Shaving, for the most part, is usually pretty simple. Unless you’re working with a fancy at-home laser hair removal device, you can generally just follow the same few steps on both your legs and your underarms and get the same results. However, the hair removal process completely changes when it comes to shaving your bikini line. Sensitive skin anywhere on your body deserves the best-ever care, so Marie Claire chatted with an expert and compiled the official step-by-step guide on how to shave your bikini line.
We turned to dermatologists and gynecologists for advice about exactly how to safely shave your bikini line, because no, you don’t need to get a painful bikini wax to achieve your desired look! (Tip: If you are a lifelong waxer who is looking for a way to make your bikini wax less painful, Marie Claire has you covered with a helpful guide on the subject). For the most part, shaving your bikini line is not only painless, but it’s also far more affordable than booking a waxing appointment or investing in a pricey device. Plus, shaving in the comfort of your own home gives you the freedom of shaving when and how you want to.
From a comprehensive step-by-step guide that covers exactly how to shave the area (including her recommendations about which razors to buy, when you should shave your bikini line, and which soaps you should use in the area), a list of what not to do and products to avoid (read: dry shave) to a breakdown of a few of team Marie Claire's tried-and-true favorite products, consider this page the official guide to shaving your bikini line. For more insight on shaving your body in general if you so choose, check out the rest of Marie Claire's guides to the best bikini trimmers, the best razors for women, and the best shaving creams.
Is It Safe to Shave Your Bikini Line?
Starting out with some good news here: "Yes, shaving your bikini line is safe," says Dr. Anna Cabeca, a Dallas, Texas-based Triple-Board Certified OBGYN. Not only is it your choice, but whether or not you choose to shave is completely up to you. If you do choose to shave your bikini line, however, how you prep your skin and how you actually shave can either leave you feeling smooth or with nicks and razor burn. Keep reading for Marie Claire's official guide to shaving your bikini line, according to dermatologists and gynocologists alike.
How to Shave Your Bikini LIne
1. Only Shave in the Shower or Bath
Your skin is as its softest when you're in the shower or the bath (or when you've just out of either), so it's best to shave your sensitive bikini line then. Please do not dry shave. Using a dry razor on dry skin or skin that doesn't have any prior lubrication (like water, or shaving cream) is the usual cause of inflammation, bumps, and razor burn around your bikini area.
Also, make sure to give yourself enough time in the shower to make sure that your skin is prepped and ready. "Shaving towards the end of your shower or bath is best; this gives your skin maximum time to soak in the warm water and allows hair to soften, making the shave closer, smoother, and less irritating," says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a New York City-based dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology.
2. Prepare The Bikini Line Before You Shave
Once your skin is warmed in the shower and your skin is soft, it's time to properly prep the skin. Dr. Cabeca recommends that you should cleanse the area with a "non-irritating soap goat milk or olive soap, that doesn’t leave too much residue." She prefers one that's "fragrance free, hypoallergenic, and completely natural" to make sure that the skin is properly conditioned before going in with an abrasive razor.
Once the area is clean, make sure that you use a sudsy soap or unscented shaving cream to create a barrier between your skin and the razor itself. Shaving is a naturally exfoliating process, so it's important to protect the skin with an added layer of hydration as you go. "The reason why we use shaving creams or moisturizer is because they soften and hydrate our skin and this improves how the razor glides across it, which in turn can help prevent in-grown hair and infections," says Dr. Cabeca. Using a shaving cream will also help if you forget which parts of your skin have already been shaven, so you don't end up running your blade over the same areas more than once.
3. Only Use A Sharp (Clean) Razor
Picking up a specific razor for shaivng your bikini line is a great idea because the hair texture can be so diffrent from that on other parts of your body, like your legs or your underarms. "Hair in the bikini area tends to be more curved and curly, making it more likely that the hair turns downward as it regrows following each shaving session," says Dr. Nazarian. "The groin is also more difficult to shave, as the body curvature makes it more difficult to keep the blade appropriately held along the skin surface as you moved. "For this area specifically look for shavers that have a mobile head to follow the contour of your body better than straight stiff handles."
Bottom line: switch out the razor you use in your bikini line more often than you would for your shaving your legs for the safest bet. Dr. Nazarian also recommends shopping for razors with two blades rather than several. "New or not, the sharper the blades on the razor, the better and smoother the shave. Dull blades can tug on hair, while sharp blades glide easily and offer a closer shave," says Dr. Nazarian. "Since blades tend to dull after a few uses, toss them out by the fourth shave, or even earlier if you see buildup of dirt or dead skin on the blades. Especially after shaving armpits, where old deodorant can quickly clog up your razor, make sure you don’t follow up by shaving the bikini area and spreading the bacteria."
