Before we get into the step-by-steps of how to shave pubes correctly, let’s get one thing straight: There’s no right or wrong way to wear your pubic hair. How much you have down there is a purely personal choice (and there are benefits to having it, FYI). But if you prefer to rely on shaving and trimming—possibly with the occasional bikini wax thrown in for good measure—know that taking matters into your own hands on the regular can also mean you might be making common mistakes without knowing it.
To that end, we're here to share the correct steps you should be taking when you want to shave down there, along with tips on how to shave pubes without getting irritation or ingrowns.
How to Shave Down There
1. Trim hair down.
If your hair has grown longer than a quarter of an inch, trim it down so it's only a few centimeters before stepping into the shower. Not only will this save you time while you shave, it’ll also prevent irritation.
Using a washcloth or loofah, gently exfoliate the skin on your bikini line and around your vulva. This will help remove any dead skin and will let you get a cleaner shave. One important thing to note: This isn't the time to reach for a heavy-duty scrub, since harsh exfoliators can do more harm than good. Look for a unfragranced option specifically made for your body.
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3. Apply shaving cream or gel.
Make sure your skin is damp but not sopping wet—otherwise the shaving cream can slip off your skin. It's better to use shaving cream instead of soap or body wash since it's specifically formulated to give razors a gentle glide. Need a new favorite? Check out our list of the best shaving cream for women.
4. Shave in the direction of hair growth.
Using a fresh, clean razor, pull your skin taut and shave in the direction that your hair grows. Going in multiple directions with your razor can lead to cuts and serious ingrowns. Remember not to apply too much pressure. The sharp blade should be doing the work for you. If you do need to make a second pass for a closer shave, you can go against the growth after you've first gone with it—this will help minimize irritation.
In between strokes, make sure to rinse the blade on your razor. Any stuck pieces of hair will prevent it from working as well. (Note: Never use your fingers to dislodge anything stuck in your razor blades. Water pressure from a faucet only.)
After you're finished shaving, rinse all the shaving cream away with warm water and gently pat dry with a towel.
Your skin will be dry after all the exfoliation, so you'll want to rehydrate with an unscented moisturizer or an after-shave lotion made for your bikini line.
Tips for Shaving Your Pubic Area
Now that you've got the basics down, read on for a few more pointers that'll help you prevent ingrowns and razor burn while you're removing hair.
1. Make shaving the last step in your shower routine.
Shaving the second you get into the shower is a surefire way to earn yourself a raging case of razor burn. Make shaving your pubic hair the last thing you do in the shower or bath instead. It’ll give your hair follicles a chance to properly soften, which lowers your risk for irritation by a lot.
2. Change out your razor blades regularly.
Proper tools make all the difference. Use a shaving cream without heavy fragrances, and leave it on the area for a minute or two to soften the hairs. Then pick up a fresh razor and get the job done. (These are our current favorites of the moment.) Using one that’s old and worn out will at best be inefficient and, at worst, give you a rash or razor burn.
3. Invest in a good trimmer.
Owning a pair of grooming scissors or a bikini area trimmer will help you not only trim back the hair you’re not looking to shave off, but will also get you ready for a big shave if it’s been a while (if you recently had a baby, you might know what we’re talking about here).
4. Avoid dry shaving at all costs.
We’ve all been there: You get an impromptu invite to the beach or are rushing to get ready for a date and you realize—eff—you need to shave. So you prop your leg up on the sink and quickly take care of business. At the very least, take a few minutes to press a hot washcloth against the area you want to shave in order to soften the hairs and prep your skin for a razor. It'll help ward off red bumps.
5. Avoid heavily fragranced body lotion.
Unless you use clean beauty products, chances are your favorite body lotion is loaded up with fragrances that can irritate freshly shaved skin. Buy a product that’s specifically geared to soothe the area (be careful of men’s aftershaves, which aren’t the same thing) or use a mild natural moisturizer like aloe vera to hydrate and protect your skin.
6. Wear cotton underwear afterward.
If you can help it, don’t reach for anything made out of lace or nylon. Soft, 100% cotton underwear that doesn’t have tight elastic bands around the leg openings is ideal. It’ll give your skin a chance to breathe and recover, preventing ingrown hairs in the process.
Originally Appeared on Glamour