Wanna Say Buh-Bye to the Full Bush? Here’s How to Do It Without Getting Ingrowns

Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images
Around middle school or high school, my peers started telling me that they shaved their entire bikini area. Like...all of it. The complete opposite of a full bush. What they refer to as the "Brazilian" in the waxing studio. And so, since then, I've been shaving it...all of it. (Sorry, TMI.)

Not that this is still the trend—now we are experiencing a resurgence of the full bush—but I can confidently tell you that I know people who still prefer to rock a hairless vagina. So if you're looking to say buh-bye to the full bush, it's important to know how to get rid of the hair without all manner of ingrown hairs, irritation, and red bumps arising in their place.

"Hair removal of any kind is an investment—time, money, and sometimes, pain—so you owe it to yourself to take the time to find out what makes the most sense to you," says Allie Melnick, general manager of grooming brand Flamingo. And that may very well just mean, doing nothing but give it a trim now and then, and that's cool, too.

"However you choose to groom your pubic hair and skin is up to you," says Laura Schubert, CEO and co-founder of Fur, who notes that it really doesn't matter how you choose to rock your bikini area—it's just about proper care for whichever route you take. With that said, if you want to removed some (or all!) of the hair down there, here are the expert-approved tips for maintaining a hairless vagina.

How to get rid of pubic hair without irritating skin

Pick your preferred method: You've got a smattering of options when it comes to hair removal. "There are a variety of methods out there, and there’s not necessarily one that’s better than the other—it all boils down to preference," says Schubert. "Shaving is the cheapest option, but may not be great for sensitive skin types or people looking to stay fully hairless at all times. Waxing and sugaring are great choices, but the price point is higher and you do have to let your pubic hair grow a certain length between treatments. Lasering is the most permanent option, but is by far the most expensive (at least in the short term, that is) and the least reversible—so you should be certain you absolutely want to be hairless for a very long time if you make that decision."

Shave it smartly: If you're a shaver, it's key to do it the right way...as opposed to just haphazardly going to town on your bikini line (something I've admittedly done before and can tell you is a mistake). "Apply the same logic to shaving your vagina as you do with shaving your legs or armpits: condition beforehand, hydrate afterwards—the last thing you want is razor burn," says Melnick, who adds that everyone's hair grows at different speeds, so the shaving frequency is your choice. When shaving, the direction of the razor matters a great deal. "Always make sure to shave with the grain, not against it," says Schubert. "It’s also best post-shave to wear looser underwear that doesn’t have tight elastic lines, and looser pants that won’t chafe against your inner thighs and pubic area."

Make sure you have hair to remove: In the quest to go hairless, you might be tempted to, well, remove that hair on the reg. This is not a wise move—you need to have enough hair to properly get rid of, for the comfort of your skin. "Unless you’ve had laser hair removal, there’s always going to be a window of time when you’re not hairless," says Melnick. "It’s important to give your hair enough time to grow before you shave or wax again. Your vaginal skin is extra sensitive, so be thoughtful about what you put it through." (Not waiting a sufficient amount of time can bring on ingrowns, for instance.) The European Wax Center says that's about a fourth of an inch, which roughly equates to four weeks, while for shaving you should be removing hair about once a week, according to pros.

Give that skin TLC: Whichever hair-removing route you go, just be sure to mind the skin down there afterwards to keep things fresh and drama-free. "Make sure that your skin stays moisturized and irritation free—trying to remove your hair while your skin has ingrowns and irritation will only make the situation worse," says Schubert. "If you're routinely removing your pubic hair, keeping your pores clear and skin soothed is incredibly important. Hair removal can often irritate the skin, so immediately after treatment we'd recommend applying Ingrown Concentrate ($28) if your skin's especially sensitive and prone to ingrowns. When you're in-between hair-removing treatments, keep things exfoliated—we like the Sweet Spot Buff & Brighten Body Exfoliating Pads ($25). These are key elements in your regimen to help keep bacteria and dead skin cells from clogging the pores and causing ingrowns. It'll make sure the skin stays soft and soothed."

Be patient in your grooming process: It can take trial and error to figure out the most ideal pubic grooming method for you—but Schubert and Melnick both stress the fact that it's more important to consider how you feel. "How you feel is more important than aesthetics," says Schubert. "If one hair removal method doesn’t work for your skin, try another! Listen to your skin’s needs and make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to keep it healthy and happy—hair removal doesn’t have to be a painful process as long as you’re hydrating your skin and keeping it clarified and free of ingrowns." And from there, the rest is up to you.


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