Summer has officially ended, and while I long for the days I can lay in the sun alone sipping pina coladas and glaring at happy couples strolling along the beach, the start of Fall brings me the joy of putting away my razor for a few months. If there’s one thing that stresses me out from May to September, it’s being in a bathing suit on a regular basis and having to constantly keep up with shaving my bikini line. The hair is dark, it’s thick, and it grows back way too quickly to keep a clean shave for more than two days. Nothing ruins a day at the beach like seeing stubble peeking out from your bathing suit, and don’t get me started on the red bumps. They’re like obnoxious little creatures yelling out to everyone nearby “Hey, this girl tried to shave her bikini line, but failed.” So I set out to learn the basics of bikini line maintenance. I was determined to figure out the tricks of the trade before the calendar says it’s socially acceptable to wear white pants again.
Step one when shaving any area of your body is to choose your razor wisely. Try to select one with at least three blades; a razor with four or five blades will work best. The more blades a razor has, the more effective it will be without requiring you to apply a lot of pressure. This prevents nicks and cuts, obviously.
Before even picking up your razor, make sure your hair isn’t too long. If your hair is looking long enough to tie into a French braid (no judgment, we’ve all been there), take an electric trimmer and trim it down, if possible, until it is about a quarter of an inch long. Now that you think you’re ready to shave, still don’t touch your razor. You’re not ready. Get in the shower or bathtub, and let your bikini area soak in warm water for a few minutes. This will soften up the hair and make for a gentler experience.
Still not ready for that razor yet. Next, you’ll want to apply shaving cream. Not soap. Not hair conditioner. Real shaving cream. Even if your razor has those built in moisture strips, shaving cream is still necessary for moisturizing and protecting your skin. Without shaving cream, you’re more likely to shave off the top layer of skin, which causes razor burn. Apply the shaving cream in the opposite direction that your hair grows. This will allow the hair to stand up away from the skin, giving you a closer shave.
Finally, you’ve been patient; it’s time to pick up your razor. Keep the blades pointed downward and lightly glide the razor over your skin. Pull the skin taught to get the closest shave. If you’re using a razor with multiple blades, you shouldn’t need to apply too much pressure, and you will only need to go over each area once. This will help prevent the blades from nicking the hair follicles, which creates those red bumps that we’re all too used to seeing.
Clean out your razor to get rid of any soap or hairs that may be stuck, and rinse your skin of any leftover shaving cream. Pat the skin dry, and apply an anti-bump or anti-redness topical gel if needed. Sometimes, applying a cold compress or ice to the skin may be necessary to reduce redness or inflammation. Follow up with a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. When using any type of topical gel or lotion, find products that are fragrance-free, as perfumes will irritate this already sensitive area.
So the bikini area is a little higher maintenance than your legs or underarms when it comes to shaving. It’s a fairly important part of your body, so I guess it’s entitled to that. Hopefully with a little extra care, we can all have hair-free, bump-free bikini seasons come summertime, and I’ll be able to drink my cocktails and glare at young love in peace.