HBO
Gina Florio
March 04, 2016 1:05 pm

Let’s get real about our pubes for a second. Everyone has their own flavor when it comes to what goes on down there. Some like it completely bare, others like to keep it trimmed. Then there are those who only want some hair and choose to get rid of the rest. Whatever you like, just make sure it’s something you’ve chosen for yourself, because it’s not a decision any other person should make for you.

If you’re curious about going a bit further down the hair removal road and you’re not quite sure which way to turn, this will be a good start for you. And hey, it can be fun to experiment, so let’s go explore.

Here’s everything you need to know about shaving and/or waxing your pubic hair.

Option #1: Shaving it off down there.

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Taking a razor to your pubic hair can be a safe option if it’s done the right way. Make sure you’re always using a fresh, brand new razor each time you do it, and always start by taking a warm shower or bath to soften the pubes and reduce irritation. Cosmo has a really good step-by-step primer on how to get the best shave, so check it out.

Although shaving is one of the cheaper options to keeping your pubes trim, resist buying the cheapest materials. Invest in good razors and buy shaving cream with aloe vera or any other kind of soothing ingredients. This will seriously help the redness and bumps you might see on your vagina. Also, wear non-irritating fabrics on your bottom half afterward, like breathable cotton.

FYI: These are the downsides to shaving your pubes.

It’s high-maintenance, and it takes a lot of effort. Shaving is also the quickest way to get irritated skin on your pubic bone. It can caus quite a bit of itchiness when the hair starts to grow back. If you have dark, thick hair, you might see more red bumps and ingrown hairs down there than other women. If this is the case, don’t freak out — you have other options!

Option #2: Waxing your pubic hair.

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Most important: Find a reliable waxing aesthetician who has shining reviews. You don’t want to go to a waxing salon solely based on cheap prices. By the way, it’s highly recommended by experts that you don’t try to wax yourself at home. Not much good can come of it.

Make sure your hair is long enough before you go in, and have an idea of what you want before your appointment. There are lots of different options, so see what your aesthetician offers. If it’s your first time going on, it’s okay to be nervous. Pop back a few Advil. Or better yet, have a glass of wine.

If you’re going full Brazilian, always, always, always opt in for a hard wax. It doesn’t take off a layer of skin like strip wax does, it’s less painful, and it’s much easier on your skin down there.

FYI: There are downsides to waxing, too.

It’s the pricier option for taking care of your pubic hair, especially if you’re going to a good place with high-level professionals. Also, you have to tend to it every four weeks, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to travel. Other than that, though, there aren’t really many cons to waxing. (Okay, there’s pain, but for some people, their bodies become used to the pain with regular waxing.)

A couple tips: Don’t ever shave before going in, as that will irritate the skin; don’t schedule your appointment anywhere near your period; and give yourself time to heal for a day or two before you immerse yourself in water or fool around with your SO.

Option #3, which shouldn’t actually be an option: depilatories and cream hair removers.

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If these products seem too good to be true, it’s because they are. Sure, they’re painless and relatively cheap, but they’re not always safe around your vagina. The chemicals in them are so strong that they can cause burns to your vaginal region. In some cases, the skin oozes and crusts. Gross.

And FYI: Here’s the truth about infections, no matter what method you choose.

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Dr. Jennifer Wider, women’s health expert for Cosmo Radio, says that both shaving and waxing can leave you susceptible to infections if you’re not careful enough. They both cause irritation and microscopic tears in the skin, which, when left unattended, can be an entryway for bacteria.

She reminds us that pubic hair exists to protect the bare skin from friction that can cause abrasions, and removing it leaves you vulnerable to infection. When your bare pubic skin is left warm, moist, and not-so-clean for an extended period of time, the following bacteria gather: staphylococcus aureus, A streptococcus, and methicillin resistant staph aureus. Let’s just put it this way: None of them are friendly.

Your risk for getting an infection is reduced, though, if you see a professional to get your hair removed. That will ensure the right products are used, and they can instruct you on how to properly care for yourself down there. Of course, take good care of yourself between each shave or wax. Keep clean and wear comfy undies.

Any lingering questions? Chat with your doc or a nurse practitioner. Don’t be shy! Trust us, they’ve heard these questions many times before.

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