Shaving your bikini line isn’t hard. Shaving your bikini line without any irritation, razor burn, or post-shave bumps is near impossible. The hair-removal method is simple, cheap, and quick—which is why it’s so popular—but it also presents the most annoying side effects.
Improving your technique can make the whole experience a lot less irritating, literally and figuratively. That’s what we learned after following the tips of these skincare pros, below. Read on for our comprehensive no-razor-burn guide to shaving your bikini line.
Before you apply any type of shaving lotion or cream, you need to prep that delicate skin. Master esthetician Amy McLain says this will remove dead skin cells, allowing you to get a closer shave. “I recommend my clients use HydroPeptide 5X Power Peel before shaving,” she says. “They are actually designed for acneic skin, but are wonderful for clients’ bikini lines. They contain gentle acids—glycolic, salicylic, and lactic—which exfoliate the skin, as well as prevent over drying. They are also individually packaged in a towelette, which make them super easy to use or travel with.” If you’re sensitive, you should do this the day before you shave.
Just like you moisturize your arms and legs every day, you should keep this spot hydrated. “Be sure to moisturize the area liberally in the days before any type of hair removal,” Nandi Wagner, the lead esthetician at Bliss Spa in New York City, says. “When the hair is well-moisturized, it is easier to remove and the skin is less likely to become irritated.”
Picking gentle moisturizers or those free of fragrance will help avoid irritation even more. There are also products—like Bliss Your Situation Oil—that actually soften the hair follicle before you shave.
Change Your Razor
Yes, that five-blade razor is actually worth it. “The razor should be sharp and preferably more than one blade, that makes the chances of getting a smooth shave with the least amount of passes better,” Dr. Purvisha Patel, a Memphis-based dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, says. You should also make sure it’s a clean razor free of rust or mildew (those need to be tossed immediately). If the blade tugs at your skin instead of gliding smoothly over the surface, it’s a sign it needs to be replaced. We love the Venus Swirl Razor ($9; target.com) because it features a flexiball head that helps the blades maneuver hard-to-reach areas.
Use Shaving Cream
Never dry shave if you don’t want bumps or burn. Wagner suggests using an emollient cream, gel, or conditioner when shaving. It should create a surface that your razor can gently glide over. The best time to apply and shave, she says, is towards the end of the shower when your skin is the most soft.
We love using Skintimate Women’s Moisturizing Shave Gel Sensitive Skin ($3; walmart.com). When picking products, Dr. Patel says to avoid anything edible, like coconuts or butters. “If we can eat a product, bacteria and fungus can to. This could increase the chance of making shave bumps,” she explains.
You can also always use a facial cleanser or a conditioner if you’re out of traditional shaving cream—just be sure to check the ingredients first.
Related article: The secret to shaving your knees without missing a spot
Shave with the Grain
“When shaving the bikini area, it is ideal to shave in the direction of hair growth—AKA with the grain—to prevent ingrown hairs and irritation,” notes Wagner. “Shaving against the grain can pull the hair follicles, which can lead to irritation as well as increase the likelihood of nicks and cuts.”
Moisturize and Soothe
After you shave, Dr. Patel says to dry the area well and apply a soothing moisturizer with ingredients like aloe or tea tree oil. You should also regularly exfoliate to prevent any clogged pores. You can use pads that are made with gentle acids, like Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster and Bump Attendant Ingrown Eliminating Pads, to keep skin soft and smooth. All you have to do is cleanse, wipe the pad over the skin, and you’re set.