There are few things on our beauty to-do list that we loathe more than body hair removal. Whether you shave it or wax it, the whole removal process is a mental pain, not to mention the actual pain of razor burn, bumps, and ingrown hairs that can follow.
Unfortunately, these skin traumas are par for the course if you want to keep your private parts, legs, underarms, and face hair free. Except that it doesn’t have to be that way — with a bit of insider know-how, you can tame your body fuzz without aggravating your temperamental skin.
The first thing you need to understand about hair removal-related skin irritations is why they happen. Every time you wax or shave, you're essentially damaging your skin in order to remove hair, be it by slicing it off or yanking it out.
Shaving causes issues because the blade is also shaving off layers of skin along with the hair. If you have a dull razor or press too hard, that causes burns and bumps. Waxing, which involves ripping the hair out of the follicle, can sometimes leave behind debris, which can interrupt hair regrowth and cause ingrowns.
While it might seem like your best bet is confronting these issues as they crop up, prevention should be your weapon of choice — it’s easier to stop something before it happens, rather than try to fix it after it’s all gone downhill. Fortunately, there are some pretty easy ways to prep (and some easy solutions for if you do fall victim to ingrowns and irritation).
Start With Clean Skin
Always make sure you are washing the area you plan to shave or wax beforehand — you want to remove any of the potential dirt, oils, and bacteria that can clog up the pores and cause infections or mess with hair regrowth.
Exfoliate & Smooth
This one is non-negotiable: You have to exfoliate before you do any type of hair removal. Dead skin cells, oil, and any lingering debris can clog up newly vacated hair follicles and lead to ingrowns and irritation. Our two favorite ways to get rid of dead skin are Fur's Silk Scrub and Supracor's Stimulite Bath Mitt.
For those unfamiliar with Fur, it's a line dedicated (almost) entirely to caring for pubic hair, so the Silk Scrub, with its triple-action physical and chemical exfoliating formula, is a stellar option for bikini line use (although it is safe to use all over to remove dead skin, including on the face, for you face shavers out there). You can use it as a both a scrub and an exfoliating mask.
The Stimulite Mitt is a physical body scrubber that takes off dead skin with the same level of efficacy as a dry brush, without any of the pain. It's made with a NASA-invented mix of plastic and thermoplastics in a honeycomb design that smooths skin like literally nothing else we've encountered. Rub it over wet or dry skin and it will slough off all the build-up and leave everywhere it touches feeling like silk.
Cushion Your Shave
We’ve all experienced the harsh sting that follows an ill-advised dry shave. I’ll just do a quick swipe to take care of that stubble, you think to yourself. Five seconds later you find yourself hopping around your bathroom, fanning the rapidly reddening skin to try and ease the unbearable burning sensation. A shaving gel or cream is key for a non-irritating shave because it creates a barrier between your skin and the blade, allowing the razor to glide over the skin, rather than tugging or dragging across the surface. We like the soothing and nourishing Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream and earthy ginger, grapefruit, vetiver, and bergamot scent.
Take It Slow & Stay Sharp
We’d like to think this one is common sense, but just in case: Don’t try and rush through a shave session. We can’t think of any situation where haphazardly whisking a wonky razor over your bits and pieces is going to end well. While you're at it, do yourself a solid and replace your razor blades regularly. As soon as you start to feel tugging or pulling during your shave, it's an indicator that the blade is dull and it's time to switch it out. This will happen at different times for everyone, depending on the razor you use and how often you use it.
In Case Of Emergency…
That said, even the most dedicated of careful shavers and waxers can fall prey to inflammation. Thankfully, there is an effective and easy way to immediately calm the skin — Fur's conveniently sized Ingrown Eliminator. These single-use (biodegradable!) mitts are pre-soaked in a calming and disinfecting natural serum. There's follicle-clearing willow bark extract to dissolve debris, astringent witch hazel to reduce redness, lactic acid to enhance skin's natural moisturizing abilities, and anti-microbial aloe juice to soothe irritation. Simply massage it on any area experiencing bumps, burns, or ingrowns and it will instantly calm irritated skin.
While hair removal doesn’t have to be pleasant, it also doesn’t have to be a form of inhumane torture. Well, unless you’re a Brazilian fan, in which case good luck and godspeed.