterwards because the area will remain sensitive. If you’re still experiencing redness the day after, carefully apply a hydrocortisone cream to the sensitive area.
Date night: Dry exfoliate using Stark’s Agave Fiber Mitt ($15) before your shower to free up any remaining ingrown hairs and tweeze as needed. Don’t use any products you haven’t tried before, and if you’re still experiencing inflammation, be sure to wear comfortable underwear ¬– but make sure you feel great in them!
Stark’s exfoliating mitt. (Photo: Stark Waxing Studio)
If you shave
Three days before: First, find the right razor. At the very least, you need something sharp, or if you have a specific style in mind, opt for something small for precision. A Gillette video tutorial suggests a U-shaped razor downstairs for better access from different angles. If you don’t shave frequently, Gillette recommends trimming to ¼ inches because it will keep your razor from clogging up. Then, new shavers should shave three days out from your date (use a gel since it’s less likely to wash off in the shower than body wash), spending a few minutes in the hot shower to soften up the hair beforehand. Don’t press down with the razor, frequently rinse it out, and shave in the same direction that your hair grows in if you have sensitive skin. A tip from Gillette: start in the middle and work your way outwards, pulling the skin taught as you go. “If you’re feeling any tugging or pulling, most likely you need to change the blade.” For those who don’t shave regularly, hair won’t grow back quickly and an extra day will give leeway to accidental nicks or razor bumps. But the key is to take your time. Exfoliating the same day that you shave can expose sensitive skin and make you more prone to razor bumps. Afterwards, whether you shaved or not, pad dry and use an oil moisturizer.
Two days before: New shavers, treat the shaved skin and any remaining hair with a natural moisturizer or oil. Nicks and razor burn should be left alone and remain untouched. Regular shavers should shave the day before a date to prevent regrowth, and trim as needed, but don’t shave more than once every 5 to 7 days. Fur Stubble Cream ($32) is a good option for both newbies and regular shavers to soften stubble and make it less itchy.
Date night: On the day of, don’t skip your moisturizing and exfoliating, and have a fun date!