Sunday, February 10, 2019

Shaving The Bikini Line - Here's How to Prevent and Get Rid of Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hairs


Shaving can lead to razor bumps and ingrown hairs on the bikini line if you don't take measures to prevent them. Most women, including myself, have experienced redness, irritation, and bumps after shaving the bikini line. Years ago, I went on a journey to find the best products to prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs on the bikini line. I've put together this guide to help you keep that sensitive area smooth, supple, and hair-free.

While some women prefer to forgo hair removal all together, some opt for waxing, epilators, and creams to remove hair from the bikini line. Personally, I prefer shaving. I find the other methods to be too painful (waxing and epilators) or ineffective (hair removal creams), so shaving is my method of choice. I shave about once every other day to keep the area smooth and hair free.

WHAT IS AN INGROWN HAIR?


Unfortunately, everyone knows that any form of hair removal can lead to razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Women who shave tend to be more susceptible to ingrown hairs, as the razor moves dead skin cells around and can even cause the hair shaft to move, resulting in a hair that has trouble breaking through the skin's surface.

While most hair grows with no problem, some hairs may end up stuck beneath the skin. As the hair grows under the skin, the body's immune system reacts and treats the hair as a foreign object. This immune response is what causes pain, itching, redness, and swelling. Ingrown hairs can also become infected, so it's wise to do what you can to avoid this.

* This post contains affiliate links. If you use one or more of my links to make a purchase, I will be compensated. Please view my full disclosure.


HOW TO PREVENT RAZOR BUMPS AND INGROWN HAIRS


When I first started shaving, I had no idea what I was doing. Needless to say, I ended up with razor bumps and ingrown hairs after shaving my bikini line. I started researching ways to prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn, so I've put together this guide to show you what I do and what products I use. The links to the products in this post are affiliate links, as stated in the disclaimer, and if you use any of these links and make a purchase, I will be compensated.

At the end of this guide, I'll include a complete list of all products mentioned within this post.

Trim the hair before shaving.

If this is your first time shaving or if you've let your hair grow pretty long, trim it before shaving. This will make shaving much easier. I recommend having your hair about a quarter inch long or shorter before taking a razor to the area. You can use scissors or an electric razor to trim the hair. I prefer the Miserwe Women's Electric Razor to shorten the hair before shaving.

Wash the bikini line with an antibacterial soap. 

After speaking with my gynecologist about shaving the bikini line a few years ago, he recommended washing with an antibacterial soap before and after shaving. I prefer Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap. Obviously this is a hand soap, not a body wash, but I find that it's mild and it works perfectly as a bikini line soap. You don't want to use this to wash in the vagina, just the outside skin before shaving. Trust me. It works.

Rinse the area with hot water.

Once you've washed the area with an antibacterial soap, use hot water to rinse the area. When I say "hot water," I'm talking as hot as you can stand it without scalding yourself. Usually, I wash my hair, body, and then shave. This allows the hot water and steam to penetrate the hair follicle, opening it up to make for an easier shave. It also helps to soften the hair on the bikini line, making it easier to remove.

Choose a good razor for the bikini line — and use a new razor head every other time.

A quality razor is an absolute must for shaving the bikini line. Also, you must change the razor head every other time that you shave. Needless to say, this can get expensive. Some women prefer disposable razors because of how expensive razor head refills are. I, however, prefer the superiority of the more expensive razors and razor cartridges.

My all-time favorite razor for the bikini area is the Gilette Fusion5 ProGlide. I have found that men's shaving products tend to be far superior to the women's products. Why? I wish I knew.


Because I shave every other day and I only use a razor head on the bikini area twice before throwing it away, I go through around 7-8 razor heads a month. A 12-pack of razor cartridges for the Gilette Fusion5 ProGlide costs around $40 and lasts me about a month and a half. I personally find it to be worth it. If I use a razor head more than twice on the bikini line, it does not give me the smooth, close shave that I want. Not to mention, the blades dull even after one use, so you're also more likely to end up with nicks. If you choose to go with only disposable razors, that's fine too. Just find whatever works for you and stick with it.

