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Original Illustration by Megan Charles for Her Campus Media

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 has 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 Hydro Silk Sensitive Care Women’s Razor.

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!

A Chicago native, Elizabeth is going into her senior year at the College of William & Mary, where she is majoring in Psychology and Literary & Cultural Studies. Last year she circumnavigated the globe and visited 12 developing nations with a study abroad program called Semester at Sea, honing her travel writing skills and chasing her dream of someday working abroad. Currently she is the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine Winged Nation and the Philanthropy Chair of her beloved music sorority, Nu Kappa Epsilon. When she's not writing her butt off for class or for pleasure, she can usually be found practicing harp, watching Community, or hanging out with her Phi Sigma Pi brothers.
As the Senior Designer, Kelsey is responsible for the conceptualization and design of solutions that support and strengthen Her Campus on all levels. While managing junior designers, Kelsey manages and oversees the creative needs of Her Campus’s 260+ chapters nationwide and abroad. Passionate about campaign ideation and finding innovative design solutions for brands, Kelsey works closely with the client services team to develop integrated marketing and native advertising campaigns for Her Campus clients such as Macy’s, UGG, Merck, Amtrak, Intel, TRESemmé and more. A 2012 college graduate, Kelsey passionately pursued English Literature, Creative Writing and Studio Art at Skidmore College. Born in and native to Massachusetts, Kelsey supplements creative jewelry design and metal smithing with a passion for fitness and Boston Bruins hockey. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_thornFollow her on Instagram: @kelsey_thorn