Single blade disposable razors, while great for on-the-go use or if you're in a pinch, are named that way for a reason: use them once or twice for the best, cleanest results. Some razors even come equipped with a hydrating band around the blades themselves, which can help soothe the skin as you go. "Dull blades will irritate sensitive skin quickly- try to keep a separate, clean razor just for the delicate bikini line- and keep it in a dry place when you’re done. The humidity from the bathroom can cause the razor to rust and bacteria to flourish."
4. Shave In The Direction Your Hair Grows
It's important to shave in the direction that your hair naturally grows for a less-irritating shave. While shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth might give you a closer shave, keeping the area nick-and-irritation free is the name of the game. "Ideally, to avoid tugging on the hair, the razor should follow the direction of hair growth while trying to minimize the number of strokes," says Dr. Nazarian. "Shaving down with hair growth prevents razor burn and ingrown hairs."
5. Take Care of Your Skin After You Shave
Keeping your skin soft, smooth, and healthy is key after shaving your bikini line. Shaving any area of your body tends to be abbrasive and gently exfoliating, so you'll want to tend to your freshly-shaven skin with care.
With that in, Dr. Cabeca recommends that you should "apply a clean chemical free moisturizing gel or body lotion afterwards such as coconut oil or almond oil." Choosing a product without parabens, chemicals, or fragrances is also a safe bet. For an easy DIY moisturizer, Dr. Cabeca gave Marie Claire the following recipe: mix together "half fractionated coconut oil and half Aloe Vera gel and add a couple of drops of essential oil, if you prefer."
Shop Our Favorite Products for Shaving Your Bikini Line
Best Non-Irritating Body Wash for Your Bikini Line
Dr. Nazarian recommends products like this body wash from Dove because it won't cause irrtiation and "don’t foam, but will offer a smooth, easy surface for the razor, and prevent over-drying or irritation," she says.
Best All-In-One Set For Shaving Your Bikini Line
"This kit is probably single-handedly responsible for me deciding not to get laser hair removal this year. The pre-shave balm in particular makes my skin feel incomparably soft, so my razor glides against my skin without pulling on the hair or irritating my skin. The trio on the whole has made shaving down there a luxurious breeze."— Gabrielle Uluaby, E-Commerce Writer
Best for Before You Shave Your Bikini Line
"For me, exfoliating is a crucial step in ensuring that I won't get ingrown hairs when I shave, so I use this affordable scrub from My Skin & Co religiously--whether I'm shaving or not. Two to three times a week more than does the trick, and a little goes a long way, making this little bottle surprisingly long-lasting and an absolute essential in my shower caddy." — Gabrielle Uluaby, E-Commerce Writer
Best Two-Sided Bikini Trimmer and Razor for Shaving "Down There"
Whether you're looking to shave the hair around your bikini line or just tirm some of the longer hairs in the area, this double-sided razor from Shick does it all. The flexible head on the shaving end is equipped with a hydrating ring and is outfitted with five blades.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs and How to Treat Them
If you shave your bikini line and find that you are dealing with ingrown hairs, don't worry. Dr. Nazarian notes that ingrown hairs and razor burn are more common in areas like the bikini line or the armpit area, where "the skin folds on itself." This is becaused those areas "experience more friction forces and rubbing."
To treat them, Dr. Nazarian says that you should "avoid shaving the area, and avoid tight clothing that can worsen the irritation by rubbing." For immedient relief, "apply warm compresses for two to three days, and apply a topical antibiotic cream mix with 1% hydrocortisone cream and calming lotions."
However, she recommends speaking to a dermatologist if the ingrowns don't go away. "If you’re noticing painful red bumps that don’t resolve with over-the-counter creams, make sure you tell your doctor," she says. "These more serious inflamed hair follicles and skin might need a topical antibiotic or prescription strength anti-inflammatory steroid cream."
Meet The Experts
Dr. Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, FACOG, is best selling author of The Hormone Fix and Keto-Green 16. Dr. Anna is triple-board certified and a fellow of gynecology and obstetrics, integrative medicine, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine. She holds special certifications in functional medicine, sexual health, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She lectures frequently on these topics throughout the world to large audiences and is known nationally as The Girlfriend Doctor and is host of The Girlfriend Doctor show. She has personally developed natural products to help women balance hormones and thrive through menopause including the highly acclaimed Julva® cream for the vulva and MightyMaca® Plus, a powerful superfood blend. She now lives in Dallas with her daughters, horses and dogs.
Dr. Rachel Nazarian joins Schweiger Dermatology after years of practicing various aspects of dermatology, including cosmetic treatments, skin cancer, general dermatology and dermatologic surgery.Dr. Nazarian has written many published articles in medical journals as well as widely respected dermatology textbooks, such as Treatment of Skin Disease.Dr. Nazarian serves as a faculty member at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology, where she completed her dermatology residency. While completing her medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine, Dr. Nazarian was awarded a grant from the Women’s Dermatology Society. Dr. Nazarian is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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