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Beauty

6 steps to avoid bumps and burns while shaving the bikini line

Your smoothest shave yet

Graphic of razor being used to clean a clear area of skin between body hair. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Kolonko

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Choosing to shave “down there”—i.e., the bikini line—can bring up mixed or polarizing emotions. Some may feel relieved at the prospect of getting rid of all that hair, while others may feel trepidatious about venturing south with a razor. Regardless of the camp you fall into, exactly how you should shave the bikini area may not be crystal-clear.

To give you some peace of mind before attempting to de-hair that delicate area, we asked Denise Gallo, a board-certified nurse practitioner with SkinCare Physicians of Fairfield County, Connecticut, a division of New York’s Advanced Dermatology, PC, to walk us through the step by step process.

Step 1: Trim the hairs

Graphic of handheld scissors that represent trimming your pubic hairs before shaving.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / archivector

Trimming your hair with a professional-grade pair of scissors before shaving will set the stage for a pleasant experience.

As is the case with many personal care routines—like doing your makeup, for instance—shaving your bikini line, a term people use to refer to where the seam of your underwear falls or the entire pubic bone area, requires some preparation. Start by trimming the hairs anywhere you plan to later shave with a pair of scissors designed to avoid knicks in the skin, such as the Conair Personal Safety Trimming Travel Scissors. Making those hairs shorter will pay off later on, given that you won’t feel the need to tug at them while you’re shaving, says Gallo. In turn, trimming the hair down to a few millimeters from the skin will pave the way for a more comfortable shaving experience. Tip: Do this step in the shower, so you can easily wash away the hairs.

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Step 2: Dampen the hair and skin

Graphic of shower head spraying water for shaving in the shower.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / MaksimYremenko

Getting the hair and skin wet pre-shave helps to soften the skin and hair.

Once you're satisfied with the trim, it’s time to dampen the hair to ensure that it's softened. “A great time to shave is right after a shower, as your skin will be warm, moist, and free of excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog up your razor blade,” she explains. If you prefer to shave during your shower, make it your last step when the area is clean and the hair and skin have had adequate time to soften from the water's moisture.

Step 3: Place shaving cream on the bikini line

Graphic of squeeze bottle of hydrocortisone to represent treating skin with the proper product after shaving.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / robuart

Apply shaving cream to any area you plan to shave.

Now that your hair and skin are prepped, slather shaving cream anywhere you plan to shave. Gallo recommends letting the shaving cream sit for two to three minutes before going in with your razor, as this step also ensures the hairs will be soft and easier to shave.

If you’re in need of a shaving cream, try the eos Shea Better Shaving Cream that’s designed for the bikini area, which means that it's gynecologist-tested for use in this area, according to the brand. This cream claims to provide “24-hour hydration” to intimate areas as well as the arms and legs. Shea oil moisturizes while aloe vera “conditions and calms for a silky smooth shave.” It also comes in five scent iterations: “Orange,” “Pomegranate raspberry,” “Pink citrus,” “Vanilla,” and “Lavender.”

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Step 4: Wield your razor

Bottle of shaving cream and razor on sides of triangle-shaped patch of body hair.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Venus / EOS

To determine which direction to shave, look to see where the hairs are pointing.

As a best practice, use a brand new razor or blade cartridge each time you shave the bikini area, as it guarantees the blades are sharp and free of any rust, bacteria, or hair and skin buildup. If you’re looking for a new razor option, consider the Reviewed-approved Gillette Venus Extra Smooth Swirl. According to our tester, this five-blade razor was awarded our Best Overall title for its ability to maneuver through and remove large swaths of hair.

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New razor in tow, you’re ready to shave. Make sure to “shave in the direction that your hair grows,” says Gallo. If you're unsure, look closely at what direction the strands point as they protrude from the hair follicles. Shaving in the direction of hair growth decreases your chance of experiencing razor bumps and ingrown hairs, as going "against the grain" may cut the hair too blunt or short, causing it to become trapped underneath the skin. After each swipe of your razor, rinse the blade under water to ensure that it’s free of hairs from the previous swipe.

Step 5: Pour cold water over the bikini line, then moisturize

Graphic of soap bubbles and water on human hands to represent clean hands before shaving.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Enis Aksoy

Cooling the skin post-shave will decrease the chances of inflammation.

When all is said and done, drench the bikini line in cold water using a saturated washcloth. This step lessens the likelihood of inflammation, Gallo notes, given that “it’s a sensitive area prone to rubbing and friction.” Then, follow that up with a moisturizer, as it creates a protective barrier for the skin that decreases the chances of experiencing any irritation.

Reach for a fuss-free formula like the Reviewed-approved Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion. Our tester gave this body lotion her stamp of approval due to its “fragrance-free, gel-like formula that glides on to the skin like a dream.”

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Step 6: Treat irritated skin

Graphic of squeeze bottle of hydrocortisone to represent treating skin with the proper product after shaving.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / robuart

Apply shaving cream to any area you plan to shave.

Even if you shaved properly, that doesn’t mean you're completely immune to irritation and ingrown hairs. If irritation and itching arise, Gallo suggests placing 1% Hydrocortisone Lotion on the affected area two times a day until the pain subsides.

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To reduce the possibility of ingrown hairs, exfoliate the bikini line two to three days after shaving. Gallo recommends the La Roche-Posay Ultra-Fine Scrub, a fragrance-free and sensitive skin-friendly option that gently exfoliates using glycerin, perlite, and pumice.

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