Read This Before Shaving Your Pubic Hair

Your guide to a smooth, razor bump-free finish — if that's your thing.

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Photo: Rockie Nolan/R29/Getty Images

Whether you're new to shaving because you're a diehard waxer or you're looking to enhance your current at-home hair removal ritual, you've come to the right place. However, before getting into the nitty-gritty of how to shave your public area, let's set the record straight: there's no medical reason to remove your pubic hair. In fact, pubic hair serves a purpose, or purposes, rather. "Pubic hair forms a protective barrier for the underlying delicate skin. It is believed to fend off pathogens, like bacteria and viruses, and is a shield for the skin from friction during sex. It also forms a natural cushion to the sensitive skin in the pubic area," explains dermatologist Dr. Kihiczak of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. "Pubic hair is completely normal and, as long as routinely cleaned, it poses no health risks."

Still, if you decide that pubic hair isn't really your thing, you've got options. Prefer to trim your pubes? That's great! Like to shave everything off? That's great too! "Some feel that more hair leads to more moisture, more odor and prefer to groom or completely remove the pubic hair." Ultimately, what you do and don't do to your body hair is entirely your choice and varies from person to person. But if you do decide to shave your pubic area, keep in mind that there's a right way of doing it to get a super smooth finish (read: no razor bumps or cuts).

Keep scrolling for our expert guide on how to properly shave down there.

Step One: Get in the Shower

Shaving your pubic area should never, ever, be done while skin is dry. "Shaving the pubic area should be the last step in your shower routine as the warm shower water preps the skin for shaving," says Dr. Kihiczak.

She suggests cleansing your skin with a loofah and a gentle, hydrating body wash like Dove or Cetaphil. "Use a gentle cotton washcloth or loofah when cleansing the area and move it in a circular motion," she instructs. "This can help gently prep and exfoliate the skin before shaving and even 'dislodge' any early ingrown hairs that may be forming."

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash

Dove body wash

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Step Two: Perfect Your Angles

When it comes to shaving your nether region, angles are everything. Allie Melnick, general manager of Flamingo, recommends using the ledge of your tub to prop your foot up so you have better access to the area you're shaving.

Step Three: Shave Away

Before picking up a razor, decide how much hair you're going to take off. "Grooming your pubic hair is as much about shaping as it is hair removal, so make a plan for how much you want to take off before you start," says Melnick. Also, how often you shave your pubic area depends on how close of a shave you're after. Dr. Kihczak says a close shave typically lasts one or two days and requires upkeep every two to three days.

Once you start to shave, always work in the direction of the hair growth. Going against the grain can result in redness, irritation, and ingrown hairs. And if you're brave enough to shave around your vulva, take it slow and find a comfortable angle first. Also, use shaving cream to help the razor glide smoothly. Flamingo makes a foaming gel that's formulated with soothing aloe vera and emollients to keep skin smooth.

Flamingo Foaming Shave Gel

Flamingo foaming gel

To shop: $6;

Aside from not using a shave gel, Melnick says one of the biggest mistakes people make when shaving their pubic hair is using the wrong razor. "A fresh, sharp razor blade and a thick shave gel will make for a much more comfortable shave and protect against nicks, cuts, and irritation," she explains.

Dr. Kihiczak also stresses the importance of regularly changing your razor blade to prevent irritation or worse, bacteria from causing an infection. Since old blades carry bacteria and increase the risk of infection or folliculitis, a condition where the inflamed hair follicles look like red bumps or whiteheads, don't wait for your razor blade to dull before switching it out, says Dr. Kihczak. "The frequency of changing of the razor blade is determined by the frequency of shaving and the coarseness of the hair," she shares. "Single blade razors can be disposed of after each use. Razors with multiple blades can be used a few times, though any tugging, rubbing, or nicking of the skin by the blade is a sign it should be changed immediately."

Flamingo Razor

White Flamingo razor and box

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Step Four: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

After shaving your pubic area, keeping it moisturized is key. Use a hydrating cream or lotion that also gently exfoliates to prevent ingrown hairs. Dr. Kihczak is a fan of Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion.

Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion

Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion

To buy: $9;

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Step Five: Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Along with regularly moisturizing your pubic area post-shave, you can use a product that treats and prevents ingrown hairs. Fur's Ingrown Concentrate contains antibacterial tea tree and tamanu oils to eliminate excess oil and speed up cell renewal. Conditioning coconut oil and soothing chamomile extract round out the mix.

Fur Ingrown Concentrate

To buy: $32;

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