Shaving the hair down there is one of the most popular hair removal methods around. And we get it—the pros are there. It’s less permanent than layering everything off and has a way more affordable price-tag, even compared to waxing. Still, it isn’t exactly as intuitive as, say, saving your legs, and since the skin around your pubic area is so sensitive, it’s not exactly a place you want to play with the possibility of mishaps.
So, to help you safely master this technique, we chatted with Dr. Rebecca C. Brightman, a board-certified OBGYN based in New York City, and got the scoop on all the dos and don'ts.
First, you should know that shaving your bikini line, or the outer genitalia surrounding your vagina—properly named the vulva—is purely a personal preference. "There’s no medical reason or purposes of hygiene that one needs to get rid of pubic hair. It’s important that people know that. It’s a personal preference," explains Dr. Brightman.
If your preference is to get rid of it, you need to decide to what extent—some just trim or shape, while others completely remove it. To fully shave it, you the first step is grabbing hold of a clean razor. Some brands have created razors made specifically for this area, but Dr. Brightman says it's not necessary.
Lather up the area with water and a shaving cream. Dr. Brightman says to consider opting for a cream or a soap made specifically for sensitive skin. Then, you'll want to pull the skin taut. "If you pull it taut, you’re less likely to get a knick," she says. "But you have to be careful because there are lots of little folds and everyone’s anatomy is different."
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Using small, short, light strokes, gently shave the area in the direction of the hair growth. Dr. Brightman reiterates that being gentle is key, as the skin is incredibly sensitive and rather delicate. While in-between strokes, she says you should be running the razor blade under water to ensure it stays clean and free of hair. This will make it less likely for you to cut yourself. Another key and incredibly important note? All of these products should stay out of the vagina.
If you've also just had a baby, Dr. Brightman suggests talking to your healthcare provider before any hair removal method, particularly waxing. "It’s [the skin] particularly delicate in women that have just had children because estrogen levels drop, and I’ve seen many women with really bad reactions from skin coming off. The skin is truly delicate. It needs to be done by people who know what they’re doing."
And of course, if you have any questions or are confused, ask your doctor for advice beforehand. Also, be sure to update them on any adverse side-effects.