For some women, certain areas, like the crease between the vulva and the thighs, require a specialty razor. For these areas, I recommend Noxema Bikini Shavers. You can get a three-pack for around $4 on Amazon. I find that the Gilette Fusion5 ProGlide works just fine for me, but some women prefer something smaller for those hard to reach areas.



Choose a slippery, concentrated, water activated shaving cream.

I prefer Cremo Moisturizing Concentrated Shave Cream. I prefer this shaving cream because it's slippery, water activated, and it lasts much longer than any other shaving cream on the market. Not to mention, it helps me get a smooth, close shave in fewer strokes.

And speaking of shaving strokes...

Shave in single strokes in the direction of hair growth.

In every article you read about shaving the bikini line, you'll find that they tell you to shave the bikini line in only one stroke. We all know that it's nearly impossible to get all of the damn hair in one stroke. I usually shave over the area twice, but no more than that. I find that holding the skin taut and applying a firm but gentle pressure with the razor helps you get a complete shave in less strokes.

If some hair is left over after two strokes, do not shave over the area again. Just leave it alone. We will deal with those leftover hairs in the next couple of steps.

Also, shave in the direction of hair growth. I know that is also easier said than done, but trust me. Again, we will deal with any missed hairs during shaving in the next couple of steps. Just hang tight.


Wash again with an antibacterial soap after shaving.

Once you've shaved the entire area, wash again with an antibacterial soap.


Exfoliate the bikini line once a a week.

Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells. When dry, dead skin is sitting on the surface, it can cause hair to get trapped. Exfoliating helps prevent that. Plus, if there is an ingrown hair, exfoliating can help to dislodge it from under the skin. I prefer GiGi No Bump Body Scrub because it contains salicylic acid which helps dry the area and keeps the follicles open, making it easier to remove dead skin.


Alternatively, you can use a soft wash cloth or a very soft bristle brush and gently rub the area in circular motions. I don't recommend exfoliating the bikini line more than once a week, as too much exfoliating can irritate the skin.

Pat dry after your shower.

Don't excessively rub the area. Just gently pat it dry with a soft towel to help remove any moisture.

Pluck any leftover hairs with tweezers.

After your shower, sit on the toilet with a mirror and check for any leftover hairs. Any hairs that were missed after shaving will need to be plucked out. I know it sucks, but I find that it's better to pluck the missed hairs instead of shaving over the area repeatedly.
You'll want to invest in a good pair of tweezers for this (and dedicate them to this purpose only).


Apply an astringent after your shower.

Once you've showered, shaved, and plucked any leftover hairs, apply an astringent to the bikini line. I prefer witch hazel for this purpose. You can buy witch hazel pads or just use cotton balls and a bottle of witch hazel to dab on the area. This will help to cool the irritated skin and remove any stinging after shaving.

Apply an anti-ingrown hair cream.

Protect the area from ingrown hairs by using an ingrown hair/razor bump cream. I highly recommend High Time Bump Stopper 2. This is another men's product and is used for razor bumps on the face, but I have found that it works amazing on the bikini line. It also doubles as a moisturizer because of the Vitamin A in it. I apply this twice a day on days that I shave — once after applying witch hazel and again before I go to bed.

Wear cotton panties.

Look, I know that as women, we feel sexy when we wear lace or silk panties, but trust me, these are not beneficial to your nether region. Cotton underwear are highly preferred as they allow the area to breathe. Lace panties rub against and irritate that sensitive area. Silk panties hold in moisture which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Cotton panties are your friend.

It's fine to wear sexy panties for short periods of time but when you're working, going to school, or lounging around the house, it's best to stick with cotton. Some women prefer no panties, and that's fine too, but be mindful of what you're rubbing up on. Going commando is fine if you're wearing cotton leggings but if you're wearing jeans, you might want a barrier between your sensitive skin and that rough denim.

Keep the area dry.

If you sweat a lot near the bikini line, you're going to want to take measures to keep the area dry. I highly recommend a talc-free, cornstarch-based powder, such as Noodle & Boo Delicate Baby Powder.



HOW TO GET RID OF RAZOR BUMPS AND INGROWN HAIRS

The difference between razor bumps and ingrown hairs is that razor bumps are typically irritation caused by shaving and will appear in large groups over the area you've recently shaved. They will show up within hours to a day after shaving. They can be painful and itchy.

