Every person struggles with what to do about hair growth in their bikini area. With so many different grooming options, how can you be sure you’re working with the right one? What’s a normal look for ‘down there?’ Am I the only one who does that? Wait, pubic hair dye is a thing? While you might not want a platinum blonde star adorning your bikini area, the truth is, there’s no right or wrong way of dealing with ‘down there’ — just suggestions and some safety guidelines. Everyone has their own preference and that’s totally ok! However, if you’re not sure where to start, here are some looks that can suit anyone.
Just Around the Edges: When all the hair covered by your bikini or panty lines is left untouched. Typically, this look works to take care of those pesky hairs that start to wander off grid.
Landing Strip: The removal of all pubic hair, except for a narrow, vertical strip that typically starts either at the natural pubic hairline or above the vulva, and ends just above the clitoris. This looks varies in width and length, leaving the decision up to you!
Completely Bare: The complete removal of all hair, from the pelvic region up towards the butt. Those looking to rock the most revealing lingerie or swimwear usually don this smooth, hairless style.
There’s also several different ways to go about removing the hair ‘down there.’ Here are some popular methods you may be interested in trying.
Shaving is the most popular and inexpensive method of grooming ‘down there.’ Shaving with a razor consists of five steps: trimming the hair, allowing the hair to soak and soften, lathering the area with shaving cream, shaving the hair and moisturizing afterwards.
The Do’s & Don’ts of ‘Down There’ Shaving:
- DO trim your hair down with scissors as short as possible before shaving.
- DON’T use a heavy scented lotion to moisturize afterwards. The chemicals within the lotion can irritate the area. Instead, look to apply aloe vera, baby oil or baby powder.
- DO bathe beforehand to soften coarse hair.
- DON’T simply use soap when shaving. Apply a shaving cream that will work to lather the pubic area, helping to reduce irritation.
Note: You may want to avoid shaving during your period, as your skin is very sensitive during this time. For best results, shave in the same direction your hair grows and avoid spending too much time going over one area to keep irritation at bay.
When it comes to grooming ‘down there,’ avoid straight, disposable razors or ones that have gone dull. Key components to look for in order to minimize nicks and cuts are a pivotal head, multiple blades and moisturizing strips. Here are two razors you may want to try out.
- Schick Quattro For Women TrimStyle Razor and Bikini Trimmer: What doesn’t this thing do? Whether you prefer grooming in or out of the bathtub, Schick Quattro for Women TrimStyle has you covered! On one end you have the razor comprised of four thin blades for a close shave and strips of aloe and a duo-vitamin complex to moisturize your skin. On the other end is a waterproof, battery-powered trimmer, which comes with three different combs of varying lengths. Did I mention the $14.99 price tag? Sold.
- Gillette Venus Extra Smooth Sensitive Women’s Razor: For less than $13.00, this razor is ideal for those with skin that gets irritated easily. This razor contains five blades that are close together so that you can achieve a closer shave and the head of the razor pivots so you can glide it across your skin easily and avoid cutting yourself. The package also comes with two blade refills so that you can swap out your old blade the moment it shows signs of dullness.
Waxing is another method for grooming bikini hair. Whether you wax with a professional or in your own bathroom, the directions are the same: hot wax is applied to the desired area, then a strip of cloth is applied with pressure. The strip is then pulled in the opposite direction of the hair’s growth. Voila, hair is gone!
The Do’s & Don’ts of Bikini Waxing:
- DO wait until your hair is ¼” long before making an appointment or heating up your own wax kit. This way, the wax has more hair follicle to attach itself to, providing a cleaner removal.
- DON’T tan before or after waxing.
- DO stick to cotton underwear afterwards. Allowing the area to ‘breathe’ after a wax will greatly diminish the chance for irritation afterwards.
At Home Waxing
A good waxing kit isn’t hard to find and you’ll soon find yourself seasoned at the process. However, be sure to thoroughly read the instructions and don’t be afraid to look up videos providing demonstrations.
- Before getting started, make sure the area and your hands are clean and sanitized.
- Warm the wax, allowing it to take on a honey-like consistency. You can also purchase wax strips to avoid the mess!
- Until you feel comfortable with the process, try practicing with the wax on your forearm or calf. One thing is certain though: always be sure to test the temperature of the hot wax before applying it to the pelvic area! No need for a burn down there.
- Dip the utensil — typically a flat wooden stick — into the wax and apply the wax to the area. Try not to smear too much onto the skin and always be sure to move in the same direction. At-home waxing is completely feasible; however, if you’re looking to go any further than the basic bikini wax, be prepared to continue pulling those strips despite the obvious pain.
- For any stragglers, pull out a pair of tweezers and snag them. Do not apply wax on the same area twice, as bleeding and scabbing can result.
This is a great video to help you get started with a simple bikini wax.
With such a sensitive region, it’s no wonder many go to a salon for waxing. Alana, a Junior at Syracuse University, confesses she “tried waxing at home, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually continue pulling away at strips!” When dealing with such a personal part of your body, choosing an esthetician is just as important as choosing the salon.
