Shaving down there can be a great option—it’s cheap, painless, private and no appointment required. But if done incorrectly, shaving can result in all kinds of nasty razor burns, ingrown hairs, bumps and irritated skin. Here are HC’s essential steps for a quality shave:
1. It’s best to invest in a razor with changeable blades, rather than using the cheap disposable razors that come in packs of five to ten. You might even consider buying a man’s razor, which have the same moisturizing/soothing strips built in but are constructed for coarser hair. Make sure it has moisturizing strips and "micro-fins" or cushions. We recommend the Schick Quattro For Women.
2. Before you even get in the shower, if the hair you’re planning to shave is longer than a ¼-inch, trim it down with small manicuring scissors (we suggest a smaller pair of scissors because it will be easier to maneuver—you do NOT want to accidentally nick yourself).
3. When you get into your warm bath or shower, don’t shave right away. The warm water will soften the remaining hair in 5-10 minutes and make it easier to shave (if you’re not shaving in the shower, covering the area for a few minutes with a warm, damp washcloth will have the same effect). If you want to soften the hair even further, try a dollop of hair conditioner.
4. To reduce the possibility of getting ingrown hairs, exfoliate the area. You can simply scrub the skin gently with a washcloth or loofah.
5. Apply loads of shaving cream (check out Aveeno Positively Smooth Shave Gel). Make sure that you’re using female shaving cream, and one that includes moisturizing elements like aloe vera, but no heavy added scents, which might make it more likely to irritate your skin. Don’t use soap! Let the shaving cream sit for a bit; this will further soften the hair.
6. Alright, ready? This is just like shaving any other part of your body, just take it slow because the skin is sensitive and the area is a little more convoluted than a shin or thigh. Pull the skin tight with your free hand, and shave without applying pressure (if you need to apply pressure, your razor blades are too dull).
7. Supposedly if you shave in the direction of hair growth it decreases the risk of ingrown hairs. If you want a closer shave, however, you’ll want to shave against the grain, so to speak. If you’re shaving against the grain, use a lot of shaving cream. You might also try first going over the area in the direction of hair growth, and then swiping off what’s left by going the other way. Just avoid going over the same skin too many times.
8. Pause often to rinse out your razor. This is important if you want to avoid nicks and keep your razor effective.
9. After shaving, rinse the area generously with warm water and pat dry. Do NOT use male aftershave of any kind, and have a pair of tweezers ready to grab any stray or hard-to-reach hairs that you missed. Apply baby oil or moisturizer, and maybe a little aloe vera if you have sensitive skin. Ooh la la!