Ingrown hairs can also be painful and itchy, but there are usually less of them. They look like small, round bumps and they will show up within two to three days after shaving. An infected ingrown hair may appear as a pus-filled bump. In some cases, you might also notice the skin darkening around the area. This is called hyperpigmentation.

In most cases, ingrown pubic hairs will heal on their own without treatment. If you have razor bumps and/or ingrown hairs, there are ways to reduce their appearance and to get rid of them altogether. It won't happen over night but you can make them less noticeable.

Stop removing hair in that area.

I have to admit that while even though this is advice found all over the internet, I don't usually take heed. Personally, I don't like to have hair growing and I like to feel smooth. However, if you have a particularly bad ingrown hair or razor bumps, it's wise to stop removing hair in the area until the redness and swelling goes down.

Do not scratch or pick at the area.

This can cause an infection and even scarring. If you end up with scarring, this can cause the hair to get caught under the skin more frequently, leading to an increase in ingrown hairs.

Appy warm compresses.

Using warm water on a wash cloth, apply gentle pressure to the area. Let the cloth rest on the area for a minute at a time, remove, and then apply a second warm compress. Do this for about five to ten minutes, twice a day.

Exfoliate the area.

Exfoliating will loosen up any hairs that are caught under the surface. Again, I recommend GiGi No Bump Body Scrub. The salicylic acid will dry the area and keeps the follicles open, making it easier to remove dead skin. Rubbing a soft wash cloth in circular motions will also exfoliate the area if you do not have an exfoliating scrub available.

Use tweezers to pull any ingrown hairs out from under the skin.

I recommend Aumelo tweezers for pubic hair. They come in a four pack and I find that the different tips give you more options for pulling hard to reach ingrown pubic hairs.

If you can see the hair beneath the surface and can grasp it, then pluck it out. Some people recommend not plucking the hair (as the skin may heal around the follicle, causing it to become ingrown again), but I pluck it anyway. I've never run into a problem by doing so.

If you cannot grasp the hair or if it's still too deep under the skin, leave it alone. Do not dig into the skin or else you run the risk of infection.

Apply a steroid cream.

Your doctor or gynecologist can prescribe a topical steroid to help reduce redness, swelling, itching, and inflammation associated with ingrown hairs and razor bumps. For minor cases, you can pick up an over-the-counter steroid cream such as hydrocortisone, although this will likely not work as well as prescription-strength steroid creams.

I also find that the High Time Bump Stopper 2 works well for reducing the appearance of razor bumps and ingrown hair, not just preventing them.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE AN INFECTED INGROWN PUBIC HAIR

If an ingrown pubic hair becomes infected, the area will be painful and filled with pus. It may even look like a large boil. In the case of an ingrown hair, STOP REMOVING HAIR IN THE AREA. Next, apply a topical antibiotic cream. Finally, see your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a prescription antibioitic ointment or wash. If the infection is severe, your doctor may also prescribe an oral antibiotic. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove an infected ingrown hair.

BEST PRODUCTS FOR PREVENTING RAZOR BUMPS AND INGROWN HAIRS

In this post, I've covered all of the ways I prevent ingrown hairs when shaving along the bikini line. I've listed several different products that I recommend for prevention and for reducing the appearance of ingrown hairs and razor bumps. Below, I've created a full list of every product mentioned.

  • Quality Shaving Cream (Cremo) for a smooth, slippery, close shave in less strokes.
  • Tweezers (Aumelo Tweezers) to pluck any missed hairs and remove any ingrown hairs.
  • Astringent (Witch Hazel Pads) to cool and soothe the area and stop stinging after shaving.
  • Anti-Ingrown Hair Cream (High Time Bump Stopper 2) to prevent and reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs and razor bumps — also doubles as a moisturizer.
  • Cotton Panties to keep the area dry and breathable to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Topical Steroid Cream (Hydrocortisone) to reduce redness, swelling, itchiness, and irritation as the result of razor bumps.
Most of the products mentioned here will last you a good long while, so you needn't worry about purchasing them regularly. I really hope that this post helps you achieve a smooth, bump-free bikini area. If you like this post, don't forget to share it with your friends!

* This post contains affiliate links. If you use one or more of my links to make a purchase, I will be compensated. Please view my full disclosure.

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