- A lot of people tend to frequent salons recommended by word of mouth. Ask around and you’ll definitely find a salon your friends trust. You can also check out yelp.com for reviews from past and present customers.
- Don’t be afraid to stop in and ask some questions and meet the staff. If it’s your first time, speak up! Specialists are more than willing to guide you through the process so there are no surprises.
Common Salon Waxes
Bikini Wax: Hairs outside the bikini/panty line are removed.
Full Bikini Wax: Hairs outside and a bit deeper within the panty line are removed. This style can also look to create a more definitive triangle shape by eliminating some of the hair resting towards the top of the pelvic region.
French Bikini Wax: A more thorough wax. All of the hair in the front of the pelvic region is removed, expect for a small strip, which can resemble a landing strip.
Brazilian Bikini Wax: All of the hair, from the front of the pelvic region to the back (including the area leading to the butt) is removed. Typically, a small strip is left behind. Foresee a thong bikini in your future? This might be just the style for you.
Hollywood Bikini Wax: Results in the pelvic region, including the labia and area reaching the butt, becoming completely hairless. The Hollywood is probably the most physical of the waxing styles — it requires a team effort from you and the waxing specialist. Expect to twist and turn into different positions to ensure a smooth result. You will be asked to lay on your stomach in order to remove the hair around your butt.
Remember that waxers do this everyday — they have seen just about everything. Kristie, a Senior at Rutgers University, first started visiting the salon for bikini waxes and she “just felt really comfortable with [her] waxer right from the beginning. She would discuss everyday things like how classes were going, but would still make sure I was aware of what was going on.”
Kudos to anyone that can manually pluck each and every hair they want removed, one at a time. This is not recommended for anything other than the few hairs that remain after a wax or shave. Attempting to do more than that will bring about bleeding, bruising and possible scarring. Always be sure to sanitize the tweezers in between each use and remember not to tug at hairs, but pull at the root of the follicle.
Laser Hair Removal
While many believe laser hair removal is a permanent solution to eliminating pubic hair, it’s not. And with that said, at roughly $500 per treatment, it’s not exactly the most cost-effective method out there. Here’s how it works: after the light from the laser wand reaches the target hair, it destroys the melanin within the follicle. Approximately a week and a half later, the hair begins to shed.
Chelsea, a student at The College of New Jersey, says the process is convenient if the funds are there. She does confess, however, that she was at first surprised at the numerous restrictions necessary before and after the treatment: no suntan/sunburn four weeks prior, no waxing/tweezing two weeks prior and no bleaching before or after. When it comes to the bikini region, laser hair removal typically takes 4-5 sessions to eliminate the hair from the region.
Jeannie M. Bush, American Electrology Association member and certified professional electrologist, says “Electrolysis works on all colors of hair, all colors of skin and all skin types.” Due to the permanent nature of this procedure, one must truly be sure about removing the hair. More expensive than laser hair removal, electrolysis ranges from $900 to $1700, depending on the number of sessions that will be required. As the “only method of permanent hair removal, per the FDA,” Bush stresses the importance in choosing a qualified, licensed and certified electrologist. She believes that when choosing services for grooming the pubic area, it is imperative to look for the credentials of the provider. Additionally, the provider should educate the consumer about the risks and benefits of pubic hair removal.
- During electrolysis, a thin metal probe slides into the hair follicle, administering electricity to the area that generates the hair.
- To prevent infection, Bush “wears gloves, uses pre-sterilized, pre-packaged probes and a sterile tweezer.”
- While electrolysis is the only method considered permanent by the FDA, there is a small risk for hair re-growth due to hormonal changes that can’t be accounted for at the time of the procedure. Also, electrolysis is not guaranteed to be painless for all patients. Since some people do not respond to treatment, you must decide if electrolysis is worth the cost.
Trimming with scissors
Tackling your hair with a pair of scissors for a quick trim is easy! While you can do this before any at-home hair removal processes, trimming your hair can also be a form of hair removal all on its own. Always be careful when trimming: go slowly and utilize a mirror. When it comes to the kind of scissors you should use, it’s best to invest in a small pair that you can find at any local drug store.
Dealing with Ingrown Hairs
Becky Sturm, CEO and Founder of the online beauty shop StormSister Spatique, says you can lessen the amount of ingrown hairs you get through a number of practices. “Waxing lessens ingrowns more than shaving,” she says. “Wear panties that don’t have tight elastic around the legs. A tight elastic band encourages ingrowns by keeping the hair from emerging from the skin.”
Becca Bijoch, Publicist for the Public Relations Firm Lola Red, says to “Exfoliate after the wax to prevent ingrown hairs. Also, invest in an ingrown hair serum that will keep the area smooth and bump-free.” I recommend Princereigns’ The Original Ingrown Hair Serum, which you can find at local pharmacies for $30.00.
There are so many different ways to trim, shape and remove hair. Whether you choose to remove all of your hair, some of it, or none of it, there is no right or wrong way to take care of the hair ‘down there.’
The Her Campus Team weighs in on their grooming habits. 87 team members were surveyed and asked to check which grooming option(s) they used.
The Her Campus Team shared their preferences, now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below on your favorite grooming option and any tips for your fellow collegiettes.