For some of us, shaving the delicate bikini-line area is preferable to waxing: it's more budget-friendly than regular waxing appointments, isn't subject to your aesthetician's availability, and usually involves less discomfort.
That said, whether you regularly use a razor or don't have time for your usual quick trip to the salon for a waxing, shaving your bikini line does have a drawback: itchy, bumpy, red, irritated skin. Nicole LeBlanc, aesthetician at Atelier Spa Salon in Eatons at the Eaton Centre in Toronto, shares her best tips for banishing bikini-line irritation.
1. Shave during a warm shower. The moisture and humidity soften your hair and prepares skin for an easier, closer shave.
2. Use a shaving foam with skin conditioners such as Gillette Satin Care Shave Gel. "Don't use soap," warns LeBlanc. "In addition to drying the skin, it leaves a film that makes it difficult for the razor to move smoothly and safely."
3. Always use a new disposable razor or new blade. Even a razor used only once will have dulled and it will take more strokes to remove the hair. More strokes means more scraping and irritation and, ultimately, a rash.
4. Shave in the direction the hair grows in. Don't try to get a really close shave by going over an area. Too close a shave often results in ingrown hairs, which can lead to infection.
5. Immediately after shaving, "apply tea tree oil or lotion to help prevent ingrown hairs or to help clear existing bumps," says LeBlanc. "If you suffer from serious ingrowns, try Mecca antiseptic ointment (a natural alternative to antibiotic creams) in addition to the tea tree oil."
6. Between shaves, keep exfoliation to a minimum so as not to irritate the skin. Use a shower puff -- and be gentle. Moisturize with tea tree oil or lotion.
7. Right after shaving, avoid underwear with too-tight elastic, which can irritate the bikini area. "Thongs are the worst offenders," says LeBlanc, "because they fit so close to the skin."
8. Let hair grow a bit before shaving again. "Wait until hair is about 1/4 of an inch if possible," advises LeBlanc. "Shaving stubble can be painful and problematic, and will likely result in itchy, bumpy, red, irritated skin."
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